Escape Room Family – Castle Adventure [Review]

Fun for all ages.

Location:  Cincinnati, Ohio

Date Played: February 25, 2019

Team size: up to 10; we recommend 4-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $23.43 per player

Ticketing: Public

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

We had a ball in Castle Adventure. This family friendly game worked for all ages and experience levels.

We energetically worked through puzzles to earn balls that we had to toss into a goal to earn points. Our objective wasn’t to win or lose, but to earn enough points to land ourselves a medal. (We won gold!)

Escape Room Family provides fun for all ages. The challenges in Castle Adventure varied widely in difficulty… which was great because there was so much to do.

In-game: An assortment of puzzles and armaments in Defend The Castle.

Escape Room Family was a testament to the power of structure. By splitting the game into 2 30-minute segments, shifting the objective, and putting a us in a bright and friendly environment, Castle Adventure felt like an entirely different experience… even though it was very much an escape room.

If you’re anywhere near Cincinnati, Escape Room Family’s Castle Adventure is a must play, whether or not you’re with your family.

Who is this for?

  • Families
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Any experience level
  • Players who don’t need to be a part of every puzzle

Why play?

  • Approachable, interactive puzzles
  • Tangible interactions
  • The scoring mechanism
  • To win a medal

Story

Castle Adventure was a two-part game. In one segment, we defended a castle from within its walls; in the other we attacked a castle from the outside.

These two acts could be played in either order.

In-game: A shot of Attack The Castle's set, a painted castle wall behind a tent.

Setting

Castle Adventure consisted of two different 30-minute escape games: Attack The Castle & Defend The Castle. We had a short break between the two to grab a cup of water or buy candy and juice boxes in the lobby.

Both castle environments were bright and friendly containers for puzzles and challenges. The sets were covered in props and set dressing that abstractly and non-threateningly conveyed the notion that we were playing a medieval castle game.

In-game: Some of Attack The Castle's colorful physically tangible puzzles.

Gameplay

Escape Room Family’s Castle Adventure was an atypical escape room. The two-part staging with the break in the middle – designed to cater to children and families – was unusual.

It had a score-based system. Teams don’t need to complete all the puzzles to succeed at Castle Adventure. It’s less about winning and losing and more about achieving a high enough score to earn a medal.

Solving puzzles earned us foam balls that we had to then toss into the scoring basket.

In-game: The score track with a large basket at the top between two thrones.

Castle Adventure had a varied level of difficulty. While there were certainly challenging puzzles, there were also fun tasks that weren’t hard at all.

In-game: Closeup of the score track filled to 500 points with balls.

Core gameplay revolved around observing, making connections, puzzling, unlocking, and tossing balls into the goal.

Analysis

βž• Castle Adventure was bright, open, and welcoming. It had minimal set decor, but it was definitely a castle. The abstract look worked well.

βž• The puzzles in Castle Adventure encouraged teamwork. We usually needed or wanted multiple people to work together on a puzzle. Escape Room Family built some unusual mechanisms to facilitate this.

βž– Escape Room Family built a lot of custom props and set pieces for Castle Adventure. Some of these lacked durability. Higher build quality would go a long way to making sure these games continue to look good and play well over time.

βž• It was fun to unlock a solve in Castle Adventure with the beautiful, hefty keys. We loved this unlocking mechanic. With each key open, we could experience the excitement of solving a puzzle twice.

βž• We increased our score as we solved puzzles. The scoring mechanic added physicality for high energy kids and a familiarity for kids who might be shy to approach the escape room puzzles. We could track our progress as we played.

βž• When you win at Escape Room Family, you get a medal. You can return and play again to try to win a medal of another color. These prizes were a nice touch.

In-game: Closeup of the schore track showing how many points we needed to earn a silver or gold medal.

