RATING: 4 Keys RESULT: Win REMAINING: 18:00
A family run venue takes us to a bar. And while that may sound like the set up for any number of punchlines, this time it’s the start of a great escape game experience!
The story, much like the name, centers around an old roadside Honky Tonk bar. This bar in particular happens to be closed – but that’s not going to stop you in your quest for a night of fun!
You sneak into The Honky Tonk only to find yourself trapped inside. It turns out the grisly old owner was one step ahead of you, tired of local hooligans like yourselves breaking into his bar when the doors are shut.
It’s now up to you to find a way out of The Honky Tonk before he catches you inside.
Admittedly the story is a bit on the light side – but the true value here is in its originality. Beach Escape Games wasn’t afraid to try something new – and create a game based around a theme you’re just not going to find elsewhere – and for that, we commend them.
It’s far too rare that we come across different themes and stories. When we do see something like The Honky Tonk, we make it a priority to check it out!
The Honky Tonk starts off in a narrow hallway – sort of a back of house room to the bar itself. This is your way in. The scenic is minimal, as any backstage non-guest area would naturally be.
The majority of the game takes place inside the bar itself, and it is themed appropriately. Beer bottles and caps litter the space. An old jukebox sits in the corner under a dart board. A small stage is centered at the end of the room for live bands and even the occasional karaoke night.
The Honky Tonk’s modest setting succeeds in evoking the spirit of an old bar, and in turn also succeeds in bringing this storyworld to life in a satisfying way.
Perhaps the greatest success of the Honky Tonk is the fact that its puzzles all organically connect to its storyworld. They make sense. They’re things you’d expect to find and interact with in a bar.
In fact many of the aspects we’ve already mentioned double as vital game steps, adding a much important layer of realism to this experience. Beer bottles, the jukebox, even the karaoke stage play a role in your successful escape from The Honky Tonk – and do so in a way that fits naturally into the story.
Most of the puzzles are of the lower tech variety – driving players to combination locks – however that’s not bad news in this scenario. The puzzles themselves are all intuitive, and without a doubt most importantly, they’re fun.
For starters, I’d like to address the 800 pound gorilla in the room – or, bar, as it were. We spoke with Beach Escape Game on our most recent visit requesting to arrange getting a few press photos to include in our reviews of their games. They assured us that would be no problem, and we offered to reach out via email once we were ready to post. I was very disappointed to share that this venue, who we have a lot of good things to say about, would become the first to ever adamantly refuse to participate in our site, even after enthusiastically assuring they wanted to while we were face to face. As a site, our mission is to review every single game that we play, so we’re not ever going to leave one out – even if it means our first (and hopefully only) review to ever go online without photographs. It is our hope that Beach Escape Game reconsiders this position so that we can edit this post in the future to include photos that literally every other venue in the US has been more than happy to provide.
That being said, we are still definitely fans of Beach Escape Game as a product. This is a true family run affair – with every member playing a vital role in the venue. From the business aspect to the game design itself, everything is done by this mom and pop (and kids) team – and it’s done well.
We’ve enjoyed all of their games, but without a doubt The Honky Tonk was their shining star. A clear focus on storyworld combined with original, clever but equally story-driven puzzles makes this a highly enjoyable game.
Venue: Beach Escape Game
Location: St. Pete Beach, Florida
Number of Games: 4
GAME SPECIFIC INFORMATION:
Duration: 60 minutes
Capacity: 8 people
Group Type: Public / You may be paired with strangers.
Cost: $28 per person