New Mexico Escape Room – Blackwell Manor [Review]

Blackwell ManorΒ is one of the best games in Albuquerque. Here are our other recommendations forΒ great escape rooms in Albuquerque.

Don’t stay for dinner

Location:  Albuquerque, NM

Date Played: December 14, 2021

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

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $32 per player

Ticketing: Private

Accessibility Consideration: one person has to crawl

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Blackwell Manor isn’t just an escape room; it’s a calling card for New Mexico Escape Room.

Within their facility sits a two-story Victorian manor, and it’s haunted.

A massive haunted house exterior. The home is two stories, beautiful, and aged.

Within its walls we found a compelling story tied together with brilliant haunt scares that pushed well into thrilling territory, without turning excessive.

The puzzles flowed well and were used to introduce us to characters and key plot points.

And the effects were perfect.

Our only real gripe was that the story resolved a bit too quickly. We really felt like we needed another story beat at the end to land where we did.

Overall, it was clear from the moment we set eyes upon Blackwell Manor that we were about to have a special experience. And, oh my, did New Mexico Escape Room deliver. Albuquerque is a city worth visiting for escape rooms, and if you’re down for a bit of horror, Blackwell Manor is one of the must-play escape rooms in the region.

Who is this for?

  • Haunted house fans
  • Adventure seekers
  • Story seekers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Any experience level

Why play?

  • They built a whole house inside of their facility… a whole house
  • The effects and worldbuilding were incredible
  • The horror was intense yet approachable

Story

We had been dared to enter the house. How could we possibly turn down a dare?

The house had been abandoned for a century, but that hadn’t stopped people from talking about it… spreading rumors that it was haunted. We were going to go see for ourselves.

Exterior view of the front door of an old haunted house.

Setting

The set of Blackwell Manor was an absolute marvel. The exterior was fully realized. New Mexico Escape Room built a Victorian manor, and we could walk around it.

The interior was equally incredible, with vaulted ceilings, chandeliers, and spectacular detailing and effects that truly sold the “haunted” part of this haunted house. All of this was accomplished in the right ways; the set was dirty looking but never dirty.

The ceiling and walls of a haunted house. It's covered incobwebs, and damaged plaster walls.

Gameplay

New Mexico Escape Room’s Blackwell Manor was a haunted house, gated with escape room puzzles. It had a moderate level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved searching, observing, making connections, puzzling… and not being overly scared.

Portrait of a woman on the wall of a victorian home.

Analysis

βž• We walked up to a legit, two-story manor. There it stood inside New Mexico Escape Room’s facility. The exterior facade was jaw-dropping, and the inside was just as detailed from floor to balcony to ceiling, including intricate cobweb work.

βž• The opening sequence elegantly established the characters and narrative, while introducing us to the gameplay.

Closeup of cobwebbed and damaged plaster walls.

βž• Yes, there were jump scares. And in this too, New Mexico Escape Room nailed the timing to maximize the impact, without overusing the trope.

βž• What Blackwell Manor lacked in puzzle volume, it made up for with some more involved solves that furthered the story and worked best as a team.

βž– We would have liked more signposting for one puzzle with a search component. We spent a long time trying to solve it without knowing we’d missed a piece.

βž•/❓ Blackwell Manor was akin to a haunted house. It funneled us through spaces and story beats with linear puzzle design. While it had fewer puzzles, and we had less agency, each player on our team internalized the characters and we were invested in their plight.

βž– Blackwell Manor ended with abrupt redemption that didn’t sit right with us. We would have liked one more scene, both from the narrative and gameplay standpoints, to earn the conclusion. There was opportunity for a boss battle.

Upward view of a room in a haunted house. Everything is damaged and covered in cobwebs. Below is a glowing portrait of a young girl.

❓ In Blackwell Manor, the hints were self-service, from a predefined menu. We peeked at the hints and they seemed to get the job done while looking pretty, but this is rarely our preference for hint systems. Your mileage may vary.

βž• New Mexico Escape Room created events with light, sound, and practical effects. Throughout Blackwell Manor, they controlled our attention, directing it for each reveal. Their timing was exquisite, especially in the finale.

Tips For Visiting

  • The game is located at the McLeod Road location.
  • There is a parking lot.
  • We enjoyed Green Jeans, for a nearby upscale food court constructed out of shipping containers.

Book your hour with New Mexico Escape Room’s Blackwell Manor, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: New Mexico Escape Room provided media discounted tickets for this game.

Escape Immerse Explore: New Mexico

This game will be featured on our next escape room tour: Escape Immerse Explore: New Mexico 2022. If you’re looking to play outstanding escape rooms with other players who are just as excited about these games, we hope you’ll join us in New Mexico this June.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.