June 9, 2019 – We visited ZEscape as a last minute stop on the way back to Atlanta after visiting family in North Carolina. Though I didn’t have much time to read up on the place, their website showed a few clever details that suggested the overall quality of the business. ZEscape had both a 75 minute room and an asymmetrical versus room in which a British room and a Pirates room compete against each other to be the first out, with different but complementary puzzles in both rooms. Both of these details suggested ZEscape didn’t follow a typical formula, and I was excited to see what they had to offer.
We ended up opting for the 75 minute room, the Cells. Our team was Christina, me, and three members of Christina’s family (including one escape room first-timer). I’ve written an article about it before, but I get very excited about rooms that go for longer than an hour because it implies that the content in the room justifies a more difficult to manage abnormal time slot.
The theme ended up being quite different from the usual prison escape. The setting was expansive and ever-developing, and the biggest question is “what is this place?” rather than “how do I get out?” (which is also important) I really liked the mix of linear and parallel puzzle designs throughout the room. It made every new discovery into a full mystery to unravel, and with a 75 minute limit, that meant a lot of mysteries.
The room also worked very well with the different styles of solvers we had in our group. Our first timer tended to stick more with things we were pretty confident were puzzles we had to solve, while Christina and I bounced around and weighed in on different activities. There was enough to do that everyone in the group left feeling like they contributed a lot. I can remember a big “aha!” moment for each of our team members, and with five of us, that’s a good achievement.
We liked the room enough to try another, but it was late (the only place open for dinner afterward was Waffle House, open 24/7) and the timing didn’t work out for us to try another on this trip, so we’ll have to save it for next time.