Lockbusters – Cremlocke Manor (Review)

Location: Orlando, FL

Players:  2-7 (We recommend 2-4)

Price: $29 per person

Time to Escape: 45 minutes

Mr. Cremlocke is quite the lady-killer.

Theme:

Cremlocke Manor has always been the subject of immense speculation and suspicion. The former owner has long since passed away, and the sordid history of the manor has passed into the status of an urban legend. The master of the mansion’s previous four wives all died under mysterious circumstances, and it’s said they, and their treacherous husband, continue to haunt the halls of this once great manor to this day. As paranormal investigators, it’s up to you to see if you can finally put these spirits to rest. Careful, though, as others have gone in with the same good intentions and have never returned!

First Impressions:

For our last spontaneous room of the day, we were taking on Lockbusters’ forty-five minute haunted manor! I always love a spooky room, and this was definitely one of the rooms I was most looking forward to during our time at Lockbusters, even though it was a shorter experience.

High Points:

Cremlocke Manor is definitely a spooky game, with a fantastic story to go along with it. With new story beats popping up fairly frequently, new tidbits of narrative help develop the narrative as we solved. The mystery continued to build until everything culminated in a fantastic climax, propelling us towards a frantic race to complete the final puzzles and set everything right at the end. Cremlocke may be a smaller room than some of Lockbuster’s other experiences, but it has the biggest story of all of them, which really helps with the immersion factor. The puzzles themselves are well integrated into the story as well, and many tie directly into the mystery, allowing each moment to hold a bigger significance than just another roadblock along the game flow. The puzzles became more and more creative as the game continued, and we greatly enjoyed the use of tech within the room to help the ghastly manor become magically alive with supernatural power!

The set itself is fantastic, and feels convincing as the sitting room of an opulent manor home. The lighting effects and creepy sound effects build an atmosphere of creepiness without relying on cheap jump scares and provides a more horror themed than horrific experience overall. The experience provides many clues as to what needs to be done from the start, and does a masterful job of ensuring that the threads of the ultimate solution are intuitive and evident once everything comes together in the final, frantic interaction. Though the room is very linear, this approach works well in delivering a well fleshed out story that did an excellent job surprising us with it’s twists and turns.

Low Points:

The beginning of the room starts off fairly directionless, and the initial interaction doesn’t really have much in the way of cluing to get players going. We wasted a lot of time trying to figure out what to do, and by the time we asked for a much needed hint to get started, we were already feeling the time pressure of a forty-five minute room. One particular early stage puzzle was made even more difficult as we had a little trouble snagging what we needed, which wasn’t an intended challenge. At one point, there’s also a bit of a red herring due to the nature of one of the props used to solve the presented challenge, adding a little too much uncertainty to what exactly we needed to be doing. Due to the room’s linear set up, a bigger group might have trouble staying fully engaged since there’s only so much to work on at one time.

Verdict:

Cremlocke Manor is a great experience for smaller groups and newer players, with a linear game flow that allows for an expansive, and hauntingly excellent story! Enthusiasts will enjoy the immersion level of this room, and the mystery to be solved within is absolutely to die for. If you’re looking for an escape that provides mystery, original puzzles, and a gripping narrative, you definitely cannot go wrong here. Find out what happened in Cremlocke Manor here!

8/10 (Great)

Full Disclosure: Lockbusters provided our team with comped tickets.

Omescape DC – Omega (Review)

Location: Washington, DC

Players: 2-8 (We recommend 2)

Price: $27.99 per person

Time to Escape: 60 minutes

Don’t go there. That way lies madness.

Theme:

You are the students of a renowned scientist who is pushing the limits of time travel research. You’ve come to his lab to see a new project he has been secretly working on, but his assistant has not seen him. Find out where he’s gone, but be aware that his new invention is unstable, and could cause serious complications if you can’t solve the mystery!

First Impressions:

My first impression of Omescape DC came two days before we played Omega and it was not good. As a bit of background, we were originally booked to play Kingdom of Cats on a Friday evening, but about three or so hours before we were to be there, I received a call from them saying that the room had been broken due to a previous group. Repairs were being made, but we would need to reschedule. This would’ve been fine if the tone of the call had not been seemingly exasperated with us. Fast forward two days later, and two hours before our new time, we call to find out if we are still good to go for Kingdom of Cats. We are not, and are rebooked in a fairly confusing jumble of new rooms and times. I was still confused after our call, so I walked into the lobby early in order to just confirm we were booked for the time I assumed. When we did arrive for our game time, we noticed that the only person working was at the front desk on their phone, and we heard another team calling for hints in a back room, which she eventually went to answer. She was also to be our GM while this room continued. This did not instill confidence.

High Points:

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Low Points:

First off, the room is sweltering, as there is no a/c. There are a very small amount of puzzles within, and none of them are terribly interesting. In fact, the first was the most exciting, and it wasn’t much. There’s very little to in the extremely empty room at all stages, and the majority of the props were broken. The room has so little to do and is strictly linear, but still manages to have so little connective tissue to be bewildering at times. One of the mid-game puzzles isn’t clued and barely works, so it’s hard to tell if it is even part of the room. There is outside knowledge required for one puzzle, and the logic to figure it out is some of the most tenuous I’ve ever seen. The penultimate puzzle required remembering a fact that is not included in the room, and the cluing points towards something completely different anyway. Written props and hints contain multiple grammatical and spelling errors, which aren’t part of a puzzle either, and feel sloppy. So much of the room is slapdash an busted, it’s actually quite amazing it still runs. When asking for a hint, our calls went unanswered several times, and had I not been hyper assertive with my requests, I am certain we’d still be waiting to hear back. My teammate, after only 20 minutes in the room, wondered aloud if we could just leave. I thought the same thing, but felt obligated to see this awful experience through so that you don’t have to.

Verdict:

I had honestly thought I’d seen the worst room I could think of before entering Omega, but this one smashed my already low expectations. I mulled over the score for this one for a while, and felt as though the dead bottom of a 1/10 was not quite enough to convey my displeasure with this cut rate experience. Therefore I’ve instituted a new, lower rating to let you know that you should never, under any circumstances, consider visiting this room. I usually include a link to the room, even on low ratings, just in case you’d like to visit, but cannot bring myself to do so here. Therefore, Omescape DC’s Omega room receives a:

0/10 (Atrocious)