Escape Plan Columbia – Missing (Review)

Location: Columbia, SC

Players: 2-10 (We Recommend 4-6)

Price: $28 per person

Time to Escape: 60 Minutes

Gone Baby, Gone

Theme:

You’ve been kidnapped by an elusive serial killer, and a team of detectives are trying to find and save you. You’ll have to work together to solve the puzzles and escape before he returns to finish you all off!

First Impressions:

The fairly sparse and generic serial killer theme is still one of my favorite overall guilty pleasures as far as escape rooms go, so I wasn’t overly worried to that point, and when we were told that we’d be separated into two groups, one for the kidnapped victims and one for the detectives, I was fairly excited for this twist. We were briefed just outside of our respective rooms, blindfolded, and set upon the room.

High Points:

The split up as detectives and victims idea was interesting, even though it didn’t play out excellently. Room flow was alright once we were reunited and there were a couple surprises here and there to keep us on our toes. Emphasis on teamwork was appreciated, and worked as intended.

Low Points:

As the kidnapped, my group was locked in a sparse room and had our end of the puzzles solved pretty quickly, and did what little we could to help our teammates. There were several minutes we spent sitting on the floor wishing we were in the next room while we waited for the detectives to figure out how to get us together. Once we had been reunited, we found that the detectives were next to done with most of the puzzles in their room, so we weren’t able to help much there. Due to poor gating, it is very likely that many groups will have the same issue of waiting around for the other group to figure out which puzzle gets everyone back together. Once we entered the final stage of the game, it didn’t take overlong for us to finish up, as the game was fairly sparse overall. Puzzles weren’t overly exciting, and themeing was sparse. For all the good ideas in the beginning, we were fairly unimpressed with the execution. The fact that one group of us were detectives and one were victims could’ve been played up for much better effect, but was sadly just a reason to split us up.

Verdict:

Missing has a few good ideas to start off, but fails to execute properly. Puzzles are overall pretty banal, and do little to excite. There are a couple interactions that lend a fun bright spot, but don’t quite overcome the overall average nature of the room. A major retooling would be necessary for me to recommend this room, but for now, I cannot. If you’d like to check it out, however, you can do so here.

4/10 (Subpar)

 

Full Disclosure: Escape Plan Columbia comped our tickets for this room.

Escape Room Entertainment Melbourne, FL– Shipwrecked (Guest Review)

Bonus Review today! Our friend and regular Escape Room Teammate Cathy Nanni recently visited Escape Room Entertainment in Melbourne, FL, and offered to share her thoughts with us! Her review is below.

Location:
Melbourne, FL

Players:  Up to 8 (We recommend 4-6)

Price: $27 per person

Time to Escape: 60 minutes

Yo ho, yo ho a pirate’s unlife for me!

Theme:

You’ve been shipwrecked on a Caribbean island. While searching the island for signs of life,  you stumble upon an old pirate’s ship. You go inside and as luck would have it, the galley door slams shut behind you. You’re locked in and have an hour to escape before the ghost of Captain Silver appears.

First Impressions:

Escape Room Entertainment was nicely themed. The lobby had a mysterious feel to it with dim lighting and dark walls. In fact, the 12 year old in our party was ready to start searching for puzzles the minute we stepped into the building!  After checking in, we were escorted into a briefing room where we met our game master and watched a video explaining the rules and the room scenario.

Another thing I really appreciated about Escape Room Entertainment is how family friendly they are. I really wanted to find an escape room that would allow my six year old son and my friend’s twelve year old son to participate. Most rooms have an age requirement of 14+ or require that you book the entire room if you bring children. Escape Room Entertainment is different in that two of its four rooms are family friendly, you don’t have to book the entire room if you’re bringing kids, and kids under 7 are free.

High Points:

The room was well themed. We definitely felt as if we were aboard a pirate ship. The walls and floors were covered with wooden planks.Chests, maps, skeletons, and gold doubloons  were scattered throughout the room. It was dimly lit but we were supplied flashlights. Later on tools were discovered that could help with players see everything better in the dim lighting. There was a fun puzzle involving a major prop that gave me a warm, fuzzy nostalgia for The Goonies (which happened to be our team name).

Escape Room Entertainment offered unlimited clues but if you used more than three you weren’t eligible to be on their Leaderboard. I thought that was a nice compromise to limiting the number of clues.

Low Points:

Even though it was a pirate themed room, I felt the use of treasure chests was a bit overdone in the room. They had a lot of creative puzzles in the room that give us the means to unlock the chests but it would have been nice to unlock something other than a treasure chest.

One puzzle was a complete time suck that required the focus, teamwork, and dexterity of two players for several minutes. After the game we found out that players could trade a hint for a magnet to make the puzzle easier. I’m glad it didn’t get to that point with us because that would be been even more frustrating. I also would have liked to have access to a whiteboard for some of the longer word puzzles. The final puzzle involved a lot of guess and check work on a lock that timed you out for a minute after three incorrect entries. Luckily, we had enough time on the clock but if we had been close to the time limit, it would have been very aggravating.

Verdict:

Shipwrecked was a great experience for the whole family. This was the first escape room for more than half of our group and I felt it was the right mix of basic puzzles for beginners and more creative ones to keep enthusiasts busy.  The room was fun to explore and most of the puzzles were a good mix of challenging and fun.

7/10 (Good)