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Review: The Ruins

RATING: 5 Keys          RESULT: Win          REMAINING: +1:52*

In spite of clear assurances of the fate that befalls mortals who enter the forbidden temple, onward we go to call the god of wrath’s bluff on an adventure perfectly suited for Indiana Jones himself.


Deep in the jungle, archaeologists have found a temple that was thought to exist only in folklore. The Temple of Arciris was erected to appease the God of wrath. Said to have no mercy for mortal men, Arciris forbid any human from setting foot in his temple and those that did suffered an endless death. But that’s all just a myth … right?

If you have ever craved an adventure akin to what you saw in The Goonies or Indiana Jones films, then this is a room for you. While Chunk, Data, Mikey, Mouth, and the rest of the gang won’t be accompanying you on this expedition to explore the depths of the temple caverns, your team will need to tread lightly as you search multiple chambers within the temple belonging to Arciris, the god of wrath. He has forbidden any mortals from entering his sacred temple and made it quite clear what happens when they do.

From the moment our game master – enthusiastically and convincingly playing the role the lead archaeologist’s assistant – showed up, his can-do attitude instilled in us a sense of security and assurance that everything would be just fine, despite those silly old stories of humans suffering terrible deaths. Before we’d even discovered the first puzzle, however, he urgently had to leave to retrieve a journal we needed as a guide to safely advance deeper within the temple. Unfortunately, as soon as he exited, we found ourselves stranded and on our own to continue onward without his leadership.

From that moment on, the narrative of the adventured-based story continued convincingly and completely through to the end.


When booking this game, the website clearly states that players should don their most comfortable, adventure-ready ensemble complete with closed-toed shoes, because when entering this room, one embarks on an journey that feels truly authentic. The Ruins are deceivingly bigger on the inside. Every inch of space is well-planned and crafted for full immersion into the story and the surroundings.

Exit Strategy has paid close attention to every detail to relay a realistic sense of being on location deep within the jungle within this long-lost temple. Our appetite for quality adventure theming is quenched at every turn through the use of sand, realistically sculpted and textured, cavernous walls – and just the right amount of theatrical lighting and ambient sounds that only add to the overall experience.

These elements, combined with a sense that something supernatural may be present and watching our every move, make The Ruins a very successful experience.


By way of tidbits trickling in via radio communications, the archaeologist’s assistant fed us important and timely info from the journal to help us along our quest. The puzzles throughout the game are comprised of elements that seem right at home in a long-lost temple. Some challenges contain traces of magical elements, while others are made up of authentic items that very well could have been left behind from previous explorers before us.

The room included one of the most unique, custom-made physical challenges we’ve seen to date: a massive door puzzle we needed to solve before gaining access to the next chamber. Other favorite puzzles were those that gave a respectful nod to the Indiana Jones movies.

Most of the puzzles stay on task and true to what we would expect to see within the setting. At some point, however, there is a logic leap task that does not completely match the overall story of the room and is more of a puzzle for puzzles’ sake in order to use cool tech. We feel that this element could have been – and maybe should be – redone to use the same tech, but be more of a crowd-pleaser. Though we were not huge fans of that particular challenge, we were inclined to forgive that one faux pas, because the quality of all the other puzzles and the room’s authenticity really make up for it.

There was an unexpected surprise waiting behind the last puzzle, so make sure you gather your best explorers so you can experience this game all the way through to the end.


We have been long-time fans of Exit Strategy and have really liked their rooms for the most part. We consider them to be a steady contender in the Charlotte area and have come to expect a certain quality and experience from their rooms.

However, they have really raised the bar with The Ruins and have set a new standard to which we will now hold them. This is by far their best room, and the overall experience is definitely next level for them.


Venue Details

Venue:   Exit Strategy (North Location)

Location:  Charlotte, NC

Number of Games:  9


Duration: 60 minutes

Capacity:  2-6 people

Group Type: Public / You may be paired with strangers.

Cost:   $25.00 per person


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