❓ Escape Room Family was a part of The Seven Forces, which also operates Cincinnati Escape Room and The Summons. Some puzzle types repeated across the different games we played at these companies. While the solutions may be different, the aha moment didn’t exist a second time. Since The Seven Forces targets different audiences at their different locations, most players won’t encounter this issue.

βž• Castle Adventure was almost entirely non-linear. We could approach almost any puzzle at any time. Escape Room Family didn’t offer hints, but they didn’t need to. There was always plenty to work on and teams don’t need to solve every puzzle to win a medal. (We didn’t solve one puzzle and its corresponding metapuzzle).

βž– We found a particular portion of Defend The Castle especially challenging and would have preferred to play it as our second round.

βž• We loved the frantic moments that Castle Adventure dropped on us. It was frenetic, silly, and a delightful way to close out each round.

βž• The break between the 30-minute rooms made a lot of sense. A hour can be a long time for kids. Escape Room Family games build in a snack and bathroom break. This structure also enables Escape Room Family to entertain larger groups, such as birthday parties, by splitting the group between the two episodes and then swapping them for the second half. Escape Room Family also has a video feed of the games in their lobby so that additional family and friends can watch from outside the room. I imagine it’s exciting to be hanging out in the lobby as a group plays the final minute of Castle Adventure.

Tips For Visiting

  • There is a parking lot.
  • While Escape Room Family is geared toward kids and families, we played as 4 adults and we had a ton of fun. You don’t need to be a family to enjoy this style of escape room.

Book your hour with Escape Room Family’s Castle Adventure, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Escape Room Family comped our tickets for this game.

Chained: A Victorian Nightmare – [Review]

The Ghost of Dickens’ Future.

Location:  New York City, NY

Date Played: March 14, 2019

Team size: 1

Duration: 20 minutes

Price: $60 for Chained or $150 for Chained + The Story Arcade

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Chained: A Victorian Nightmare was an elegant mixed reality experience that blended live acting and VR into a personalized reimagining of A Christmas Carol.

I really enjoyed it. I’ve thought about it a lot since experiencing it (evidence can be found in my dramatic overthinking of one portion, which you’ll find scrawled across the tail end of the Analysis section.)

The promo art for Chained: A Victorian Nightmare features an ornate door with a wolf's head knocker.

This experience ran right along the edge of what we cover here on Room Escape Artist. It didn’t involve puzzles or gameplay… but I did have agency, and the experience was different because I was the participant versus someone else. Those differences were small or exclusively existed in my own head… but I was the sole participant, so we’re going to count it.

My biggest knock against Chained was the price. At $60 for 15 minutes, I’m not sure that it’s worth it for most people… which is a shame, because it really was a beautiful, intimate, and personal experience. Solo experiences can get expensive.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Story seekers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Best for people who like their experiences packed with feels
  • Any experience level

Why play?

  • Fantastic live acting
  • Wonderful VR
  • It was thought and feeling provoking

Story

I stepped into my own Dickensonian nightmare in the spirit of A Christmas Carol.

Setting

Chained: A Victorian Nightmare was a mixed reality experience that opened and closed in a small, beautifully designed real world set. The bulk of the experience took place in VR.

I think that there were 2 actors involved (although I’d be lying if I said that I knew for certain how many people were in the space with me). The actors were fantastic.

Gameplay

Chained: A Victorian Nightmare didn’t really have gameplay. It asked questions, demanded responses, and then left me to figure out what it meant to me.

Analysis

βž• Chained: A Victorian Nightmare was a stellar representation of mixed reality. The use of real life and digital spaces was about as strong as anything that I’ve ever seen.

βž•/βž– The transition points – where the VR headset was put on and removed – were about as smooth as possible. It’s not really possible, given current technology, to do this elegantly, but they made it as simple as I can imagine strapping a television and speakers to my head can be.

βž• The acting was phenomenal. The performances were sincere and haunting.

βž• The choice of source material and subject matter was really smart. Casting the participant in the position of Scrooge and then creating nightmares to force reflection was a clever way to quickly take me on an emotional journey.

