13th Hour Escape Games – The Great Room [Review]

[At the time of this review, 13th Hour Escape Games was called Haunted Scarehouse.]

The name doesn’t lie: the room was great.

Location: Wharton, NJ

Date played: September 11, 2017

Team size: 2-10; we recommend 3-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $29 per ticket

The 2017 Golden Lock-In award, the REA logo turned into an open padlock with a golden ring around it.
2017 Golden Lock-In Award winner

Story & setting

When the Hayden family of murderers caught us trespassing on their property, they locked us in The Great Room of their farmhouse. We needed to escape in order to survive.

In-game: A dilapidated banister, a door beyond reads "Dave" written in blood.

The Great Room was a grand ballroom-esque space with a high ceiling, a large dining table in the room, and smaller furnishings along the walls. The open space was dim and eerie, but not scary.

Puzzles

The puzzles in The Great Room facilitated teamwork. Any given puzzle might engage different parts of the space in different ways. Many of the puzzles were more complex than they originally appeared.

Standouts

The Great Room surprised us. It was exciting when the space revealed something entirely unexpected.

The set looked phenomenal.

In-game: 4 skulls resting on a small table in an old rundown room. The largest skull has a knife protruding from it.

The layered puzzles flowed well, connecting set pieces and encouraging teamwork. They were also designed so we couldn’t cut corners.

The puzzles engaged the full space. The gameplay was interactive and tactile. It was hands on puzzling.

Haunted Scarehouse went the extra mile. They used both the introduction and conclusion to The Great Room to add levity and fun.

Shortcomings

Since most of the puzzles were presented or revealed, we found a single search element to be unnecessarily challenging by virtue of it being out of context.

Haunted Scarehouse designed an interconnected set and puzzle room escape, but it didn’t convey narrative. The next level for them will be to use the gameplay to take players through a story.

Should I play Haunted Scarehouse’s The Great Room?

The Great Room was pretty great. It was a series of fun, tangible, interconnected puzzles. These solved into some exciting reveals.

The Great Room took place in low light (with adequate flashlights). It was a little bit creepy, but not scary.

Make sure that at least one person on your team is agile.

We recommend The Great Room for the puzzle-minded, regardless of experience level. It will be pretty challenging if you are new to escape rooms, but the gameplay is approachable. It still has new intrigue to offer more seasoned players.

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

Full disclosure: Haunted Scarehouse comped our tickets for this game.

 

2 thoughts on “13th Hour Escape Games – The Great Room [Review]

  1. I do not know if you have already, but if you can, I would heavily suggest playing The Dungeon at 13th Hour, preferably with a group of 4-5. The set is impressively large and just as detailed and eerie as The Great Room (maybe even more). In addition, the puzzles are fun, immersive, and challenging, often engaging players in groups or in larger areas, and there is quite a bit to chew on. I played with in a group of two, and while difficult, it was still achievable and we had gotten out with about 3 minutes left. It’s worth seeing.

  2. We are booked to play The Dungeon and John Hayden’s Room later this month. We are really excited! From your description, it sounds like we’re really going to enjoy The Dungeon. Stay tuned for the reviews!

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