“From even the greatest of horrors irony is seldom absent.” – The Shunned House
Location: North York, Ontario Canada
Date Played: May 1, 2022
Team Size: 4-8; we recommend 4-5
Duration: 60 minutes
Price: $30.98 CAD per player
Accessibility Consideration: There is a toy gun in this experience.
Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock
Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints
The Missing Will was a confounding experience. It opened with a strong pregame show… and then it tumbled downhill from there.
This licensed Mansions of Madness experience came complete with Lovecraftian style and art & audio assets, characters, and plot points from the Fantasy Flight tabletop game.
The crux of this game was that we were in a manor’s dark basement solving some maddening puzzles. I like Lovecraftian horror just as much as the next nerd… so I get that Lovecraftian horror demands some darkness, and I assume that the obnoxious puzzles were meant to represent the Mansions of Madness mechanic where losing sanity points is one of the ways that your character can die.
But… creative spotlighting is the way that you make a horror environment dark and still fun to play in. We had a whole talk at RECON 21 about this. It’s on YouTube for anyone who wants to learn how to do this well.
The gameplay felt like a gallery filled with puzzles that most anyone will understand how to do, but not want to solve. The two times where The Missing Will had Simon puzzles that were set too fast felt emblematic of what I found so distasteful in this game. There are ways to make a puzzle that makes me feel like I am losing my mind in a narrative way… and then there are ways to make puzzles that make me feel like I’m agitated.
To top this all off, the last act felt laughable. It was the weakest segment that I have ever seen Escape Games Canada produce, and this is a company that I have long held in high regard. This final space was the only room in the game that didn’t need good lighting; it was over-lit, making the key set pieces feel hokey and childish when they should have felt imposing and scary. Then there was the touchscreen puzzle sequence that made absolutely no sense. The biggest mystery in this game was how this final puzzle sequence found its way into the finale of a game made by Escape Games Canada.
There are plenty of strong elements in The Missing Will including elegantly designed and built set pieces, and some neat moments… but overall, this felt subpar for Escape Games Canada. This is a company that I have been recommending for years. I always look forward to playing their latest and greatest. Maybe I am expecting too much of them, but I’d recommend anything else in their building over The Missing Will.Continue reading “Escape Games Canada – The Missing Will [Review]”