Christina and I were doubly excited to try out Rabbit Hole Escape Games in Tampa. For one, we had heard from a few different sources that Rabbit Hole’s games are some of the best in the Tampa area. And for another, I couldn’t wait to try Rabbit Hole’s escape room / mini golf hybrid. It’s the only game of this nature I’ve ever heard of- it might be the only one in the world.
So we booked two games- Shadows of the Skunk Ape Part 1, followed by Alice’s Tee Time.
Shadows of the Skunk Ape
The skunk ape is a bigfoot-type creature that cares for the forest and the woodland creatures. A group of campers disturbed something important, and the players need to restore balance to the situation.
Right off the bat we were really impressed with the setup at the facility. The area immediately outside of Shadows of the Skunk Ape is designed to look like a nature preserve visitor center. We were actually a little surprised when we were allowed to enter the game after the briefing- the decor outside was elaborate enough where we thought there might be a puzzle or two to solve before going in!
The game kicks off inside the ranger station, and players need to do a lot with the space to get the objects needed to proceed further into the game. The game is themed very well with puzzles that could only really work with the nature theme. If you’ve ever taken a guided walk through a nature trail, a lot of the puzzles feel familiar, in a very good way.
I wont spoil how the game progresses, but the people at Rabbit Hole have done an impressive job making an atmospheric, interactive environment to explore. The setting is top notch and the puzzles reward ample exploration, and I got to know every corner of the game area.
Speaking of atmospheric- I had to deal with a phobia of mine to solve a puzzle, and I have to imagine we were pretty entertaining to watch as I tried solving one of the challenges from the furthest distance possible. There were a few other surprising moments that kept our adrenaline running, too. Sometimes wildlife can be a little scary- coming from someone who has caught a face full of spider web more than once.
We also had what ranks as one of my top five “duh” moments. Upon revealing an obstacle we’d need to get on the other side of, we stared at it for a good minute before asking the game master if I could crawl underneath it. The response? “Just give it a light push.” A meaner game master may have let me follow through with my embarrassing move…
The finale of the room was a good endcap for the story, resolving the issue outlined in the opening briefing with a little bit of dramatic flair. There were a lot of puzzles in the room and we definitely felt like we had to work for our win.
Shadow’s of the Skunk Ape impressed from start to finish and we’re looking forward to seeing what’s next in chapter 2 when we next return to the Tampa area.
Alice’s Tee Time
I love mini golf. I probably only go once or twice a year, but whenever I’m out of town and am looking for a way to spend an evening, this is usually #2 on my list behind an escape room. So finding a place that combined the two was a home run for me.
What struck me first with Alice’s Tee Time was how every single hole was a fully realized set. Each hole represents a different chapter of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, so there are nine different surprises to look forward to.
From the very start at the rabbit hole, all the way to dealing with the Queen of Hearts, fans of puzzles, fans of mini golf, and fans of Alice in Wonderland have something to look forward to. Even walking through the course without playing would be a treat to see the beautiful sets Rabbit Hole put together.
Most of the time in the game is spent on puzzles. Sometimes the hole isn’t accessible from the start. Other times your ball gets trapped somewhere and you need to solve a puzzle to free it. Sometimes you abandon your ball altogether. Rabbit Hole does a wonderful job mixing things up throughout the game to keep things fresh.
The golf shots are usually pretty straightforward except for one or two holes. I didn’t find myself needing to look for crazy bounces to get myself closer to the hole. It makes sense given this kind of game that the shots would be straightforward, because it means the final score will be more of a reflection of the players’ puzzle-solving. Not to say all the shots are easy, but the game definitely rewards players first and foremost for solving puzzles effectively.
We ended up with a really bad golf score but had a lot of fun getting there.
Overall, our trip to Rabbit Hole was one of the highlights of our Tampa trip, and it’s a must play for any escape room enthusiasts visiting the area.