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.

Escape Artists – NINJA [Review]

Asian Fusion

Location:  Orlando, FL

Date Played: November 17, 2019

Team size: 2-6; we recommend 3-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $32 per player

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Escape Artist’s NINJA was a bit of a roller coaster. Some portions were attractive, engaging, and funny. Others were finicky, underdeveloped, and tedious. It could change from one moment to the next.

Overall, it was pleasant to experience an atypical escape room scenario, but the great parts left us really wishing that everything was more cleanly executed.

If you’re in the area and are looking for a mixture of puzzles, pop culture references, and an assortment of pan-Asian concepts, NINJA is anything but expected.

In-game: a japanese building with a cherry blossom out front.

Who is this for?

  • Nerds – so many references – so many
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Players with at least some experience
  • Players who don’t need to be a part of every puzzle

Why play?

  • It’s really different in look and play
  • Some of the set pieces are beautiful
  • The references were as outlandish as they were funny

Story

An evil ninja had been hired to assassinate and sabotage our town. We needed to defeat this ninja and bring proof of our victory to our Shogun.

In-game: a large black and white symbol hung from a wall of bamboo and spotlit in the darkness.

Setting

NINJA had a mostly Japanese – and occasionally pan-Asian – aesthetic. The Japanese architecture and faux cherry blossoms were quite striking.

Every room of NINJA was loaded with nerdy sight gags, some subtle, some overt. These were the highlight of the game for half of our team.

In-game: a lantern hung outside of a japanese building.

Over the course of the game, it became clear that the set design was incredibly uneven with some sections clearly receiving a lot of love and investment. Other sections felt like an afterthought.

Gameplay

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

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

In-game: closeup of a puzzle with slots for many disks arranged in a circle.

Analysis

➕ NINJA was goofy. It pulled from all different “ninja” associations, creating an amalgamation of loosely associated themes. The tone was lighthearted and some of the props were especially amusing to read or interact with.

➖ Some of these NINJA associations seemed only vaguely relevant. It was almost as if anything Asian was also somehow “ninja.”

➕ There was a lot of puzzle content, in different styles, which we enjoyed.

➖ Some of the more traditional escape room-style puzzles lacked clarity. There were opportunities to refine the cluing, which was at times ambiguous.

➕ NINJA shined in its physical interactions. We tackled many unusual dexterity challenges. We enjoyed being the ninjas – shooting, punching, tossing, and throwing our way to puzzle solves.

➖ The engineering in NINJA was sloppy. The tolerances on the tech were too tight, which made everything feel finicky. We frequently solved puzzles correctly, but did not receive feedback from the solve.

➕/➖ Parts of the set looked great. In these places, Escape Artists minded the details and added finish. Parts of the set looked hacked together, messy, and unrefined. Even in the low lighting, we could see the seams.

➖ The last gamespace felt especially underdesigned, as if Escape Artists had run out of time or budget.

➕ Escape Artists crafted some most excellent doors within NINJA. We’re always fans of unusual doors; we greatly enjoyed this reveal.

➕ There was one written passage that when read out loud made our jaws drop… before the laughter set in.

Tips For Visiting

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

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

Disclosure: Escape Artists comped our tickets for this game.

Mind Masters – Strange Magic [Review]

Pulling a solution out of a hat

Location:  Clermont, FL

Date Played: November 17, 2019

Team size: 4-6; we recommend 3-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $32.10 per player

Ticketing: Public

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Strange Magic was a delightful blend of puzzle design, technology, and set design. Everything came together beautifully in a compact but mighty package.

What made Mind Masters’ inaugural game so fantastic was the stage-magic quality of the interactions.

Additionally, some of the technology was so slick that it’s hard to comprehend how great it is… which really is how tech ought to function.

If you’re in the area, I highly recommend finding your way to this company. It’s rare to see such a polished first outing from a rookie escape room business. I have a feeling that we’re going to see more great things from them.

In-game: Closeup of the magician's hat.

Who is this for?

  • Puzzle lovers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Technophiles
  • Players with at least some experience
  • Players who don’t need to be a part of every puzzle

Why play?

  • Great thematic puzzling
  • A fun setting
  • Brilliant and subtle magical tech

Story

In the heart of America, the magician in a traveling circus was using real sorcery to feed on the life force of his audience.

