Komnata Quest – Cursed [Review]

Don’t split the party.

Location: New York, NY

Date played: November 20, 2017

Team size: 1-6; we recommend 2-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $30 per ticket on weekdays, $40 per ticket on evenings and weekends

Story & setting

We entered an abandoned house that was haunted by the ghost of a little girl. After she had been killed, each of her 6 sisters had been found dead mysteriously, one by one. We wanted to uncover the horrible truth of what had happened to this family.

This house was dark and creepy. It had multiple rooms. Some spaces were cramped; others were ominously wide open.

In-game: A blood-soaked bathroom.

Cursed was a horror escape room. It included practical effects and jump scares, but no live actors.

Puzzles

In order to solve the puzzles, we needed to engage with the set and props. In Cursed, that could take a fair bit of courage.

Cursed included both straightforward observational interactions and more sustained puzzle challenges.

The mystery of what had happened in this house was, in itself, a puzzle to solve throughout the length of the experience.

Standouts

The practical effects in Cursed were phenomenal. They were thematic, entertaining, and surprising. They delivered the dramatic tension that really made this escape room what it was.

While Cursed took place in atmospheric low lighting, the darkness didn’t hamper most of the gameplay. Komnata Quest strategically placed just enough lighting to facilitate puzzling.

As we solved puzzles, we received bits of story. The delivery was thematically appropriate and well written. We appreciated that additional layer of puzzle woven throughout our investigation of this haunted house.

We particularly enjoyed Cursed’s dexterity challenge.

The hint system was well integrated into the gameplay.

Cursed did a good job of instilling fear early and throughout much of the escape game.

Shortcomings

For a horror game to stay scary throughout the experience, participants need to continually fear the unknown. In Cursed, we backtracked through the gamespace often enough that we became too comfortable with it. By the end, we weren’t on edge anymore.

If fear and linear flow had pushed us to travel as a group, we would each have experienced a more complete experience. As we became more comfortable, we separated from one another. In one instance, David tripped an effect before anyone else was in the room. The rest of us missed a great moment. Being separated also made it harder to parse bits of story, which were triggered by events, from gameplay nudges.

The clue structure supporting the puzzles was uneven. Some worked far better than others.

The climactic sequence was a letdown, relative to the experience that had preceded it. From the decor to the puzzle to the choice of effects, it was a lackluster conclusion.

Should I play Komnata Quest’s Cursed?

Cursed is one of only a handful of horror escape rooms in and around New York City… and it is by far the scariest to date. It offered tension, story, and puzzles. This is a hard trio to balance and Cursed succeeded.

Players of any experience level can enjoy Cursed. The puzzles will be more challenging for newer players or anyone who freezes up in tense environments. That said, the hint system is well integrated with the storytelling. I expect you could still enjoy Cursed even if you needed quite a bit of nudging through the puzzles.

As with other horror games, ideal team size depends on how scared you want to be. The fewer people, the more you have to interact with the environment to solve the puzzles.

Note that if you struggle with low lighting, you will struggle in Cursed. While we felt that the strategic lighting worked, know that it won’t work for everyone.

Komnata Quest imports their room escapes from Russia. Of the many Komnata Quest escape rooms offered in New York City, Cursed is the first one that is substantially different from its Russian counterpart. The New York owners of Komnata Quest changed the story so that it would resonate with American audiences, and in doing so, had to refactor much of the rest of the experience. They did a fantastic job.

Cursed was a lot of fun. It was an exciting, dramatic, and puzzle-driven adventure. The practical effects created a tension that made it both challenging and enjoyable.

Book your hour with Komnata Quest’s Cursed, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you by using the coupon code escapeartist to receive 10% off.

Full disclosure: Komnata Quest comped our tickets for this game.

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