Mystery Mansion Regina – Sleepy Man (Review)

Location: Your Home via the Magic of the Internet!

Players: 2+ (We recommend 4-5 players)

Price: $25 CAD per person (About $20.26 USD at the time of writing)

Time to Escape: 90 minutes

All good things…

Theme:

From the Mystery Mansion Regina website:

It’s time to face your fears and end the nightmare.
The finale to the Sleepy Man Trilogy is coming soon.

Basically, you know what’s coming, be ready. 😀

High Points:

We have absolutely loved every single minute we’ve spent with Mitch and the crew at Mystery Mansion Regina. They do a brilliant job in designing beautiful rooms and puzzles, and leading us through them as terrified/robotic/detective-y avatars! It is impossible not to have fun with Mystery Mansion Regina, and every time I see a new room of theirs go live, I am READY for it. Though I am more than sure that there will be many many more fantastic adventures to come from Mystery Mansion, Sleepy Man feels like the capstone of the crazy pandemic year plus we’ve had. One of our first remote games we ever played was Night Terrors, a game I absolutely love, which evolved into the Sleepy Man Trilogy, which is easily one of my top five remote experiences ever, and definitely up there in terms of escape rooms in general! I truly value the times we have been able to spend remotely with friends while the world was locked down, as well as some of the amazing people we wouldn’t have met otherwise, so thank you to Mitch and crew for allowing us to escape into these crazy worlds for a while, and being such an amazing host and avatar for our insane group.

That being said, let’s talk about Sleepy Man. Listen, if you are even remotely interested in escape rooms, and you aren’t a “No Horror” type of person, you owe it it yourself to play this trilogy. This story gave me vibes of some of my favorite horror experiences from across different media, channeling Silent Hill, early Resident Evil, and the Hell House, LLC trilogy to present an amazing escape experience unlike any other! Built solely for online play, Mystery Mansion allows players to do some crazy things they wouldn’t otherwise be allowed to do within an escape room. With Sleepy Man, the ante is raised, and we were consistently surprised throughout the game with how innovative this game was! It is truly a production, and it is so mind blowing to see how creative and original this game can be. I don’t want to spoil anything, but there are elements of Sleepy Man that I have never seen matched in any other online experience. The story is amazing, and wraps up the trilogy well, tying up all the various threads together splendidly. The initial stages of the game began with a wild start we were not expecting, and once we had solved this stage of the game, we were treated to a great opening scene that made brilliant use of the large space that Mystery Mansion has available. A familiar set we’d seen a few times previously made another return, but it had shifted and warped, becoming much less inviting, (if it ever was,) than before, rotting under the passage of time. From there, we moved into a really cool interaction that made great use of the virtual nature of the game. Going forward, every new moment was seamlessly tied to the next, and every interaction and cut-scene would top the last! Supremely creepy, the ambiance that is built within this game is flawless.

The puzzles themselves are astounding, and there are so many packed within the 90 minutes this room affords. There are no combo locks or word locks to be found here, just a frantic search for a way to stop the horror of the Sleepy Man from claiming yet another victim. Every interaction ties excellently into the game, with nothing out of place, and the game flows so beautifully; it is honestly plays like masterclass in game design. This is definitely a much more challenging game, but the clues and puzzles are very intuitive, with well hidden hints that lead players through the game without leaning to either extreme of hand holding or obtuseness. I have trouble picking a favorite puzzle or interaction, as there are several “stages” to the game that feel like separate video game levels, and each one has something amazing going on! The adventure includes different endings depending on decisions made within the rooms, and I love how two specific pressure points really amp up the game. We discovered the “True Ending” and found it to be supremely satisfying, capping off this trilogy perfectly.

Low Points:

There weren’t as many opportunities to make our long suffering GM do ridiculous things. We did get a few in though, and always appreciate the antics of #SexyMitch.

Verdict:

What has been created with Sleepy Man is easily Mystery Mansion’s best, most immersive experience, and it begs to be played! If you haven’t played Night Terrors or D’vile’s Curio Shop, you’re in luck, because you get to play all three back to back! Go, play it now, there is nothing more to be said but you are going to love this room, and if you don’t, you’re probably an inter-dimensional demon that haunts a guy named Alex. Book your fight against the Sleepy Man here! And the first 15 players to use the coupon code #SEXYMITCH will get 15% any online booking! This super sexy offer is limited, so act fast!

10/10 (Phenomenal)

Full Disclosure: Mystery Mansion Regina provided our team with a complementary game.

District 3 Escape Rooms – Interrogation Room (Review)

Location: Your Home via the Magic of the Internet!

Players: 2-8 (We recommend 3-5 players)

Price: $22 CAD per person (About $18.07 USD at the time of writing)

Time to Escape: 60 minutes

What do you know?!?!?

Theme:

From the District 3 Escape Rooms website:

An investigation begins the day after an attempted heist at a museum. Despite being brought in for questioning as suspects, unease led to your attempted escape. Staying too long may lead to your arrest, or perhaps worse!

