I Too Have a Bit of a Dark Side
Get out before her “bad” side gets you… You’ve squarely got my attention. Growing up, my favorite wrestler was the Undertaker, I had an on again-off again love affair with vampires well before all the glittery Twilight vampire hoopla became a thing (Team Alice by the way), and my parents actually once heard me utter some sort of ridiculous nonsense about why it would be fun to sleep in a coffin instead of a bed. Needless to say, when I stumbled across the concept for SPLIT on the Lakeland Escape Room’s website, I couldn’t wait to see what kind of dark and twisted tale they conjured up.
As a member of the Escape Junkies, I have seen many locations try and fail to create a creepy or mysterious ambiance. When a story has darker elements, its wonderful when the uneasiness you feel isn’t solely the result of jump scares or a haphazard collection of gnarly looking Halloween props. Full disclosure…while I didn’t personally fall victim to any jump scares, it was really enjoyable to watch it happen to a few of my teammates. On one occasion, much to my delight, this resulted in a fellow Junkie’s initial flat-out refusal to set foot within a certain area of the room.
SPLIT offers a uniquely unsettling atmosphere, and this is exemplified by Nina’s room. Much like SPLIT’s logo, which features both Nina and her darker side, the decor in the room is also split smack dab down the middle. On one side you’re treated to a pristine setting fit for a princess. On the other, you’re confronted with a dingier more uninviting theme, complete with some interesting ‘alterations’ to some of the toys.
Lakeland Escape Room also did a excellent job of finding ways to incorporate the room’s puzzles directly into the fabric of Nina and Gina’s world. Most of the puzzles we encountered felt like they 100% belonged in the space and could have been the genuine result of Nina (or in some cases Gina) trying to communicate with us through the material world.
The Not So Good
While the Escape Junkie’s managed to escape Gina’s wrath (and had a memorable time doing so), if two things had been a little different, it may have led to an even more enjoyable experience. First, we encountered a bit of a ‘princess problem’. Sometimes the solution to a puzzle just doesn’t come to your group. It happens to the best of us. But when your hint is more or less asking if you have the solution and the game master can’t explain it to you clearly after your successful escape (maybe it was just an off day for them, for us, for both?), it can be a little ‘dispiriting’ (pun most certainly intended, so as not to let Escape Junkie Kyle have all the fun).
Update: Turns out it was a little of both! The folks from Lakeland Escape Room reached out to us and it turns out we had the correct solution. Some miscommunication among our team members is likely what led to the confusion with the game master. Kudos to them for going above and beyond for customer satisfaction!
Second, while the size of the room wasn’t a claustrophobia-inducing experience, having a full squad of 8 Escape Junkies was a little tight at times. There were a few situations where it was hard for everyone to be fully involved, and at least one instance where it was hard to keep out of each others way after a particularly interesting development (patience may not be our strongest suit…). If you are booking SPLIT soon, and I wholeheartedly encourage you to do so, I would recommend a group size closer to 6.
The concept behind SPLIT is incredibly original and Lakeland Escape Room did an excellent job of creating a disturbingly believable representation of Nina’s fractured world. The issue we experienced with one of the puzzles left our group wanting a little more, but Nina and Gina’s story shined, and I personally can’t wait to experience the next story that Lakeland Escape Room dreams up.
- Location: Lakeland Escape Room
- Time Limit: 60 Minutes
- Number of Players: 2-8 (The Junkies Recommend 6)
- Recommended Skill Level: Intermediate