RATING: 5 Keys RESULT: Win REMAINING: 10:38
A brand new Mom & Pop venue has just opened, and immediately put the entirety of the Orlando market on notice: story, scenic and strongly themed puzzle steps absolutely do matter.
You’ve been driving for a long time. It’s late. The storm is getting worse. You’re almost out of gas, and you’re in the middle of no where. In that moment when all hope seems lost, you come across the Rest Easy Motel. And though it’s a bit more than a little run down, this just seems meant to be.
The problem is, it may not be meant to be for you.
You’re obviously from out of town – so perhaps you don’t know the controversy that surrounds this place. The last several people to check in to this Motel have disappeared. The locals claim it’s the Motel’s manager, who has a questionable background and ties to a secret society swirling with its own mysteries. It’s hard to imagine anything but foul play, but the police have turned up no solid evidence to implicate him on even a single disappearance.
If this sounds like the plot of basically every horror movie ever, that’s because it is – but this time it’s not a passive experience in front of a screen. You play an active role in finding proof of just what’s made this Motel’s last handful of victims do anything but rest easy, or become the next chapter of its grisly local legend yourself.
The Rest Easy Motel solidly spins a classic horror story in a way that makes it instantly relatable to anyone daring – or foolish – enough to check in late on a stormy night. The resulting hour stays true to that immersive story world and offers something very few Escape Rooms do: an actual story resolution. They definitely caught my attention.
It’s terribly out-dated.
It’s covered with mold.
It’s clearly fallen into a state of disrepair.
And that’s not even touching on some highly story-driven scenic surprises that literally left me giddy. Yeah. More than once.
The Rest Easy Motel is far from all flash. Often times we find a game might carry solid story and scenic, but lack in the puzzle department – or vice versa.
Not here. Not. At. All.
The puzzle steps integrate into the story world in a way that furthers the sense of mystery unfolding right before your eyes, while equally creating that sense of urgency we long for to establish the drama we’re trapped within.
You’re left with no doubt that you are in a grimy old Motel, and use the items that would naturally be around you to further your investigation.
Importantly, the puzzles build to the discovery of evidence that proves the killer’s identity, while also leaving you with a clear sense of urgency for why you simply must act quickly.
Perhaps even more importantly, the puzzles themselves were all intuitive and logical. And more so than that, they were fun in every sense of the word.
A healthy mix of logic puzzles, discovery, physical puzzles and some tech-driven gags make The Rest Easy Motel a well-rounded experience on the level so many Escape Rooms hope to achieve, yet so few actually manage to do.
It’s been a very, very long time since we’ve been as blown away from a first impression of a brand new venue. I don’t like to use the word “jaded” because I believe it carries far too negative of a connotation, however with more and more experience comes the stark realization that it’s much easier for a company brand new to the industry to get more wrong than right. In many cases they learn, and grow, and improve – and at the end of the day that’s what’s most important. But truthfully, coming across a venue completely brand new to the industry and seeing them hit a total home run in their very first attempt at designing a game is almost unheard of.
Escape Artists hits a home run. Two – in fact, but let’s save Cat Burglar for its own review down the road.
We harp a lot on “Mom & Pop” when we come across a good venue that fits the bill, because I feel it’s very important to support the smaller businesses out there – especially in the cases that they completely blow the big corporate-flavored chain games out of the water. Escape Artists is the very definition of that concept.
Becoming a family owned and operated small business is a massive risk that essentially means putting your entire future on the line. And I’m here to tell you, this Mom & Pop has a VERY, VERY bright future.
It’s no secret that at Escape Authority we’re not a fan of math in the genre – but here’s an equation to ponder: 9 + 34 = 1
The Orlando market (in which we include Sanford – being just a half hour to the north) is currently home to nine different venues, housing a collective thirty-four different games (with more popping up on a seemingly regular basis.) Only one has received a 5 Key rating.
Escape Artists is the one.
Venue: Escape Artists
Location: Sanford, Florida
Number of Games: 2
GAME SPECIFIC INFORMATION:
Duration: 60 minutes
Capacity: 6 people
Group Type: Public / You may be paired with strangers.
Cost: $29 per person (minimum 2)
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*Not valid for new games in their first six months. Not valid towards gift vouchers.
We thank Escape Artists for inviting us to preview this game during its soft opening period. Although complimentary admission was generously provided, that in no way impacts the opinion included within this review.