Break Out Myrtle Beach – The Curse of Volcano Island (Review)

Location: Myrtle Beach, SC

Players: 2-10 (We recommend 3-5)

Price: $28 per person

Time to Escape: 60 minutes

What a beautiful island! Pity about the curse.

Theme:

After your plane crash-lands over the Atlantic, you and your fellow survivors piled into a life boat and began floating, hoping for sign of land or rescue. Your pilot has spotted an island in the distance, and you paddle towards it in the hopes it is inhabited, but unfortunately when you arrive the whole place is deserted. Even worse, you find evidence that the island is likely cursed as well! Your presence on this forbidden land has been noticed by some greater power, and you’ll have to break the curse quickly before the volcano in the distance explodes!

First Impressions:

We have very much enjoyed Break Out Myrtle Beach’s sister locations in Charleston, SC, (Elite Escape Games, Break Out Charleston, and Charleston Escape Game,) so on our most recent trip to Myrtle Beach, visiting Break Out was a no brainer! Our first steps into Curse of Volcano Island presented the excellently immersive set design we’ve come to expect from these locations, and we were thrilled to start our escape!

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There’s that excellent Break Out polish!

High Points:

Beyond the aforementioned set design, Curse of Volcano Island seeks to create a highly immersive experience by utilizing a great soundtrack and awesome lighting effects. All these touches combined really bring the adventure life in the best possible way. The game is set up semi-non-linear fashion, with a few puzzles or interactions to solve available during any given stage of the game, which generally lead towards a puzzle to open up the next stage. This would keep a mid-size group entertained and engaged throughout, as many of the puzzles require a fair amount of teamwork to solve. Most of the room is set up in such a way that progress is easy to gauge naturally and within the theme, with new props being obtained and new areas opening as the team solves their way towards saving the island, and themselves! Perception is challenged throughout the game, and outside of the box thinking is not only encouraged, but required to best the many original puzzles that are housed inside!

The game flow works excellently for the most part, with intuitive revelations to be uncovered constantly. The density of puzzles and fantastic integration within the theme will keep most groups happily engaged, though the maximum of ten might make for too many cooks in the kitchen when enthusiasts are involved. Technology is seamlessly integrated within the room, and creates an atmosphere of magic while still providing excellent feedback during play, keeping groups on track during the entire experience. The storyline is engaging, and while mostly front loaded, the climax is appropriately satisfying, and tied everything up nicely.

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The volcano belches smoke on the horizon!

Low Points:

At one point, a small process puzzle may stymie progress and leave larger groups with little to do. Our team somehow bypassed this one with what must be the luckiest run of events leading to a lock opening extremely early, but we still solved a portion to confirm how the puzzle is solved. Luckily, after our accidental advancement within the story, our GM confirmed our incredibly unlikely guess was a freak accident, and advised us to ignore this particular box so we didn’t accidentally derail the experience for ourselves! There are a lot of really intuitive puzzles and interactions, but for two or three moments in which cluing becomes very sparse, and you’ll either know just what to do or you won’t, and these portions of the game can really grind everything to a halt. Our Gamemaster was very helpful in hinting us back on track, but for the most part these sections seemed to require outside hints rather than relying on information intuitively gathered from the room itself. There are a few points at which it feels like deja vu when a puzzle type is repeated, but this isn’t overly egregious, and overall, the puzzle or interaction is changed up enough that it doesn’t become repetitious.

Verdict:

The Curse of Volcano Island is an immersive romp, if minorly uneven in parts. The story and set design are amazing, as usual, and the puzzles are original and engaging, though the flow tends to suffer from time to time due to some deficiencies in cluing. However, I recommend giving it a shot as on the whole our escape was a lot of fun! You can book your time on the island here!

7.5/10 (Good)

Full Disclosure: Breakout Myrtle Beach provided media discounted tickets for this room.

Escape! Myrtle Beach – Race Against Time (Review)

Location: Myrtle Beach, SC

Players:  2-10 (We Recommend 4-6)

Price: $25 per person

Time to Escape: 60 minutes

Is that a bomb? I dunno, why don’t you go see? We’ll be way over there.

Theme:

You are a kidnapped group of CIA agents, locked in the hideout of a terrorist syndicate. They’ve abandoned this safehouse, but have left behind evidence against them in their haste. Luckily for you, a previous captive has left clues to help you get out. Unluckily, the bad guys have also left behind a suspicious looking suitcase, that’s ticking ominously outside your cell…

First Impressions:

Escape! Myrtle Beach has a comfortable lobby, which includes free snacks and drinks for while you wait. The owner seems to run it as a one man show, and provides personable customer service and an upbeat attitude that really got us in the mood for our fourth escape of the day. The over the top, but creative story was given to us along with a basic rules briefing, before we were blindfolded, and led to our cells.

