Hourglass Escapes – Mystery at Innsmouth [Review]

Something’s fishy in Innsmouth…

Location: Seattle, WA

Date Played: July 8, 2022

Team Size: 4-8; we recommend 4-5

Duration: 70 minutes

Price: $45 per player

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

REA Reaction

When I first heard that Hourglass Escapes was creating a licensed escape room based on Fantasy Flight’s Arkham Horror, I knew I had to play it. I am a huge fan of these tabletop games and have spent many hours spawning cultists and battling Cthulhu. This escape room, Mystery at Innsmouth, centers around the dark and macabre secrets of H.P Lovecraft’s odd Massachusetts town. From the moment our team stepped into the game, we were immersed in this world, one that looked relatively familiar yet was slightly unnerving. The set design perfectly captured the griminess of Lovecraft’s Innsmouth, and we willingly became characters in the story.

An old rundown living room room with a large blue chair, a fireplace, and a portrait of an older man.
Image via Hourglass Escapes

Starting with the immersive introduction, I could tell a lot of thought went into game design and player experience. One early interaction with a set piece was surprisingly impressive, so simple but memorable in its precise execution. The puzzles, though not overly complex, were fun and made sense in the Arkham universe, ranging from basic and familiar to elaborate and fantastical. 

I was really impressed with the storytelling, which often takes a back seat in other games. As characters, we were repeatedly connected to the narrative, keeping the storyline front and center. We never forgot what part of the story we were in and what we were trying to do. My only disappointment was in the finale, which was rather abrupt and not at the same level as the rest of the game. In fact, a mid-game reveal was much more dramatic and unexpected.  

This is a must-play for fans of H.P. Lovecraft and Arkham Horror board games, as well as anyone who appreciates a strong narrative and attention to detail. Reading Lovecraft’s The Shadow Over Innsmouth prior to playing will only add to the experience.

Who is this for?

  • Story seekers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Arkham Horror fans

Why play?

  • Immersive storytelling
  • Authentic Arkham vibe
  • Cool mid-game reveal


As a team of investigators, you arrive in a seedy hotel in the town of Innsmouth, Massachusetts to discover the dark mystery surrounding the decaying town and its strange inhabitants.

An old desk with an equally old telephone, and a scrying board.
Image via Hourglass Escapes


Mystery at Innsmouth started out in a dingy hotel on the Massachusetts shore, with dark paneling, cobwebs, and an otherwise moody atmosphere, befitting a town that’s been somewhat abandoned. This illusion of grime and dampness successfully camouflaged an otherwise clean set.

A bellhop desk in an old inn.
Image via Hourglass Escapes


Hourglass Escape’s Mystery at Innsmouth was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

Core gameplay involved searching, observing, making connections, and puzzling. The game was highly experiential, with a greater focus on storytelling.


➕ A delightfully creative choice for both the review of house rules and story introduction set the tone and welcomed us into the experience.

➕/➖Well-known characters from Arkham Horror made only a minor appearance early in the game and could have played a bigger role in the experience.

➕ As a game built around the licensed IP of Fantasy Flight’s Arkham Horror, thoughtful details and numerous Easter eggs were a joy for this fan to discover.

➕ Hints were highly immersive and entertaining; it is worth asking for a hint or two, even if you don’t need them!

➕/➖ While there were a few standout puzzles with unique mechanics, most were standard escape room fare that experienced players will probably recognize. Still, wrapped with strong theming and closely tied to narrative, they were quite enjoyable to solve.

➕ Strong storytelling was front and center, enhancing immersion and allowing players to become a key part of the narrative. This was carried throughout the game.

➖ While there was a logical conclusion to the story, there was a missed opportunity for a bigger, more exciting finale that would be more consistent with the rest of the game.

Tips For Visiting

  • There is limited street parking, so plan for extra time if you are not taking a ride-share.
  • There are many amazing restaurants in Seattle! We recommend Vonn’s 1000 Spirits for sourdough pasta and creative cocktails, and also The 5 Point Cafe for diner food with a dive bar vibe and open 24/7.

Book Hourglass Escape’s Mystery at Innsmouth, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Hourglass Escape comped our tickets for this game.


  1. I really enjoyed this room. I’m not very familiar with Arkham Horror (I’m aware, but not familiar) but I still really enjoyed the immersive narrative and creative set design. I was really impressed with what Hourglass produced!

    1. Hi Justin, I agree! It’s a great game for both fans and non-fans, which isn’t always easy to do. I’ve played other games based on the Arkham Horror/Lovecraft universe and this one is my favorite.

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