The Escape Trials – Lost Souls (Review)

Location: Jacksonville, NC

Players: 2-8 (We recommend 4-5)

Price: $25 per person

Time to Escape: 60 minutes

Burn with me!

Theme:

There’s a haunted house out in Jacksonville that is said to contain the vengeful spirit of a little girl. This malevolent specter possesses it’s victims, leaving them cursed and doomed to a shockingly violent end. For whatever foolish reason, you and your friends have decided to give this place a visit, and are now trapped inside with the creepy little hauntling and her many, many dolls. It seems you may have some time, (read: one hour), to figure out how to lay the ghost girl to rest for good, but if you can’t, who knows what will become of you!

First Impressions:

We had escaped Jasper the Great fairly quickly, leaving us with a fair amount of time to kill, so we were more than happy to continue chatting with The Escape Trials’ amazing staff! I cannot express how great this group was, and how at home they made us feel while we loitered in their lobby. Once we’d come up to our escape time, we met our GM, Jennifer, who exuded enthusiasm, and were led into the room!

High Points:

When Lost Souls got creepy, it was very, very creepy, especially during the latter half of the game. I can think of at least three specific set pieces that gave our group pause or startled one of our players, and several moments at which the staff added in some spooky interactions that were great fun. Also, when the puzzles were great, they were amazing! I noticed quite a few impressive bits of technology or well hidden interactions that brought us a lot of enjoyment and added to the immersion flawlessly. The storyline brought small revelations as we moved through the adventure, which brought the story to life excellently, even if the finale was a bit more anticlimactic than we were expecting. GM involvement in the room was excellent, and reached beyond basic clue giving. Tactile interactions were well implemented, and were enjoyable to work through.

Low Points:

Lighting played a creepy part early on, adding to the ambiance, but once the room was fully lit, it lost a lot of the mystery. Décor was better balanced overall than Jasper the Great, but didn’t quite give off that old haunted home vibe. At several points, the puzzles felt overly obtuse, requiring a fair amount of guesswork to arrive at the solution, especially at one point where we had done what we needed to in order to trigger the next part of the game, but were just off with our placement, making us think we were incorrect. A later puzzle provided a clue that didn’t quite jive with the solution, leading to more unnecessary fumbling. Game flow was, therefore, fairly disjointed when we hit these moments. One particular part of the game was cumbersome to interact with, to say the least. As I was the only one who was willing (or able) to interact with it as well, it became very tiring to keep going back to it. Ouch, my back!

Verdict:

Lost Souls was a fun, supernatural adventure, and while it could get particularly obtuse at times, still provided a enjoyable challenge. I would definitely recommend trying it out for the brilliant moments of spooky puzzling, and the wonderful GMing work that the staff provides. You can book your time quelling the dark spirit here!

7/10 (Good)

Full disclosure: The Escape Trials provided a media discount for our group.

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