6th Se6se Escapes – Willy Wonka (Review)

Location: Clayton, NC

Players:  2-6 (We recommend 2)

Price: $27.75 plus a $.69 booking fee per person (With the option to make the experience private for a flat $150 added on.)

Time to Escape: 60 minutes

Oompa loompa doopity doo, I’ve got a horrible escape room for you.

Theme:

Bill of Bill’s Candy Shop has been entrusted with one of Willy Wonka’s Everlasting Gobstoppers. You’ll need to find your way to Wonka’s Factory to find it, for some reason, so that Wonka can award you his factory! In a move that makes just as much sense, he’ll lock you in his factory if you can’t find it! Who is Bill and why is he even involved in this? I don’t know!

First Impressions:

After powering through Asylum and Point Break, we held out little hope for Willy Wonka, which much to our woe, ended up being a miserable finale to the three game run we subjected ourselves to at 6th Se6se Escapes. Abandon All Hope, Ye Who Enter Here.

High Points:

The room smells like candy, at least.

Low Points:

This room starts out poorly, and never excites or becomes interesting in any way throughout the entire run time. The first huge problem is that this is denoted as a “family focused” room, but this is not made clear on the website. No problem, though, one of our favorite rooms of all time was a room designed for kids. It doesn’t have to be really difficult to be a great game, but this room is pretty much the polar opposite of that room. If I were a child brought to this game, I’d feel insulted. Puzzles aren’t easier, they’re actively dumbed down, simplistic busy work that any reasonable child is going to find tedious at best. The best rooms, family focused or not, engage the players with thought provoking challenges and creative puzzles. There is absolutely nothing creative, engaging or thought provoking about this room. Props are dollar store junk at best, interactions feel like a chore to muddle through, mostly consisting of laminated paper to present clues, and there isn’t even much of a story to speak of, leaving players to put a solution to a lock over and over until they can finally leave.

6th Se6se’s Willy Wonka room is the very definition of arbitrary. There’s no real rhyme or reason to what you’re doing, you just have to do it because. Count up this stuff, because you gotta. Of course, which ones do you count? Just certain ones, because the others don’t count. Why? No reason given. And don’t worry, if you didn’t like that counting puzzle, there are more on the way. We were also presented with no less than two dollar store jigsaws during the course of the game, and at an almost thirty dollar ticket price, that’s actively insulting. On top of that, there are random riddles strewn about, requiring outside knowledge, and loads of lockbox inception, wherein opening a lock just leads to more locked boxes, ensuring that at no time will you be granted with the simple joy of marked progression. There is not one puzzle within this room that is worthy of note, as every single one of them have been done better in much more entertaining rooms. Rounding off this wretched experience is yet another failure to reset a lock, ensuring a clean sweep of improperly reset rooms here.

Verdict:

I cannot stress enough that this room is easily one of the top five worst rooms I have ever had the displeasure of working through. 6th Se6se’s most colorful room is somehow the most joyless experience they have on offer. There is no redeeming value here. I do not recommend this room, and can say unequivocally that you should never book a room here.

1/10 (Rubbish)

6th Se6se Escapes – Point Break (Review)

Location: Clayton, NC

Players:  2-8 (We recommend 2-4)

Price: $27.75 plus a $.69 booking fee per person (With the option to make the experience private for a flat $150 added on.)

Time to Escape: 60 minutes

The Point is that this room’s design is Broken.

Theme:

Your team of thrill seekers are looking to score big by robbing a bank and using the proceeds to fund your future adventures. There’s a sixty minute window during the security shutdown in order to grab any cash and jewels you can before you make your escape.

First Impressions:

After the miserable Asylum, we weren’t expecting much. While we thought the idea for a Point Break themed room was good, we were not holding out much hope for this one. We luckily had some time to hop outside to decompress before entering this room, which we were unfortunately right about.

High Points:

Many of the puzzles inside this room work properly, but they just aren’t that interesting. There’s one interesting reveal early on that grants a bit of satisfaction in solving, but it quickly wears off. The vault door is competently, if not beautifully, designed, and the room does indeed look like a bank office, for better or worse.

Low Points:

We began the room by searching a bunch of books. Not the most auspicious start, as flipping through loads of worn old books does not portend future excitement, but we were willing to give this room a shot. Things never really got too much more exciting, as the majority of the room devolved into guess and check against entirely too many similar locks, a problem that can easily be solved by injecting some sense to the connective tissue of the game by linking puzzles and locks. At no point during this experience did it feel like a Point Break themed room, in fact, this could’ve been called simply “Bank Heist;” a title much more suited to the actual game within. The room as a whole is just generic, with little in the way of clever puzzles, inspired set design, or engaging story. At no point did the stakes feel high, and the immersion of the room was nil. Reset failures disrupted the experience, as locks had not been reset properly on two separate occasions, leaving 6th Se6se 0 for 2 in the room reset department.