We time traveled into his tent during his hour-long performance to disrupt his sinister magic.

In-game: A magical prop, a box with constellations painted on it, slits cut in it, and a knife embedded in one of the slits.

Setting

Strange Magic packed a ton of might into a compact space. The room felt like it was inside of a circus tent, with all of the right detailing in the vaulted ceiling. That level of detail followed all the way down through the props and to the floor.

Everything was focused on circus magic.

In-game: The vaulted ceiling of the circus tent.

The set was well lit and an easy setting to enjoy.

Additionally, Mind Masters’ overall narrative for all of their games focused on time traveling, and their use of a time machine as the doorway/ hint delivery system/ storage for the team’s gear was inspired.

Gameplay

Mind Masters’ Strange Magic was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

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

In-game: wide view of the citcus tent, a magician's hat on a table, crates lay about.

Analysis

➕ In Strange Magic, the opens felt magical. Mind Masters embedded technology to make us feel like magicians. It worked smoothly and invisibly.

➕ Strange Magic was designed from floor to ceiling. Mind Masters built a space that hearkened back to the Golden Age of Magic.

➕ Mind Masters did some really smart 3D printing work.

➖ Some of the cluing was just a bit too subtle. Thematic, absolutely. Beyond reasonable perception, also yes.

In-game: The time travel machine/ hint system.

➕ Narratively, Mind Masters justified anything that didn’t fit through their time-travel portal. This enabled them to use escape room essentials elegantly.

➖ While most of the tech worked brilliantly and thoughtfully, there was an opportunity for Mind Masters to improve this game by disabling double inputs.

➕ The puzzles flow worked well and many had layered solves. Although the space was smaller, there were enough puzzles open at any one time, spread out across the space, that we didn’t feel cramped and everyone could be involved.

➖ The final sequence was bumpy. Although we’d taken the right action, we didn’t get strong feedback from the game and began to second guess ourselves. Nothing clued us that this interaction required patience. While waiting can add drama, in the case of this puzzle, the slow pace of the prop’s response detracted from an otherwise impressive ending.

➕ The technology in Strange Magic ran far deeper than we understood while playing. At the end of the game, Mind Masters gave us a score, determined by their automated system.

Tips For Visiting

  • There is a parking lot.

Book your hour with Mind Masters’ Strange Magic, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Mind Masters provided media discounted tickets for this game.

Escape Goat – The Quest [Review]

Rolled a natural 20

Location:  Winter Garden, FL

Date Played: November 17, 2019

Team size: up to 6; we recommend 3-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $28 per player

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Escape Goat’s The Quest channeled a Dungeons & Dragons campaign to breathe life into a high fantasy world where a dragon needed defeating. I love this theme and I truly enjoyed Escape Goat’s execution of the concept.

The puzzles felt chunky and tangible. The challenges were thematic. The world had personality… and that last piece seems like Escape Goat’s superpower. They imbue simple things with life and charm that far exceeds what you’d expect.

If you’re near Orlando, I highly recommend visiting Escape Goat and rolling the dice with The Quest.

In-game: The mounted head of a dragon.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Dungeons & Dragons fans
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Any experience level
  • Players who don’t need to be a part of every puzzle

Why play?

  • A delightful D&D-esque story and setting
  • Fun tangible puzzles
  • Loads of charm – this game has high charisma

Story

The village of Oakenshire had been living under the threat of a great Garzon dragon. We set out on a quest for the knowledge or weapons needed to save the town.

In-game: Wide view of the Quest's set, a wizard's study.

Setting

The Quest looked very Dungeons & Dragons. I can hear a dungeon master describing this wizard’s laboratory filled with books, potions, magical ingredients, and enchanted weapons.

It had a great look and feel about it with the occasional modern combination lock being the only overtly out of place item in the space.

In-game: Closeup of a wizard's potion desk.

Gameplay

Escape Goat’s The Quest was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

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

In-game: A book of magical creatures.

Analysis

➕ Escape Goat used voice-over narration and an in-character gamemaster to set the scene and emphasize their fantasy Dungeons & Dragons-esque world. These helped us connect to our role as adventurers.

➕ The set, props, and technology supported the fantasy world. The gamespace looked good and the technology felt magical. Escape Goat used all these tools to enhance the gamespace.

