RATING: 3 Keys RESULT: Win REMAINING: 18:25
We’ve tracked a hurricane for days as it slowly moved across the Atlantic. Now, the only way to stop it is an escape game.
A hurricane is coming your way. Your team only has 60 minutes to find a shelter where you can be safe. To open the shelter you and your team need to find all the clues and puzzles, and you need to find out the details about the hurricane. If you succeed, you will be safe at last. You can’t avoid the catastrophe, you can only hide away from it. So hurry up!
It’s no secret that we appreciate a uniquely themed game – and believe it or not even though we’re based in Florida, we’ve never before seen a hurricane-themed room. We knew we had to go a bit out of our way to ride this one out.
The story here is simple yet effective: a hurricane is coming. Hunker down. (If you live in any hurricane-prone region, you’re no doubt already quite familiar with the fact that “hunker down” basically amounts to The Weatherman Drinking Game™ during a major storm. As such, we at Escape Authority commit to maintain that authenticity by saying “hunker down” (3) no less than fifteen times within this review.)
Perhaps the biggest flaw of The Hurricane Room is the surprising fact that “hunker down” (4) is never once mentioned in the course of its hour, despite its fair attempt at realistic immersion!
Have you ever been hunkered down (5) waiting out a storm, only to see news of various beachside hurricane party-goers tempting their own fate? If so, you’ve no doubt wondered, “who are those idiots and why aren’t they hunkering down (6) like a reasonable person?”
Well, today I’m here to definitively answer that question with a resounding “we are those idiots.” Despite warnings to hunker down (7) from every self-respecting weatherman on TV, we’re partying at a tiki bar outside a Gulf Shores beach resort.
But as the winds pick up (physically, for real) amid weather reports that the storm is both nearing and strengthening, common sense finally prevails. Yes, it’s time to finally hunker down (8) inside the cabin in hopes of safely riding out the hurricane.
Inside, weathered wooden walls (probably) barely hold up against the approaching winds. And anyone from Florida can tell you the safest place to hunker down (9) during a hurricane is an interior room with no windows, hidden behind a secret passageway. (?)
The Hurricane Room finds decent success in keeping its puzzles hunkered down (10) within the storyworld. We begin outdoors interacting with the tiki bar in a way that clearly implies we’re not taking this storm seriously. As weather reports get more dire, the party atmosphere quickly shifts to a focus on last minute preparations for survival.
Almost too late, we now must gather emergency supplies, canned goods and blankets to safely hunker down (11) and ride out the storm. Cleverly, The Hurricane Room is not at all about getting out – but rather getting in, with the game ending once the storm shelter’s door is successfully locked with us hunkered down (12) inside it.
Unfortunately despite its highly original premise, parts of The Hurricane Room’s gameplay are as choppy as the approaching waves. While some moments are as clear as the eye of the storm, others are clouded with logic leaps – some enough so to prove that lightning really can strike twice – and no amount of hunkering down (13) can shelter our patience from that. Worse yet, while we’re not typically a site to ever complain about misdirects in a game, The Hurricane Room takes red herrings to a near Category 5 level. Perhaps they were just stirred up out of the ocean due to the increasing wind speeds.
Escape House Waterville is hunkered down (14) above the arcade area of Waterville USA, a small water park and family entertainment center on the southern shores of Alabama. With escape games inside a theme park being quite the rarity (for many reasons, including obviously that of their hourly capacity versus demand of a higher attended facility) we knew we could be running the risk of weathering a storm in our own right here. Thankfully, The Hurricane Room actually delivered a fairly enjoyable experience.
Admittedly, we did struggle a bit to settle upon the final score for this game. At times, it seemed as though each moment we genuinely enjoyed was counter-balanced with one that left us out in the rain. The Hurricane Room’s highly unique premise, decent scenic and honorable attempt at show effects is unquestionably clouded by its handful of logic leaps and some of the most extreme examples of red herrings we’ve found in a game.
If you have the patience to ride out that not-so-perfect storm, then hunker down (15) and… wait, was that fifteen? We did it you guys! We did it!
Venue: Escape House Waterville
Location: Gulf Shores, Alabama
Number of Games: 2
GAME SPECIFIC INFORMATION:
Duration: 60 minutes
Capacity: 8 people
Group Type: Public / You may be paired with strangers.
Cost: $25 per person