A professorial pursuit
Location: San Diego, CA
Date Played: March 6, 2022
Team Size: 3-6; we recommend 3-4
Duration: 60 minutes
Price: $35 per player
Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock
Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints
In Moriarty’s Manor, we broke into Professor Moriarty’s house to recover some evidence that would exonerate Sherlock Holmes from a crime for which he’d been framed. This was an interesting take on a Sherlock theme, set in the extended Sherlock universe rather than the classic Sherlock study.
MindFox Escape’s first room, Black & White Cafe, was delightful and unique, while also fairly simple, small, and tech-free. I was impressed by just how much MindFox Escape stepped up their game in Moriarty’s Manor, with a much larger set, more tech, and more intricate handmade components.
With this more ambitious design also came some new challenges and areas for improvement. While the gameplay generally filled the space and flowed wonderfully, a few areas of the set felt underutilized. The puzzles consistently fit the theme, but a few that felt more in an old-school escape room style stuck out.
MindFox Escape is one of the rising stars in the San Diego escape room scene. Both Moriarty’s Manor and Black & White Cafe are well worth a play, and with their focus on lighthearted themes, I look forward to seeing what MindFox creates next.
Who is this for?
- Puzzle lovers
- Scenery snobs
- Best for players with at least some experience
- Sherlock fans
- The nonstandard take on a Sherlock theme
- The claw puzzle
Sherlock Holmes was framed for a crime he didn’t commit. We had to break into the residence of Sherlock’s nemesis, Moriarty, to retrieve the evidence that’d prove Sherlock’s innocence.
Moriarty’s Manor was set at the Victorian mansion of Professor Moriarty. A brick-walled front entryway led into Moriarty’s bleakly professorial study.
MindFox Escape’s Moriarty’s Manor was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.
Core gameplay revolved around puzzling and making connections.
➕ Moriarty’s Manor showcased the creativity of the MindFox Escape team. While it was evident that they were continuing to acquire design-and-build skills as they went, the game looked great overall.
➕/➖ The room’s design demonstrated a high attention to detail, and many puzzles and props were clearly appropriate for the Victorian era. The few that didn’t fit stuck out in contrast.
➕ A sensory puzzle was thoughtfully implemented, with some layers and a nice visual reveal.
➕ We loved a handmade lock. It was beautiful and satisfying to manipulate. The other more standard padlocks had distinct input formats so it was never ambiguous which combo went where.
➕ A multiplayer dexterity challenge was notably well calibrated. This set piece dominated the room, looked generally appropriate for the era, and was distinctly handmade. There was an extra bit of surprise shimmer for those who looked closely.
➖ A long, mostly unclued anagram worked for the theme but not the story.
🧥 I particularly enjoyed wearing some period-appropriate apparel in the game. Not only did it make for a good team photo at the end, but also I am now tempted to procure a similar coat for myself.
❓ Whereas MindFox Escape’s Black & White Cafe was small but efficiently used all its space, a few areas of Moriarty’s Manor only contained a single quick interaction. It sometimes felt like Moriarty’s Manor had a much larger footprint just for the sake of being bigger — which is not inherently a negative, especially when new environments tell a story, but I’d encourage MindFox Escape to find more of a balance between these extremes in future games.
Tips For Visiting
- There were some reserved spots for MindFox guests in the parking lot.
Book your hour with MindFox Escape’s Moriarty’s Manor, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.
Disclosure: MindFox Escape provided media discounted tickets for this game.