The Exit Games – Dog Gone Alley [Review]

A Little Lost

Location:  Wilmington, NC

Date Played:  September 26, 2021

Team size: 2-5; we recommend 2-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $39 per player for 2 player, $26 per player for 3+ players

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Dog Gone Alley was a compact escape game set in a charming back alley.

The puzzle-focused gameplay solved cleanly, and the environment was fun, if limited. However, there were some issues with Dog Gone Alley:

A door and corrugated metal, both covered in graffiti.

This game was very short… and the reasons we didn’t complete it in an unreasonably short amount of time weren’t great. We had two significant reset failures and there was a game rule that conflicted with the gameplay. These 3 things took up about half the time we spent in Dog Gone Alley.

I also really found myself wishing that there was more to the dog theme. There certainly were dog references, but I wanted more puppy payoff.

As it stands, this would be a fine game for true newbies. The interactions were fun and clever; we just wanted more.

It’s our understanding that Dog Gone Alley is a rework of the first act of the popular Tampa game Servants of Sleight. I am confident that this would be more interesting as the opening act to something grander. We look forward to visiting The Exit Games in Florida to see how that came together.

If you’re in Wilmington, North Carolina, I’d suggest you play The Exit Games’ White Rabbit Society, as it was a regional standout.

Who is this for?

  • Puzzle lovers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Newbies

Why play?

  • Photos of cute dogs
  • Some unique puzzles

Story

We’d found Buddy, a good doggo, in an alley in New York City. We had to follow the clues and figure out who his human was, and contact this person.

Setting

The back alley setting of Dog Gone Alley had a cool atmosphere and aesthetic. However, it was a very compact game.

Two dog bowls siting on the floor of an alley beside a door.

Gameplay

The Exit Games’ Dog Gone Alley was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around searching and puzzling.

Closeup of an electrical meter, beside it is a missing dog poster.

Analysis

➕  Dog Gone Alley presented a clear starting place, and a smooth, well-clued on-ramp.

➖ Before the game, we received unintentionally misleading instructions, causing us to ignore a critical prop as just set dressing, due to where it was placed. Rules need to agree with gameplay.

➖ Unfortunately, we encountered two major reset failures in our playthrough, on the first two puzzles. The hints we received caused us to doubt whether there was sufficient camera coverage of the game. When we finally clarified the issues, The Exit Games was prepared with backups, but this severely lowered our confidence in the game.

➕ For the most part, Dog Gone Alley consisted of solid escape room-style puzzles that solved cleanly.

➖ With many different number-based solutions, Dog Gone Alley could have benefited from better lock mapping.

➖ One puzzle had a lot of ambiguity, causing us to approach it in multiple incorrect ways before finding one we could count on.

➕ We most enjoyed when one puzzle provided a new perspective.

➕ The small set was at its best when its aesthetic was also an integral part of the gameplay.

➖ The finale was cute, but not memorable. The dog was barely a character in our experience. In the end, it felt like we’d solved an escape room, not like we’d saved a dog.

Tips For Visiting

  • There is metered street parking in Wilmington.
  • We enjoyed Beer Barrio.

Book your hour with The Exit Games’ Dog Gone Alley, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: The Exit Games comped our tickets for this game.

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