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Review: The Experiment

RATING: 3 Keys          RESULT: Loss          REMAINING: X:XX

Are we in an asylum or on a train? Because this room goes off the rails, and we are about to embark on the mind trip of a lifetime.

Story

The Central State Asylum opened in 1883 on an isolated site in North Carolina. The institute was at the forefront of mental health for decades. Procedures such as the frontal lobotomy, solitary confinement, and electroshock therapy were regularly performed. Now, you have been admitted to the infamous asylum after authorities found you wandering the hospital grounds delusional and in great distress. Or at least that’s what you’ve been told…

It seems that no matter how many times we escape an asylum and safely return to the real world, we find ourselves re-committed once again shortly thereafter. Maybe we should be concerned about how many times we’ve been committed at this point, but that is a discussion for another day. This time, we were found wandering the hospital grounds dazed and confused, which by the end of the game we could honestly relate to. More on that later.

We find ourselves in an asylum so isolated that the staff has freely performed innumerous procedures and experiments for years without supervision. Somehow, though, we get the feeling that some, if not all of these experiments, were probably not quite necessary or in the patients’ best interests. It is for self-preservation, therefore, that we must escape before we become just another experiment.

Codescape is quite synonymous with full immersion and has held its steady position at the top of the Charlotte area for the past few years due to the inclusion of a definite wow-factor in all of its rooms thus far. Unfortunately, somewhere towards the end of the journey, we found that our minds were not the only things lost in this room, but with them, the path of story as well.

Scenic

Codescape proves consistently capable of highly immersive, top-notch theming, including scenic elements so authentic and realistic that we literally and quite easily find ourselves transported into the stories’ settings with each game we play there. With such impressive scenic in their prior rooms, we expected nothing less for The Experiment.

As it turns out, this new adventure is accurately decorated and well-themed, but it didn’t totally blow us away like their other games did. We did feel that we were traversing through an old asylum facility and transported out of what was formerly the Kellogg Co. snack factory office space.

Among our discoveries is an exercise room worthy of noting, though we’re not sure its existence did much to improve the health of the doomed patients who resided there.

Puzzles

The majority of the puzzles stay true to the story and provide more historical information about goings on at the asylum. Among the puzzles is a memorable one related to an exercise bike that just might help you meet your Fitbit goals for the day.

Not among our favorite puzzles were a few time sinks, which had us scratching our heads and almost wishing for a full frontal lobotomy just to get through it.

The puzzles in general are moderate-to-low tech, which truly fits the setting. What players interact with throughout most of the game seems to accurately fit what one would expect, until…

After a steady stream of aptly themed and challenging puzzles, we proceeded into the last area of the game, at which point things took a full 90-degree turn and plunged headlong into a logic leap away from the story. There is not much we can say here, except the logic leap is so outstanding that over a full year later, we are still trying to wrap our heads around it. We actually thought the game was over; however, I definitely knew that strange things were afoot. But, even if we could take an excellent adventure in a phone booth back in time to that very moment and play it again, our reactions would probably be the same.

Overall

Upon further reflection, perhaps the real “experiment” being conducted here is that we have become the unwilling test subjects in a real-life, escape room test for which there is no logical meaning or explanation. At its conclusion, we left confused and forever wondering what just happened. This game could have easily earned a solid 4 Keys, but with one of the wackiest and most perplexing endings we’ve ever experienced, this is inescapably a 3 Key room.

When this venue moved into town, they set the bar extremely high with their first rooms, Shipwrecked and The Residents. Flash forward to today and that bar has come loose and is dangling perilously on the ledge. We acknowledge that very few venues are capable of knocking it totally out of the park with every single game they produce, so we are positively looking forward to more of their rooms in the future. Codescape remains one of our favorites, despite this (hopefully) temporary derailment.


Venue Details

Venue:   Codescape

 Location:  Charlotte, NC

Number of Games:  4

GAME SPECIFIC INFORMATION:

Duration: 60 minutes

Capacity:  2-9 people

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

Cost:   $28.00 per person

 

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