RATING: 5 Keys RESULT: Win REMAINING: 4:56
♫ Under the sea! Under the s… ♫ HOLY $#!% WAS THAT A GIANT GREAT WHITE SHARK?
Like any good book that you just can’t put down, we continue our adventures at Imagine Escape Games – diving deeper into their interconnected storyworld. If you have not already read our review of The Introduction: The Alleyway mini-game and Chapter 1: Jungle Gem, we highly recommend you start there. Each of Imagine Escape Games’ rooms follows a flowing climatic story, and although they can certainly be played and enjoyed in any order, the strongest narrative impact is achieved when entering their worlds in proper sequence.
When we last left our story, we learned that the nefarious GameMaster had trapped Neil Savage in the pages of The Book – and was working on a plan to seal him for all eternity. We have successfully obtained the mystical gem stone Electra, putting us one step closer to freeing Neil from The GameMaster’s evil contraption. Now it’s off to the pages of a whole new book to hunt for the next vital item in our quest: Sub-Zero.
Locked away for safe keeping – at least until now, we must travel deep below the ocean’s surface in hopes of meeting our next character, Professor Finn. As the story goes:
Locate Professor Finn’s secret laboratory and retrieve Sub-Zero, the thermo-regulator she has developed from her research on the Pompeii worm. You must escape with Sub-Zero before the professor returns or you may just become shark bait for her pet shark, Goliath. Yikes!
Imagine Escape Games has a true knack for dropping you into a completely unexpected place prior to where you expected to find yourselves in any given story. This scenic plot twist has consistently proven to be one of the most enjoyable aspects of their story-driven experiences.
In reSEArch, we first find ourselves in the small, nondescript office of Professor Finn. A desk, bookshelf and – naturally – a fish tank creates a somewhat mundane first impression. But make no mistake, this was an artfully crafted design choice that only further enhances the “wow” moment of your ultimate transition into the hidden undersea laboratory.
Once inside, your fathoms below the ocean’s surface, in a cold, iron chamber reminiscent of the interior of an old submarine. It’s a stark contrast from the your scenic starting point for this chapter’s beginning, telling the story of just how large the fictitious Aquaterium University truly is.
The laboratory is dramatically lit creating the sense that it may have seen better days. But surely its iron-sided walls, held firmly together by massive rivets all around the chamber will prove strong enough to hold back the ocean’s waters from bursting through, right?
I sure as heck hope so – because did you happen to catch a glimpse of what awaits us just beyond the large porthole window? That massive great white shark constantly swimming back and forth – almost pacing impatiently – is Goliath, and Goliath looks hungry.
Imagine Escape Games has consistently proven they understand the importance story has on a successful attraction. As such it should come as no surprise that each and every step you take within the world of reSEArch dives deep below the surface to connect its puzzles into the depths of its storyworld.
Every puzzle carries a distinctly nautical flare. Compasses, sand, sea shells and yes, even fishing all aid us in our quest to finally obtain the coveted Sub-Zero thermo-regulator. Nothing about reSEArch feels like a game. The authenticity of its story-driven puzzles clearly make this a mission.
Like each of their previous rooms, Imagine Escape Games has created a world dedicated to maintaining logical, intuitive puzzles. You’ll never find a puzzle-for-puzzle’s-sake, nor will you find any time wasters or cliché steps. In fact, reSEArch even manages to take the use of blacklight – a trope typically over-done in your average escape game – and execute it in a way that feels fresh, original and fun.
Imagine Escape Games is the breath of fresh air in a veritable ocean of average games. Their experiences are so solidly story-driven that it’s impossible to not get lost within their worlds — and those worlds are completely unique on their own right, avoiding the overdone industry tropes and clichés that fill so very many other venues.
Their over-arcing unified story approach is rare to find in the industry, and frankly even rarer to find it done well. But Imagine Escape Games becomes a benchmark for how a solid story should be told, leaving players walking out the door fulfilled from what they’ve just experienced, yet instantly dying to find out what’s next. It’s almost as though they found a way to bottle the excitement created by a great cliffhanger on the season finale of your favorite tv show. And honestly, what am I supposed to do for the rest of the summer until they open their next game?!
Imagine Escape Games’ success is a direct result of the very passionate mom & pop couple behind the curtain. Like us, they’re here because they are huge fans of the escape game genre – and that passion shows clearly in each and every game they open. That passion of theirs, combined with their endless creativity, provides proof that you don’t need to have massive Hollywood-level budgets to create amazing attractions. This fact alone makes Imagine Escape Games a must-visit destination – one that not just fans of this genre should experience, but other venue owners as well. Simply put, Imagine Escape Games is the blueprint of how to do this the right way.
Venue: Imagine Escape Games
Location: Tampa, Florida
Number of Games: 3
GAME SPECIFIC INFORMATION:
Duration: 60 minutes
Capacity: 8 people
Group Type: Public / You may be paired with strangers.
Cost: $24 per person
Escape Authority readers save 15% on private games using code ESCAPEAUTHORITY15
We thank Imagine Escape Games for inviting us to play this game. Although complimentary admission was generously provided, that in no way impacts the opinion included within this review.