RATING: 3 Keys RESULT: Win REMAINING: 0:15
Enter the graveyard, if you dare. You may just solve the mystery you were brought here for – or you may just end up building a monster.
In the Awakening Escape Room, there have been some strange things happening at Keystone Cemetery ever since its caretaker passed of a sudden illness. Some say it is haunted by those laid to rest, others have reported seeing nefarious late-night visitors. Your group’s mission is to investigate the Keystone Cemetery and put it all together… Be warned! Those who overstay their welcome NEVER return to tell their tale…
Rarely have we been summoned to a cemetery to hone our investigative skills, so we were definitely excited when we found out that our mission this time would be to play detective where the spirits are at rest – and some at unrest. If you are a regular reader, you know that we are huge haunt fans, so any stories that have a horror undertone additionally piques our interest.
For the most part, Escape Mission Chattanooga stayed on task executing the story along the journey of The Awakening. At some point, it seemed like the focus shifted to a completely different task at hand, and we became grave robbers rather than sleuths. Perhaps this was intentional, and we became so immersed in the investigation that we assumed the role of those who had been involved in the aforementioned nefarious activities.
While we can’t really say that the game was in parallel to the original story, we did enjoy ourselves even though the game took a different track towards the end.
Scenically speaking, we did get the impression that we were in a cemetery, although we started off in a mausoleum. While logic would suggest that we would need to first be in the outside graveyard before we could be inside the vault, we’ll let that one slide. Overall, the setting did look nice and accurately portrayed what one would expect to find. Crypts were marked along one wall, honoring the names, birth dates and death dates of their residents.
Along another wall was a chest with large dice atop it, perhaps because the dead like to come out and play Yahtzee at night. Other areas boasted a violin and a pipe organ apparatus, each holding their own secrets. Opposite the way we came in was a gate we could see through, but could not access until we had reached a certain part in the game play.
Once we did unlock the gate, we proceeded to the nighttime cemetery scene, where the visuals could have used a little more polish. The walls, painted black to simulate night, reminded us more of a room than an open, outdoor area. The gravesites were constructed of plywood and promised very little long-lasting fortitude against any real weather elements. Trees and branches were painted on two adjacent walls, while a starry night was the dominant scenic feature of the room.
An exit door, intended to be a source of interaction only if ever needed in case of emergency, leaked in just enough light pollution to be a distraction. The AstroTurf grass below our feet provided little cushion but kept our shoes clean. Perhaps the night-shift caretakers occasionally played putt-putt to pass the time.
In one “corner” of the cemetery, a fountain full of coins held the wishes of previous visitors and perhaps a few secrets as well. Another stretch of the graveyard featured a large, beautiful birdcage, while another had a galaxy of stars on display. A closer look at the galaxy revealed small pegs and a system of coordinates.
After we made it beyond the cemetery, we discovered another chamber that seemed to be a tool shed of some sort. A glance around the peculiar space revealed random tools, specimen jars, and a crematorium. On a small section of wall was a vertically attached metal plate that would serve an important purpose later in the game.
Overall, the scenic elements looked good and were true to the setting of the story. While they could have used a little polish and been tightened up here or there, the visual environment was solid.
A good portion of the puzzles early in the game were standard discovery phase, testing our attention to details and our ability to assimilate the information we gathered. One of the early challenges earned us a trusty book featuring biographies of all the deceased. This was extremely helpful during game play to get to know those who had passed on, as they would be able to help us, even in death. While a bit predictable what information we’d be using, there were still other tasks that required a more challenging feat to complete.
After a little clever use of counting and thinking outside the box, we made our way into the cemetery. Once there, we gathered colored strings and used them to plot coordinates in the star system using found items and clues hidden around the room. As we progressed further in the game, we collected random body parts and began constructing what could best be described as a Frankenstein-esque monster. As we came across various limbs and pieces of the body trunk, we began attaching them to the metal plate, resulting in a loud, audible cue to symbolize the correct placement of a matching part.
Teamwork was definitely put to the test as we coordinated efforts and used multi-room communication to decipher the correct code needed for one of the final game steps. Once we completed our task, – which again, may have gone a bit astray from the original adventure story – we were granted the victory.
Our impression of The Awakening is that it is a decent room and a good experience overall. We definitely were not expecting to end up doing the nefarious activities ourselves, rather than investigating them. Even though the journey took us to a place in the end that was a bit confusing, we found this to be our favorite of the offerings at this venue.
We absolutely have to mention the awesome and creative way in which this venue welcomes its players. Upon arriving at the location, we entered the front door, only to find an abandoned barber shop instead of the escape room lobby we were quite accustomed to seeing. We almost did a 180-degree turnaround, thinking we had arrived at the wrong address somehow. After enduring a few moments of confusion, we noticed that things were not quite what they seemed in this salon. A moment later, the phone rang. Following some written instructions located nearby, I answered. A voice told me to locate the code and find a way in.
This add-on made for a very good first impression of Escape Mission Chattanooga and a nice surprise – and we’re not taken by surprise too often these days after playing the large number of rooms that we have. It added a little something to the overall experience.
Venue: Escape Mission Chattanooga
Location: Chattanooga, TN
Number of Games: 4
GAME SPECIFIC INFORMATION:
Duration: 60 minutes
Capacity: 8 people
Group Type: Public / You may be paired with strangers.
Cost: $28 per person