Backstage Escape Games – The Haunting of Hyde House (Review)

Location: Myrtle Beach, SC

Players:  2-8 (We recommend 3-5)

Price: $34 per person

Time to Escape: 60 minutes

Children are the spookiest.

Theme:

From the Backstage Escape Games website:

Built in 1891, Hyde House hosted families, foreign dignitaries, and heads of state, all guests of the prominent Hyde Family – Harrison, Constance and their young daughter Isabella. Though stories conflict, the family’s sudden misfortune centers around the untimely death of Isabella, after which Harrison and Constance disappeared without a trace. Some believe it was an accident; others suspect a much more sinister fate. For decades, Hyde House sat vacant, its stately elegance deteriorating from time and neglect. Local legend began to profess a curse on the house, claiming tormented spirits haunted its halls. Paranormal experts and ghost hunters began to flock to Hyde House, and the house itself was deemed a historical landmark.Today, the Hyde House Historical Foundation hosts thousands of visitors to the home, but your group of guests is about to have an unforgettable experience. Abandoned by your tour guide, you’ll become trapped in Hyde House and discover you are not alone. Little Isabella haunts the mansion, playing games and leaving puzzles to lead you to her most cherished friend, her doll Emma. With your help, she may have hope at last! Can you reunite Isabella with her doll and free her troubled soul from an Earthly purgatory?

First Impressions:

Our previous two trips to Backstage Escape Games have all been excellent! The games here have always been stunning, and when we visited last year, I happened to notice that there was a teaser for a new haunted mansion room! We were told that it would be opening in the summer, and while it took us a little longer than we wanted to finally make it out for Hyde House, we were raring to go when we finally did.

High Points:

Per usual for Backstage Escape Games, the set design is absolutely flawless. The opening brief is engaging and immediately captured our attention, and the sound design and practical effects that were employed throughout the room elevated the room to a Hollywood style escape experience! At no point did we feel disengaged for the adventure, as there was always something to do for our team of two, and the room continued to surprise us in the best of ways with new puzzles and rooms! The Haunting of Hyde House started us on the “outside” of our intended room, and presented this break in superbly, making for an awesome start to the experience. This whole opening sequence set the feel for the adventure splendidly, and got things off to a raring start that never slowed down. The vibe of this haunting is well presented, and gives off more of a spoopy, Scooby-Doo style of scares rather than a fully terrifying experience, ensuring that it remains fun for all types of players and horror comfort levels.

The game itself presents very clear goals as we moved forward within the game flow, and once we determined what puzzles were being presented, the room was very intuitive. Overall, the connections between each point were very clear, and we were not casting about attempting to figure out any leaps of logic or bypass any distracting red herrings. Though the room was almost completely linear, this worked well for us, and kept the game flow trucking along extremely smoothly. Two puzzles in particular provided some amazing moments of revelation, and it felt awesome once we had determined the clever logic behind these puzzles. One of my favorite interactions in the room involved a puzzle we had previously completed evolving into a whole new one through the use of some interesting haunted tech.

Low Points:

Two puzzles in particular are color focused, and the lighting in the room definitely does not help players differentiate between some of the more similar colors. This is a recurring problem for a lot of horror rooms that employ this type of puzzle in particular, due to the usual dim or spooky lighting, that could be relieved by having only a few very different colors included. A couple of puzzles are somewhat involved, but do not provide feedback though a sound cue or button press, so we just had to trust what we were doing was correct in both of these cases. Luckily, what we were doing made sense, overall, so it was mostly forgivable, but feedback would really help to solidify our choices. One early puzzle required a fair amount of aimless guess and check, and while there was a clear way to winnow down the initial selections, the amount of inputs and items we could use was still fairly large. The story of this room seemed lighter, overall, and though the puzzles were integrated well into the theme, a lot of the Why? tended to get lost between the cracks. The maximum eight players would feel very stuffed within this room, and due to the mostly linear game flow, I’m sure there would be several choke points where folks would be standing around while others solve.

Verdict:

The Haunting of Hyde House is a great game, with some amazing surprises hidden around every corner. While there are a few small hiccups, this one is absolutely not to be missed, and will be a great experience for enthusiasts looking for a fun challenge and new players seeking an hour of spine chilling escapes! I wholeheartedly recommend checking this, or any other Backstage room out. Book your time helping out Isabella here!

8/10 (Great)

Full Disclosure: Backstage Escape Games comped our tickets for this game.

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