Looking for an escape? Try Game Vault

Looking for an escape? Try Game VaultBy BRIAN COSNER

News Review Staff Writer

Are you ready to see how deep the rabbit hole goes? While the escape room at The Game Vault on Balsam Street may not be as mind-bending a journey as Alice’s to Wonderland, it’s probably the next best thing you can do without leaving Ridgecrest (or taking hallucinogenic drugs).

For those unfamiliar with escape rooms, the concept is this: you get locked in a room and you have a fixed amount of time to solve the puzzles necessary to find your way out. The premise is simple. The execution is the tricky part, and a part that The Game Vault developed exceptionally well.

The “Alice’s Dream” escape room experience is chock-full of riddles, puzzles and red herrings. It’s easy to get distracted and it’s important to keep an open mind and to work as a team – otherwise you may be in there longer than you bargained for.

The Game Vault team is tuned into your progress via discreetly positioned audiovisual surveillance and will let you know if you’re on the right track or give you hints if you absolutely need it. Without soliciting any major help from the employees, my wife and I – with my crack team of nieces and nephews – broke out just two minutes shy of the record.

Now, the idea is to go into an escape room with no knowledge of what awaits you so I can only say so much. But from the start, it’s clear the designers put a lot of detail into the setting. A heavy, metal vault door opens up to a wooded study where a tea party awaits you and your guests. You’ll soon discover there’s more than meets the eye and you face some “maddening” obstacles, dizzying encounters and head-turning puzzles before you can find your way back home.

As far as it goes for escape rooms, this was only my second experience so my sample size is admittedly small. But I eagerly await The Game Vault’s future installments. Owner Ryan Smith plans on expanding the endeavor to four to five different rooms with new themes rotating in periodically.

The entry fee is $40 per person, but rates drop to $32 per person for larger groups. The Game Vault currently accommodates parties of two-six people, but navigating the small space with six people was a tad crowded. Four people is the “magic number” according to Smith.

The Game Vault is located at 130 Balsam St., next to Mon Reve restaurant. While the outer facade is still under construction, the escape room is now open for business. To reserve your time slot, visit thegamevault.resova.us. For more information check out @TheGameVaultRC on Facebook.

Pictured: Brian Cosner (back row, center), solves “Alice’s Dream” with his wife Kathryn (front) and nieces and nephews (from left) Peter, Nina, Gabriel and Timmy Neipp. — Courtesy photo

Story First Published: 2019-12-13