Dare 2 Escape – At the Hop Ice Cream Shoppe [Review]

Here’s the scoop…

Location:  Kissimmee, FL

Date Played:  November 16, 2022

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

Duration: 75 minutes

Price:  $36 per player

Ticketing:  Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

What do you get when you mix catchy 1950’s sock hop music, a secret family recipe, and your favorite ice cream flavor? At the Hop Ice Cream Shoppe!

We stepped into the cute shop complete with a table for two, a wall full of 45s, a freezer stocked with the sweet treats, and a swell juke box in the corner; it felt very much like a date night. After the story setup, tunes from the 50s filled the air, one after the next, creating a lively, upbeat atmosphere. Yes, I started dancing and singing along. I just couldn’t help it!

The footprint of the game was small, perfect for 2-4 players who don’t mind getting a bit cozy. As a 2-player team, we shared the space easily and I never felt like we were in each other’s way. The puzzles were thematic, with references to popular movies that were fun to discover and had us grinning quite often. One puzzle later in the game was quite realistic, and we took turns completing it because it was so unusual. We also really enjoyed another task that could have been frustrating if not for the subtle cluing provided. While overall immersion was on point for most of the game, we were surprised by one area that lacked the same level of excitement in both the set and puzzles. This caused our momentum to slow a bit until we moved past this part of the game.

A Coca Cola tin depicting a bottle, beside a napkin dispenser in a 50s ice cream shop.

Dare 2 Escape packed a lot of game in a small, pint-sized package. If you are in the Orlando area, put on your sundae best and play At the Hop Ice Cream Shoppe. And then go out for the ice cream you will be craving.

Who is this for?

  • Puzzle lovers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Any experience level
  • Players who like to rock around the clock
  • Players who have a sweet tooth for puzzles

Why play?

  • Awesome 50s sock hop music
  • Fun, flavorful theme

Story

This ice cream shop had the best ice cream, always farm fresh and good for the soul! In fact, it was almost too good. We had to step back in time to search the ice cream shop, locate the recipe, and discover what secrets the owners – the infamous Tillman family – were trying so hard to hide.

Setting

The game took place in an ice cream shop with a cute table for two and a rockin’ jukebox playing nostalgic tunes in the corner.

A 50s Ice cream shop with a juke box, a record on the wall, and a freezer with tubs of ice cream.

Gameplay

Dare 2 Escape’s At the Hop Ice Cream Shoppe was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

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

Analysis

➕ Set design for the majority of the game was immersive and fun, and we noticed many subtle details that really sold the space. We just really liked being there and interacting with the props.

➖ That said, there was one area that lacked the same level of excitement as the rest of the game space, with a reveal that was pretty basic; in fact, we almost missed it. Additional theming and a more dramatic reveal in this space would elevate the player experience to the level of the rest of the game. 

➕ Many puzzles were nicely challenging, requiring us to make connections that were not obvious at first. Solving them gave us a sense of accomplishment when we had the right answer or found a cleverly obscured piece of information.

➖ We struggled with one puzzle where we had the right components but could not determine the final answer. A small clarification would remove ambiguity and lead players to a more obvious solve.

➕ The 50s and 60s music added significantly to immersion and overall feel of the game. Many tunes were familiar because of movies like Back to the Future or Grease. It’s hard not to have fun when you are singing and dancing to music in an escape room!  

❓Multiple experiences at Dare 2 Escape involve the Tillman family in an overarching storyline that ties these games together. For instance, At the Hop Ice Cream Shoppe takes place the day after the Asylum closes. (The Asylum is another game at Dare 2 Escape.) While Dare 2 Escape put a lot of thought and creativity into the details of the Tillman saga, as players we didn’t always appreciate these connections, as our focus was on set, puzzle-solving, and escaping. Players who play multiple games in rapid suggestion may be more likely to appreciate small Easter eggs like names and places.

Tips For Visiting

  • There is a parking lot.

Book your hour with Dare 2 Escape’s At the Hop Ice Cream Shoppe, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

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