Mystery Mansion Regina – DTF: Drag Task Force (Review)

Location: Your Home via the Magic of the Internet!

Players: 3-10 (We recommend 2-5 players)

Price: $20 CAD per person (About $15.11 USD at the time of writing)

Time to Escape: 60 minutes

Work it!

Theme:

From the Mystery Mansion Regina website:

The devious Ruby Hymen has betrayed the Drag Task Force and has stolen all of their powers. The leader of the DTF, Flo Mingo, has selected you and your team to help the DTF infiltrate Ruby’s secret lair. You must find a way to stop Ruby and help the members of the DTF get their powers back!

A portion of each ticket will be donated to the Regina non-profit organization, Lulu’s Lodge.

*All content of this room has been reviewed and approved by the Drag Community and is not intended to offend any parties*

First Impressions:

DTF: Drag Task Force might be the most creative theme I’ve ever seen. Drag Queen superheroes, a robot avatar, and a puzzle that involves making a mixed drink for your avatar to choke down all come together to create what can only be described as one of the wildest online escape rooms we’ve ever had the pleasure of playing!

High Points:

DTF is a hilarious game, and if players relax and let themselves joke around with the avatar, they’re in for a fantastic time! Our game master was, as always with Mystery Mansion Regina, brilliantly quick on their feet, dishing out jokes and responses at lightening speed. Everything was incorporated with the awesome story, and I loved how much humor was injected into the experience. It is rare to see an escape room that truly excels at being funny, and the folks at Mystery Mansion Regina really know how to develop a fun puzzling flow while bringing the laughs. Just like their Night Terrors room, DTF is built from the ground up to be an online only experience, ensuring that nothing gets lost in translation. A favorite mechanic of this room is made possible by its online only nature, as one of the main goals of the game is to upgrade our robotic avatar using items that give the Drag Task Force their powers. Though it is as simple as finding a prop and asking to activate a power, it really lends a satisfying sense of progression to the experience, and adds a little extra something that we wouldn’t see in an in person room.

The puzzles themselves are very clever, and one in particular was an astoundingly fun interaction that had us laughing even after the game was over. At several points in the game, telescape was incorporated, allowing our team to solve in room puzzles concurrently with online puzzles, shaking up the usual linear nature of online, avatar based games and allowing for more non-linear progress to be made. This is great for bigger teams or players who like to break off to solve on their own, as it ensures that everyone can remain engaged without trying to lead an avatar to look at something across the room while others are attempting to solve something else entirely. Though the puzzles themselves were, for us, on the easier side of things, they were no less fun, and the room is absolutely packed with interactions, so we didn’t blow through the experience either. Overall, DTF is all about having a great time, and it definitely succeeds in its mission!

Low Points:

During our play, the decor was still in development, so the room didn’t quite have as much personality as it could’ve, however, it should be even more decked out now, so no worries here! The puzzling can sometimes ride on the easier, more basic side, so enthusiasts looking for an intense challenge may be disappointed, but we had more than enough fun running through the flow of the game and just enjoying the great story and banter with our game master/avatar!

Verdict:

DTF: Drag Task Force is easily one of the most creative, fun filled online escape rooms available. I whole heartedly recommend trying it out, as the entertaining puzzling flow and laugh a minute interactions with our game master delivered one of our favorite experiences of the pandemic. Book your time helping the Drag Task Force regain their fabulous powers here!

9/10 (Excellent)

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

Mystery Mansion Regina – Seen (Virtual Review)

Location: Your Home via the Magic of the Internet!

Players: 2-10 (We recommend 2-5 players)

Price: $20 CAD per person (About $15.14 USD at the time of writing)

Time to Escape: 75 minutes

I seen’t it!

Theme:

From the Mystery Mansion Regina website:

Searching for a job, but having little luck due to the whole COVID-19 thing, you decide to turn to Craigslist. Everything seems pretty sketchy and illegal, until you come across a posting from DirkyDirk420. The posting reads: “Babysitter needed. To watch a baby. A big one. No physical contact; only watching via video link.”A little odd, but definitely the least strange you’ve found so far. You contact DirkyDirk420 and he hires you. He says he will send you another email with more details closer to the date of the job.Fingers crossed this Dirk guy isn’t some sort of pervert. I mean, you did find him on Craigslist…***Rated 14A For Coarse Language, Dark Comedy, and Inappropriate Themes***

mysterymansionseen-1-orig

First Impressions:

We very much enjoyed Mystery Mansion Regina’s Night Terrors, but recently, they have made their in person room, Seen, available for online play. The most interesting thing about Seen, other than it being a horror comedy, is that there are two rooms, (side A or B,) that can be played competitively, or in our case, as a two-part online escape extravaganza!

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High Points:

Our team is custom built for low-brow humor, and the comic sensibilities of Seen and our in room avatar, the aforementioned “baby,” appealed greatly to us. While Seen is still a horror room, it never ceases to be silly and all around weird. Adding to the excellence, our avatar/game master played to our enthusiasm, ensuring the jokes and puzzles continued to come at us fast and furious! Both rooms flow pretty well, and are, for the most part, fairly linear, which plays to the strengths of an online live experience. Though there is generally a fair amount to do in each room, it is generally pretty clear what comes next in the puzzling sequence, and the challenge remains in determining how to solve the various conundrums rather than sorting through too much information at any given time. The rooms themselves are more “Generation One” style escapes, consisting mostly of locks and codes, but this does not hinder the adventure at all, as these sorts of games tend to shine in the virtual space. I really enjoyed how the story had been adjusted for a virtual audience, and hamming it up with our GM was a brilliant time.

