Haunted Recording Studio [Review]

The hoarder’s recording studio.

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Date played: October 15, 2016

Team size: 2-8; we recommend 3-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: range from $30 – $45 per ticket

Story & setting

Before we entered the Haunted Recording Studio, our gamemaster told us a detailed backstory set about 100 years earlier, including a love triangle and the mysterious disappearance of a woman from within the studio. The story was long, winding, difficult to follow, and could have been simplified to:

“A record producer lusted for a beautiful singer. She rejected his advances so he took her life in this very studio. She’s been haunting the place ever since.”

The set was an actual recording studio with decor that looked like it had been last updated in the 1970s. This didn’t make a lot of sense, given the century-old backstory, but it was fun location.

In-game, a bloody handprint on glass, behind it is a recording room with a keyboard and other equipment.

As the game was set in a space that was formerly a recording studio, with the notable exception of the time period, the set was on-point. The carpeted walls and much of the recording equipment remained in the space. Frankly, it reminded me of my composer grandfather’s studio.

The Haunted Recording Studio also transformed this space into a dark, creepy, and haunted set. It wasn’t particularly scary, but it was at times dramatic and captured a specific vibe.

There was a lot of space and a lot of stuff, most of it junk leftover from the facility’s previous life.

Puzzles

While space was plentiful in the Haunted Recording Studio, puzzles were not.

The game was linear; as we traversed the space, we’d find and solve the next puzzle.

The puzzles weren’t challenging, but some required pure guess work; they weren’t clued at all.

Much of the challenge also came from searching for puzzle components – through a lot of stuff – without much light.

The best puzzles manipulated the equipment from the recording studio.

Standouts

The game provided some memorable moments, even if we had to dig to find them.

We were spooked. We laughed. We screamed. (We were a large group of women and David.)

The Haunted Recording Studio excelled at ambiance. It did spooky – not horror – well.

An old CRT TV displaying static. A mess of wires rests underneath it.
If you enjoy tangled wires, then this is your Mecca.

As a linear game set in a dark and creepy space, the game itself fostered a cooperative, team dynamic.

It was actually set in an old recording studio. That, in itself, was unusual and appealing.

Shortcomings

In multiple instances, the game design required us to guess at the solution to puzzles.

We experienced some frustrating prop breakage: we spent 5 minutes trying to open a door with a damaged lock.

This game relied on excessive scavenging through boxes of red herring junk.

The story was a mess. It didn’t make a lot of sense, but it set the tone for the experience. However, it didn’t factor into the game. Upon winning, we hadn’t resolved anything in the story. We learned less from playing the game than we learned from our game master’s introduction. The recording studio was still haunted, but we escaped from it.

Should I play the Haunted Recording Studio?

We mentioned to a friend that we were playing The Haunted Recording Studio. Upon hearing this, he said to us:

“It looks like a recording studio that was owned by a hoarder, and then was haunted. It’s a giant mess and it’s weird. If you go in accepting all of that, you’ll have a lot of fun.”

I can’t wrap up the Haunted Recording Studio any better than that. It’s many miles from perfect, but if you know what you’re getting into, and bring the right amount of people, it’s a strange, flawed, and fun time.

Book your hour with the Haunted Recording Studio, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you using the coupon code REA to receive 10% off.

Full disclosure: The Haunted Recording Studio comped our tickets for this game.

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