Orlando, Florida: Escape Room Recommendations

Latest update: February 17, 2020

In Orlando, escape rooms are competing with the biggest names in entertainment for a share of your time and your money. While it might be hard to pry yourself away from the parks, it will be worth it. There are some outstanding escape rooms in Orlando.

Stylized image of Cinderella's Castle at Disney Orlando.

Market Standouts

  1. Captain Spoopy Bones, Doldrick’s Escape Room
  2. Super Bomb Squad, Doldrick’s Escape Room
  3. The Quest, Escape Goat
  4. Special Ops & Playground at The Escape Game (or just about anything at The Escape Game)

Since we visited in November 2019, Doldrick’s Escape Room has opened Spoopy’s Ghoulish Graveyard Gameshow, which we’ve heard is outstanding as well.

Set & Scenery Driven

Puzzle Centric

Tech Heavy

Newbie Friendly

Escape Artists – Baldwin Manor [Review]

Another day, another curse

Location:  Orlando, FL

Date Played: November 17, 2019

Team size: 2-6; we recommend 3-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $32 per player

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

There’s a good game in Baldwin Manor, but it was hidden by a lot of sloppiness:

  • It was too dark and our team was only given 1 flashlight.
  • The tech was far too finicky to be trusted.
  • There was so much wear and tear on a game that frankly wasn’t that old.

Escape Artist was playing with some fun concepts, and had they all worked as planned, this game would have had some great moments, but I felt like it undercut itself at every conceivable turn.

In some parts of the world, Baldwin Manor could stand out. In a fairly strong Orlando market, this game feels like it’s a few steps behind the upper crust. If you’re in the area and looking for an escape room fix, it will do the job… but I suspect that you’ll leave wondering why the execution wasn’t cleaner.

In-game: A strange chair with a very tall back at an old desk.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Any experience level

Why play?

  • Some great moments
  • An atmospheric environment

Story

Our family had suffered from a century of bad luck. Legend had it that our poor luck was the result of our great-great-great-aunt’s attempt at black magic. She had been trying to bestow herself with great luck… but had cursed herself instead.

We had recently inherited the family estate, the very property where the curse had originated. By chance or destiny, we’d arrived at the home on the exact anniversary of the spell. According to legend, this anniversary would be the one chance that we’d have to break the curse.

In-game: Portait of a dog dressed as a human beside an old grandfather clock.

Setting

Baldwin Manor was a dimly lit, stately manor with odd dogs-dressed-as-humans art on the walls.

As the game progressed, it shifted from oddly cute to slightly grim and menacing. It never crossed into horror territory.

From a construction standpoint, the set was showing a lot more wear and tear than we’d expect from a fairly new game.

Gameplay

Escape Artists’ Baldwin Manor was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

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

Analysis

➕ Baldwin Manor was a puzzle-focused escape game with a lot of nifty solves that revolved around typical escape room props. We especially liked the layered puzzles.

 We played Baldwin Manor in low light, with only one small flashlight for the group. This made gameplay more frustrating than it needed to be.

➖ The tolerance on the tech was too tight. All too often, we’d take the correct action, but fail to trigger the solve or the open. This made a lot of the gameplay feel untrustworthy.

➕ Escape Artists used misdirection well to set up a reveal.

➕/➖ In Baldwin Manor, it was too easy to leave the group out of any given moment. One crucial prop could only communicate with one individual at a time. Additionally, with the gameplay spread out in the late game, 75% of our team missed a shining moment.

➕ Escape Artists crafted one particularly exciting, memorable moment that was a true bright spot in Baldwin Manor.

➖This set was heavily worn. While the dark atmosphere obscured this somewhat, it was still apparent that Baldwin Manor had seen a lot of aspiring curse breakers.

Tips For Visiting

  • There is street parking nearby.
  • Baldwin Manor is located at Escape Artists’ Orlando location, not their Sanford location.
  • Note that Baldwin Manor takes place in low light.

Book your hour with Escape Artists’ Baldwin Manor, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Escape Artists comped our tickets for this game.

Doldrick’s Escape Room – Super Bomb Squad [Review]

The Sonic the Hedgehog 2 of escape games.

Location:  Kissimmee, FL

Date Played: November 17, 2019

Team size: 2-8; we recommend 3-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $33.99 per player

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Super Bomb Squad was fast paced and frenetic. Doldrick’s Escape Room merged classic video game design with elements of laser tag and escape room gameplay to create a unique beast unlike anything else we’ve encountered.

The story was a riot and the music was fantastic. What really set this game apart, however, was how great it felt to play it quickly. In my experience, once you get past the thrill of setting your first couple of records, most great escape rooms aren’t better when you play them quickly, they are just shorter. Super Bomb Squad made speed feel engaging and necessary.

In-game: A large laser maze in a mirrored room.

There were a few places where the puzzle and tech design threw some unnecessary and frustrating friction into the mix. It was not game breaking by any stretch of the imagination, but it did feel like there was some unrealized potential in this otherwise genius creation.

