Sleuth Kings – Case 014: The Great Escape (Review)

Location: Your Home!

Players:  We recommend 1-4

Price: $29.95 per box

Escape Rooms and Subscription Boxes collide!

Theme:

Erin Fyre has been expecting a life saving kidney transplant for a while now, and the day has finally come for her surgery! Unfortunately, when the donor organ arrives, it’s missing, and a note from a familiar foe of Sullivan’s is tucked inside, taunting the detective and demanding he play a demented game in order to retrieve the kidney, or die trying.

First Impressions:

For full disclosure, I was extremely excited about this case due to the use of my suggestion to use the theme of an escape room as the backdrop! I was thrilled to hear that Sullivan would be taking on an old adversary in Dictator Sin from Case 001, and love that the Sleuth Kings universe continues to expand upon past criminals and cases. Also, this was the last box my fiancée and I completed at my old townhome before moving, so it was a little bittersweet as well. (Which is also why this review was delayed for a week, apologies for that!)

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Well that fellow looks familiar…

High Points:

Honestly, I think Sullivan should go ahead and repurpose Sleuth Escape into an actual escape room. I didn’t realize that I want a live action Sleuth Kings until this case started to get me thinking about it! The storyline is a lot of fun, especially for myself, a huge escape room enthusiast, and helping lead Sullivan through the escape trap set up for him is a fun time. The inclusion of Sullivan’s “good friend” (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) Celeste St. Clair continues to be a welcome addition, and helps to characterize Sullivan as more than an island unto himself while on these cases. I think it would be interesting to hear more from Celeste during cases, but her help with hints is still such a wonderful addition.

Some interesting props accompany this case, and a certain puzzle that I’m not a huge fan of myself, is appropriated in a clever way that provided a very satisfying ah ha moment once we had it solved! The game flow is excellent, and there are a few side puzzles that you can solve afterwards that provide a funny easter egg or two. There are a good range of puzzles, allowing for different solving styles to shine, and making this a great group box as you’ll need a range of puzzling specialists to conquer this one! I especially enjoyed the perspective puzzle, as it added an immensely satisfying moment of revelation where everything clicked into place for me, and the below card featuring the world’s most sympathetic duck was a blast to look at from every angle.

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What a sweet card!

Low Points:

A puzzle that is included during the start and finish of this box can get a little vague with direction, with small clues that narrow down how to interact with the main prop, however, it was a little frustrating as a first puzzle since we got stonewalled with it after missing what we later understood to be a movement hint. It was highly satisfying, but stalled our momentum initially. The escape room theme is a lot of fun, but there wasn’t as much to Sullivan’s escape as I’d have hoped, as we didn’t get a whole lot of insight as to what the room itself looked like. It’s a small quibble, though, as the experience as a whole is great fun!

Verdict:

Sleuth Kings continues it’s standard of excellence with this box, further proving that you can’t go wrong with a subscription! This was also our 12th solved case, so another delve into Sullivan’s personal investigation into his father’s disappearance is on the way! I absolutely still recommend subscribing to what I believe to be the greatest value in the subscription box market, and you can use the promo code ESCAPEADVENTURE to get $5 off your subscription here! You can also read the rest of our Sleuth Kings reviews here!

9/10 (Excellent)

Full Disclosure: Sleuth Kings provided a complementary box.

The Great Escape Cameron – Mad Hatter (Review)

Location: Cameron, NC

Players:  2-6 (We recommend 3-4)

Price: $25 per person or $100 for a private room

Time to Escape: 60 minutes

We’re all mad here, Alice!

Theme:

You’ve popped over to Wonderland for a tea party with the Mad Hatter, and have had a truly a lovely time! Unfortunately, he’s forgotten how to get you back to your world, though he knows it’s locked away here somewhere… Make sure you do so in an hour though, or you may well be trapped in this tea party forever!

First Impressions:

The Mad Hatter room was beautifully done and very colorful, exactly what you’d expect from a Wonderland escape. From the outset, we could see that there was quite a bit to work on, and knew we were in for a different experience from the usual escape room fare!

High Points:

The atmosphere of the room being so colorful, coupled with the fun soundtrack, made this room a pleasure to be locked into! The Mad Hatter is also the only room I’ve experienced to date which requires the use of all five senses to solve, which was implemented in exciting ways, and fit the tea party theme extremely well. Logic used in the room was particularly Wonderlandian, and required us to think outside the box more than usual, but in a well delivered way. One trippy surprise felt magical in it’s implementation, and called for teamwork in a smoothly implemented way. Small Alice inspired easter eggs popped up along the way, and were a delight to see. Flow and theme held smooth throughout.

Low Points:

The room, while very colorful, used similar colors between puzzles, leading to a bit of confusion while trying to figure out what was germane to which solutions. The room was mostly nonlinear, but there were a couple bottlenecks, one of which only allowed for one player to interact, and though it was a fun puzzle, it could take some less dexterous teams some time to solve.

