Best of The Best

By Thomas Dunagan

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As most of you that follow along know that The Lost Room started out of a love for this industry. I design the games keeping the player at the forefront every step of the creative process. I gain inspiration through all sorts of avenues from board games, to movies, and most obviously other escape rooms. As of this writing I have now played 111 live escape games. Often times we get customers from all over the country but mostly in the Southeast region. I get asked fairly frequently what other escape games or companies are at the top of my list.

Now in some ways that’s a complex answer as I gauge my experience through a number of immeasurable thoughts and ideas during each of those endeavors. However, I do want to take a moment to give a list of 5 companies I think are stand-outs in this industry that I have personally played and enjoyed. I will caveat that I have played many great companies and do not want any other company reading this to think they are not-fantastic in their own way, but these are the ones that are my personal favorite for my own personal reasons.

Best Chain or Multi-location Company : The Escape Game (Multiple Locations)

The Escape Game is a company that is very hard to miss in the Southeast. They have nearly 20 locations and seem to be growing fast. They are based out of Nashville but have locations spread all throughout the United States. I have personally played two different locations in Nashville as well as their location in Atlanta. They have an arsenal of games to play and a few different games depending on what location you visit. They remind me of the Chick-Fil-A of escape rooms. They are clean, great customer service, and feature quality experiences. I have not played every game they have to offer but I imagine not a single game they have would be a dud. If you’re new to escape rooms this is a good company to check-out.

Games Played : Heist, Special Ops, Gold Rush, Playground

Personal Favorite : Playground

Best Quality Games at One Location : The Final Door (Columbia, SC)

Are you looking for a company that every game they offer is fantastic? Look no further than The Final Door in Columbia, SC. As of this writing, The Final Door offers four incredibly immersive rooms all of which have a unique spin on them in their presentation. How they put you into their games is such a unique take that is unnerving to say the least. They give you that desperate feeling of escaping the nightmare of Blackout or Sacrifice, or destroying the boss in Vampyr, and getting swept away in another dimension in Down the Rabbit Hole. I will say their games are definitely not very family friendly in regard to the content of their games as they have a bit of dark/creep factor to them – with the exception of Down the Rabbit Hole. I enjoyed all four of their games tremendously.

Games Played : Down the Rabbit Hole, The Sacrifice, The Vampyr, Blackout

Personal Favorite : The Vampyr

Best Mix of Fun and Flavor : Doldricks (Orlando, FL)

I had heard rumblings about an oddly named company called Doldricks. They were known to be one of the best in Orlando, FL. My expectations were high and lofty imagining Disney level set work and technology but discovered that my expectations were way off. As a matter of fact they are a very down to earth crew with a whimsical approach to game presentation. All of their rooms offer a unique challenge and a unique flow to the gameplay. I will say their rooms are the most “fun” I’ve had when playing an escape room. They are low stress and just have an over the top feel that I absolutely adore. This is a must play company.

Games Played : Super Bomb Squad, Captain Spoopy Bones, Red Sled Redemption, Spoopy’s Ghoulish Graveyard Gameshow

Personal Favorite : Super Bomb Squad

Best Potential : Exit Games FL (Clearwater, FL)

The Exit Games Fl is the toss-up here. They have created one of the more clever games I have encountered. This is technically their second location and their other is in Wilmington, NC which I have yet to visit. The one game they currently have is called Servants of Sleight. It is a 90 minute experience where you find yourself playing out a journey of becoming a part of this secret magicians society. It reminds me of the film Now You See Me. The gameplay is so incredibly smooth intertwined with incredibly diverse environments. It has its magic moments with a constant allure of mystery boiling ever closer to the surface. The owners are personable and are exactly the kind of people that make this industry incredible. Their new game is in development and I am incredibly excited to see what they have to offer next.

Games Played : Servants of Sleight

Personal Favorite : Servants of Sleight

Best All-Around : Escape Artists (Greenville, SC)

It’s amazing how I stumbled onto Escape Artists. Originally, I planned on booking a company in Atlanta and called to try and schedule some times. They never returned my call so found my self swinging out towards Escape Artists. A little unsure of what to expect, we initially booked two of their rooms. After playing the first, we convinced our team to book the rest of their games for the day. We ended up playing all five rooms they had to offer and we had a blast. Not only was every game we played fairly solid we discovered every staff member we encountered was absolutely lovely to interact with. Escape Artists has everything you want in an escape adventure and more. Their staff truly care about the guests experience as they themselves love escape rooms. I aspire that one day The Lost Room is much like Escape Artists in providing fun, memorable moments, and always putting our guests experience first.

Games Played : Dr. Fratelli’s Cabin, Inventor’s Enigma, Classified, Yuletide Magic, Starlight Motel, Fallout (retired)

Personal Favorite : Yuletide Magic