Rum for your life!
Location: Texas City, TX
Date Played: March 7, 2023
Team Size: 4-10; we recommend 3-4
Duration: 60 minutes
Price: $35 per player
Accessibility Consideration: None
Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock
Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints
Picking up right where Terror Isle’s first chapter Mystic Voyage left off, Nefarious Offering led us to where all good quests commence: the tavern. We were to face off with the island’s Voodoo Priestess, the evil pirate king’s top henchwoman who seemed keen on turning us into a zombie army, or something of the sort.
Of all the experiences currently offered at Terror Isle, Nefarious Offering perhaps felt most like a haunt in the way it propelled us through a dazzling sequence of distinct spaces. All were well decorated, though we were particularly enamored with the build quality and ambiance of the Voodoo Priestess’ abode. Contrasting environments risked feeling disjointed, yet the story provided just enough connective tissue to link these spaces together in a sensible way. We were given clear reasons for where we were and what we were doing there.
The gameplay in Nefarious Offering was creative and thematic, but it was also a bit choppier than what we’d come to expect from the previous episode. Some puzzles led us to interact with the coolest features in the space in cool ways. Others were clever in concept, but needed some more polish to work reliably in practice. At its worst, a simple search-based challenge seemed like a hacky solution for inserting gameplay in an environment where it didn’t emerge as naturally. Yet past the first couple of puzzles, the game flowed quite well and thoughtfully guided us to explore a magnificent space.
To note: none of the escape rooms at Terror Isle are scary, but Nefarious Offering did contain some fake blood and body parts. Even squeamish players may be fine, though, as the gameplay required minimal interaction with these elements.
Terror Isle is creating something truly special, and Nefarious Offering contained some of our favorite moments and features of the overall experience. If you can only play one room, you can’t go wrong with either Mystic Voyage or Nefarious Offering. If possible, we highly recommend playing all rooms in sequence: the overall experience is greater than the sum of its parts, especially as Terror Isle continues to flesh out the full story with an additional chapter and narrative transitions between games.
Who is this for?
- Scenery snobs
- Adventure seekers
- Any experience level
- The Voodoo Priestess’ cabin was stunning
- A detailed haunt environment with scary things replaced by puzzles
We arrived at the Sea Witch Tavern to investigate what was going on with Terror Isle’s Voodoo Priestess. We had until full moonrise to avoid an undead demise.
Nefarious Offering took us to a pirate island’s central tavern. With a wall of casks and no shortage of skulls, this looked and smelled like a venue where pirates had enjoyed many a rambunctious night.
Just beyond the friendly facade of the tavern, darker secrets awaited.
Terror Isle’s Nefarious Offering was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.
Core gameplay revolved around solving puzzles, searching, and making connections.
➕/❓ The antagonist of Nefarious Offering, a Voodoo Priestess, was a fully realized character. She was dramatically presented and well acted. A cultural sensitivity note: voodoo is a very real and still practiced religion, and I’m typically wary when it’s presented in an overwhelmingly negative or malicious light in popular culture. As voodoo-themed escape rooms go, Nefarious Offering was fairly respectful.
➕/➖ The use of scent provided instant sensory immersion in the tavern without being overpowering. Nonetheless, this initial space felt less alive than what it represented, especially compared to the initial space of the previous chapter, Mystic Voyage.
➕ The gameplay led us to explore and re-explore the space. Haunts typically maintain a forward trajectory through the set while escape rooms focus on more detailed discovery within each area. By sending us back and forth a few times, we experienced moments that were closer to a haunt flow while still rooted in escape room gameplay.
➖ Multiple puzzles right at the start of the game were solid in concept but needed better calibration to work reliably. One puzzle wobbled beyond clarity. Another had an awkwardly placed sensor that was frustratingly finicky. We wished our gamemaster had intervened when we repeatedly tried the correct thing without it registering, and then started second-guessing ourselves.
➕ A storage area creatively repurposed a haunt feature for a satisfyingly tactile puzzle interaction.
➖ An intermediate section of the game felt comparatively sparse, consisting mostly of a weak search-and-find puzzle. Loosely thematic, this felt like filler, and shorter players may be disadvantaged.
❓ Nefarious Offering contained some fake blood and body parts. Sections were lightly spooky but never scary, and there were no real jump scares.
➕ A fun interaction strung us along just the right amount. It was well clued and quite well hidden, and it worked perfectly once we found what to do.
🪑 The view from an old wooden rocking chair was sublime. I could have sat there for the entire game, taking in the atmosphere. Not only was this a thematic seating option but it also showcased a well framed view of some of Terror Isle’s finest set design.
Tips For Visiting
- The escape rooms at Terror Isle are available from November 13 through September 30. From October 20-31, the puzzles are removed and Terror Isle functions just as a haunted house. The exact dates may vary by year.
- Free street parking is available nearby.
Book your hour with Terror Isle’s Nefarious Offering, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.
Disclosure: Terror Isle comped our tickets for this game.