What’s up dock?
Location: Sanford, FL
Date Played: November 17, 2022
Team Size: 2-6; we recommend 2-4
Duration: 60 minutes
Price: $35 per player
Accessibility Consideration: All players will need to step up a few stairs
Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock
Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints
Bloodshed Bayou: Waters Uncharted was located in the Seminole Towne Center, a mall in Sanford, FL. (For those under 30, a mall is a large indoor shopping center that was popular in the 80s.) When we learned that this game was designed by the team at Escape Ventures, we made a special trip from Orlando to Sanford just to play.
From the moment we set foot into the small wooden boat at the start of the game, we were surrounded by the sights and sounds of a swampy bayou. Though the audio introduction was difficult to hear, we got the gist of the story. Set design was impressive, with colorful, moody lighting that highlighted active sections of the game while keeping parts we hadn’t yet reached mostly hidden from view. As we progressed, the set opened up dramatically to reveal interesting spaces to discover and explore.
There was a wide variety of puzzles that were fun to solve and took full advantage of the environment and theme. Some were logical, others tactile; there really was something for a range of players, although newbies may struggle with the complexity of a few later puzzles. As experienced players, even we stumbled with one puzzle that we tried very hard to overcomplicate, but it actually had a simple, straightforward solution.
Playing Bloodshed Bayou: Unchartered Waters just made me happy; from unusual puzzles to a well-designed, creative set, it was a cool experience with several memorable moments. There are many, many choices for activities in Orlando, but if you have time for a side trip to Sanford, stop by the mall and play this game.
Who is this for?
- Puzzle lovers
- Scenery snobs
- Any experience level
- Players who want to spend an hour exploring a creepy swamp
- Creative and unusual set
- Fun, thematic puzzles
On a fishing tour in the Louisiana Bayou, we encountered a swamp witch who regularly harvests the souls of wayward visitors. She would spare us if we could find and return her missing moonstone crystal.
Bloodshed Bayou: Unchartered Waters took place in a creepy bayou somewhere in Louisiana. A small boat was tied to a wooden dock that stretched into the darkness, leading to parts unknown. Strategic lighting set the mood and added to the feel of being lost in a marsh with a mystical witch watching our every move.
Locksmith Escape Games‘ Bloodshed Bayou: Uncharted Waters was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.
Core gameplay revolved around searching, observing, making connections, and puzzling.
➕ Having played numerous escape rooms housed in shopping centers, we were not expecting the dramatic first impression and subsequent creativity of the set design. Thematic props, sound effects and strategic lighting created a moody and realistic environment to explore.
➕ Creative puzzles took full advantage of the theme, and offered unique takes on familiar tasks. One puzzle could have been easily solved by one player, but we split up the tasks just to get to experience it.
➕ There were a few humorous moments throughout the game that added to the experience and kept gameplay lighthearted.
➖ The audio for story segments was hard to hear. While we understood the objectives, there were key elements we missed at different parts of the game. There is an opportunity to improve sound quality for these segments, as it would better define the overall experience.
➖ One late-game puzzle was fairly challenging, even for experienced players. We spent quite a while trying to solve it as intended, before guessing the last part in order to move forward.
➕ While the game was low-lit overall, on-theme props were provided to allow players to effectively see as necessary; as a result, we did not have any struggles with solving due to lighting.
➖ Hints were obtained via an iPad. Although easy and effective, it was annoying to carry this around from place to place and definitely stood out from the heavily-themed game.
❓While Bloodshed Bayou: Waters Uncharted sounds like a horror-themed game, it is not; there is nothing scary and there are no jump scares.
❓Before scheduling, I read multiple reviews of Bloodshed Bayou: Waters Uncharted that complained that the room was hot due to lack of air conditioning. We played the game in November and did not experience any temperature issues. Locksmith Escape Games said they’ve asked mall management to fix the problem. To mitigate, they use fans throughout the room and provided bottles of water after the game.
Tips For Visiting
- Locksmith Escape Games is located in an indoor shopping mall with plenty of free parking.
- There is an amazing family-owned restaurant in downtown Sanford called Zorba’s, with the best Greek food. We go there whenever we are in the Orlando area; it’s just that good.
Book your hour with Locksmith Escape Games Bloodshed Bayou: Waters Uncharted, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.
Reading this review and the ad copy on the escape room website has me excited that I might actually be in a small boat that is in the water and leaves the dock. This would be so amazing, especially from a mall based business. Perhaps it would be a spoiler to confirm the boat travels on water? I wouldn’t expect the room to play like Pirates of the Caribbean but maybe like a tiny part of it? The pics look interesting and Greek Food after action sounds perfect.
Hi David, thanks for the question! Unfortunately no, there was no boat travel on water. That would be amazing though. And if you ever get a chance to try Zorba’s, definitely do! It’s soooo good.