Lost Games – The Asylum: The Doctor’s Secret [Review]

Take your pills

Location:  Las Vegas, NV

Date Played: December 16, 2021

Team size: 2-8; we recommend 3-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: from $45 per player for teams of 2 to $35 per player for teams of more than 7

Ticketing: Private

Accessibility Consideration: You may experience very light crawling, fog, flashing lights and dim lighting.

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

The Asylum: The Doctor’s Secret, formerly known as The Asylum: Chapter 1 was a traditional, puzzle-focused escape room with a theatrical twist. The performative gamemasters blended with a strong intro sequence to set the stage for an interesting game world.

The world of The Asylum was home to two escape games that could be booked back-to-back, and played as one larger experience. This is absolutely the best way to play them both.

A fireplace with candlesticks.

Aside from the worldbuilding and theatricality, The Asylum: The Doctor’s Secret was a very traditional, puzzle-focused escape game. Which was fine… but it felt like there was a lot of opportunity to do more with the characters and story.

Additionally, the story didn’t really work for us. It felt like there were a lot of hard-to-accept plot holes, and the game’s general handling of mental health felt askew.

Overall, The Asylum: The Doctor’s Secret is a solid escape game with a fantastic intro, and the way that it ties into its sequel felt smart and smooth. If you’re playing one, you should play both, and book them back-to-back.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Horror fans
  • Any experience level
  • Players who don’t need to be a part of every puzzle

Why play?

  • Great actor-driven intro, outro, and hinting
  • Traditional escape room puzzle play

Story

Solitude Heights Asylum for the criminally insane had a dubious reputation. Whispers abounded of mysterious deaths and unexplained phenomena.

With feelings of desperation creeping into our minds, we checked ourselves into the dubious institute… where we quickly learned that the rumors about this place were true.

A red walled doctor's study.

Setting

Lost Games’ The Asylum is in a portion of their facility with a pair of games set within the same game world.

The set of The Asylum: The Doctor’s Secret opened up in a doctor’s office, before turning darker in the second act. Both sets were well-built, traditional escape room sets that had a fair amount of details, but also a lot of wear.

Closeup of a desk with a biplane and a telephone.

Gameplay

Lost Games’ The Asylum: The Doctor’s Secret was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around searching, observing, making connections, puzzling… and not being disturbed by the situation.

A helmet connected with wires to a strange looking torture bed, beside a workbench.

Analysis

➖ Mental health is a challenging subject to explore in escape rooms, and this game didn’t handle the concept with much nuance or delicacy. Beyond that, on a narrative level, I am not sure why anyone would be checking themselves into an asylum for the criminally insane… let alone an institute with such a dubious reputation.

➖ Although our goal was clear from the opening scene (a strong part of the experience), the story of the place was not. The Doctor’s Secret lacked character development for the villain. Thus it was hard to be deeply invested.

➕ Our gamemaster – a character in our experience – elevated this game with personality and banter. They improvised well with whatever we said, adding levity to an otherwise intense staging. The Doctor’s Secret was at its best when it was right on the border between silly and serious.

➕ The hint system was an integral part of the experience. It did a lot to make this more than a collection of puzzles.

➕ Gameplay-wise, The Doctor’s Secret was at its best in its layered puzzles. One charted a nice course through the initial space. Later in the game, we uncovered the building blocks of another satisfying solve.

➖ The props felt janky, and the space was a bit dirty. One set piece appeared to have out-of-commission interactions (making it appear like a ghost puzzle); this decor was a missed opportunity for interaction.

➕ We enjoy unusual triggers. In this way, one set piece proved illuminating.

➖ The scale of the final interaction – with a single teammate hunched over a prop in one corner – yielded an anticlimactic ending. It didn’t feel like an event… until the next scene, a part of our back-to-back booking.

➕ If you book both Asylum games (The Doctor’s Secret and Playtime) back-to-back, Lost Games provides a seamless, in-world transition between them. The transition was a highlight of experience.

Tips For Visiting

  • Parking: There is a parking lot.

Book your hour with Lost Games’ The Asylum: The Doctor’s Secret, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Lost Games comped our tickets for this game.

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