This room is advertised as the most challenging experience this business has to offer, but much of the challenge comes from poorly thought out puzzles with very little connective tissue between them, and a game flow that stalls out constantly due to the ill planned progression of the game. 6th Se6se reuses multiple puzzle types from their other rooms, and these tend to be some of the least interesting interactions those rooms offered. When spending the amount of money required to book an escape room here, you’d expect much more engaging interactions, but at one point, we quite literally found ourselves assembling a jigsaw puzzle. In a bank vault. For no other reason other than, “because escape room.” It’s maddening how incredibly banal the whole experience is. The bank vault itself can’t save this room either, as it remains as creatively devoid as the rest of the game, a bland room with a bunch of locks does not a bank vault make. I’ve seen a small room turned into a visually interesting vault before at The Exit Games, and they also had a fantastic game flow to back it up. This sort of terrible design all around is just indefensible. The set is literally a converted office room, the game is a jumbled mess, and there isn’t a story to speak of. Overall, this is easily one of the worst escape rooms I’ve ever done.

Verdict:

6th Se6se’s most difficult room is impossible to recommend. If you’re interested in a Point Break room, you’ll not find one here. Even if a generic bank heist room is what you’re looking for, you can find much better ones elsewhere, for a cheaper price point. While one or two puzzles may be satisfying to solve, they get lost in the sea of banality and mediocre design across the board. Despite my warnings, if you would like to check this room out, you can do so here.

2/10 (Bad)

6th Se6se Escapes – Asylum (Review)

Location: Clayton, NC

Players:  2-6 (We recommend 2-3)

Price: $27.75 plus a $.69 booking fee per person (With the option to make the experience private for a flat $150 added on.)

Time to Escape: 60 minutes

That way lies madness

Theme:

The old Asylum is meant to become an elegant hotel soon, but the workers keep coming across explainable phenomenon! It’s up to your team of ghost hunters to eradicate the spectral menace, and ensure the Asylum is free of ghosts. You have sixty minutes.

First Impressions:

6th Se6se seemed to have some good ideas for themes, if not business names, and were on the way during one of our most recent escape trips, so we thought we’d give them a shot. The lobby was interestingly decorated, and we had checked out a couple of pretty great businesses earlier in the day, so we were jazzed and ready to give another few rooms a go!

High Points:

The system for delivering clues to each other while split up between rooms is pretty awesome, if slightly difficult to reach for shorter players. The first part of the room does encourage a good bit of teamwork, and communication back and forth is absolutely key to getting the team back together. There quite a bit to do within the room, however, it is very hit or miss, and the mantra, “quality over quantity” came to mind frequently. This is also 6th Se6se’s most original room, for what it’s worth.

Low Points:

The room starts out in a pretty poor fashion, with our GM jumping in over the walkie talkie to ask us if we want a hint since pretty much everyone needs a hint for the first puzzle. Not the best way to start, as if everyone needs the hint, why not incorporate it into the game via a in room clue? The puzzle itself also required leaps of logic that made little sense, and was a puzzle type that is widely despised, furthering the negative first impression. Beyond that, the rooms are very first gen, which is not an issue in itself, but a lot of the locks repeat, so there is entirely too much guess and check after solving a puzzle which becomes tiresome. This could be alleviated by adding in some in game method of tying locks to puzzles, which tends to be the norm. There were also particular locks that were pointed out to us before the game that were known to be overly finicky, and there was no reason not to replace these with better functioning locks. True to form, these locks were difficult to open and it’s very frustrating that the owners know the locks are temperamental, yet haven’t replaced them with better locks. There was also a reset failure for one box, which was already set to the code needed to open it.

Asylum was filled to the absolute brim with escape room sins. The first was a seeming love affair with the black light we found, which needed to be shined everywhere because of reasons. No direction at all, just lazy, shine the light on everything “puzzles.” An extremely common escape room code was used over and over, padding out the game time in a way that added absolutely nothing positive to the experience. Very frequently, the victory of opening a lock was confounded when all that was found inside was a random key or yet another locked box, ultimately destroying any sense of satisfaction or progression we could eke out from the room. There’s a lot of junk in the room as well, leading to an extremely messy set, even though we tried our best to stay organized, per usual. This was exacerbated by the room’s inability to comfortably hold the six escapists we brought, much less the maximum of eight that was advertised. Luckily, we weren’t joined by any strangers, or we probably would’ve been crammed in there even more uncomfortably. Most puzzles involved some Herculean leaps of logic, with one making next to no sense, essentially requiring us to spin the last dial for reasons unknown.

Truly, this room is just an absolutely miserable time.

Verdict:

The Asylum has some good ideas in theory and 6th Se6se’s best set, but it’s not quite good enough to overcome the bland puzzling and the uncomfortable nature of the escape room itself. Unfortunately, this is also their best room. If you’re really desperate for an escape room, it might do the trick, but there are others within a thirty minute drive that’ll scratch that itch way better than this one. Even worse, this room is one of the most expensive in the area, and it certainly does not live up to the almost thirty dollar price point. I don’t recommend booking here, but if you would like to get trapped in this particular Asylum, you can do so here.

3.5/10 (Poor)