It’s an unusually warm January day in Maumee, and five strangers are locked in a serial killer’s lair.
Their only chance of survival is to find the clues hidden within two rooms to outsmart the madman. They only have 60 minutes to find the clues buried beneath body limbs, inside chests, the drawers of an office desk, and album titles written on blank CDs before the killer returns.
The Escape Game Experience at the Shops At Fallen Timbers, 3100 Main St. in Maumee next to Victoria’s Secret.
The game is open 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 3 to 11 p.m. Friday, 1 to 11 p.m. Saturday, and 1 to 9 p.m. Sunday.
Admission is $20 Wednesday and Thursday and $25 Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
For more information, visit escapegameexperiences.com.
Known as “Reaper: Escape the Serial Killer’s Lair,” it is one of two escape rooms within the Escape Game Experience at the Shops At Fallen Timbers, which opened Dec. 21.
It is the second escape room experience in the greater Toledo area. The first, Trapped Toledo, opened in 2014.
This particular group in Maumee beat the odds and escaped with only 5 minutes remaining.
“It was a lot of fun,” said Josh Mogk, 32, of Toledo, who has never experienced an escape room before visiting the Escape Game Experience. “This one was harder.”
He’s referring to the game’s other room, “Zombie Apocalypse,” which is a completely separate series of rooms full of brains, life-size monsters, and light projections with the same basic concept: Beat the clock to get out alive.
“This is a fun place,” said Myron St. John, founder of the Escape Game Experience.
St. John is the owner of Haunted X Enterprises LLC, a company that specializes in haunt consultation, design, production, and scare tactics, as well as haunted films and paranormal studies. He’s been a member of the Society of American Magicians, has knowledge of the paranormal and the occult, and was a producer and stunt coordinator for horror films like Fallen Angels and The Dead Matter.
The facility’s large lobby is one of several factors that St. John said separate his escape room from others; it can be used to host various events such as a child’s birthday party or a team-building exercise for work. He also noted that each escape scenario covers multiple rooms, allowing easier accessibility to props and clues during game play.
“This seems to be a very friendlier experience [compared with some] other game rooms,” St. John said.
As players search for clues to escape the room, their cell phones are left in a bin in the lobby, making the game a complete team effort.
“It’s about communicating,” St. John said.
While both St. John and Mogk both said the more people involved in a game the easier it is to find clues, there can be as few as two people to a game.
“We had six people last time for ‘Zombie Apocalypse’ and it gave us a chance to split up and look for other things while someone else was working on a clue,” Mogk said. ”More people [offers] different ways to look at things.”
The game’s location is another important factor of its success, St. John said.
After an hour of searching for an exit from the room, there is still time to shop, go see a movie at the theater, or eat at a restaurant nearby. St. John also said the amount of foot traffic from shoppers allows the escape room to be easily noticed at Fallen Timbers.
“This works great for us because everyone can see us,” he said.
While the facility has two escape room games, a third game will open soon. Known as the X Lab, it is inspired by the hit television series The X Files. The room will be a 30-minute game, designed for a maximum of four people.
Escape rooms have been around for about 10 years, and gained popularity within the last several years, even appearing on television shows like the Big Bang Theory, The Middle, and the Real Housewives of Atlanta.
“In the last year it’s really started to explode,” St. John said. “It’s becoming a really big thing.”
The founder already has more ideas lined up throughout the year, as he will change the rooms and puzzles every eight to 10 weeks depending on a specific room’s popularity.
The Escape Game Experience is the second company to open in the Toledo area. Trapped Toledo opened June, 2014, at 2410 Key St. in the Colonial Village Shopping Center. Both contribute to the more than 30 escape games across Ohio.
The Escape Game Experience at the Shops At Fallen Timbers, 3100 Main St. in Maumee next to Victoria’s Secret. The game is open 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 3 to 11 p.m. Friday, 1 to 11 p.m. Saturday, and 1 to 9 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $20 Wednesday and Thursday and $25 Friday, Saturday and Sunday. For more information, visit escapegameexperiences.com.
“This is something you can do for everyone,” St. John said. “Probably the only escape room you need to visit is this one because we have something for everybody.”
Contact Geoff Burns at: email@example.com or 419-724-6110.
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