First Impressions:

We were excited to be invited back to District 3 as we had really enjoyed their Haunted and Cabin rooms, so when they asked if we were interested in returning, we instantly responded in the affirmative! The Interrogation Room seemed a basic theme, but we were sure that District 3 had something interesting up their sleeves, and we absolutely weren’t disappointed with the experience.

High Points:

Interrogation Room’s set is well produced, and the sterile seeming nature of the first room is brilliantly immersive and hides many of the surprises well. As we went deeper into the room, we were delighted to find out how so much of the room was well hidden in plain sight. The story also evolves well, starting off with a standard, “you’ve been held here even though you are innocent,” theme and blossoming into areas we definitely were not expecting! The whole experience utilizes Telescape well, and presents some of the puzzle items as well as our inventory in an intuitive way that ensures we always knew what was available to us. There were also a few awesome interactive elements that made us feel like we were affecting the room from our computers. Our avatar was also brilliant, making sure to react to things in the room and keep things light hearted as we moved along the puzzling branches. Our avatar also felt more like our teammate eschewing the, “well intentioned but unbelievably stupid person in the room,” style avatar that seems to be very popular with many other experiences. We had to engage with our avatar in order to solve multi part puzzles and other such interactions, which was great, and was definitely something I haven’t seen much of. The puzzles themselves were very intuitive, and fit nicely together once all the clues were available to us. There was even a bonus puzzle for us to solve, which if we could complete within the time limit, would provide us with bonus points for District 3’s leaderboards! The game wraps up everything well within the story, but leaves open the possibility of a sequel, which we are excited to play once it arrives! The distinct, ongoing stories of District 3 are fantastic, and we really love how they have been implemented; there’s very few folks who story lines like this, and District 3 does it very well.

Low Points:

.One of the puzzles didn’t work quite as smoothly online as we’d prefer, though we definitely think this puzzle would work a lot better live. It was a really cool idea, but just didn’t translate to the virtual experience quite as well as we’d like. There is one particular puzzle that can cause some confusion if an item is moved, and while we eventually solved it, it definitely was something that was easy to overlook virtually.

Verdict:

As always, District 3 has done an excellent job creating an interesting theme, engaging story, and immersive puzzling! We really enjoyed our time in the Interrogation room, and it was able to keep our group of 5 experienced escapists engaged for almost the entire hour. We highly recommend checking this one out, especially if you’ve enjoyed their previous online offerings. Get locked in the Interrogation Room here!

8/10 (Great)

Full Disclosure: District 3 Escape Rooms provided our team with a complementary game.

Daydream Adventures – The Witch’s Forest (Review)

Kara’s Note: This review was brought to you by me! 😊

Location: Your Home!

Players:  We recommend 1-4

Price: $95 CAD + tax (flat rate, up to 4 players; $10 CAD + tax per extra player)

Walking in a Witch’s Wonderlaaaaand! 😀

Theme:

From Daydream Adventure’s website:

In a realm of dreams and magic, a trickster has upset the witch who lives here. Hilda has been away from the forest. Upon returning home, Hilda discovers someone has mischievously interrupted what she was working on. She is locked out of her cabin. She suspects a human may have done this, as she knows many humans detest her.

In this realm, spirits often watch and listen. Spirits of the forest, such as yourself, are very wise. A witch calls upon forest spirits for guidance. When Hilda calls for your help, your spirit can tell Hilda exactly how to undo the trickster’s mess.

First Impressions

I had my fingers crossed that the game would be as good as the pictures on their website, because they looked stunning!

Yay Points

This game’s theme and aesthetic was definitely a departure from our usual MO for escape rooms (read: NOT horror-themed :D) – and was right up my alley! If The Witch’s Forest is any indication, “Daydream Adventures” is an absolutely apt description for this escape room company. I was in utter awe of the beautiful setting of this game. The attention to detail in the decorations was astounding and really created a wonderful aesthetic. From the grasses to the trees to the inside of Hilda’s cabin, everything seemed very captivating. I was super sad I couldn’t experience it in person!

I enjoyed how cute many of the puzzles were (especially the first one; the in-game characters were hilarious!). The riddles were presented linearly and were relatively straightforward in nature, though they did level-up in complexity after you moved into the second “room” of the game. We were pleasantly surprised by the way the game incorporated some player choices/interactions – these added nice touches and I feel like they would be fun for players who enjoy those types of things.

Additionally, the game design very effectively included videos to reveal the plot or show what happens when puzzles are solved or things are opened. These were fun to watch and really helpful in making sure we didn’t miss anything. We also appreciated that the site had specific pages dedicated to each stage of the game. Thankfully, this helped us avoid a lot of unnecessary searching or guessing at what might be needed, and ensured that we were able to focus on what was actually relevant for a given puzzle.

Our avatar, Hilda, was extremely on-point. We always appreciate when game masters/avatars are interactive and can adapt to our team’s – shall I say “unique?” – personalities. Hilda did a great job playing off of us and making the experience all the more entertaining. Because this game seems more naturally inclined to be both beginner- and family-friendly, Hilda’s character seems like the perfect way to tailor the experience to groups. In addition to providing a more immersive experience, our Hilda was able to provide as much or as little direction as we needed.