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Puzzles ran a wide gamut, and there was a little something for everyone within each room, and while the experience was linear, it never seemed as if anyone was feeling left out or just waiting around for something to do. There were several ways Telescape, the inventory system used by Mystery Mansion for this room, was integrated in order to ensure the teamwork based interactions remained solvable by multiple players, as intended, and allowed us a little freedom to divide and conquer virtually. Each separate room has their own personal style, and conveys a particular facet of the overall story, ensuring that while each room works as a stand alone adventure, those that take on both rooms will get the extra bonus of seeing how everything ties together! We really loved the side that dealt with the gruesome and ridiculous traps the antagonist had been using to take out his enemies.

Low Points:

There was an instance in both sides A and B of a puzzle that relied on searching in a way that doesn’t quite translate to the virtual experience well. A small puzzle or something to direct remote players a bit more would help alleviate these choke points, as searching in a virtual game usually has to be streamlined to ensure players don’t get hung up because they aren’t physically in the room. When clues would come up in telescape during our first game, there was a fart noise that was hilarious at first, but became old through repetition, however, during our second run, it was cut down to levels that remain silly and not grating. One of the sides definitely gives off a better “SAW parody” vibe than the other, and we tended to enjoy this side more, though there have been a few updates to the other side to ensure the theme and creepy vibe carry through a bit better.

Verdict:

Seen is a great set of rooms, and we enjoyed playing through both sides in order to get the full story! We aren’t overly competitive folks, so we didn’t play competitively, but both rooms seem balanced for head to head play. I do love the asynchronous nature of the game, as it allows players like us to essentially have two different rooms to play, and for those who really love to compete, they can swap rooms afterwards. These rooms are approachable for new players, and enthusiasts will definitely get their escape room fix from Seen. I highly recommend it for folks who enjoy darker humor and horror comedies! Book your time taking care of the baby here!

8/10 (Great)

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

 

 

 

Breakout Greensboro – Mystery Mansion (Review)

Location: Greensboro, NC (There are locations nationwide, however.)

Price: See website, varies per person depending on size of group. All games are now private!

Players: 2-8 (We recommend 3-4)

Time to Escape: 60 Minutes

The Haunting of Puzzle House.

Theme:

From the Breakout Greensboro website:

This spine-chilling adventure starts in the ruins of an old mansion – abandoned decades ago by a reclusive and eccentric family. Since then, rumors swirl of a presence looming over the old house. Work as a team to race the clock and uncover the mansion’s secrets in this all-ages mystery adventure.

First Impressions:

We’ve been on three previous trips to Breakout, and it’s almost always a good time, but we noticed on this most recent trip that Breakout has made the shift to all private rooms; always a plus in our book! With a sliding scale pricing model, any size group can ensure they get the room to themselves, ensuring a consistent experience across the board, which is always commendable. Of course, for any of this to matter, the rooms have to be good, so were they?

High Points:

Mystery Mansion is one of the newer games at Breakout Greensboro, but has been around at other locations for quite some time, yet the game still holds up pretty well. Mixing technology with basic lock and key interactions, this room does a good job of keeping the escape room vibe going while still presenting some awesome supernatural interactions that ensure the experience feels fresh. A few climactic moments felt magical, and allowed for some pretty imaginative interactions we hadn’t seen done elsewhere. The logic for these moments are very well clued, and though players wouldn’t generally think to perform these actions, they make wonderfully intuitive sense within the context of the game flow. Barring one particular moment, detailed below, the game flow is fantastic, flowing smoothly between each layer of the game, and we always knew what to tackle next or were able to work these steps out naturally at all times.

The set design is well done, and while other sets at Breakout Greensboro can be hit or miss, this one is definitely put together well. It certainly isn’t Hollywood level, but for the market, it’s believable and immersive enough. Movement between different parts of the game makes logical sense, and the secrets we uncovered were excellently revealed. There was one particular puzzle of a genre that generally, we don’t much care for, but the way it was presented within this room ensured we were all engaged with the solve, and allowed for everyone to contribute. The climax was well implemented upon completion of our goal, the ending felt more satisfying as, unlike a few of the other rooms at Breakout, we didn’t just have to enter a code to escape, but find a hidden relic as well.

Low Points:

One particular puzzle that gave us some trouble was rather strangely clued, with not quite enough connective tissue to become truly intuitive, and once we’d determined what we needed to do, the answer hinged on a piece of outside knowledge. Though I think a lot of groups will be able to determine the answer, it cannot be determined in room if not, and having to waste a hint to figure it out would definitely be a bummer. One extremely original puzzle was a lot of fun to play around with, but never actually worked one hundred percent correctly for us, leading to the need to burn our only hint to figure out what in the world was going on. There was a reset failure in the early game for us, as a key was left in a lock accidentally. Fortunately, we didn’t notice until we were almost at that point anyway, but we would’ve bypassed a huge chunk of the game otherwise. The room is highly linear, so more than three or four players absolutely will result in some choke points wherein someone will be left sitting around with very little to do until the current puzzle is solved.

Verdict:

Though an older room, design wise, Mystery Mansion feels like a step above for Breakout Greensboro. While it still stumbles in places, and is firmly more of a earlier generation experience despite it’s best attempts, it’s still a really enjoyable and engaging experience. Providing enough of a challenge to ensure that enthusiasts don’t just blow through the game, yet ensuring it is approachable to new players, I think this one is definitely worth trying out! Experience the haunting at your local Breakout here!

7.5/10 (Good)

Full disclosure: Breakout Greensboro provided media discounted tickets for our group.