❓ They asked some seriously personal questions. While I’m sure that they had a way to deal with a participant not answering, it really felt like I had to give a response. This didn’t bother me, but I know some people who would be uncomfortable or perturbed by this.

❓ Spoiler Warning: In the experience, they posed the question “What do you miss most about being a child?” This question has been nagging at me, because I think that I lied… but I also don’t know what the true answer to it is. It’s possible that it’s just me, but this one question feels really difficult to pin down a single answer to.

“Childhood” is a really long span of time to choose one thing from. I’m also not sure when childhood begins and ends? I can think of a dozen different moments where I could say that “I stopped being a child” and none of them are completely true or false. It’s a gradual thing. While I’m certain that I’m an adult today, I don’t know when it happened or what it even means.

βž– Chained: A Victorian Nightmare was really expensive. $60 is a lot to ask for a 15-20 minute experience.

βž• There was a lovely post-experience cool down, which was a great addition because things got a bit heavy.

Tips For Visiting

Booking is not always available. I experienced Chained: A Victorian Nightmare at its FoST exhibit at the New York City Story Arcade Pop-Up. I don’t know when or where it will be available next..

If it comes to your city, book your session with Chained: A Victorian Nightmare, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you

Disclosure: Chained: A Victorian Nightmare comped our tickets for this game.

San Francisco: Join us for Escape the Palace & a talk!

As part of Escape, Immerse, Explore: The Palace this June, Palace Games will be running a special session of Escape the Palace.

We invite San Francisco locals and anyone who might be in town that weekend to join us for this event.

Escape Immerse Explore Palace logo, uses art deco design elements.

Details

  • Sunday, June 2
  • Palace Games (3362 Palace Drive, San Francisco, CA 94123)
  • 9:30am – Talk by Lisa and David, light breakfast served
  • 11:00am – Escape the Palace

Why Join?

  • Escape the Palace is only available for groups of 30 or more people. This is your chance to play.
  • Lisa and David will give a talk. It will be informative and funny.
  • You’ll get to meet enthusiasts from all over the country who are in town for this event. This is a great group of folks to hang out with!
  • You can spend some time chatting with Lisa and David.
  • If you’ve already played The Great Houdini Escape Room, The Roosevelt Escape Room, and The Edison Escape Room and you’re eagerly awaiting their 4th escape room… this is your chance to be back at Palace Games in between.

Questions?

To learn more about Escape, Immerse, Explore: The Palace, visit the Palace Tour page of our website.

If you have specific questions about booking Escape the Palace / Talk Tickets, please contact us.

EscapeSF – Escape from Blind Tiger Bar [Review]

Assembling the naughty list.

Location:  San Francisco, California

Date Played: February 21, 2019

Team size: 2-6; we recommend 2-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: from $89 for teams of 2 to $179 for teams of 6

Ticketing:  Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock 

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Escape from Blind Tiger Bar has been a regional favorite among San Francisco escape room players for a few years and we understand why. It had some really unusual and exciting elements. Had we played this game a couple of years ago, it absolutely would have wowed us… Today, we simply enjoyed it.

EscapeSF’s speakeasy-inspired escape room was solid. While its middle segment could have offered something a bit more interesting, it had an impressive opening scene and some wonderful concluding moments.

All in all, this was a good game as long as you control your expectations. While visiting San Francisco, we strongly recommend that you play EscapeSF’s Space Bus, a fantastic game that shows where this company is headed.

In-game: The Blind Tiger Bar with a beautifuly antique cash register.

Who is this for?

  • Puzzle lovers
  • Players with at least some experience

Why play?

  • An interesting start
  • An explosive conclusion

Story

It was the height of Prohibition and we wanted to acquire a speakeasy. Instead of funding our own illegal business, we’d decided to sneak into an existing one with the goal of finding the names of its owners and stealing their ledger. After that, the police would take care of the owners and we’d have ourselves a new illicit drinking establishment.