High Points:

This room was just straight fun. The two of us were let loose with so many crazy props and puzzles at our disposal, and jumped right in. This was one of those rooms where all the puzzles were enjoyable to interact with, and our team was giggling the whole way through some of the more creative DIY puzzles we’ve seen in the area. We noted that while 2 puzzles seemed like they would be destructible, both had alternate ways to solve, which was a nice touch had we misstepped along the way. Everything in the room had a purpose, and was blissfully free of red herrings. Inputs were varied, and though the room was a mix of traditional locks and technical inputs, all clues led intuitively to where they needed to be input. The finale felt climactic and appropriate to the story.

Low Points:

Clues were given at the GM’s discretion, and while interacting with the GM was an fantastic experience, we would’ve preferred a few less clues in general. We felt many times that we were on the edge of solving something, and a clue was given, depriving us of a real ah-ha moment. Theming was good, but the room still felt more like an office, not quite bringing us fully immersed into the environment, but the excellent game more than made up for this. Some technology was less hidden than usual, so the inputs felt a little less excitingly mysterious.

Verdict:

Overall, Race Against Time is a great experience for anyone looking for an escape in Myrtle Beach, and I highly recommend trying it out, especially for the more innovative puzzles and fun interactions to be had. Beginners will enjoy the light-hearted nature of the game, coupled with a exciting introduction to escape rooms, while Enthusiasts will find a nice assortment of non-linear puzzling to enjoy. Book your Race Against Time here!

8/10 (Great)

Captive Escape Rooms – Dracula’s Library (Review)

Location: Myrtle Beach, SC

Players:  2-7 (We Recommend 2-3)

Price: $27 per person

Time to Escape: 60 minutes

Once again… welcome to my house.

Theme:

A team of Victorian investigators, you’ve been looking into a string of disappearances plaguing your city. You’ve not made much headway until you receive a missive from a mysterious contact, inviting you to dinner to discuss what he knows about the case. Intrigued, you meet with your mystery contact, who seems cordial, until you pass out from something he slipped in your drink! When you awake in an old library, you’re met with a note explaining that you’ve been kidnapped by Dracula, and have only 60 minutes before sunrise, when he’ll return!

First Impressions:

The lobby is very nice, and includes a comfortable couch, along with a guest book to write notes to future captives! Props along the wall got us excited for our post room picture, and the staff was engaging and courteous. The briefing delivered the rules and story in a concise manner, and allowed us to get to the puzzling quickly.

High Points:

The later parts of the room felt more like the library and lounge of a Victorian Vampire, and the searching around the room was satisfying. Several ah-ha moments granted good closure to many of the puzzles and were overall interesting. Props were tactile and fun to play with, and the story setup was well delivered. One particular puzzle helped bring in a sense of realism by delivering a tactile interaction that felt natural for the room that it occurred in.

Low Points:

The library itself was incredibly sparse for such a well funded and aged vampire, and many props were off theme for the time period. The final puzzle was extremely unintuitive, and inexact. Too many possible solutions and a reliance on murky logic spoils what should be a climactic moment. Again, as in Charlotte’s Attic, it is a very linear room, which is alright for a small group, but many more than 3 are going to have people standing around waiting for something to do. The hint system here is unfortunately the same as in the Attic, breaking immersion due to the failure to include the now standard cameras and sound systems. Staff must enter the room and have your group explain where you currently are in the room, which is never good for room flow. Some out of place puzzles feel off theme, but aren’t overly prevalent, but the overall flow of the room does not work as well as it should, due to a lack of intuitive cluing.

Verdict:

Captive delivers another competent room that feels as if it’s from the earlier days of escape rooms. While this is not necessarily a bad thing, innovations among other rooms have launched the industry much farther, and seasoned players may be slightly disappointed. Beginners may have trouble, as the room relies on a bit murkier logic at times, and enthusiasts will appreciate the theme, though should not expect too much technology. Again, I can recommend, as it is an overall fun experience, but players should be forewarned that the rooms, while enjoyable, are not on the cutting edge. You can book your time in Dracula’s Library here!

 

6/10 (Alright)

Captive Escape Rooms – Charlotte’s Attic (Review)

Location: Myrtle Beach, SC

Players:  2-7 (We Recommend 2-3)

Price: $27 per person

Time to Escape: 60 minutes

Redrum! Redrum!

Theme:

Your team of investigators has recently picked up an old case file regarding the murder/suicide of a single father and his two young girls. Something about the file irks you, as it seems not to be the open and shut case the police made it out to be. You’ve arrived on the scene, and have an hour to find out what really happened in Charlotte’s Attic.

First Impressions:

The location Captive calls home is a very impressively creepy older building. Climbing the stairs to the lobby is part of the fun, as the dark wood and antique mirror set the tone for their more horror based rooms. They have a very comfortable lobby and a great, customer service focused staff. The briefing was concise and delivered the rules without fluff.

