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.

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Hourglass Escapes – Nova [Hivemind Review]

Nova is a point-and-click game designed by Puzzle Effect and built by Hourglass Escapes.

Rendering of the inside of a spaceship.

Format

Style of Play:

  • Online native experience (can NOT be played IRL)
  • Play on-demand
  • Point-and-click

Who is it For?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Any experience level

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection

Recommended Team Size: 1-3

Play Time: 90 minutes

Price: $25 per team

Booking: purchase and play at your leisure

Description

Nova is an online game with built-in video function so you can see and talk with your teammates. It’s a nicely-skinned Telescape interface with point-and-click-and-drag interactions. You explore the scenes and solve puzzles. Although multiple puzzles are available in parallel, the game structure encourages group solving instead of parallel solves.

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Hourglass Escapes – Rise of the Mad Pharaoh [Hivemind Review]

Rise of the Mad Pharaoh is a real-life escape room livestreamed and played through an avatar, created by Hourglass Escapes in Seattle, WA.

The team all dressed in fairly elaborate costumes for their game.

Format

Style of Play: real-life escape room livestreamed and played through an avatar

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection

Recommended Team Size: 3-6

Play Time: 60 minutes

Price: $30 per person

Booking: book online for a specific time slot

Description

This is an online adaptation of an in-person escape room. There is a light story that is cohesive throughout, but the focus is on the moderately difficult puzzles. Teamwork and communication are key.

Players interact with puzzle materials in Telescape, while the avatar on Zoom manipulates the physical elements that unlock things.

Promo art for Rise of the Mad Pharaoh shows a mummy hand reaching out of the sand towards a laptop.

Hivemind Review Scale

Hourglass Escapes – Evil Dead 2 [Hivemind Review]

Evil Dead 2 is included in our recommendation guides for Remote Horror Games and Avatar-Guided Online Escape Games . For more of the best online escape games in these styles, check out the recommendation guides.

Note: The online version of Evil Dead 2 (reviewed here) runs until March 31, 2021. The in-person version, located in Seattle, WA, runs until 2022.

Evil Dead 2 is a digital adaptation of a real-life game created by Hourglass Escapes in Seattle, WA.

A demonic home setting with the necronomicon, and an undead dear mounted to the mantle.

Format

Style of Play: digital adaptation of a real-life escape game

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection

Recommended Team Size: 3-5

Play Time: 70 minutes

Price: approximately $30 per person (varies slightly based on team size)

Booking: book online for a specific time slot

Description

You’re a team of paranormal investigators who are being shown around by your boots-on-the-ground companion. Not only is he your eyes and ears, he also has your trusty evil-dead-vanquishing toolkit that you can interact with throughout the game. In addition to this gamemaster/ avatar, this digital adaptation included a webpage with pictures and 360-degree scans of the room.

A boarded up door.

Hivemind Review Scale