Escape Games at The River – Mutiny: Skull Island [Review]

Sink or escape

Location:  Rancho Mirage, CA

Date Played: January 7, 2022

Team Size: 2-8; we recommend 3-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $35 per player

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

In many senses, Mutiny: Skull Island was a fairly standard pirate game. Yet with some thoughtful design choices and a high attention to detail in the set and gameplay, this room managed to feel like something special.

This intentionality was evident from the very start. A rich range of wood tones throughout the set looked impressively weathered and real. A slight sloping to the bottom few feet of the walls clearly suggested the shape of a ship, not just a random rectangular room. Hanging lanterns set the mood while also providing sufficient lighting wherever it was needed.

The puzzle design was similarly thoughtful, cleverly taking advantage of physical elements and decor in the environment. The puzzles flowed swimmingly for a small- to medium-sized team, and we rarely felt bottlenecked. Especially in the last segment of the game, the puzzles involved tactile interactions, environmental observation, and team communication.

Escape Games at The River impressed me. Both Mutiny: Skull Island and Treasure Hunters: Station 13 had beautiful sets, creative puzzles, and a high level of polish on par with top-tier escape rooms in Los Angeles. If you’re in southern California, a visit to Escape Games at The River would make for a fun day trip, especially as they continue to add and cycle in more premium games.

A brig in a pirate ship with words carved into the wall.

Who is this for?

  • Scenery snobs
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Adventure seekers
  • Any experience level

Why play?

  • A vivid pirate- and island-themed set
  • Fun puzzles

Story

When our pirate ship crashed on Skull Island, we had to escape the ship and appease the island gods to escape before it was too late.

Setting

Mutiny: Skull Island took place on a sinking pirate ship.

Clever design choices made a medium-sized set look like part of a full-sized pirate ship, especially when we were able to view the outer facade of the ship.

Barrels, rope, and flags in a ship's hold.

Gameplay

Escape Games at The River’s Mutiny: Skull Island was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around puzzling, making connections, and searching.

Analysis

➕ The puzzle flow was well designed, consisting of fairly standard escape room interactions with some subtle twists and refinements to keep things interesting.

➕ The set was beautiful and made great use of a medium-sized space.

➕ The tech in Mutiny: Skull Island worked reliably and facilitated some special moments.

➕ A handful of standard padlocks were well situated, and lock mapping was crystal clear.

➕/➖ An in-room parrot character amusingly provided narrative and hints. It also functioned as a verbal timer, which we found to be a bit more regular than needed.

➖/➕ A sensory clue felt ambiguous, though it was logically deducible by other means.

➕ An impressive narrative-driven transition into a new space effectively utilized some surprising and fun effects.

➕/➖ The game ended with a bang. This finale looked cool and felt climactic. In the moment, we were swept up in it, though in retrospect, our final action didn’t make complete sense in the story.

Tips For Visiting

  • There was a parking lot for The River shopping complex.
  • All the food at Chef Tanya’s Kitchen in Palm Desert was on the spectrum of delicious to mind-blowing. My non-vegan teammates equally loved it, and we returned for both lunch and dinner.

Book your hour with Escape Games at The River’s Mutiny: Skull Island, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Escape Games at The River comped our tickets for this game.

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