In-game: a worn Colt M1911 pistol.

Setting

Escape from Blind Tiger Bar began with us in an alleyway surrounded by doors for all sorts of businesses. Initially, we had to determine which door hid the speakeasy. From that point, we spent the duration of the game within the illegal bar surrounded by liquor bottles and the various props that one would expect to find in a bar.

This escape game had been around for quite a few years when we played it. It was showing its mileage.

In-game: Liquor bottles on a shelf.

Gameplay

EscapeSF’s Escape from Blind Tiger Bar was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around searching, observing, and puzzling.

Analysis

βž• We enjoyed the structure of Escape from Blind Tiger Bar. EscapeSF sandwiched standard escape room gameplay between inventive opening and closing sequences.

βž• The themed set was charming. We especially loved one pivotal prop. It was a true antique and a ton of fun to engage with.

βž– Escape from Blind Tiger Bar was an older game and the set and props were a bit worn.

βž– There was a lot to uncover. We found the searching to be varying degrees of boring and fuzzy. These solves generally felt uninteresting and arbitrary.

βž• We enjoyed the more puzzley puzzles.

βž– One puzzle could be solved out of sequence with just a bit of common outside knowledge.

βž• The gameplay had consequences. Our choices through one sequence determined how our experienced resolved.

βž– In the moment, we made a conscious decision, but not a knowing one. It wasn’t clear as we played that there would be consequences.

βž•/ βž– As we played Escape from Blind Tiger Bar, we couldn’t help but feel like there were missed opportunities in this game. We believe this is a matter of timing and perspective. When Escape from Blind Tiger Bar was introduced, it pushed the envelope. Today it isn’t as surprising as it was a few years back. That doesn’t take away from the game EscapeSF built, but it does change the way it feels to a well-traveled escape room player.

Tips For Visiting

  • There is a paid parking garage across the street.
  • We enjoyed dim sum at the nearby Great Eastern Restaurant.
  • There were steps down from the lobby to Escape from Blind Tiger Bar.

Book your hour with EscapeSF’s Escape from Blind Tiger Bar, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: EscapeSF provided media discounted tickets for this game.

Mission Escape Games – Escape the Hydeout: The Mystery of Henry Jekyll [Re-Review]

Transformation

Location:  New York, NY

Date Played: March 15, 2019

Team size: up to 6; we recommend 2-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $30 per player

Ticketing: Public

Emergency Exit Rating: [A] Push To Exit

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

We returned to Mission Escape Games to play the significantly updated Escape The Hydeout 8 days shy of the 4th anniversary of us playing the original version.

In-game: An elegant study with red and wood walls. The trophy of a buck hangs over a fireplace.

Years later, Escape The Hydeout remains one of our favorite introductory escape games. Mission Escape Games solidified this by ramping up their set design and smoothing over the puzzle flow.

To give you a sense of history… our original review dates back to the days when we wouldn’t have even thought to assess set design.

The current iteration of the game was an aesthetically beautiful, incredibly fair escape room with just enough excitement to hook newbies without scaring them off.

If you’re new to escape rooms, Escape The Hydeout is a must-play. (It’s available in Anaheim, CA, Philadelphia, PA, West Hartford, CT, and New York City.) If you’re a veteran escape room player, this is a well-designed, well-executed room that likely won’t blow your mind.

Who is this for?

  • Puzzle lovers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Any experience level
  • Players who don’t need to be a part of every puzzle

Why play?

  • An elegant set
  • Silky smooth puzzle flow
  • Beginner friendly

Story

The good Doctor Jekyll had been acting strange and had then disappeared. We’d been hired to find him.

In-game: A bookshelf in an elegant study.

Setting

Escape The Hydeout had a beautiful Victorian aesthetic. The set wasn’t complicated, but it looked fantastic.