Verdict:

The trip to Wonderland provided by The Great Escape is a wonderful tribute to Lewis Carrol’s classic. Beginners and enthusiasts alike will enjoy the vast array of puzzle types, along with the well implemented “Alice-Logic” that runs throughout. This is definitely a special experience in NC, and I very much recommend trying it out. Book your tea party with the Hatter here!

Full Disclosure: The Great Escape Cameron provided us with media discounted tickets 

8.5/10 (Great)

The Great Escape Cameron – Bomb Squad (Review)

Location: Cameron, NC

Players:  2-6 (We recommend 3-4)

Price: $25 per person or $100 for a private room

Time to Escape: 60 minutes

“Did you have any luck with the bomb?”

“Yeah, it didn’t go off.”

Theme:

You’ve been called to a nearby construction site to deal with a crisis, namely, a bomb that has been planted on the premises! As a veteran bomb disposal unit, this seems like a routine mission, until you find that the location has been secured with… puzzles? You have 60 minutes until the bomb goes off, taking you with it!

First Impressions:

The aesthetic of the room, while it did not set an immediate mood like Cabin in the Woods, was interesting and eye-catching. Another fun soundtrack played when we were brought into the room, and it set a fast paced tone, spurring us to action!

High Points:

Though it was the most linear of Great Escape Cameron’s rooms, we always knew what to work on, and the flow felt smooth. We enjoyed the tactile props and the feedback that most puzzles gave us, and one puzzle in particular was very creative and gave us a great ah-ha moment. The bomb itself was convincing, and had been designed by someone who had experience in this area, which was a great touch. Tech was integrated well, and triggered some surprises that focused our team on cooperation to overcome. Throughout the experience, the room opened up more and more, giving us more to work with, and continually leading us to new puzzles.

Low Points:

Several puzzles felt strange and out of place for the theme, one in particular we collected pieces for as we went definitely seemed strange for a bomb diffusal room. This puzzle also had 4 “correct” answers, but only one would trigger a solution, though a small amount of adjustment would correct this. One puzzle solution was easily brute forceable, and the logic to attain the solution was a bit of a leap, so we found ourselves bruting it to get to the next part. The room felt a lot sparser than Great Escape’s other offerings. The themeing of the room alternated between Construction Site and Survival Bunker, which didn’t always make total sense to us. Due to the linearity, there were some definite bottlenecks that made it difficult for all 4 of our players to participate.

Verdict:

Bomb squad was a good room that had several minor hiccups along the way. I definitely think with a bit more iteration and story based themeing, it could deliver a more cohesive experience, but it is still a lot of fun to play! It is definitely a good introduction to beginners, as escape room logic and tactile puzzles are put on full display. I do recommend giving it a try, and look forward to Great Escape Cameron’s next adventures! Book your diffusal experience here!

Full Disclosure: The Great Escape Cameron provided us with media discounted tickets 

7/10 (Good)

The Great Escape Cameron – Cabin in the Woods (Review)

Location: Cameron, NC

Players:  2-6 (We recommend 3-4)

Price: $25 per person or $100 for a private room

Time to Escape: 60 minutes

He’s a maniac, maniac, and he just moved next door!

Theme:

A serial killer with a penchant for photography has been terrorizing the nation, but your team of investigative journalists have recently received a tip regarding his whereabouts, leading you to launch a search. Unfortunately, he has found you and is chasing you through the woods to his cabin. With little time to spare, you need to break in, grab the evidence, and escape before you become another shot for his scrapbook.

First Impressions:

The Great Escape was actually one of the easiest to find Escape Rooms we’ve been to. It seems like a minor thing, but very rarely have we spotted our destination for these sorts of experiences easily. We were blindfolded and led into the “woods” after a quick rules and story briefing, and once we were given the signal, began to break into the serial killer’s lair.

High Points:

Customer service before, during, and after our rooms were impeccable, and we very much enjoyed our interactions with the staff and owners. The room is dimly lit, but does not require flashlights, setting the mood without sacrificing accessibility. I really enjoyed the soundtrack of this room, coupled with a few other atmospheric effects that were unexpected and a lot of fun. There were a few puzzles that we had seen in previous rooms, but they were implemented in creative and interesting ways. Technology was peppered throughout the room in well hidden, but logical ways, and gave excellent feedback as necessary. The room was sufficiently creepy, and used the atmosphere and space well to instill an eerie vibe throughout. Props and clues throughout the room were used well, and the game flow only hiccuped once.

Low Points:

One puzzle’s solution felt a bit tenuous, as the cluing was vague. One particular clue led to a short, but unintended rabbit trail. The hint system worked well, but the speaker was a bit fuzzy, leading to the need for repetition of hints.

Verdict:

Cabin in the Woods sets itself apart from other, similarly-themed rooms in the area by providing a fully immersive experience which is creepy, but not overly scary. The well thought out puzzles will be a sometimes familiar, but fun challenge for enthusiasts, and a great introduction to escape rooms for beginners. This was my favorite room at The Great Escape, and I heartily recommend it! You can book your time in the woods here!

Full Disclosure: The Great Escape Cameron provided us with media discounted tickets 

9/10 (Excellent)