➕ There was a lot of content in The Quest, but the gameplay flowed well and the volume of puzzles never felt overwhelming. Many of the puzzles had layered solutions. They were placed in different tracks and gated in a manner that kept things organized and approachable.

➖ While most of the puzzles solved cleanly, The Quest presented a few opportunities for additional tweaking. One puzzle seemed to solve primarily through trial and error. In another, the cluing wasn’t clear enough within the props themselves. Additionally, the game bottlenecked slightly in one area of the room where a lot of gameplay was crammed into a small space.

➕ The puzzles varied enormously and required different types of thinking. We especially enjoyed the inclusion of a Survivor-style puzzle.

➖ There was a lot of reading in The Quest. Given the other types of storytelling built into this game, there would be an opportunity to incorporate the lengthy written story or cluing into other mediums.

➕/➖ One late-game puzzle required us to wait on a prop to complete an action, which was neat, and belonged in the world, but could easily be frustrating, considering there were no other actions available to us at this point. It would have been excruciating to lose during this segment.

The Quest concluded with a well-designed decision. Our options all felt appropriate and triumphant.

Tips For Visiting

  • There is a parking lot.

Book your hour with Escape Goat’s The Quest, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Escape Goat comped our tickets for this game.

Doldrick’s Escape Room – Red Sled Redemption [Review]

When Santa crashed into New Joysey

Location:  Kissimmee, FL

Date Played: November 18, 2019

Team size: 2-6; we recommend 3-5

Duration: 45 minutes

Price: $29.99 per player

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Red Sled Redemption was the most genius inexpensive and small escape room build that we’ve ever seen.

In-game: Wide view of the sleigh repair shop with Santa's red sled in the middle.

It was small. 70% of the props were repurposed toys. We have to imagine that every escape room creator who plays it will walk out wondering why they didn’t build this game… and the answer to why they didn’t build it is because they aren’t Doldrick’s.

A unique blend of humor, storytelling, and craft goes into Doldrick’s productions… and it’s topped off with a dollop of insanity. They are making magic over there. In this case, it was Christmas magic.

If you’ve ever uttered “I hate single room games” or “I need more than a traditional puzzley escape room” go try Red Sled Redemption to see what this looks like at the top of the craft. Is this game as intense, innovative, or over-the-top as Captain Spoopy Bones or Super Bombsquad (review coming soon)? No, but that’s a high bar. Is it a fantastic escape room? Absolutely.

If you’re anywhere near Orlando, Doldrick’s Escape Room is a must visit escape room company. As far as we’re concerned, if they’ve made it, you should play it. 3 games in, they’ve earned our trust.

Who is this for?

  • Puzzle lovers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Any experience level
  • Players who don’t need to be a part of every puzzle

Why play?

  • It was equal parts adorable and hilarious
  • A fantastic take on the classic escape room format

Story

It was Christmas Eve and Santa had crash landed his sleigh into the The Holly Jolly Holiday Hubcap Repair.

We had to help Richie and Mikey, the world’s worst sleigh repair elves, get the big man airborne in time for him to complete his deliveries.

In-game: a red pegboard with green toy tools hanging from it.

Setting

Red Sled Redemption was set within an auto sleigh repair shop run by lazy elves on Christmas Eve. The tools were toys… because of course the tools were toys.

Everything about the set was deliberate, silly, and spot-on.

This was a small single-room, old-school escape game done right. It had intrigue, character, and surprise born of the props.

In-game: A toy gas pump painted like a cow.

Gameplay

Doldrick’s Escape Room’s Red Sled Redemption was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

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

In-game: closeup of a golden raindeer hood ornament.

Analysis

 Red Sled Redemption was jovial, whimsical, and fun. It was ridiculous, and we jingled and laughed all the way.

➕ The intro video was bonkers and set the tone for the experience. We were fully engaged from the moment the video started.

➕ Doldrick’s Escape Room repurposed plastic toys into escape room props. They modified the toys, integrating tech and fitting them into a playful repair shop aesthetic. While the build materials were inexpensive, the overall experience was high quality.

In-game: a toy workbench.

➕ The gameplay flowed well. Although there were a lot of puzzles within a small physical footprint, the signposting kept us on track.

➖ One puzzle had us spinning around, struggling against a little too much precision.

