Wake Escape – Tornado Alley (Review)

Location: Wake Forest, NC

Players:  2-8 (We recommend 2-8)

Price: $24 Mon-Thurs $26 Fri-Sun per person

Time to Escape: 60 minutes

This is an Alert from the National Weather Service

Theme:

From the Wake Escape website:

You and your friends are enjoying a quiet evening when suddenly, the skies grow dark and thunder begins to rumble. The weather broadcast predicts a tornado is heading for your area. Heading down to the basement, you find yourselves trapped! Luckily for you, the basement is rumored to house a hidden speakeasy with a secret exit built in by the owner, Sonny Schnapps. Is it all just a rumor or is there really a second exit?

First Impressions:

Our return to Wake Escape was triggered by my bachelor party. I needed a local place to travel with my groomsmen, friends, and Best Lady, and an escape room was definitely one of the spots we had to visit. I had enjoyed my last visit, but wasn’t able to make it back yet for their newest disaster themed room, so what better excuse to check it out? I was definitely not disappointed.

High Points:

Tornado Alley is one of those rare rooms where, due to this being my bachelor party, we brought the maximum number of players for the room. I had some reservations regarding this, but Tornado Alley’s non-linear gameplay and dense amount of puzzles rose to the challenge of keeping us all entertained. At no point during our game was anyone bored or casting about for something to do, which is quite the feat! There was also an excellent mix of puzzle types, with something to cater to every skill set and experience level of our group. 3 newer players and 5 enthusiasts banded together to take this one on, and every one of us left satisfied with the experience, all having contributed to our ultimate success!

The theme itself is highly original, mixing a disaster theme with a hidden speakeasy excellently. The transition from one part of the game to the next was convincing and thematically appropriate, and the room twisted around on itself in unexpected and entertaining ways. Props were thematically appropriate for both stages of the game, with the basement level containing the tchotchkes and storage containers you’d expect to see, while also promoting an air of mystery about the hidden speakeasy that awaited us. The speakeasy itself was a lot of fun as well, and props also shifted to establish the new theme. The game flow was extremely smooth, with very few lulls in the action, and branching puzzle paths that led to fantastic reveals and an ultimately engaging escape.

Low Points:

One puzzle malfunctioned, leaving us wondering what had happened after it was solved. Unfortunately, this puzzle would’ve had a really cool payoff, but it was a technical issue that cropped up while we were playing, so it was just bad luck that I’m sure has been cleared up since. There were a couple basic tier puzzles that do little to excite, but were a small part of the rather packed puzzling experience, so it’s a minor nitpick. The set design is minimalist, but gets the job done and fits the theme well enough that you don’t feel like you’re in a bare room.

Verdict:

Our previous visit to this business was fun, but Tornado Alley ups the game with even better puzzles and a fantastic game flow. Thank you to Wake Escape for getting my bachelor party started with a bang! I definitely recommend checking this room out for players of all experience levels, and can also recommend any group size for the first time! You can book your search for the speakeasy here!

8/10 (Great)