If you know me at all, you know that one of my top obsessions is the escape room craze that’s sweeping Orlando. Escapology was my very first experience into this brilliant new (to America) phenomenon, and they set an almost unreasonable expectation for what an escape room should be. What I originally considered to be an intriguing concept immediately became a boundlessly alluring way to pass an hour, and I simply cannot get enough of this amazing concept. Apparently, it’s just as intriguing to many of my readers, because the question I’m asked most frequently is: what is an escape room? Short answer… just do it. I promise you’ll love it. Long answer… see the article linked above for a general description of the overall experience.
Each escape game (and each individual escape room attraction overall) is very different. My recommendation in a nutshell – don’t stop at just one! We’ve done three rooms at two locations, with plans to tackle a fourth room very soon. This week, we challenged ourselves with Escapology’s newest mind-bending game – Antidote!
Antidote is the fourth game to open at Escapology (seven rooms in total), and it is truly a masterpiece. On the drive over, I mused that one of these days, we’ll fail to escape. Something told me that this could be the time. I certainly hoped that wasn’t going to prove true. In this room, if you fail in your mission, you will suffer dire consequences… specifically, you’ll explode! (Disclaimer: Escapology does not actually kill those who cannot escape, but play along, if you will.)
As always, there’s so much I can’t tell you about this experience. We did it with no help, so you’re on your own as well! In fact… one time that we blatantly shouted that we needed a clue, our Game Master, Brad, stuck his head in and said “No, you don’t”. We couldn’t help but chuckle in terrified disbelief as the clock ticked away ever-so-rapidly. Believe me, when you’re in the throes of insane escapism, you’ll swear that they’re speeding up the seconds!
The story behind Antidote centers on the fictional Dr. William Brandt and the powerful deadly viruses he has been developing for a secret branch of the United States government. Once you breach the security of his highly-specialized laboratory, you’re subjected to a lethal virus, and you have only 60 minutes to decipher his sophisticated clues to recover the antidote that will secure your continued survival. Failure to do so means certain death, as the lab is rigged to self-destruct in a blaze of chemical glory.
We were warned pre-game that this one relies very heavily on teamwork, and that is an extremely accurate statement. One aspect specifically absolutely could not be conquered without critically considerate communication. The riddles, puzzles, and challenges of Antidote are very precise, and require deduction, careful thought, and keen observation. The effects and special touches that went into this room are incredibly impressive.
As luck would have it (or perhaps this was intentional as we played during the preview phase), our Game Master was one of the creative… or maybe “mad”… geniuses behind Antidote. He wore a proud, beaming grin every time we saw him. Even though he was not quick to offer the hints we helplessly and hopelessly cried out for, he had good reason. Every time we thought we were stuck, he simply pointed out that we weren’t as lost as we thought we were. Obviously, his lack of speedy hint-dropping was actually very thoughtful encouragement. We talked for a while with Brad after our great escape, and he shared some insight on his inspirations and aspirations behind Antidote. If you’re a fan of The Walking Dead, think “CDC”. Well played, Brad!!
My fear of utter defeat was almost a reality this time around. We did escape… but we only had SIX seconds to spare! SIX!! I have to confess, my knees were knocking, and my heart was racing. A perfectly exhilarating adrenaline rush, indeed! When we first arrived for our game, we encountered another Game Master who had just completed Antidote. After our escape, I completely understood why he was still working on calming himself from the experience. One word… INTENSE! Even though you know it’s not a “real” scenario, you get so caught up in the game that it actually starts to feel real. You get swept away by the story, and the absolute necessity to “survive” the ordeal. At the beginning, we always seem to find ourselves enjoying chuckle moments as we fumble and bumble our way through, but as the clock begins to tick with greater urgency, you’ll begin to believe it’s ticking louder and faster. The anxiety is enveloping, and the chaos takes hold. A positively impeccable outing for team-building, date night, or good old-fashioned family fun.
Escapology’s Antidote opens to the public on Friday, June 26. The game is designed for 2-6 player teams, so round up your smartest friends or loved ones. You’ll need every single brain cell you can gather! For more information, or to register, visit Escapology online. Follow Escapology on Twitter and Facebook for the latest news and special offers.