Pondering Points

Some of the puzzles may make a little more sense in person, and some seem to be of the “you get it or you don’t” variety. They were pretty straightforward overall, but there was one puzzle that was a little unclear for some of us. It wasn’t hard to figure out what we were supposed to do process-wise, but the instructions seemed to (unintentionally) include a red herring in what format the answer would be. It was also a little confusing (for me at least) to figure out certain reference points based on how the instructions were presented.

While the game was generally full of new surprises behind each door, we were surprised when one path seemed to end abruptly.

Lastly, while I liked what they did with the ending, it does rely a little bit on chance. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it might be neat for players to be able to make more choices for this interaction.

Verdict

While I think this game would be all the more fun in person, Daydream Adventures did a great job in turning it into an online experience. The Witch’s Forest is beginner-friendly, and is definitely geared more towards those who are looking for family-friendly fantasy genres. If you’re at all into such dreamland experiences like me, then I highly encourage you to check it out! Book your time in Hilda’s Forest here!

8/10 (Great)

Full Disclosure: Daydream Adventures provided our team with a complementary game.

Complex Rooms – Legends of Canada (Review)

Location: Your Home via the Magic of the Internet!

Players:  We recommend 1-2 players

Price: $15.00 CAD per connected device (About $11.27 USD at the time of writing.)

Oh, Canada!

Theme:

From the Complex Rooms website:

As proud Canadians we at Complex Rooms believe that our stories deserve a world stage in a venue that rivals the richest kingdoms of all time! Since we don’t have that sort of budget… We built an escape room instead!

This game replicates the in-room experience and challenges you to explore the legends, solve the puzzles and escape. No knowledge of Canada is required but, if you learn a thing or two… don’t blame us! So how would you like to play?

First Impressions:

A lot of businesses have created online point and click escape rooms in order to provide escapists with a fun outlet during the pandemic, but I hadn’t come across one that was based off a physical escape room just yet. I was interested to see how Complex Rooms converted their Legends of Canada room to this format, and I’m happy to say it translates pretty well!

High Points:

Legends of Canada is based off Complex Room’s live escape experience, and it definitely shows within the online version. The puzzles are a lot of fun, and certainly feel like they belong within a physical escape room. There’s a large variety between each puzzle, and things are never bogged down within repetition of the same style of puzzle. With this sort of variety, multiple folks can take on the enigmas that appeal to them, and enthusiasts will discover a wide range of engaging interactions to solve. The set up is simple, but well implemented, and we really loved how players are subtly encouraged to search the room, and then begin making connections between the locked boxes and the displays throughout the experience. These displays include some fantastic subtle cluing, and the signposting is well implemented, ensuring that while the puzzles are a challenge, determining where the solutions are to be entered is streamlined and easy to determine. The displays are also densely packed with interesting Canadian facts, which are all well incorporated into the puzzling threads, making the room educational without feeling banal.

cr_canada_logo

Making connections is a major theme within this room, and there are several points at which things just click together, revealing a satisfying moment of revelation. I played this game solo, and thought it worked perfectly for an enthusiast, but the puzzles also work well as teamwork based interactions as the group comes together to figure out how everything interacts together. The game flow is mostly non-linear, ensuring there aren’t any choke points, and the hint system further alleviates any worry about being stuck by providing increasingly revealing nudges for players. The hint system is also very directed and graduated, ensuring that you only get help with what you’re looking for, when it is needed. The difficulty curve works fantastically, with a few quick wins to get things going, building towards some more challenging puzzles as the adventure progresses.

Low Points:

One particular puzzle wasn’t very intuitive overall, there were certain extraneous bits as well as a couple similar pieces that could go in a couple different places which threw us off a lot. It is overall a good puzzle however, but a little bit of tightening up of the cluing would make this one a bit more intuitive without sacrificing the challenge. Enthusiasts might blow through this one, so $15 CAD might seem a bit steep for an online point and click game that cannot be replayed, but I think the price is on the whole, fair for new players or folks looking to scratch the escape room itch on their own time. Some boxes have a question mark button on them, and it seems like they might tie into a puzzle, but the boxes are triggered via a different method, leaving these buttons to be red herrings. The removal of these would prevent players rushing down unintended rabbit trails and remove some frustration caused by red herrings.

Verdict:

Legends of Canada is an enjoyable experience that will appeal to escape room enthusiasts and new players alike. I think this one works best for a solo enthusiast or a group of newer players, but either way, there’s a lot of fun to be had in this Canadian focused room! As someone who enjoys a good point and click adventure, it was very satisfying to work though the room, discovering the surprises Complex Rooms has implemented, and absolutely recommend giving it a shot. Book your time discovering the Legends of Canada here!

7/10 (Good)

Full Disclosure: Complex Rooms provided our team with a complementary game.