RATING: 5 Keys RESULT: Win REMAINING: 5:27
Comb through the evidence and find Franky.
We’ve lost contact with several agents trying to put away known local thug Franky “Sawed-Off” O’Bannion. Our informant has revealed some evidence might be kept at one of his store fronts that launder his illegally gained wealth. Do you have the skills it takes to solve the puzzle room and help get this criminal off the streets!?
Every criminal needs a way to clean his dirty money. The business needs to be unassuming, such as a carwash or laser tag. However, Franky O’Bannion has chosen the classic mobster business where neck shaves with straight razors are all too common. As you dig further into the underbelly of his crimes, you hope to discover the clues to sweep Franky off of the streets forever.
O’Bannion’s Safe is a fully immersive experience with no details forgotten. Like all detective work, the story takes time to piece together, but the narrative is built in such an organic way. There are many twists and turns as you decipher clues left behind and talk to an informant about what happened the night he saw Franky. You truly feel like you’re one step closer to catching him. You’ll be able to relax with a martini in hand once this case is finally closed.
The scene starts outside the room as the iconic red, white and blue pole spins and illuminates the entrance to Franky O’Bannion’s business. As we step foot through the door, we are immediately transported to an old-timey barbershop. This looks like the perfect place to launder money.
The centerpiece of the room is a barber’s chair with one of those sheets to catch hair. All of the details indicate that it has been recently used. Perhaps Franky recently received a trim? The walls are well decorated with mirrors and pictures congruent with the time period, and there are glass cabinets with everything you would expect to find in a barbershop – combs, hairbrushes, and hair spray. There’s even a small gumball machine nestled in the corner. The scene is well decorated without being distracting.
One of the most impressive set pieces is the bronze, manually operated cash register. Surely Franky isn’t storing all of his money in it? He’s smarter than that. We need to continue searching for evidence.
As we make our way into the back office, the scene turns from impressive to more simplistic and plain. There is a wooden desk fitted with a typewriter and a dresser with a few items scattered on the shelves. The walls are sparsely decorated except for a few pictures and a bulletin board outfitted with newspaper clippings about murders happening around town. The one thing that sticks out the most is the massive vault in the corner of the room. We are so close to finding the money and putting away Franky! …. Or are we? There is an unexpected turn of events that completely threw us off guard. In the hundreds of games I’ve seen, it is still in one of my “top five biggest reveals”. Quite honestly, it’s too much of a spoiler to continue, and you MUST see it for yourself.
Several steps in the first room made sense to the barbershop motif. You had to interact with combs and brushes, unclog a drain, and ring up a customer. Unfortunately, a couple of the tasks didn’t make sense for the setting. There was one of the all too common sudoku-type puzzles that should never be part of an escape because it feels like a puzzle for puzzle’s sake. Since all of the other tasks tied into the story so well, I’m able to forgive this one.
The back office had a much simpler setting. However, this did not take away from the puzzles throughout the room. There was some light scavenging through desks and drawers, but most of the puzzles were straightforward once you gathered all of the required pieces. The interaction with the real working typewriter was simple, yet satisfying.
The puzzles in the finale are unique, and just plain fun to solve. You interact with an informant (No live actors here!) in a way that was superbly clever. You may even get to mix a cocktail or two.
O’Bannion’s Safe is a one of a kind. Maybe the good guy/bad guy story has been done before, but the way that it is executed is certainly unique. It’s refreshing to see a true mom and pop venue where the rooms truly show their passion for what they do.
A normal office building has been completely transformed into a believable set and story with a twist so grand, that I will not reveal it here. Once you link all the evidence together, you will finally be able to witness it for yourself.
Venue: The Perfect Escape
Location: Arlington, Texas
Number of Games: 2
GAME SPECIFIC INFORMATION:
Duration: 60 minutes
Capacity: 8 people
Group Type: Public / You may be paired with strangers.
Cost: $30 per person