RATING: 5 Keys RESULT: Win REMAINING: 5:03
In the universe of Super Hero adventures, there is one clear and proven formula: Origin story, sequels, REBOOT.
Imagine Escape Games may be one of Central Florida’s newer venues, but they’ve already made a solid statement that story matters. In one of just a small handful of instances we’ve personally experienced across the country, this *venue* has a singular flowing storyline, into which each of its games artfully intertwines furthering the overall plot and building towards an ultimate climatic confrontation. Not only does this reward repeat players with a cinematic-style series of cliffhangers left to answer, but it creates an immediate sense of “must return” that is simply brilliant from a business standpoint.
The over-arcing narrative focuses on a legendary book, a daring adventurer and an evil comic-style villain. Naturally like all good attractions do, we find ourselves trapped in that very story, and now must work to save not only the main character, but also ourselves.
Neil Savage, once a great machinist of our world, has been trapped in a book by The GameMaster. You see, Neil had invented a machine that allowed one to …. how should we say this? … enter any storybook you wanted! The GameMaster wrote a book called “The GameMaster’s Legacy” and used Neil’s technology against him to trap Neil inside the book.
Neil has figured out a way to escape from the book, but he is going to need your help! There are powerful elements located in the other chapters of “The GameMaster’s Legacy.” Your adventures into these chapters will take you across the globe to remote regions where you and your team must search for clues, solve puzzles, and persevere in the face of danger in order to collect the elements to power Neil’s machine and escape!
Imagine Escape Games further displays the amount of foresight put into this grand intertwining adventure by creating chapters which can be challenged in any order – meaning you do not need to necessarily have played Chapter 1 to enjoy Chapter 2 or 3, though doing so in proper sequence will certainly add even more to discover and appreciate throughout your journey.
What started in The Alleyway as just a 15 minute teaser game has evolved into a full-fledged hour long experience. We begin our adventure, as all good stories do these days with a shiny new reboot.
Neil Savage, the great machinist has disappeared and so has the police task force assigned to his case! Now it is up to you and your band of masked vigilantes to brave your way into the dark Alleyway behind Neil’s apartment, the last known whereabouts of Neil and the task force. Good luck!
The Alleyway Vigilantes sets up Neil Savage’s story in grand fashion – giving you a taste of his origin while ultimately gaining you something far more important. The Book. The actual Book.
That’s right fellow vigilantes; achieve your goal and you’ll hold in your hands The Book – the legendary prison in which The GameMaster has trapped our hero Neil Savage. Turning its pages will reveal Neil himself, still alive – or, you know, as alive as a person could be a book’s page – who actually speaks directly with you to set up the story of what’s to come.
The Alleyway Vigilantes still occupies a relatively small single room footprint, but it’s simply jam-packed with action and some really neat hidden surprises waiting to be discovered. Reboots always go bigger and better, and this one is no exception, making it larger and even more impressively detailed than its former namesake mini game. The floor appears to be a concrete street, complete with an actual manhole cover. Brick textured physical walls surround three sides, covered in authentically spray-pained graffiti.
The second story of the buildings which surround us hid surprises in their windows – which occasionally come to life with the shadows of the nefarious characters that call this seedy back alley their home (not so) sweet home.
Beyond a locked chain link fence awaits the secured facility where Neal Savage stores his greatest secrets – epic stories, and the ability to actually enter their pages. It’s there where our story will continue, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves just yet.
There’s a certain art to the ability to place puzzles hidden in plain sight, and in that field, Imagine Escape Games is a veritable Picasso with The Alleyway Vigilantes. At first glance upon stepping into its shadowy world, everything that surrounds you would logically exist in an actual alleyway, and none of it appears to be apart of any type of game. Except everything you see will eventually be used in some form or fashion to secure The Book and take the first step towards freeing Neal.
A creative mix of highly original physical puzzles not only makes The Alleyway Vigilantes feel like a far more organic and realistic experience within its own storyworld, but also stands out as unique from how our story’s subsequent chapters will play out.
As is always the case at Imagine Escape Games, every single challenge that awaits us in The Alleyway Vigilantes is logical, intuitive, fun and oftentimes completely original. There’s a clever mix of codes to crack, physical activities and hidden objects to search for.
We were big fans of The Alleyway mini game, yet this rebooted version is not just better, but one of the best games in the Tampa market. We daresay it may even be our favorite offering at Imagine Escape Games in general – and I’m not just saying that because I was honored by receiving a surprise cameo in the game as one of its character’s namesakes. (Keep an eye out for the police chief, who as it was explained to me, “Since you’re the authority, it only made sense that you’re also the law.“) How cool is that?!
This new version does such a wonderful job setting the tone for the adventures to come, from hunting for a mysterious Jungle Gem, to an underwater ReSEArch facility and beyond to an epic battle of good versus evil. It draws us into a storyworld in the way few venues even attempt, let alone achieve.
No doubt the venue’s originality stems from its mom & pop owners, both of whom are as big of fans of this genre as you are I. There’s no denying that the best products are born of passion, not simply for profit – and that passion shows in each and every one of their games.
Imagine Escape Games has solidly become the go-to venue for the Tampa market. In an area with new games popping up on a seemingly regular basis, none measure up to the story-driven immersion and creativity you’ll find inside The Book.
Venue: Imagine Escape Games
Location: Tampa, Florida
Number of Games: 3
GAME SPECIFIC INFORMATION:
Duration: 60 minutes
Capacity: 6 people (Public Game) / 8 people (Private Game)
Group Type: Public or Private / You may or may not be paired with strangers.
Cost: $30 per person (Public Game) / $34 per person (Private Game, requires minimum three)