I loved this game. I really did. It sparked a child-like glee in me that few escape rooms ever even flirt with.

If you’re a fan of 8-bit and 16-bit-era video games, Super Bomb Squad is a must play. If you’re not so familiar with that era of video games, there’s still tons to love about this game – you just won’t be in on all of the jokes (sorry Lisa). I’d love to see other companies play with some of the ideas that Doldrick’s Escape Room introduced in Super Bomb Squad.

Captain Spoopy Bones is their creation that gets all of the attention and adoration from the escape room player community and that’s really well earned; Captain Spoopy Bones was freaking fantastic. But don’t ignore Super Bomb Squad. This game wasn’t as refined, but it was startlingly innovative.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Story seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Classic video game fans
  • Players with at least some experience

Why play?

  • Frenetic action
  • Hilarious characters and story
  • A unique twist on the laser maze
  • There’s nothing else like it

Story

When a weapon of mass destruction must be eliminated, whom do you call? The elite group, Super Bomb Squad: Commandos Awesome!

In-game: A piece of machinery with an illuminated blue biohazard symbol.

Setting

Super Bomb Squad had us infiltrating an enemy base… so of course we began in the elevator. The beating heart of this experience was the crazy laser maze room that looked badass and felt unique from the many, many, many laser mazes we have traversed.

Overall, the quality of the set build was strong. Everything felt like it belonged and the parts that stood out really looked great.

In-game: A locked refridgerator filled with an unknown substance.

Gameplay

Doldrick’s Escape Room’s Super Bomb Squad was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

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

In-game: An assortment of wallmounted machinery and a flashing red alarm light.

Analysis

Super Bomb Squad was a high-energy escape room. With its cheeky, comedic tone, chip tunes music, and video gaminess, we couldn’t help but rush from puzzle to puzzle.

➕ That music. Doldrick’s, pretty please put your music on Spotify.

➕ The intro video was too damn funny. I loved the characters. Please sell merch!

➕ Doldrick’s modified a favorite relic of my childhood into the thing that my imagination always knew it was.

➕ In Super Bomb Squad the majority of the puzzles required coordinated teamwork, often across different props, and even different gamespaces. This added to the excitement.

❓ At the top of this review, I compared Super Bomb Squad to Sonic The Hedgehog 2, a game that was at its best when played as quick as possible. I don’t think that playing fast improves most escape rooms, but I wholeheartedly believe that it is true of Super Bomb Squad.

There were a couple of moments in this game that ground to a standstill. They didn’t add to the tension; they broke the intensity. I think that this game would be better with fewer points of heavy friction and a shorter game clock.

➖ Doldrick’s Escape Room could cut down on unnecessary frustration by fixing a case sensitivity problem.

➕/➖ Super Bomb Squad had us dodging, searching, and shooting in a high-energy segment that brought video gameplay to life. However, without clear feedback, we spent time resolving where we’d succeeded instead of refocusing our efforts on the action. This sequence was at the same time a high point of play, and the point of our greatest frustration with the cluing, feedback, and pacing.

➖ Super Bomb Squad lacked a final boss fight. It wouldn’t take much for Doldrick’s Escape Room to transform the conclusion of this game into a masterpiece. Most of the elements are already in place.

Tips For Visiting

  • There is a parking lot.

Book your hour with Doldrick’s Escape Room’s Super Bomb Squad, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Doldrick’s Escape Room comped our tickets for this game.

Escape Goat – A Fisherman’s Tale [Review]

A Little Mermaid

Location:  Winter Garden, FL

Date Played: November 17, 2019

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

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $28 per player

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

A Fisherman’s Tale is Escape Goat’s new beginner-friendly game. It was approachable, sweet, and comfortable. It’s easy to recommend to first time players.

Escape Goat is the epitome of a family-run escape room business and a lot of companies could learn a ton from them. Their games were brimming with details, love, and personality.

A Fisherman’s Tale was their only game without an in-room character/ gamemaster. They replaced this with a clever hint system.

If you’re an experienced player, The Quest has quite a bit more to offer in terms of depth and complexity. That said, if you’re a fan of what Escape Goat is doing, A Fisherman’s Tale was a delight. We squeezed this one in with some found time and we were happy that we did.

In-game: Inside of a fishing boat, there are crates, and chests.

Who is this for?

  • Newbies
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Any experience level

Why play?

  • A hilarious hint system
  • A cute story
  • Approachable gameplay

Story

While walking the beach we had happened upon a message in a bottle begging for help. The note had led us to a boat captained by an obsessive treasure hunter.

In-game: A captain's desk on his boat.

Setting

A Fisherman’s Tale was set within the beachside hut of a fisherman. We explored the small structure, which had a simple yet effective aesthetic.

Few items seemed out of place and few props jumped out at us as truly memorable… except for the genius hint system… and I’m not spoiling that punchline.

In-game: The wood and canvas walls and ceiling of the boat's interior.

Gameplay

Escape Goat’s A Fisherman’s Tale was a standard escape room with a lower level of difficulty.

