Location: Fayetteville, NC
Players: 2-8 (We recommend 2-4)
Price: $25 per person
Time to Escape: 60 Minutes
Prepare for a bumpy ride!
It’s time to travel from Fayetteville, NC to Washington DC! It’s a short flight, so you’ve opted to fly via Paradise Airlines, a cheap, no-frills airline that promises to get you there cheaply and comfortably. That is, until an alarm goes off in the main cabin and you have to figure out how to get the plane safely landed and escape!
Time Warp was a competent, if somewhat dated, experience, and the staff at Cryptic Quest definitely seemed to put a lot of heart into their adventures, so we were optimistic about our next adventure flying the unfriendly skies! After a short rundown of some new rules exclusive to this adventure, we were let loose on the airplane!
Again, we were greeted by a countdown along with a nifty percentage tracker that helped denote how far along we were in the experience, which is an excellent touch for new players or those that like to know how to space out their clues. One early game interaction is pretty hilarious, and we had mostly completed it before the realization as to what we were actually doing dawned on us during a particularly funny moment. The linear nature of the room is well focused and each puzzle leads to the next seamlessly, making for a fantastic game flow. For a smaller, linear affair, the game did keep our group of two enthusiasts puzzling for the full experience, though I can imagine things would get pretty tight with many more than three or four players.
One particular puzzle noted that we had to guess at the solution, and from the nature of the puzzle, that really irked us. It wasn’t really something that was easily guessed at, and would require a fairly vast amount of outside knowledge. Luckily, it didn’t seem like there was any guessing involved once we sorted through the information we had, but the guessing remark caused us to think there would be no other way, stalling us for a while. It should probably be removed entirely to prevent confusion. This room really doesn’t follow much of a storyline, so it was essentially an airplane themed puzzle room, which isn’t the worst thing, but those who expect a little more than just puzzles will definitely be disappointed. Several props feel off-theme, and receiving a random code sheet just feels a bit lazy at this point, but the inclusion is appreciated, at the least. One particular interaction leads to a reveal that doesn’t quite work, so it is displayed on the screen by the GM once it has been successfully completed, which is a little disappointing. The set is also competent, but doesn’t really feel like an airplane, and with random memes posted around, the immersion tends to suffer.
Fly the Unfriendly Skies is a solid game for a very small group of enthusiasts or a slightly larger set of newbies, though it isn’t without a few flaws. The maximum of eight is definitely too many for this room, but if you’re interested in a classic escape room experience and don’t mind the lack of a deep storyline, you’ll have fun here. Don’t forget to put your tray table up and your seat back in a full upright position if you do book with Paradise Airlines here!
Full Disclosure: Cryptic Quest provided Media Discounted tickets for our team.