By: Cassandra Smith
Location: Asheville, NC
Players: 2-6 (We recommend 2-4)
Price: $25 per person
Time to Escape: 60 minutes
Great Uncle Lou’s Mystery Lodge is full of all sorts of wondrous and bizarre collections! UFOs? Bigfoot? Ghosts? You name it! When a greedy businessman hatches a plot to tear down the Mystery Lodge and open a car wash, it’s up to you and your friends to solve the riddles within the Lodge and save the day! Work through cryptids, magic DVDs, and mesmerizing puzzles in this fun-filled room!
I’d been to A-Escape back in 2017, and had an absolute blast in their Selachi Research Lab room, long before I started reviewing rooms. Despite having a more “home-made” feel, it was a brilliant little room, with loads of interesting interactions and a mysterious vibe that stuck in my head five years later upon my return to Asheville on a couple’s retreat with my wife. I was excited to return, and I loved the idea of a room based on a cryptid “museum” of sorts. At first, we were only going to play Diner 51 (which the wonderful Johnathan Byerly reviewed here,) because there were no other time slots available, but we contacted the folks at A-Escape on a lark, hoping for a miracle, and they were more than happy to have Mystery Lodge ready for us to play as well!
The Mystery Lodge promises a wide array of cryptids and supernatural enigmas to explore, and it absolutely delivers! The decor of the room is on point, and I really loved the strange and wonderful exhibits that really seemed to take time and care to create. From jackalopes to my personal favorite, Mothman, this little lodge has it all. But what is a cute theme and well decorated room without puzzles? Luckily, this lodge is filled to the brim with them! The room was semi non linear, and despite our experience in escape rooms we found that we were given an appropriate challenge to conquer, and never felt like anything was too elementary or overly obtuse. In fact, the only hint we needed was in order to overcome our Achilles heel of finding items left out in the open. We really need a remedial class on “spotting things hidden in plain sight.” Several of the interactions in the room resulted in some interesting results, and one in particular is really well done, producing a magical result we certainly weren’t expecting! All of the puzzles in the room have some sort of way to tie the clues together, with icons or similar motifs allowing us to make connections between the plethora of clues we had at any given moment, which was a nice touch. Despite the room being full of crazy props and exhibits, there weren’t any items that stood out to us as extraneous, or as red herrings, and the game flowed very smoothly from point to point. One of the focal points of the room is the hint system, which is well delivered, and a really fun, integrated way to dole out hints without detracting from the immersion. All in all, I’m very glad we added this room on to our trip, and had an amazing time saving Great Uncle Lou’s Mystery Lodge!
One of the items we needed in order to solve the room was broken. Luckily, it could be worked around, but it always stinks to miss out on part of the room, despite this not being 100% the fault of the business. It would probably be a good idea, however, to have some duplicate props on hand for future unfortunate events. Some parts of the room felt a little worn, and despite the theme, this wasn’t the kind of worn that looks as excellent in an escape game. There is one particular part of the room that looks really cool, keeping something truly mysterious under lock and key, but feels like a missed opportunity once it is revealed. It’s not all that bad by any stretch, but we were really hoping for more.
We had an awesome time in what is now my favorite room at A-Escape! I loved the theming and the inclusion of loads of interesting cryptid and supernatural exhibits housed within the Mystery Lodge, not to mention the slate of excellent puzzles to solve. I absolutely recommend checking this one out, and you can book your time in the Lodge here!
8 out of 10 (Great)