Call it role-playing with a time limit.

Call it role-playing with a time limit.

People who adore haunted houses or mystery novels with complicated clues might want to check out Eerie Escape in Reynoldsburg, where the motto is "One hour, one room, one mission -- can you escape?"

Eerie Escape opened in February at 7458 E. Main St. in old Reynoldsburg, offering escape-room adventures designed for two to 12 people.

Hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and 10 a.m. to midnight Fridays and Saturdays.

Husband and wife co-managers Antwine and Autam Chandler said escape rooms are popular on the West Coast, where they lived for several years before coming to Reynoldsburg.

"Escape rooms aren't as popular in the Midwest as they are on the West Coast and other parts of the world, so we wanted to bring the fun here," Autam Chandler said.

"First and foremost at Eerie Escape, we value people," she said. "We wanted to bring something new, fun and awesome to Reynoldsburg."

Because the concept is new to many, the Chandlers get a lot of questions.

"We get asked a lot, 'what is an escape room?'" Autam Chandler said.

"An escape room is an interactive game where you use hidden riddles, locks, puzzles and keys to find messages that will help you escape before time runs out."

Antwine Chandler said the escape-room experience is "basically like mystery dinner theater."

"Only in this scenario, you are the main characters, immersed in a scenario and trying to put clues together to escape in just one hour," he said.

Scenarios are not always scary, Autam Chandler said.

"Visitors choose their scenario, ranging from not scary at all to totally gross and gruesome," she said. "We use a game guide to help you through the game."

She said the game guide watches and listens through closed-circuit television and offers clues if the group gets stumped by a puzzle.

In one of the scenarios, called, "Dia de los Muertos" (Day of the Dead), the group learns it has taken a trip to Mexico and people known only as "La Sombra" (The Shadow) use the Day of the Dead festival as an opportunity to prey on unsuspecting tourists.

As the story unfolds, group members are told they begin to feel disoriented and they all pass out. When they wake up, they are trapped in an unknown room with hidden clues and only one hour to escape.

"We make our scenarios as unique as possible," Antwine Chandler said. "As far as we know, our themes, storylines and ideas are not like others in area cities."

He said the experience "is not a typical night out."

"Our visitors will have an awesome time interacting in a new way with others in a social environment," he said. "Many of our customers can't wait to come back."

So what happens if a group gets totally stumped?

"We aim for a 60-70 percent escape rate, so many groups are able to escape the room, although that may require clues from the game guide during the game," Autam Chandler said. "If a group doesn't escape, they are typically really close to the end."

She said the game guide could go into the room for a "debrief" to get feedback and explain the remaining clues to escape.

"This is a great opportunity for the group to reflect and laugh as they relive what they've just experienced," she said.

Family adventures also are possible.

"We have many children that visit and often do birthday parties," Autam Chandler said. "We don't have a strict age limit, but typically, visitors are at least age 8 or 9. I would say a 5-year-old isn't going to be very helpful in solving the riddles and puzzles."

She said young groups tend do better than more mature crowds.

"The younger groups take more risks and make fewer assumptions," she said. "Those things really work in your favor as a player."

Antwine Chandler called Reynoldsburg, "an awesome growing place, especially Old Town Reynoldsburg on Main Street, where we are located. There is so much room for growth and we are proud to have invested in the area."

Information is available online at EerieEscape.com.

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