In-game: A chair beside a chess table and a globe in a study.

Gameplay

Mission Escape Games’ Escape the Hydeout was a standard escape room with an approachable level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around searching, puzzling, observing, and making connections.

In-game: a green walled, room with a chess board, chair, and globe.
The original, March 2015

Analysis

βž• We really loved the puzzles and flow of this game. This was true 4 years ago and these aspects have been further refined in the current version. It was always clear when we’d solved a solution. The game drew our attention to new opens.

βž• The set was fantastic. It was elegant, atmospheric, and deliberate. The audio especially added ambiance.

βž– There was a strong theme as well as allusion to story, but the story wasn’t a strong presence in Escape the Hydeout. We found the audio introduction to the story hard to follow.

βž• While there were written clues and codes in this escape room, we never read them off sheets of paper. They were carved into or otherwise embedded into tangible materials that looked and felt like they belonged in the world.

βž• There were some good reveals and well-executed tech.

βž– Still, 4 years later, Escape the Hydeout lacked the kind of epic or climactic moments that make us feel like a game is a must-play for experienced players.

βž• The emergency exit button works well. We… umm… might have had a teammate “test” it.

In-game: Closeup of a glowing red Emergency Exit button.

Tips For Visiting

  • Mission Escape Games has moved! They are now located in midtown. Take the A/C/E subway to Penn Station or Port Authority.
  • We recommend Black Iron Burger for a post-game meal.

Book your hour with Mission Escape Games’ Mission Escape Games’ Escape the Hydeout, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Mission Escape Games comped our tickets for this game.

What Does REA Cover?

Where is the line between what we will and won’t cover on Room Escape Artist?

We’ve grappled with this quite a bit over the years. Sometimes it’s really simple and straightforward. Sometimes it has required a lot more thought.

Many umbrellas open and hovering between buildings.

Escape Rooms

Ok, this one is a no-brainer. If it’s an escape room or relevant news about the industry, it’s our bread and butter.

I’m not going to belabor this.

Experiences

We love immersive theatre, conventional theatre, and magic. We don’t write up these experiences, however, unless they meet some specific criteria.

The questions that we ask ourselves are:

  • Did we have agency?
  • Was the experience different because one of us was in it, instead of if someone else had bought that ticket?
  • Should the escape room community be aware of it?

If we don’t have agency and the experience was so on rails that substituting different participants would have zero impact on the show, then it’s not for us… unless we feel that the experience is doing something that escape room people should know about.

If it’s purely immersive theatre, then it’s the territory of our friends over at No Proscenium.

Puzzles

If it’s puzzley, we’re interested. We might not cover it, however, because there are lots of puzzles in the world, but we’re down to investigate it.

That said, we tend to steer clear of some of the more extreme or specialized puzzles and experiences. We might occasionally write about this kind of stuff, but there are more knowledgeable and experienced people writing about crossword puzzles or puzzle hunts like The MIT Mystery Hunt.

Tabletop Games

We’ll cover tabletop puzzle experiences… or tabletop games that really feel like puzzles. We also cover tabletop escape games, a growing category of tabletop games.

We’re big board gamers, but we don’t write about them often unless they meet the criteria above.

Video Games

Video games are great… but whether or not we will cover them comes down to how much puzzle content is in them.

Sensory Mysteries

We started reviewing mystery flavor stuff mostly as a joke… but people seem to enjoy the content. While we usually hate the flavors of this stuff, we do have a lot of fun writing about them.

All Subject To Change

We’ll continue covering what we enjoy writing about and what people seem to respond to when we publish it.

We’ve evolved quite a bit over the past few years. I’m quite confident that much of this will change over the coming years.

It’s important to define what we are and what we aren’t. This is where we are today (1,222 blog posts over 4.5 years).

Speaking at the Escape Summit in Ontario, Canada

πŸ‘‹ Canadians.

I’m really excited to announce that I’ll be delivering a talk on day 2 of The Escape Summit, a conference for escape room professionals.

