Trap Door – Witch Hunt [Review]

“She’s a witch! Burn her!”

Location: Morristown, NJ

Date played: February 13, 2017

Team size: up to 8; we recommend 4-6

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $35 per ticket

Story & setting

With an accused witch waiting at the gallows, we had an hour to search her residence to find evidence of her guilt or innocence.

Set against a fictionalized 17th century witch hunt, the game was staged inside a dark and creepy home. Witch Hunt flirted with horror, but remained approachably intense for all but the most timid of players.

In-game: A close-up of a mantle with candles, a stone bust, and a a copper plate sitting atop it.

The home itself was dimly lit and fairly compelling. There were a few brilliant details, but also a few modern items that stood out a little too strongly. Post-game we learned that the local fire marshal was very assertive in Trap Door’s design process.

In-game: A fire burning in a small cauldron hung by chains.

Puzzles

Trap Door leaned heavily on narrative, but not at the expense of gameplay. The puzzling felt strong and kept our whole team involved.

We’ve knocked Trap Door for issues of gameflow and puzzle design in our previous visits to their Red Bank, NJ location. I am happy to say that those issues were not present in Witch Hunt.

Standouts

Trap Door has always leaned into their exceptional video production skills. This was absolutely true of Witch Hunt. Their use of video was brilliant.

The puzzles largely felt born of the narrative. This was true of the hint system as well.

The set and props had some magnificent details that both brought the room escape to life and tied everything together.

In-game: A table with a cutting board, herbs, and other cooking utensils and ingredients lit by candle.

Witch Hunt instilled a sense of adventure in our team that lasted the entire experience, which ultimately escalated to a wonderful climax.

Shortcomings

Lighting was our greatest foe in Witch Hunt. We were provided with one lantern for our team of 6; dim LED candles could be used for light in a pinch. Making light into a scarce resource slowed the gameplay and created situations where a player’s primary role became light holder… and in the words of Errol of REDivas, “No one wants to be lamp holder.” Witch Hunt could benefit from either more lamps or the addition of some built-in lighting in key locations.

While the hint system was excellent, most of our team had a hard time hearing the hints or even knowing that they were being delivered.

I would love to see Trap Door continue to level up their skills as immersive set designers by finding ways to create smoother physical puzzle interactions and hide their tech a little more. If the wires, magnets, and seams were to disappear, Witch Hunt would have felt considerably more magical.

Should I play Trap Door’s Witch Hunt?

Witch Hunt feels like the game that Trap Door has been trying to make for 2 years. Each time we’ve visited them, we’ve understood their desire to make us feel a story through their room escape, but it just didn’t come together. Until Witch Hunt.

Witch Hunt is a force to be reckoned with in the ever-strengthening northern New Jersey escape room scene. It’s a game that could be enjoyed by both newbies and experienced escape room players as long as everyone is comfortable with the darkness and the intense theme.

Regardless of your skill level, play hard. Witch Hunt is a trial by fire.

Book your hour with Trap Door’s Witch Hunt, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Full disclosure: Trap Door comped our tickets for this game.

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