Escape Frenzy – The Haunted House [Review]

It was a triple dog dare. I legally couldn’t refuse.

Location: Edina, Minnesota

Date played: August 21, 2017

Team size: 1-10; we recommend 3-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $27 per ticket

Story & setting

After a boring round of Ouija, our friends had dared us to enter the local haunted house… the one where 6 consecutive families had died and the most recent occupants recently vanished.

This room escape began with breaking into the haunted house. That’s where things turned dark, but never terrifying. The Haunted House was a lightly horror escape room with Halloween props and a dark, creepy set. It looked good, not great.

In-game: The exterior of the haunted house featuring a coffin, locked box, and log cabin.

Puzzles

The Haunted House’s puzzles were a lot like the set. They were generally solid, but could have benefitted from a just a little more clue structure and precision.

Standouts

The “break into the room” opening of The Haunted House was fun.

In game: a large brass skull door knocker.

I’ve repeatedly knocked the family-friendly horror genre in escape rooms because I think that it usually projects an image of terror that turns off the fearful, while setting bad expectations for horror lovers. In contrast, Escape Frenzy actually made this work. Their non-threatening escape room description set the right tone, which carried into the escape room’s aesthetics.

Escape Frenzy used tech sparingly, in smart ways.

Shortcomings

Cheesy Halloween store props undermined Escape Frenzy’s more impressive custom construction.

The puzzles could have benefitted from additional refinement. I suspect that if Escape Frenzy took their three most commonly delivered hints and transformed those into in-game clues, The Haunted House would flow a lot more smoothly.

During the reset before we played, the gamemaster must have accidentally swapped similar keys for similar padlocks because early on, we opened a thing that we shouldn’t have. Our gamemaster was all over it, which we respect. This could, however, be completely avoided with unique keychains or locks that accept different key shapes. In its current form, it’s easy to confuse the keys and produce a bad reset.

Should I play Escape Frenzy’s The Haunted House?

The Haunted House was creepier than most escape rooms, but not terrifying. If you’re looking for an approachable room escape with low scare factor, this is a great option.

Escape Frenzy created some escape room magic that will add a layer of complexity for newbies who likely won’t recognize the technology in front of them. The Haunted House will also require a few logic leaps (or additional hinting).

If you’ve played at least one or two escape rooms, The Haunted House could be an enjoyable game. Newbies can absolutely find fun in this game, but they’re going to need a lot of help along the way.

The Haunted House doesn’t break new ground, but this old house was built on a solid foundation.

Book your hour with Escape Frenzy’s The Haunted House, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Full disclosure: Escape Frenzy comped our tickets for this game.

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