ESCAPE ROOM REVIEW – THE QUICK AND DIRTY
Play if… you’re short on time and want to scratch that escape room itch.
Avoid if… you dislike rooms with literally no story.
Gulf Coast Escape Room Destin at Harborwalk Village:
Address: 34 Harbor Blvd, Unit 102, Destin, FL 32541 (click address for Google Map)
Contact and Website: 850-460-8760
The Room – Bates Motel:
Description (from the company website): You find yourself trapped in one of the many rooms in Bates Hotel. You have 30 min to find your way out before you become the next on Normans list.
Difficulty (1-10): None listed
Time Limit: 30 minutes
Party Size: Can book up to 8
Staging Area: Small waiting area with a bench or two but plenty of standing room.
Metro Access/Parking: There’s a parking lot alongside the harbor that’s basically in the middle. You’ll need to drive or get a lyft (see what I did there?).
This is the video we took before we entered the room:
Jason didn’t do a post-room video but he reserves the right to do so and update this page.
Description of the room: It’s a small room with 3 pieces of furniture + a bed and pictures on the walls.
Understanding of the Mission: Um…Escape
Did We Escape: Yes
Time Remaining: Time left on the clock was 1:31, however, as the GMs went to reset the other rooms, my GM left his walkie-talkie elsewhere so I had to emergency-key it out of there and make a scene (read: call for help), so more like 3 and change.
Our Suggested Party Size: I can’t say I’d recommend more than 4 (first because it’d be cramped, and second because there’s honestly not a lot to do.
Did the room challenge the entire team? Yes, but in the wrong ways. Read on.
Members of our team (other than the ERG): It was just little old me (Jason).
Worth the time and money? No
Where to Eat/Drink Before/After:
- AJ’s Seafood and Oyster Bar – I went there beforehand and had the fish tacos. Very good. Only about a 5 minute lolly-gag to get to the room.
|Overall Expectation (Summary)|
|This was kind of a last minute thing. As I was wandering the boardwalk on my last night in Florida (day-job work-trip), I stumbled upon those 2 glorious words: “escape” and “room”. So, I opened the door and in I went.
I was greeted by 3 very nice employees and, after explaining I was in town by myself (there may or may not have been some minor begging), I was allowed to purchase entry into one of their 30 minute rooms. (I think the fact that they had 30 minute rooms made it easier to allow me in on my own.)
|There was basically no story. You’re in the Bates Motel, a la Psycho, and you need to get out of the room before you are found and murdered.
|I can name that tune in 3 words: escape the room. (This may end up being my shortest review ever…)
|Puzzle Diversity (Rating)|
|Ok so let’s see. Key and combination locks. That’s it. Remember, 30 minute room, so only like 6-8, not to mention the combination to exit the room (it was one of these door locks). Thankfully, I knew how to use it because I do not recall being shown. I mean, clearly you press the buttons but do you have to press the top button first/last? How do I know if it’s wrong? (The top button lights up green or red for right or wrong, respectively.)
That said, half the padlocks were just finding keys around the room to open them. One was somewhat deduction. There was even a “custom” pigpen cipher (and I say “custom” because it wasn’t just this) but the combination, after getting the first 2 letters, was predictable.
|Puzzle Complexity (Rating)|
|Here’s where I really shit the bed (I kind of wish I was being literal…lol). But before I go into any detail, a HUGE…
So, I was originally told by Alex, my GM (who ended up sharing those duties with Blair (if I remember her name right), that the first thing I had to do was find 4 keys about the room. You really can’t move anywhere else unless you find them. Welp, forgot about that. What I DID find, though, involved flipping something over, which I was not expecting (and honestly something I do NOT like doing in an ER). That was really my only stumbling block. There’s a reason the current record is 15 minutes.
I just blatantly did NOT search for the keys; I did everything else you would normally do, though. Including flipping the mattress over (that’s the spoiler in case you were wondering). Again, don’t like having to do that. Additionally, one of the puzzles involved reading numbers off the key tags. I asked for a code check and was told 3 of the 4 were correct. Well, at the end, after Alex came in when I was done, I said, yeah, no, that’s definitely not what you’re saying it is. I can clearly see a different number. DEMERIT!
Other than that, once I hit the ending, I flew through it (as Alex pointed out).
Nothing was terribly hard, I just screwed up. If Mike were there, we’d’ve been out in 15 minutes, at the most. :/
|The best thing about this room was the décor, IMO. It was a dingy room, minimally furnished. Looked pretty much like a cheap motel you’d take…nevermind.
At least that’s what I suspect they were going for. Like I said earlier, there wasn’t much to really latch onto for anything to flow (but that’s more so the effect of a 30 minute room, I suspect, especially one that can be done in 15 minutes). While there were 4 tiny pathways concluding in another single pathway, it felt incredibly linear (and yes, I realize that’s partially because I was there myself, but you find a key, use it, done until they combine for the final path).
There was no real progression of story and the puzzles really only came to a head at the end because you have to find everything needed to unlock one lock before you get the door combo. So, I can’t fully fault the room here for that. However, we’ve seen this all before.
|I think I had a better time joking around with the GMs than actually being in this room. I’m not a huge fan of just looking for keys to open everything and…|
|Game Master (Summary)|
|…I was particularly annoyed that they didn’t take the walkie with them (even though I’m supposed to be what you’d call an “expert”). Alex was funny though, I will give him that.|
|How Helpful Were Any Clues Given, if any (Summary)|
|Sigh, yes, I used all 3. 1 because I’m stupid and forgot to look for the keys, and the other 2 because I just thought I was doing shit wrong, but it was more a second-guessing of myself than anything.|
|RAGE Meter Score|
|3 fists here (“This time he used fists…” [please, someone get that reference…]). Equally split between the room itself and my inability to follow directions…
ESCAPE ROOM GUYS’ OVERALL SCORING 2.6/10
Final Thought: Gulf Coast is conveniently located on the harbor walk (boardwalk, whatever), and I really chalk this dismal score up to the lack of time available to this room (30 vs 60 minutes). Though, if you remember A Nightly Reminder…
If I were in the area with people, I’d do the Alice room for sure because I have to do an Alice room when I see one. However, one of the groups that came in after I had been hanging out that did one of the 60 minute rooms (there were 6-8 of them in the group) I ran into on my way back to the car and they said their room was also incredibly linear, so grain of salt? Until next time I guess.