Unfortunately, I’ll be traveling alone as Lisa has other commitments… so I’ll only be speaking with half of our collective brain.

Escape Summit logo featuring a key in two conversation bubbles.

Details

  • Fleming College
  • 599 Brealey Drive, Peterborough, ON, K9J 7B1, Canada
  • May 27-28, 2019

My Talk

The Player Perspective

“In this talk, David Spira of RoomEscapeArtist.com will provide context and recommendations for anyone opening or operating an escape room business in 2019. People enter escape rooms from a diverse array of backgrounds. This talk will cover how the bar has been raised in this industry and pitfalls you need to look out for. It will also address strengths and weaknesses of industry players from other backgrounds; painting a picture of where this industry has evolved from and where it might go. “

Other Speakers

Our dear friends Errol and Manda of the Room Escape Divas will each deliver talks. (If Errol doesn’t sing something, I’ll be disappointed.)

One of my favorite escape game designers, Rob Leveille from The Crux Escape Rooms, will be giving a talk as well. I’m a bit sad that we’re scheduled for the same slot because I would have liked to hear his talk… such is conference life.

There are a number of other knowledgeable folks speaking as well. It should be a great time.

Call For Teammates?

I’m trying to put together a dense schedule of games in the greater Toronto area on Sunday, May 26th.

If teaming up with me sounds like something that you’d be interested in… drop a comment or send me a message.

I hope to see you next month.

Ravensburger – Submarine Escape Puzzle [Review]

Puzzle shark, doo doo doo doo doo doo

Location:  at home

Team size: We recommend 1-4

Duration: Β―\_(ツ)_/Β―

Price: $25

Publisher: Ravensburger

REA Reaction

With a vibrant look, Submarine stood out aesthetically among the first wave of Ravensburger Escape Puzzles.

From a puzzle solving standpoint, this installment pretty much nailed it… except for one noteworthy issue: a puzzle that didn’t quite resolve correctly. While this didn’t break the game, if this were your first attempt at an Escape Puzzle, it would be a harsh and confounding ending.

If you’ve already enjoyed an Escape Puzzles or 2, Submarine would be fantastic. Just watch out for a bit of confusion near the conclusion and you’ll have a good time.

An assortment of unconnected jigsaw puzzle pieces.

Series Overview

This review only covers details specific to this individual Ravensburger Escape Puzzle.

For a detailed explanation of the concept and mechanics, and a general analysis of the entire product line, check out our Ravensburger Escape Puzzle Overview.

Story

While wandering the harbor in San Juan, Puerto Rico, we’d happened upon an old man and his submarine. He’d previously used the boat to explore wrecks, but he’d grown too old for sea adventures and had offered the sub to us. We’d accepted and he explained its inner workings to us… but we’d been bored by this.

As soon as we’d pulled away from the dock, something broke and we sank to the bottom of the sea. We had to figure out what to do to survive.

Portion of an assembled jigsaw puzzle featuring a shark, and fish swimming around a wreck.
Submarine

Analysis

βž• The jigsaw puzzle was vibrant. It featured great art.

βž• It was a moderately challenging, but fair assembly. There was a lot of blue, but there were also lots of fish and details to help pull everything together.

Ravensburger's Submarine Escape Puzzle box art. depicts the 759 piece count and an undersea view filled with fish and a shark.

❓ We found most of the “escape room” puzzles to be a touch easier than those in the other Escape Puzzles released in Ravensburger’s first wave.

βž– The story in the instructions featured a choppy English translation.

βž– One of the puzzle solutions was at best lacking a significant clue… but it was probably just an incorrect inversion of the numbers. This was disappointing, but it wasn’t game-breaking… especially if you’ve played other Escape Puzzles and have a sense of how they work.

Closeup of a puzzle element depicting three different types of fish.
If you’re struggling on this puzzle… you’re probably right and the game is wrong.
Broken Puzzle:

The actually correct answer to the above fish puzzle is 846.

