RATING: 5 Keys RESULT: Win REMAINING: 5:03
Trapped in an Alleyway by a super villain – yet it wasn’t enough to stop me. I think I’m basically Batman, you guys!
Imagine Escape Games is one of Central Florida’s newest venues – and they’re bursting onto the scene by making a solid statement that story matters. In only the second time that we’ve personally experienced, this *venue* has a singular flowing storyline, into which each of its games artfully intertwines furthering the overall plot and building towards an ultimate climatic confrontation. Not only does this reward repeat players with a cinematic-style series of cliffhangers left to answer, but it creates an immediate sense of “must return” that is simply brilliant from a business standpoint.
The over-arcing narrative focuses on a legendary book, a daring adventurer and an evil comic book-style villain. Naturally like all good attractions do, we find ourselves trapped in that very story, and now must work to save not only the main character, but also ourselves.
Neil Savage, once a great machinist of our world, has been trapped in a book by The GameMaster. You see, Neil had invented a machine that allowed one to …. how should we say this? … enter any storybook you wanted! The GameMaster wrote a book called “The GameMaster’s Legacy” and used Neil’s technology against him to trap Neil inside the book.
Neil has figured out a way to escape from the book, but he is going to need your help! There are powerful elements located in the other chapters of “The GameMaster’s Legacy.” Your adventures into these chapters will take you across the globe to remote regions where you and your team must search for clues, solve puzzles, and persevere in the face of danger in order to collect the elements to power Neil’s machine and escape!
Imagine Escape Games further displays the amount of foresight put into this grand intertwining adventure by creating chapters which can be challenged in any order – meaning you do not need to necessarily have played Chapter 1 to enjoy Chapter 2 or 3, though doing so in proper sequence will certainly add even more to discover and appreciate throughout your journey.
We begin our adventure, as all good books do, in the Introduction: The Alleyway.
You are walking down the street when you hear footsteps approaching behind you. You quicken your step, but so does the mysterious man following you. Desperate to lose him, you duck into an alleyway but find yourself trapped! At a dead end with no where to go! You must find your way out of The Alleyway before the mysterious man catches you and steals back The Book!
The Alleyway serves as a tantalizing preview of coming attractions, so to speak. It gives you just enough of the story to wet your appetite and leave you absolutely wanting to learn more. It is here that you’re first introduced to the main characters, Neil Savage and The GameMaster, and learn of their battle over The Book. It’s also here that you realize you can play in integral role in how that story unfolds.
The Alleyway is a mini-game on a much grander scale. It’s small, yes, but it’s impressively detailed for its length. The floor appears to be a concrete street, complete with an actual manhole cover. Brick textured physical walls surround three sides, covered in authentically spray-pained graffiti.
Does it hide a secret meaning? Well that’s something you may need to figure out on your own.
The fourth wall – in both a literal sense and a theatrical one – is a chain link fence, which both helps to make this very small space feel more comfortably sized and allow for a potential viewing audience depending on The Alleyway’s implementation.
And here’s the coolest part – did we mention that The Alleyway is *technically* a mobile game?
Imagine Escape Games has build this experience in such a way that it can be broken down in sections and moved easily to show off at special events, trade shows, etc., making the attention to detail and level of scenic all the more impressive to us.
Being a smaller 15 minute game, it should come as no surprise that the puzzles hidden within The Alleyway are a lower tech affair. It’s equally important to stress, though, that this in no way tarnishes the quality of experience one should expect from their first foray with The GameMaster. Truth be told, the lower-tech approach actually makes The Alleyway feel like a far more organic and realistic experience within its own storyworld.
From the second you step foot into The Alleyway, every single challenge is logical, intuitive and fun. There’s a clever mix of codes to crack, physical activities and hidden objects to search for.
It’s always so very impressive when you can find a space so small that there’s literally no where to hide things without it being right in front of your eyes, yet you still have to put honest effort into looking for them. This “hidden in plain sight” mentality is certainly one of the many strengths embraced by The Alleyway.
To us, the real beauty of The Alleyway is its physical simplicity. (To be clear, we’re speaking in terms of scale and scope; not the level of difficulty.) This is a pleasantly challenging little game that really packs a punch, and simply put, left us more excited upon escaping than most full scale games of much grander budgets.
But it’s just that very physical simplicity that makes The Alleyway a huge asset. Being a game that will occasionally travel to special events, The Alleyway may very likely be the first taste many have of just what an escape game even is. As an introduction to the genre, this game is guaranteed to create countless new fans who will no doubt soon join in our collective passion.
As an attraction within their permanent location, The Alleyway does a wonderful job setting the tone for the adventures to come, from a mysterious Jungle to an undersea Research base and beyond to an epic battle of good versus evil. It draws us into a storyworld in the way few venues even attempt, and many are unable to do in games four times its length.
Imagine Escape Games is one of Central Florida’s newest establishments, and as such, you never quite know what to expect walking in the door. These darkhorse-type venues can prove quite exciting, ranging from pure duds to expertly run, world class attractions – and without a doubt, at this point I’ve seen all sides of that spectrum. Thankfully, Imagine Escape Games is fully the latter.
The mom and pop ownership team is simply overflowing with passion. Perhaps more importantly, they’ve created an escape game *because they love escape games.* Simply put, folks, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a game more engaging than one created by a person who loves what they do.
Imagine Escape Games unquestionably has a very bright future in this industry. Their entry statement leaves them as already arguably one of the best venues in all of Central Florida, and without a doubt the very best games in Tampa to date!
Venue: Imagine Escape Games
Location: Tampa, Florida
Number of Games: 3
GAME SPECIFIC INFORMATION:
Duration: 15 minutes
Capacity: 8 people
Group Type: Public / You may be paired with strangers.
Cost: $8 per person