High Points:

The room itself was themed very nicely, and had the feel of a dilapidated old attic down well. The room felt immersive in that it’s soundtrack and the dark, foreboding atmosphere of the room heightened the creep factor. The puzzles were fun to solve for a small group, though the later puzzles were definitely the best, as they were the most tangible and related to the story very well. The storyline and ending were well done, and the paranoia and madness were delivered in a slowly building way. There was a definite cohesive flow between puzzles that worked well.

Low Points:

The hint system is not well done. Staff do not have any interaction with the room unless you ring the doorbell to summon them, and then explain where in the process you are. There are no cameras or sound hooked up, so your group is led into the room, and are not monitored in any way, leading to such a frustrating and immersion breaking hint system. Progression is extremely linear, which, for our group of 2 was not bad, but any more than that, and you may feel you have too many cooks in the kitchen. Puzzles were competent for the most part, but some random math and off theme puzzles felt out of place, overall.  In the middle of summer and on the second floor, this room did not have air conditioning and as such, it was absolutely sweltering in the room. Though the rooms had only been open for a month, it seems counterintuitive to open the room to the public before ensuring the a/c works. Presumably this is being fixed, but I’d make sure it’s 100% done before booking.

Verdict:

Charlotte’s Attic delivers an immersive and creepy experience, but the game is easily marred should you need a hint, as the system for hint delivery leaves much to be desired. A larger group will have trouble finding something for everyone to do, but a smaller group will be well entertained. The room is a solid classic experience, but does not innovate much in today’s market. Beginners will definitely enjoy this introductory experience, while enthusiasts will find the theming immersive, though they may escape much quicker. I recommend trying this one out if you’re in the area, as it definitely is more of a classic, early escape room experience. You can book your time in the Attic here!

 

6.5/10 (Alright)

Backstage Escape Games – The Legend of Atlantis (Review)

Location: Myrtle Beach, SC

Players:  2-8 (We recommend 4-6)

Price: $34 per person

Time to Escape: 60 minutes

…in a day and a night, Atlantis disappeared under the sea, and resurfaced in Myrtle Beach!

Theme:

It was the discovery of a lifetime! Your mentor, Hathaway Wren, had found Atlantis, and not only that, a series of what he called power crystals were stored inside. Charged with enough sustainable, clean energy to bring power to the entire planet, discovering them would make him a very rich man, and change the entire world! A greedy person at heart, Wren set out on this expedition alone, not wanting to share the credit, or the money, with anyone else. That was weeks ago, and no one has heard from him since. Now, your team has found the coordinates Wren hid from you to discover his fate, and find the crystals! Unfortunately, the underwater city only surfaces for an hour, and once it goes down, it will take you with it unless you can escape!

First Impressions:

The entrance to The Legend of Atlantis is situated at Broadway at the beach, and stands out beautifully against the shops and restaurants nearby. The georgeous doors beckon, and begin to set the tone for the room long before you enter. The interior of lobby is very welcoming and similarly well decorated, and includes a mirror maze and quick bank vault laser maze for additional experiences. Backstage’s friendly staff led us into the room itself, and a professionally produced intro gave us the rules and background story before the timer began to count down!

High Points:

Absolutely the best set I’ve seen in an escape room so far. The Hollywood quality props and interior grant a level of immersion that most escape rooms can only dream of. The sheer magnitude of the temple when fully explored is impressive, and every detail is used to create a fully cohesive experience, including lighting and sound. Puzzles flow beautifully, and the difficulty curve is implemented well. They are also varied enough to provide something for all types of puzzlers, and give each teammate a way to shine. There is only one timer in the first room, but updates are given throughout the experience, which was appreciated. The storyline weaves throughout the experience, and one particular prop helps deliver it through the puzzling beautifully. This room was also the most challenging but fair room I have experienced to date, and we barely made it with 27 seconds to spare!

Low Points:

The amount of people needed to solve the room fluctuates between the beginning and end of the experience. A small group will be more comfortable during the first half, but the last half opens up greatly, necessitating more players splitting up to tackle the full range of puzzles. Lighting inside the rooms isn’t dark, but underwater colors, while they help add to the theme and immersion, cause the color dependent puzzles to go from difficult to frustrating in places. One particular puzzle is very large and feels as thought it overstays it’s welcome once the main deductions are made.

Verdict:

The best escape room we experienced in Myrtle Beach, this is a must do for anyone who is visiting the area. The Legend of Atlantis is an exhilarating challenge for enthusiasts that beginners can also enjoy, delivering a fully immersive experience. The Legend of Atlantis will surely be a top favorite room of mine for a long time. Book your time in the underwater city here!

Full Disclosure: Backstage Escape Games comped our tickets for this game.

9/10 (Excellent)