Escape Authority

In-Depth Escape Room Reviews

Review: The Caretaker

2 Keys

RATING: 2 Keys          RESULT: Loss          REMAINING: x:xx

America’s Escape Game advertises this as one of the hardest and scariest games in the USA… too bad it wasn’t  really for the right reasons.

aeglobby1

Story

Deep within the dark recesses of the forests in Oregon lies an evil like no other.

A disbarred geneticist named Dr. Vermillion has unleashed a terror that has left a trail of death and destruction in its wake. A once decorated scientist, Vermillion has now been disgraced for conducting immoral experimentations on humans and animals. Seeking revenge for his disbarment, Vermillion has unleashed his brood of giant wolf-like creatures onto the town of Fair Oaks. Military and law enforcement efforts have failed as the death toll continues to rise.

Deep within these same woods lives a hermit the locals have come to know as The Caretaker. He has no hope to escape the terror that lurks in the woods around him without your help! Move quickly and quietly – as The Caretaker’s life depends on it.

So according to the story above, this game is all about making sure you find and warn The Caretaker to get out of the woods while he still can right? Sure… for like maybe more than half of it. Then I think it turns into something about stopping more of these monsters from being created… or something about stopping them from mutating… um I wasn’t really sure.

By this point I was just annoyed by other things that were going on in the game itself to really care.

Scenic

Scenic was really the best thing about this game, well at least in that first room. It’s made to look like you’re outside The Caretaker’s shack in the woods at night; complete with creepy looking (homemade) trees, his laundry hanging on a line, and minimal lighting. With the lighting being so minimal, you are given a few lanterns to help you out…. or at least they would have been more helpful if they were all functioning properly, but more on that later.

The next room is The Caretaker’s shack itself. It’s not as memorable as the first room. It was mostly a lot of wood paneling everywhere to signify that you are in a shack… complete with a word search puzzle out in the open in front of you on the first wall that you see.

Because that’s typical in a shack deep in the woods.

Because escape room.

The last room is one of those “secret” control rooms… at least that’s what it’s supposed to look like to go with the now-changed storyline that I’d already lost interest in.

Puzzles

As with other games that this place has to offer, the puzzles themselves were a mixed bag, some being more intuitive and relevant than others. Random word search anyone? There seems to be a pattern of the same type of puzzles in every game I have played at this venue. It’s almost too predictable. The reliance of key and combination lock heavy puzzles were a bit excessive for my taste as always but I could have gotten past that if it wasn’t for the technical trouble that we ran into on numerous occasions.

The first trouble we had immediately was with something I had already mentioned, lack of working lanterns. There’s nothing wrong with having minimal lighting in a game for ambiance, but having only two working lanterns for five people that are trying to solve a bunch of puzzles at once in a dimly lit room is not efficient whatsoever. Call me crazy but shouldn’t it be part of someone’s opening checklist in the morning to make sure that these things work, or even after each game?

Speaking of things not working, something else that wasn’t functioning properly that was kind of important were the speakers in each room. I’m talking about the ones that we needed to hear our Game Master on when he was trying to talk to us for a hint. The only one that was “working” was the one in the first room. Anytime we were past this room and needed communication, at least one of us had to run to that first room then shout whatever was said across the way. As if that wasn’t bad enough, this “working” speaker wasn’t fully working either. It was crackly and way too low at times to hear most of what he was saying the first several times he said it.

This was also unfortunate considering the time that was wasted attempting to get help on a puzzle that had the wrong answer… no you heard me right. There was a particular puzzle that we kept doing over numerous times getting the same four digit answer each time yet it was not the right four digit combination for the lock it was supposed to go to. After pointless minutes of back and forth and realizing that we were right, our Game Master invented a way to get the incorrect “correct” four digit combination for the lock… IN THE FORM OF A MATH PROBLEM!

BECAUSE I REALLY WANT TO BE DOING MATH HOMEWORK IN AN ESCAPE ROOM WHEN I SHOULDN’T HAVE TO AND AM ALREADY ANNOYED!

Don’t forget also, this was all being done while hardly being able to hear/understand our lovely Game Master because of a barely working speaker.

Now do you see why I couldn’t care less about the changing storyline towards the end?

Overall

I have to admit, I was pretty let down by this game after being so hyped to play it. I maybe even would have even given it a higher rating if it wasn’t for all the technical difficulties, though another problem we ran into wasn’t so much technical. In fact, it added to our disappointment and anger that we didn’t finish the game.

Our Game Master seemed like a pretty cool guy when we met him and got us ready to play. Now we don’t blame the speaker problems on him at all… BUT for the times that we did need help, it also seemed like he wasn’t even paying attention to us and our game. Every time we would flag him down on the camera (which took almost a minute each time) we literally had to catch him up to what puzzle we were doing and what step we were at with it… all while fighting the already existing speaker problem. You would think that if you are playing a game where the Game Master is physically not in the room with you, he/she would be keeping their eyes on the screens of the game they were charge of at all times. That way they could respond quickly when needed.

Or so one would think…

When the game was over, another Game Master (this time a girl) came into the room instead of him. She walked us through the remainder of the game… WHICH THERE WERE ONLY TWO MORE PUZZLES LEFT! Two puzzles that I guarantee we would have finished and won the game with time to spare if we didn’t spend so much time bringing our Game Master up to speed with us each time we needed him and making him repeat himself every five seconds because of a faulty speaker!

The girl Game Master was the first person I brought up all my concerns to and specifically when I told her about our team thinking that our own Game Master hadn’t really been paying attention to us, her response was that he was probably busy looking at other monitors at those times. What other monitors? Was she insinuating that he (and the other Game Masters) are in charge of more than one game at a time? If that’s the case then there’s an even bigger problem that is for another discussion at another time! For now we’ll just assume he was being distracted by his phone or something, still unprofessional and inexcusable.

I also brought up these problems to the manager on duty at the time who did apologize for them and offered us 50% off our next game. I guess that’s one way to compensate, better than nothing. Still though, the damage was already done with the bitter feelings as we left that night, thinking of how close we were to completing the game but didn’t thanks to technical flaws and negligence. Probably the main contributing factor to the self proclamation of being the hardest game in the USA.

As far as being the scariest… the only thing that scared me was headache that I left with after.

 

Venue Details

Venue:  America’s Escape Game

Location: Orlando, Florida

Number of Games: 5

GAME SPECIFIC INFORMATION:

Duration: 60 minutes

Capacity: 5 people

Group Type: Public / You may be paired with strangers.

Cost: $39 per person

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America's Escape Game - The Caretaker
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