Present, in August 2019, were: The Ant, Teenage Avenger
Granny and the Anthropomorphic Panda Avengers go global! Well, two of us, at least. Visiting the wonderful World of Disney, we reckoned Florida was a ripe environment for some incredibly immersive and hi-spec Escape Rooms. And we were kind of right. The weird thing is that Disney, Universal et al, just don’t do Escape Rooms. Even the ride queues are beautifully set up in an exit game way, but nope. Official theme park rooms are not (yet) a thing.
Fortunately though, the Orlando area does have a good choice of venues. We were a bit in the dark, but went with a company, Doldrick’s, that had been recommended and was conveniently just down the road from our apartment in Kissimmee. Like many non-Disney places in the area, it is unprepossessing from the outside, tucked behind a Burger King next to a tattoo parlour just off the strip. Don’t be put off, as this is a real gem.
Doldrick’s is powered by enthusiast owners – ex-Disney cast, so they understand customer service – with a real love for the genre. We could have stayed to chat for ages in their chilled-out lobby (with pool table) but we were on a tight holiday schedule. Unlike many US venues, Doldrick’s have only private bookings, so it was just Teenage Avenger and me. We chose the two-player and young-person friendly (ok, easier-sounding) option of Super Bomb Squad: Commandos Awesome. The game name alone told us that GATAPAE were with kindred spirits.
Our aim was to break into a top secret building, find the correct lab, disable the security systems and prevent the planted bomb from going off. That was actually quite a lot to remember (we were in holiday mode!) and we almost lost our way – mainly because we were having so much fun in the room. There were cute comic touches, especially with the clue system, and you know when you find a box of laser guns that you’ve going to have a good time…
As often happens when we play as a two, TA took charge with chunks of this game. At one point he disappeared off, while I was happily cracking some word puzzles, to reappear having completed a whole section on his own (still have no idea what it was, some complicated-looking engineering task). So if your teenage boy is bored of Disney cartoon characters and rollercoasters, this is a great game for them!
An interesting point made by the owners was that all their games are designed to be wheelchair-friendly and totally accessible. I was struggling to think of the last UK game we played that could say that – or certainly one that still manages to have a complex, immersive set. It must still be a squeeze to have wheels (or more than 3/4 players) in this space, but it is reflective of the thought and care that they put into their build. Special shout-out for their creative bomb too – the flashback to an early 80s lounge made me smile.
All-in-all, well worth travelling the 4000 miles for, and we really hope to go back soon to complete their other rooms – Red Sled Redemption At The Holly Jolly Holiday Hubcap Repair and Captain Spoopy Bones And The Magnificent Quest For Some Other Pirate’s Treasure. Love these guys!
- Storyline: Classic Mission Impossible-type theme.
- Theming and Set: Nicely done, not super-flashy but pleasingly immersive and interactive. Did struggle with light levels and colours a little.
- Searching: Not much.
- Puzzles: Satisfying intellectual puzzles and a fair mix of practicality and logic.
- Physicality: Some low-key (but entertaining) skills required.
- Scare factor: Not a disaster-scenario level of peril, just slightly frenetic fun.
- Company Age Guidance: “Our adventures are designed so that players of all ages and backgrounds can enjoy.”
- Age suitability: Ages 8 and up could join in with adult assistance.