For unclear reasons, the game reports the correct solution as 462. We stared at this thing with a few really experienced puzzlers (including 2009 US Sudoku National Champion, Tammy McLeod) and we couldn’t imagine a way to get 462. I have to believe that this was a typo.

[collapse]

βž• The concluding meta-puzzle was another clever solution. Ravensburger pushed this game mechanic considerably farther than we’d expected.

BUY IT NOW

Buy your copy of Ravensburger’s Submarine Escape Puzzle, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Ravensburger provided a sample for review.

(If you purchase via our Amazon links, you will help support Room Escape Artist as we will receive a very small percentage of the sale. We appreciate the support.)

Enchambered – The Whispering Halls [Review]

The Haunted Mansion

Location:  Sacramento, California

Date Played: February 24, 2019

Team size: up to 10; we recommend 4-6

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $35 per player

Ticketing: Public

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock 

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

From the theme to their approach to set design and construction, Enchambered’s Disney influences were on display in The Whispering Halls.

As with The Legend of the Skull Witch we were thrilled by The Whispering Halls. While there were some opportunities for additional refinement and drama, overall this was a high quality escape game.

If you’re anywhere near Sacramento, we highly recommend The Whispering Halls. If you’re looking to choose between The Whispering Halls and The Legend of the Skull Witch, you can’t really go wrong… so flip a coin, or better yet, play both.

In-game: an ominous metal door knocker.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Story seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Best for players with at least some experience
  • Players who don’t need to be a part of every puzzle

Why play?

  • Ambiance born of a detailed set
  • Puzzle progression
  • Interaction design
  • Density of content

Story

The caretaker of an old Victorian manor had hired us to investigate paranormal happenings within the home that he was charged with maintaining.

In-game: a bookcase

Setting

Creepy but never terrifying, The Whispering Halls was beautiful and filled with subtle homages to Walt Disney World’s Haunted Mansion, but never felt like it was ripping off the famous haunted house. Enchambered used time-tested techniques to make the space feel both haunted and larger than it actually was.

In-game: glowing candles mounted to a red wall.

Gameplay

Enchambered’s The Whispering Halls was a standard escape room with a high level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around searching, observing, making connections, and puzzling.

Analysis

βž• The Whispering Halls was an enchanting space. Enchambered built vertically, affording them space to add details without red herrings and an expanse without barren space. It was deliberately designed and atmospheric, setting the tone for an exciting escape room.

βž• Enchambered used a variety of effects to create exciting moments inside The Whispering Halls.

βž– The gamespace showed a bit of wear and not all the wiring was completely hidden.

βž• Enchambered built interesting puzzles into unusual interactions. These were a ton of fun.

βž– One puzzle had an overly tight tolerance.

βž•/βž– Enchambered provided a step to help shorter players participate in higher puzzles. It would have been helpful to affix this to the floor, or label it, so that it wouldn’t be confused as a puzzle component.

βž• The puzzles flowed well. We could see the different puzzle paths emerging and build mastery of the room as we played. This made similar solves – and even multiple locks with the same digit structure – less arduous. It also built up anticipation for opens.

βž– One moment of individual isolation could have really shined, but felt underwhelming.

βž• Your ticket to The Whispering Halls buy a lot. As this escape room revealed its secrets, it also unveiled more densely packed puzzle content. There was a lot of game within these walls.

Tips For Visiting

  • There is a parking lot.
  • We recommend Thai Terrace for a meal before/after your game.

Book your hour with Enchambered’s The Whispering Halls, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

… when you come out to San Fransisco this June for Escape, Immerse, Explore: The Palace. Enchambered would make a lovely day trip add-on to your time in California. Today is the last day to book tickets to our Palace Games tour. Don’t miss your chance!

Disclosure: Enchambered provided media discounted tickets for this game.