Escape the Netherworld – Haunted [Review]

Puzzles, poltergeist, and a sassy gargoyle.

Location: Stone Mountain, GA

Date Played: March 23, 2018

Team size: up to 8; we recommend 4-6

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $28 per ticket

Ticketing: Public or Private

REA Reaction

Haunted was exciting. The puzzles, set, and in-character avatar gamemaster delivered both intensity and humor. For a company as talented as Escape the Netherworld, it was disappointing to encounter standard purchased puzzles. Haunted was at its best when it was an original creation, which was most of the game.

If you’re anywhere in the Atlanta area, seek out this haunted escape game.

Haunted team post-game photo.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Story seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Any experience level

Why play?

  • Beautiful and imposing set
  • In character gamemastering
  • Finale

Story

After our uncle, a genius parapsychologist had passed away, we learned that he had trapped and almost subdued the horrific Night Hag, a beast who had haunted the family for centuries. Now it was up to us to vanquish the creature or suffer her vengeance.

In-game: A gargoyle with intense eyes.
Image via Escape The Netherworld.

Setting

Our uncle’s laboratory had his workspace in the middle, surrounded by various contraptions and large captive creatures in glass chambers. The whole place had a steampunk haunted house vibe. It looked great.

Portions of the game took place in low light.

Gameplay

Escape the Netherworld’s Haunted was a standard escape room with a compelling set and a higher level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around searching and puzzling.

Analysis

+ The steampunkish set was captivating. Escape the Netherworld built some incredibly detailed set pieces. Some of these only delivered ambiance and did so without misleading us. The gamespace was a fully designed environment and visually interesting.

Haunted felt big. From the set and tangible interactions to the reactions of the space, this escape room had scale.

+ Our gamemaster was a character in our adventure. His avatar chatted with us throughout the game. By this, our third game at Escape the Netherworld, the staff knew our team, and knew how to sass us. And at 11pm, in the 10th game of the day, this was exactly what we needed. It was a riot.

– While the story worked well, it was less innovative than Escape the Netherworld’s other two escape rooms, Sasquatch and Nosferatu.

Haunted included a few purchased puzzles that felt out of place in our uncle’s haunted steampunk lab. Some of these purchased puzzles appeared many times in various Atlanta area escape rooms.

+ The puzzles flowed well in Haunted. They were accessible, non-linear, tangible, and fun.

+ The dramatic ending sequence punctuated the victory. It was memorable and engaged the entire team in the win.

Tips for Visiting

  • Parking: There is parking out front.
  • Food: We enjoyed the nearby Metro Cafe Diner.

Book your hour with Escape the Netherworld’s Haunted, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Escape the Netherworld comped our tickets for this game.

Escape the Netherworld – Nosferatu [Review]

Dracula’s antique lock collection.

Location: Stone Mountain, GA

Date Played: March 23, 2018

Team size: up to 8; we recommend 4 or 6 or maybe 8 (an even number)

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $28 per ticket

Ticketing: Public or Private

REA Reaction

Nosferatu put an interesting twist on escape rooms by adding individual roles and goals. The set was visually impactful from the opening moments and maintained the intensity through dynamic interactions. The late-game sequence brought the level of excitement we’d expect from an escape room created by a haunted house.

If you find yourself anywhere near Stone Mountain, GA, go visit this crypt.

Nosferatu team post-game photo.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Story seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Creatures of the night
  • Amateur locksmiths
  • Best for players with at least some experience

Why play?

  • Beautiful sets (and lock collection!)
  • Exciting moments
  • In-character gamemastering
  • Individual goals

Story

In Victorian London, a mysterious man named Van Helsing had hired each of us for a mysterious mission. We had arrived at his designated address, each with our own secret agenda. We learned that if we were to survive, we had to band together and determine how to slay the legendary vampire Nosferatu before he rose and feasted on us.

In-game: An Egyptian sarcophagus in a Victorian setting.
Image via Escape The Netherworld.