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

Analysis

➕ A Fisherman’s Tale told a cute story.

➕ Escape Goat made the most of a small physical footprint with a detailed set. This made spaces distinct and added intrigue to the game.

➕ Although it was an easier escape room, there was still a lot of content to engage with at any given point. The puzzles were thematic, distinct, and well clued. The game flowed well.

➖ Escape Goat could refine the beginning with a gentler onboarding. This segment had potential, but lacked the clarity of some of the more complex, later puzzles.

➖ There was an opportunity to improve sound design in A Fisherman’s Tale. When speakers played, we mostly talked over them by accident. Additionally, not all sounds were accessible to the entire group.

❓ We worry about the durability of some more delicate props.

➕ The ending was fun. The final prop was enticing and although the story didn’t surprise us, Escape Goat made it special.

➕ With the playful tone of A Fisherman’s Tale, Escape Goat could add entertaining touches, like the adorable hint mechanism.

Tips For Visiting

  • There is a parking lot.

Book your hour with Escape Goat’s A Fisherman’s Tale, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Escape Goat comped our tickets for this game.

Dare 2 Escape – The Video Store: Be Kind Rewind [Review]

Willy Wonka & the Video Store

Location:  Kissimmee, FL

Date Played: November 17, 2019

Team size: up to 8; we recommend 3-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $30 per player

Ticketing: Public

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

The Video Store: Be Kind Rewind was compelling. Stepping into it brought back so many memories.

It was cool to see all of the props and mechanics of a video store thoroughly repurposed into an elaborate puzzle game.

In-game: a cardboard cutout of Keanu Reeves beside a shelf of DVDs.
Whoa. A most excellent cameo.

At Dare 2 Escape, everyone loves Halloween. We haven’t played any of their other escape rooms, all of which are set in a single, scary storyline. The Video Store: Be Kind Rewind was a break from their tradition (but set in the same universe). It was humorous. The staging fit it into Dare 2 Escape’s world, while delivering a completely different vibe, which was impressive… and especially welcome for our anti-horror teammates.

If you’re in Orlando, and you’re looking for a puzzle-focused escape room in an authentic video store setting, The Video Store: Be Kind Rewind was a fun trip down memory lane.

Who is this for?

  • Nostalgic movie fans
  • Story seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Players with at least some experience
  • Players who don’t need to be a part of every puzzle

Why play?

  • Detailed, clever design
  • Lots of nuanced references
  • It was great visiting a video store

Story

Eccentric video rental store owner Joseph Boddy had decided to retire. Rather than sell his lucrative business, he had decided to award it to someone who would truly appreciate it.

Mr. Boddy had randomly issued golden tickets to members of his store for a series of challenges. The person who could solve them would win the greatest prize of all: the deed to a video rental store. That’s a business that can never fail.

In-game: The Harvest Moon Video logo beside a large sign that reads, "Be kind rewind."

Setting

It was a video store through and through. If you’re old enough to have ever visited one, Dare 2 Escape’s creation looked spot on.

The only thing that was missing was a video game rental section.

In-game: Wide view of a video store with shelves of DVDs.

Gameplay

Dare 2 Escape’s The Video Store: Be Kind Rewind was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around searching, observing, making connections, puzzling, and enjoying the many references.

In-game: a collection of DVDs in the sci-fi section.

Analysis

➕ The Willy-Wonka-meets-video-rental-store setup was genius.

➕ While The Video Store: Be Kind Rewind was visually busy – such is the aesthetic of a video store – every prop had a purpose. Every item belonged in the gamespace.

➖ We encountered some gating issues. In the middle of the game, we sunk a lot of time into puzzles that weren’t yet solvable.

 The Video Store: Be Kind Rewind was a nostalgic escape room, crafted with a devotion to the subject matter.

➕/➖ Dare 2 Escape created multiple strong puzzles around DVDs and other common rental store items. That said, it was challenging to keep track of all the different DVD puzzles.

➖ The Video Store: Be Kind Rewind lacked work surfaces, which exacerbated the DVD organization issue. We had a lot of props to organize and solve, but no work area on which to do so. We spread out across the floor, creating a bit of a tripping hazard.

➕ In The Video Store: Be Kind Rewind outside movie knowledge was an asset, but it certainly wasn’t required. With certain knowledge, we moved more quickly through one segment, but without it, the task wasn’t arduous. The solve was neat. Added bonus: if you know the movies, you’ll feel like a rock star.

➖ Although the early gameplay made sense for staging and story building, it dragged. We were hampered by the dim lighting in the first act. The gameplay worked, but the pacing felt off. The opening would have felt more powerful if it had flowed more quickly.

➕ Dare 2 Escape built a sweet transition into this game.

 The Video Store: Be Kind Rewind was full of Easter eggs: nods to Dare 2 Escape’s other games, the creators’ family and friends, and so many movies.

Tips For Visiting

  • There is a parking lot.

Book your hour with Dare 2 Escape’s The Video Store: Be Kind Rewind, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Dare 2 Escape comped our tickets for this game.