A-Escape  – Diner 51 (Review)

By: Johnathan Byerly

Location: Asheville, NC

Players: 2-6 (We recommend 2-4)

Price: $25 per person

Time to Escape: 60 minutes

Theme:

A nondescript diner in the middle of the desert.

A missing scientist.

A decoded signal from light-years away.

On the eve of humankind’s first contact with an arriving extraterrestrial fleet, you may be Earth’s final hope for discovering how it’s all connected.

First Impressions

Booking was easy and the staff were quick to respond to emails. Stopping in was a last-minute decision, so we were really happy with their responsiveness.

No video intros or instructions, the staff member is there to answer all your questions and tell you the story in person. A warm throwback to earlier days of escape rooms and happy to miss the often cheesy video introductions. After a very simple lobby and exterior, the game master led us into the diner and we were off!

Immediately we were impressed with the level of effort and detail put into the set design and theming. It was clean, shiny, and bright, much like you would expect a road-side diner.

High Points

This first room was amazing -. Bright colors, old-school diner booths, even a counter and register. It’s their newest room and their effort to make a quality room shows.

Many of the props were interactive and there were some great reveals. I loved there’s a final puzzle that you work on throughout the entire experience and the story leaves you with a critical choice that’s both fun and very thematic. Lots of backstory for those who like reading and reviewing props not directly related to solving a puzzle.

The design varied from being linear to bring us together to letting us each work on a puzzle in smaller groups or alone. There’s also some great hands-on puzzling.

Low Points

Sadly another major reset failure (and the use of a power-related prior puzzle in Abandoned Submarine) led to us turning off the power to half the building. Seriously, if no room ever asked me to interact with a breaker box, fire alarm, interior of wall sockets/light switches, or other obvious electrical systems it would be great. To their credit, the staff leaped into action and got everything up and running again within minutes. Still, we left feeling a bit embarrassed.

The second part of the experience clearly doesn’t have as much love and attention as the first part. While we loved the “E.T. Phone Home” style capstone puzzle, it was a little flimsy and touchy to use.

Verdict

A unique take on the alien trope! I don’t know why more places don’t explore the classic diner experience, but it really made for something memorable. This is also one of the rare experiences that lets you make a choice on how your room ends.

You can book your experience by clicking here.

8 out of 10

Full Disclosure: We received a media discount on our ticket purchases

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