Riddles Escape Room – Mystery Mansion [Review]

Southern Steampunk

Location:  Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Date Played: September 27, 2021

Team size: 2-6; we recommend 3-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $27 per player

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Riddles Escape Room is an unusual company, and the best way that I can describe them is: commitment to their vision.

They’ve been in the industry for a long while. Their game design was rooted in traditional escape room puzzle play, but everything in Mystery Mansion was just a little different. Their approach to introducing their games, set design, puzzle design, and hinting was traditional, with a Riddles Escape Rooms twist.

Purple wood paneling with an intricate antique wooden shelf adorned with swords, a clock, and torch-like sculpture.

Their pronounced style felt great in the game’s introduction as well as the way the they hid their game’s secrets. In other places, like puzzle design, it felt like commitment to the purity of their vision was getting in the way of game flow.

Throughout the experience, the gamemaster actively hinted to keep the game on the rails, but we regularly found ourselves wishing that solves had clearer cause and effect, and that some of the hints that I assume must be delivered with great regularity were elegantly baked into the fabric of the game.

I love finding companies that have a unique style, and Riddles Escape Room was certainly unique. If you’re in Myrtle Beach and looking for a traditional escape room with a high level of difficulty and a unique flavor, check out Mystery Mansion.

Who is this for?

  • Puzzle lovers
  • Best for players with at least some experience

Why play?

  • Unusual props and interactions
  • Strong performative gamemastering
  • Classic search-and-puzzle escape room with its own flare

Story

We set off to explore the mansion of a deceased relative: an eccentric inventor. Our goal was to learn of his greatest creation, thus earning our fictional share of the estate.

Setting

We were greeted by an in-character host, who set up the story and guided us via hints throughout the game.

Mystery Mansion had a homemade steam punkish, victorian mansion aesthetic. The antique aesthetic was consistent throughout the props and the space.

Gameplay

Riddles Escape Room’s Mystery Mansion was a standard escape room with a high level of difficulty. This game brought an old school escape room level of difficult that the company adjusts by way of actively hinting players throughout the experience.

Core gameplay revolved around searching, observing, making connections, puzzling.

Analysis

➕ Riddles Escape Room designed the space to feel like an era that never quite existed, and the carefully selected collectibles gave the game world character.

➕ The gamemaster further set the stage with an in-character introduction that defined our relationship to the game world, and emphasized the relevant characters. We appreciated the emphasis on a “fake” million dollars (family-friendly and tonally appropriate) and we loved that the story incorporated the creator’s family history.

➖ The gameplay would flow better if each solve were its own event. On a number of occasions we didn’t know what interaction had triggered something new in the game. Thus, we couldn’t intuit that something was, in fact, solved. This was generally clarified by the in-character gamemaster.

➖ We appreciated the attempt at adaptive difficulty for larger teams. However, many of the hints delivered throughout the game felt like they should have been baked into the fabric of the puzzles to reduce the need for such intervention.

➕ We enjoyed some large, custom interactive props.

➖ Mystery Mansion was stuck in the past with a tedious search reveal that could have been way more fun and impactful implemented differently.

➕ The Mystery Mansion set hid its secrets well. Riddles Escape Room went out of their way to keep the magic under wraps, and we were rewarded with fun reveals.

➕/➖  There was an uneven design quality between the elegantly crafted reveals, and handwritten clues haphazardly affixed on seemingly random objects. Additionally, many of the props were also quite worn from use, not deliberate aging.

Tips For Visiting

  • There is a parking lot.

Book your hour with Riddles Escape Room’s Mystery Mansion, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Riddles Escape Room comped our tickets for this game.

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