RATING: 0 Keys RESULT: Loss REMAINING: X:XX
There are bad games, and then there is Soldier Boy. Maybe that is why they went out of business.
You and your Ranger team have been given orders to execute a search and rescue mission in the heat of battle. You enter the abandoned building on a mission to quickly save PVT Johnnie until one of your fellow Rangers accidentally trips an alarm. Your mission is to save PVT Johnnie and get out before the enemy returns.
Simple enough story, and a seemingly simple enough mission, what could go wrong? I mean, sure, you tripped an alarm alerting the enemy to your presence, but you still have an entire hour before there are any consequences to that gaff, that does it even really matter?
It is a sad day in the world of Escape Rooms where the mediocre story is the best part of the entire experience.
As mentioned in the story, you enter an abandoned building. What is not mentioned is that this building was an office building, where they painted the walls green, and threw up some camo netting on the ceiling to make it look like an enemy base. The thing that really confuses this entire scenario is that everything has a very American Army feel to it, even though you are supposed to be in enemy territory. The rest of this barren room consists of a locker, a bench, a couple of lock boxes, and a cot with a skeleton in Army gear on it. That skeleton, by the way, is the aforementioned Private Johnnie, so congratulations on finding him right away.
There is no sense in beating a dead horse here, this room has hardly anything in the scenic department, so maybe the puzzles will help save this game.
I have already mentioned that the story is the best part of the room, but I think it is time to mention that even though the scenic aspect was terrible, it was still better than the puzzles. At the core of an escape game is puzzles; it can be a beautiful setting, and a fun story, but if there are not good puzzles, then you don’t really have an experience to “escape” from.
To their credit, this room does have several puzzles, and though all of them would be considered first generation (locks and boxes), that is no excuse for the terrible gameplay found there. You want multiple locks that are all the same so you have to figure out which code belongs to which lock by blindly guessing? You’re in luck! You want leaps of logic? You got it. You want a dreaded math problem? Here it is.
Actually, I cannot in good conscious continue this review without addressing this math problem. I have never been that good at math, but that shouldn’t have been a factor here. At it’s core, this puzzle was more of a logic one, where you are discovering a pattern in the numbers, and that will give you a four-digit code at the end. This was so hard for us to figure out, that we ended up just sitting on the floor both staring at the sheet and trying to solve it. After about 15 minutes sitting on the floor, and multiple clues, they eventually had to tell us the code so we could move on. Mind you, we needed help every step of the way because there were no logical steps on how to solve any puzzles.
As we neared the end, we encountered a safe that only allows you to input an incorrect code 3 times before locking you out for 2 minutes. Since this entire game was nothing but guessing at the leaps of logic, we sure enough, got locked out, and literally sat on the floor waiting for timer to go off so we could put more incorrect guesses as there was nothing to indicate how to solve this. After we failed, we were told there was another puzzle we needed to solve in order to get the clue for that safe, a puzzle, we didn’t even know was a puzzle, mind you.
I was wrong when I said the best thing about this game was the story. In truth, the best thing about the game is that it doesn’t exist anymore. A business like this might succeed in a small town that has nothing to compare it to, but being right next to some great games in Tampa, FL, they had no chance of succeeding unless they revamped every aspect of their games.
The worst part of the experience, was we had a wooden box puzzle that needed solving, but we needed the instructions which were in the safe to open it. I thought it was a cool looking box so I asked the owner how to open it, and I promise you this is real, he told me with a straight face that he needed the cheat sheet in the safe to open it. Let me reiterate: he didn’t even know how one of his puzzles worked! If that is not telling of why this place was not successful, I do not know what is. This moment with the owner is also what took it from a 1 key room to a 0 key room for me, even though it should have been a 0 from the start.
Toward the end, this place was giving their rooms away for $15 a person, and even that was too steep a price to play. Though I do not wish any ill toward the owners, who seemed nice, and I hope they went on to do something more profitable for them, I am glad this place does not exist. I shudder to think at how many first timers played this game, and walked away vowing to never do another one because they assume they are all the same. If anyone is reading this that only experienced Labyrinth Escape, please do yourself a favor and redeem the escape room experience by going to another one, which will almost be guaranteed to be better than this one was. Better yet, read some of our other reviews in your area so you don’t fall victim to another bad room. Thankfully, nobody else has to experience this one ever again.
Venue: The Labyrinth Escape Rooms
Location: Brandon, FL
Number of Games: 0
GAME SPECIFIC INFORMATION:
Duration: 60 minutes
Capacity: 8 people
Group Type: Public / You may be paired with strangers.
Cost: This venue has permanently closed.