Setting

Nosferatu’s unique set looked almost church-like with an unusual mixture of Gothic and ancient Egyptian influences. It looked fantastic.

Gameplay

Escape the Netherworld’s Nosferatu was a standard escape room with a few twists and a higher level of difficulty.

The main twist: we each had an individual goal. While we all won or lost the escape room together, individual players could complete bonus assignments along the way. Some of these assignments put players into passive conflict with one another. This is why we recommend that you play with an even number of teammates.

The second twist: we had to make a choice.

Analysis

+ The set design was top-notch.

+ There were some brilliant effects that added a lot of drama to the immersion. This was especially true of the closing series of interactions.

+ The individual bonus assignments forced us to strategize and solve outside of the regular gameflow. This kept everyone engaged.

– One of the individual assignments was ambiguous.

+ There were a lot of carefully selected locks in Nosferatu. Some were antique; some simply looked the part. All of them fit the aesthetic of the gamespace.

– If you don’t know your way around locks, the volume of them would get annoying.

+ There was a lot to do in this room escape.

– Because there were so many interactions, only one or two people experienced many of the really cool moments.

– There was also a whole lot of reading.

+ The choice was clear. We were able to anticipate the impact of our decision on the outcome of the game.

Tips for Visiting

  • Parking: There is parking out front.
  • Food: We enjoyed the nearby Metro Cafe Diner.

Book your hour with Escape the Netherworld’s Nosferatu, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Escape the Netherworld comped our tickets for this game.

Escape the Netherworld – Sasquatch [Review]

A big hairy good time.

Location: Stone Mountain, GA

Date Played: March 23, 2018

Team size: up to 8; we recommend 3-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $28 per ticket

Ticketing: Public or Private

REA Reaction

Sasquatch. It was a playful, interesting, and energetic adventure. We never knew what would happen next.

If you’re anywhere nearby, it’s worth visiting.

Sasquatch team post-game photo.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Story seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Players of any experience level

Why play?

  • Beautiful set
  • Remarkably interesting story
  • In character gamemastering
  • Exciting moments

Story

With our car out of commission on a remote camping trip, a ranger had directed us to a nearby cabin in the woods. Since the door was open and the lights were on, we had made our way inside… to discover the unfortunate series of events that had transpired prior our arrival.

In-game: A wood door chained shut.
Image via Escape The Netherworld.

Setting

Sasquatch took place in a small cabin built of wooden 2x4s. The rustic decor and handmade furniture gave it a genuine and homey aesthetic. It looked fantastic.

I wish that I could show you a bit more of this game; it looked great.

Gameplay

Escape the Netherworld’s Sasquatch was a standard escape room with a compelling set and a higher level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around searching and puzzling.

Analysis

+ As we played through Sasquatch we learned the backstory of the cabin’s owner and the events that had occurred therein before we’d arrived. The story justified the cabin’s decor and existence. It made sense and it was unexpected.

+ Our gamemaster was an off-stage character in our adventure. Her insertions – be they hints, jibes, or safety warnings – were humorous and entertaining.

– Our gamemaster needed to keep us away from certain set components. With a large team in the space, it felt like she was continually telling someone to move away from something. Escape the Netherworld could refactor the set just a bit to keep players away from certain areas and cut down on the player admonishment.

Sasquatch built tension. As we progressed through the set and story, the gamespace reacted to us. It was dramatic.

+ The puzzles flowed well and worked with the story. There were fun surprises to find and interesting puzzles to work through. The puzzle difficulty varied throughout the experience.

– Escape the Netherworld included a few purchased, laser-cut puzzles that frequently felt out of place.

+ The finale was phenomenal.

Tips for Visiting

  • Parking: There is parking out front.
  • Food: We enjoyed the nearby Metro Cafe Diner.

Book your hour with Escape the Netherworld’s Sasquatch, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Escape the Netherworld comped our tickets for this game.