Yo! Ho! Yo! Ho! A puzzler’s life for me.
Location: Winter Park, FL
Date played: November 14, 2016
Team size: up to 8; we recommend 4-6
Duration: 60 minutes
Price: $25 per ticket
Note: The folks from It’s A Trap are sadly closing shop after at the end of the year. Get tickets to this game if you can. We wish them well, and while we played both of their games, we are electing to run only this review.
Story & setting
Set in a pirate’s grotto headquarters, we had to sift through booty and nautical trinkets to learn a dark truth.
The atmosphere was dark with plenty of light for puzzling. It was a little creepy but not scary; it felt cavernous by design.
The attention to detail in A Pirate Tale: The Legendary Cea Sisters was spotty. In many places it looked superb, in others the modern hardware stood out a little bit too much to really nail the aesthetic.
We had a marvelous actress improvising with our team. The method by which she interacted with the team was a delightful surprise.
The puzzles in A Pirate Tale: The Legendary Cea Sisters were numerous and challenging. The game relied heavily on searching and there was a lot of loot to scour.
A Pirate Tale: The Legendary Cea Sisters was an involved experience composed of layers of puzzling. We had to really work through the puzzles and they were fun puzzles to explore.
The actress! She was great. She truly improvised with our team when we spoke with her. She was witty and punny. And, she was never in the way.
The way we interacted with the actress was brilliant. I will say no more on the subject.
The story was far better than most escape rooms. It had well-established characters, motivations, and a narrative arc that remained consistent from start to finish.
The layered puzzling, and the way in which many puzzles played with the set and props, was superb.
It’s a Trap! seamlessly mixed in additional bonus challenges for enthusiasts that were otherwise invisible to regular teams. They also included a personalized touch such as they would offer for a special occasion (i.e birthday party, bachelor party); it fit neatly into the experience and gave us a good laugh.
The set and incorporated tech, at its best, elevated the experience quite a bit.
There were places where the set felt a little rushed. Those spots stood out when juxtaposed against brilliance of the sections that were more carefully crafted.
A few of the puzzles suffered from problems of ambiguous cluing. The puzzles were sound, but the props involved could have been less haphazardly constructed to clear up unnecessary confusion.
It’s a Trap! is only open Friday through Sunday (and holidays), making it more of a challenge to book with them.
Should I play It’s a Trap!’s A Pirate Tale: The Legend of the Cea Sisters?
We interviewed the owners of It’s a Trap! over the summer in preparation for our PAX West panel. In speaking with them it became clear that they were attempting something different from the norm. They put an emphasis on actors and storytelling and designed reversible room escapes:
We played A Pirate Tale: The Legend of the Cea Sisters, but every month or so they flip the room and it becomes a different game in the same space titled A Pirate Tale: The Gold of Gangplank Grotto. I can’t speak to that room escape, but I would love to see just how profoundly they change the gameplay.
The addition of otherwise hidden puzzles that were only available to teams who were fast enough to find them was also a brilliant twist. It added challenge and complexity to the game without putting too much pressure on slower solving teams.
From newbie to enthusiast, I wholeheartedly recommend A Pirate Tale: The Legend of the Cea Sisters. It’s fun. It’s challenging. It’s innovative on so many fronts. It has a few warts and scars, but what pirate doesn’t?
Make sure that you brush up on how to best play a room escape with actors.
Book your hour with It’s a Trap!’s Pirate Tale: The Legend of the Cea Sisters, before the end of December and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.
Full disclosure: It’s a Trap! comped our tickets for this game.