Red Sled Redemption included many layered solves that required coordinated teamwork. One was especially scrumptious. Another jacked up our excitement. Doldrick’s Escape Rooms got a lot of mileage out of their main set piece, as we continued to unwrap fun interactions.

➖ The workshop lighting made it hard to read small fonts. We struggled when tight areas of the set were especially dim. Stringing up a few more lights would add more holiday cheer and improve the usability of the space.

➕ One of the toy-based puzzles was an impressive feat of engineering. We’d love to know how they made it work consistently.

Tips For Visiting

  • There is a parking lot.
  • At least one player needs to be relatively agile.

Book your hour with Doldrick’s Escape Room’s Red Sled Redemption, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

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

Doldrick’s Escape Room – Captain Spoopy Bones [Review]

And The Magnificent Quest For Some Other Pirate’s Treasure

Location:  Kissimmee, FL

Date Played: November 17, 2019

Team size: 2-12; we recommend 4-6

Duration: 75 minutes

Price: $39.99 per player

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Captain Spoopy Bones at Doldrick’s Escape Room in Orlando has been the most requested review of 2019… and it lived up to the hype.

Captain Spoopy Bones was a riot. If you don’t laugh during the opening video, you’re dead inside. Consult a doctor.

In-game: the brig inside of a wooden ship.

The gameplay, set, and tech were refined and fantastic. Interestingly, from a gameplay standpoint, a few of the puzzles weren’t anything special… but the execution of those puzzles made them feel mighty.

And the ending was a ball.

Look, I’m not here to tell you how to live your life, but if you’re in Orlando, Doldrick’s should be in the mix with your visit to Disney and Universal. I’d encourage you to play all of their games, but if you only have time for one, make it Captain Spoopy Bones.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • 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?

  • Clean execution of escape room gameplay
  • An exciting reveal
  • The humor… especially in the intro video
  • Highly polished

Story

Our comically cursed leader Captain Spoopy Bones needed help on his magnificent quest for some other pirate’s treasure.

In-game: The ceiling of a ship. A lantern hangs above cargo nets.

Setting

Our adventure began within the brig of a cursed pirate ship. Our dearly departed and then delightfully undead Captain Spoopy Bones introduced us to our situation with hilarity… and then we were off to escape our cells and explore the old ship.

The ship was quite elegant. As things progressed, they also escalated in wonderful and childish ways.

This was one of those sets where I stopped puzzling at one point and just walked around taking everything in.

In-game: The wooden interior of a ship, a large barrel in the middle of the shot.

Gameplay

Doldrick’s Escape Room’s Captain Spoopy Bones was a standard escape room with a split team beginning and a moderate level of difficulty.

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

Analysis

➕ The introduction was amazing. Captain Spoopy Bones was a strong and an entertaining character. It set quite the tone.

➕ The story of Captain Spoopy Bones was ridiculous, funny, and charming. Doldrick’s Escape Room combined the typical “jail cell” with the popular “pirate ship”… and then layered on comedy to chart an unusual course to a different adventure.

➕ There was a ton of content in Captain Spoopy Bones. With our team of 4 players, we were solving with all hands on deck. We needed to be observant and communicative to tackle the majority of the puzzles. When we did this, it was smooth sailing through solves.

➖/➕ Although the puzzles were funny, thematic, and enjoyable, there was room to make them more story-driven. Many of them didn’t have any narrative elements. That said, given the cheeky tone, the gameplay didn’t feel like puzzles for puzzles’ sake. It felt like a part of Captain Spoopy Bones’ odd world. We frequently got a chuckle out of how things came together.

➕ Doldrick’s Escape Room used a lot of common puzzle types and props. The artistry was in their execution. One early puzzle was a type that we’ve long hated every other time that we’ve seen it, but Doldrick’s managed to make it fun. In another instance they took a pretty tired concept and executed it so perfectly that it was like it was the first time that we were seeing it.

➖ We struggled with the UI for one more explosive puzzle. Additional feedback should clarify function. Another modification to the tech would improve solution input.

Captain Spoopy Bones had an impressive late-game reveal that added energy and set up the exciting finale.

➕ The difficulty curve worked well, culminating in a fantastic conclusion.

Tips For Visiting

  • There is a parking lot.

Book your hour with Doldrick’s Escape Room’s Captain Spoopy Bones, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

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