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Review: The Terminal

RATING: 4 Keys          RESULT: Win          REMAINING: 12:45

Hopefully we didn’t bite off more than we can choo-choo with this subway ride. Yes, we write our own puns.

Story

You and your team have boarded a subway car, when it crashes into an abandoned station. You explore the station and soon learn of a conspiracy. Your team must learn the details and stop the impending results.

It seems like just an ordinary subway ride. Only this time, we would not reach our intended destination. As the car powerfully shakes up and down, it is obvious that something has gone terribly wrong. We must find a way off of this train immediately.

As we wander the halls of the subway station, things immediately feel off. It looks abandoned, and we ultimately find the truth behind the conspiracies. Our team is tasked with discovering the identity of a mass murder, the type of toxin he used, and how he used it. Did I mention we only had sixty minutes to do it? … because escape room.

While the overarching story of a killer has become cliché in escape rooms, we applaud MindSpark Escape Games for not using the all too common basement or lair. It should be mentioned that the ending is a little anticlimactic, but the overall experience is unique and compelling.

Scenic

The journey starts on a beat up and well used subway car. A set being described as “well used” probably sounds negative in most cases, but here, it’s exactly what makes the space look authentic.

As the train starts shaking and bouncing, so does the luggage up above. Thankfully, they are properly secured as to not cause any head injuries. The shaking is a little disorienting, but handrails are included.

The inside of the station gives off an eerie feeling with its dirty walls and overhead pan lights. Various posters are attached to pillars around the room, and the entire outside of the train is covered with graffiti art.

Deeper underground, there is evidence that someone used to call this place home. There is a dirty cot on the floor with papers scattered everywhere. Are the symbols on the walls the work of an evil genius, or are they complete non-sense? That is to be determined.

Puzzles

The Terminal has plenty of non-linear content to keep a larger group occupied. The first goal is to find a way to exit the broken train, and the steps taken are ones you might expect if in a similar situation  – you never know what you may find in a stranger’s suitcase.

Once inside the station, the tasks continue to be congruent with the atmosphere. Nothing feels like it doesn’t belong in a train station – other than, you know, the killer conspiracy part.

There was one particularly tedious deciphering task that was too long for our taste. However, it was not a complete bottleneck because other puzzles could be solved simultaneously.

The ending of the game could have been designed in a more satisfying way. Once the mystery is solved, we relay our findings to the game master through a walkie talkie, and they tell us if the information is correct. We would prefer for there to be a more automated system in place.

Overall

MindSpark Escape Games has created something special with The Terminal. The immersive set and pneumatically driven train convinced us we were in a real abandoned subway station, full of a level of detail that is often lacking from escape rooms.

The set is the strongest part of the experience, but the puzzles are still well connected to the narrative and left our entire team fully engaged, though the ending diverted off of the tracks a little and had us wishing for a more satisfying conclusion. While The Terminal is not perfect, it is an attraction in the Austin market that should not be missed. All aboard!


Venue Details

Venue: MindSpark Escape Games

Location: Austin, Texas

Number of Games: 3

GAME SPECIFIC INFORMATION:

Duration: 60 minutes

Capacity: 12 people

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

Cost: $39.95 per person

 

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Mindspark Escape Games - The Terminal
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