Location: Myrtle Beach, SC
Players: 2-10 (We recommend 3-5)
Price: $28 per person
Time to Escape: 60 minutes
Looks like he couldn’t… *sunglasses* escape his fate.
The Myrtle Murderer is set to strike, and the only thing standing against them is your CSI team! You’ll need to head back to the scene of his last murder and solve the clues in order to unmask them and bring them to justice! Watch out, though, they may be closer than they seem.
Despite a fairly shallow story, Break Out has always been a quality stop with some of the best games in South Carolina, so we were still very excited to get started. We’d been advised that while this room shares some similar puzzles with Break Out Charleston’s Escaping Death Row, it was different enough to constitute an original experience. I can definitively say this is true, but if you don’t want to repeat any puzzles or surprises, you might want to check out a different room if you’ve done Escaping Death Row before. This fact holds no bearing on my review of the room however, as the experience does hold up as a separate entity.
CSI Myrtle Beach starts off interestingly enough, with a non-linear puzzle progression and a good flow to keep a larger group entertained. Again, perhaps not enough for the maximum ten people if you are a group of enthusiasts, but there is definitely a lot to do from the get go. There are several intuitive and entertaining puzzles and interactions to engage with, and some devious surprises to find throughout. One of my favorite puzzles in the room involves interacting physically with a prop in a very intuitive way, leading to a great ah ha moment.
After the initial stage of the room, the game flow and connective tissue breaks down quickly. Worse, the experience from that point forward is strictly linear, further frustrating things. The clever interactions and puzzling from the early game give way to a tenuous game flow and connections that can only be made from the largest logical leaps. Furthermore, there are two puzzles that require outside knowledge, both of which we luckily had, but still have no place in the room, as there’s nothing within the room that can assist with the solving other than having the answers already. This being an older room, there’s also a lot of the searching for hidden objects that you don’t really see much anymore as games have evolved to be more puzzle focused as a whole, and while it isn’t egregious, it’s not particularly interesting either.
The set itself is competent, if somewhat slapdash. It feels as though there are a lot of random items scattered about in order to create a room, without any clear, cohesive threads between them. This bleeds over towards the rest of the experience, as the theme and storyline never really come into play, and while there is a twist ending, it ultimately falls flat due to the fact that there is no set up to make a shocking finale matter. Unfortunately, this room is the first that we just didn’t really like at Break Out, and I believe it’s due to it’s age. While a puzzle room like this worked well in the early days of escape rooms, it has aged rather poorly.
All in all, CSI Myrtle Beach is a puzzle room, and not much more. It has a couple of good ideas here and there, but beyond those, there’s a palpable feeling of “been there, done that” to the experience. While classic games can still shine in today’s market, this one is past it’s prime in relation to the other rooms on offer in the area, including the others at Break Out Myrtle Beach. I’d definitely recommend trying one of those instead, and you can do so here.
Full Disclosure: Breakout Myrtle Beach provided media discounted tickets for this room.