RATING: 5 Keys RESULT: Win REMAINING: 7:20
Childhood was truly a simpler time, when all we had to worry about was playing with toys, cleaning our room and MURDERING ALL OF THOSE WHO WRONGED US.
You have joined your friends at your classmate Nina’s house. Nina has always been very particular and keeps her room incredibly tidy. She likes things kept a certain way or she gets very upset… When her friends start messing with her perfectly placed belongings, something very strange occurs. One of Nina’s personality ‘alters’, a 16 year old name Gina, emerges. Mean Gina is very protective of sweet little Nina. Now she has all of you locked in the room and is ready for vengeance. Lights Out is in 60 minutes and you will be left in the dark, leaving you completely vulnerable to crazy Gina!
Can you find Nina’s hidden way back that gets rid of Gina and will help you get yourselves out before it’s too late?
At first glance, before diving into Split’s storyworld, you might assume a multiple personality-flavored adventure would likely bring us into some sort of mental hospital – a scene Lakeland Escape Room already tackled successfully in The Asylum. Make that assumption here and you couldn’t seem more crazy.
Split is an incredibly unique stand-alone narrative set – in all places – within the world of a twisted little girl. Sure, she’s clearly still suffering from the aforementioned split personality disorder – but what results, I dare say, is something far more unnerving than any story that could unfold in another asylum. You’d be hard-pressed to find any character creepier than that of a sinister child – and in Split, we’re forced to become active participants in her warped and wicked world.
From the moment we step foot into Nina’s bedroom, we’re instantly immersed in a very believable, albeit very disturbing story. Throughout the course of the hour that follows, her (sometimes not-so-) playful stalking may be enough to challenge the nerves of even the boldest in your group.
Split is quit literally exactly that – two distinctive worlds split right down the middle. The scenic stylings bring to life one little girl’s very troubling and tormented existence, set to the tune of some of the most warped children’s music you’ll ever hear.
Upon entering, we find ourselves in Nina’s room – clean, bright and white. Adorable dolls are neatly placed, ready for playtime.
But, however, crossing the line in Nina’s twisted mind finds us in her alter ego Gina’s lair – dirty, grungy and stained. Mangled toys and decapitated dolls lend a sense of urgency to just why we’d be best to leave this world as quickly as we entered it.
And it’s exactly that literal juxtaposition that makes Split both so compelling and unnerving. A physical line down the center of the room marks the boundaries between Nina and Gina’s mind, and subsequent control. The timid half of us may be inclined to just curl up in a ball and hide, protected in a safe, bright corner of Nina’s room. But I think you all know the darker half of my soul was itching from the start to dig deeper into Gina’s tormented world – and boy did I ever, despite the better efforts of a few very well placed and perfectly timed jump scares.
The beauty of Split’s child-like setting is its ability to incorporate activities that would make sense in a kid’s playroom. Building blocks, puzzles and dolls take on far more sinister tones than what we may be used to from our own childhoods – and in doing so not only stay locked in the broken mind of Nina’s world, but further the narrative flow in the most satisfying of ways.
But make no mistake – the kid themes of these puzzles by no means should imply they are kids puzzles. Split presented a satisfying challenge to our very experienced team, while at the same time staying completely logical, following a clear, organic flow that ultimately builds towards the narrative climax of freeing Nina from Gina’s torturous grasp on her mind.
Perhaps our favorite aspect of Split is a sort of bonus challenge the likes of what we’ve never before encountered. Among her many vices, Gina demands organization and structure. As such, making a mess in her room while you rummage through her most prized possessions is not going to gain you any girl scout points with her. The more clutter you create, the more upset Gina becomes, before physically manifesting herself in a way that may directly hinder your progress in defeating her: dimming the lights. That’s right kids – the more mess you make during your search, the darker the room gets.
Suddenly cleaning our room feels like it carries far greater consequences than simply not getting dessert!
Lakeland Escape Room remains one of Central Florida’s newer venues – but in their short existence they’ve thoroughly impressed us with their continued evolution. Helmed by a passionate mom and pop team, they’re constantly seeking new ways to improve. This type of eagerness to literally absorb any feedback offered to them is the perfect recipe for long term success, as solidly proven in Split.
The Asylum – one of their original outings – is a truly great game with some unique aspects hidden within. But Split takes Lakeland Escape Room to a whole other level. Greatly improved on all fronts, this game redefines just what Lakeland Escape Room can do with Story, Scenic and Puzzles, as it brings them together into a true total package warped with a malevolent bow.
Venue: Lakeland Escape Room
Location: Lakeland, Florida
Number of Games: 4
GAME SPECIFIC INFORMATION:
Duration: 60 minutes
Capacity: 8 people
Group Type: Public / You may be paired with strangers.
Cost: $26 per person
We thank Lakeland Escape Room for inviting us to play this game. Although complimentary admission was generously provided, that in no way impacts the opinion included within this review.