Bull City Escapes – Enchanted Kingdom (Review)

Location: Durham, NC

Players:  2-6 (We Recommend 2-4)

Price: $25 per person

Time to Escape: 60 minutes

Your Kingdom awaits!

Theme:

Beyond the forest lies a hidden Kingdom, a place where faeries and dragons exist and magic is real! The crown jewels have been hidden away, and it is up to you to find them and return them to their rightful place in the throne room. But first, you’ll have to find the Kingdom itself, and that’s no small task for a mortal.

First Impressions:

Enchanted Kingdom is extremely well decorated and themed, and the atmosphere created by the décor and soundtrack was very immersive and playful. It’s always nice to see a more light-hearted theme when a lot of the main standbys are prisons, murderers, and monsters. This room was one I’d been in before when it was Bull City’s 90s Room, but they had done an excellent job making it unrecognizable!

High Points:

Beyond the fantastic themeing of the room, puzzles were a great mix between set interaction, code finding, and searching. Though there were standard locks around, there were also a good few technological interactions that surprised us in the best possible way. I wish we’d had  someone in the room to take a picture of our faces after one early “magical” interaction, as it’s definitely one of my favorite puzzles I’ve seen lately, and the payoff was a lot of fun. Flow between puzzles was very smooth, and it was almost always easy to determine what to work on next. Difficulty was handled well, and ramped up at the right points. The hint system is clear, but unobtrusive, and allows for the experience to be adjusted based on the team size and experience.

Low Points:

One puzzle gave very little clear feedback upon solving, to the point we solved it by accident and didn’t even realize it. There was also one particular puzzle that had multiple possible answers, causing it to come into play as a red herring too often.

Verdict:

Enchanted Kingdom is an excellent new room that builds on the successes of Bull City’s previous rooms and delivers a magical feeling experience. The diverse and exciting array of puzzles make it a great room for anyone to start with, and is filled with enough tricks to keep Enthusiasts entertained. This is definitely one of the best rooms in the Triangle area, and I cannot recommend it enough. Book your time in the Enchanted Kingdom here!

9.5/10 (Excellent)

Bull City Escapes – Lunar Lockdown (Review)

Location: Durham, NC

Players:  2-6

Price: $25 per person

Time to Escape: 60 minutes

This is Major Tom to Ground Control, I’m stepping through the door…

Theme:

NASA sent an elite team of researchers to a previously unknown planet on a top secret mission, but they’ve gone dark. You’ve been sent to find out what happened to them and report back. After finding the ship’s crash site, you enter to find that major damage has occurred. What’s worse, the door has locked behind you, and the self destruct sequence has engaged! Your team has an hour to solve the mystery and escape before you blow up!

First Impressions:

Upon entering Lunar Lockdown, I was frankly intimidated by the amount of tech on the walls. It really felt like the inner workings of a spaceship, or a Hollywood one, at least. The main centerpiece was well designed, and displayed many tactile inputs to play around with. There was also a good bit of space for puzzling, so even though we were at max capacity for the room, we didn’t feel crammed in. Unfortunately, room to maneuver has become rare, but I commend Bull City for keeping their maximum limit comfortable for players.

High Points:

Right off the bat, there was so much to find and work on. Puzzles instinctively led one to another, and searching around the shuttle was a joy. Most puzzles fit the science-y theme without being unapproachable, and most everything made sense within the context and theme of the room. There were a good few high quality props to manipulate, and mysterious blast doors tempted us with what could lie beyond. Technology was used to great effect, and there were several surprises in store when it was used. The intimidation of the many control panels gave way to excitement once we began to suss out what was important and what was set decoration.

Low Points:

Early and late game puzzling was very strong, but there was a slight dip in quality during the midpoint. A couple of items were hidden in groanworthy ways, but were overall minor blemishes. There were a couple puzzles that seemed a bit off theme, but were otherwise interesting and didn’t take away overmuch from the immersion. One puzzle activated an item in the room that we didn’t realize was activated, due to it’s subtlety, so we were unsure we had the correct answer. Overall, the story didn’t come to a satisfying conclusion once we had escaped.

Verdict:

Lunar Lockdown is a great space room that presents a stimulating series of puzzles. The story is an interesting setup, but seems secondary to the escape, as we didn’t feel it went anywhere. On the whole, however, the room is very competently done, and delivers a solid hour of entertainment. Book your escape from Lunar Lockdown here!

7.5/10 (Good)