moviESCAPE: The Haunted House

Haunted House

Outside the room

moviESCAPE popped up quietly in Stockport a couple of months ago and, while their initial pair of rooms are horror themed, their focus is (unsurprisingly, given their name) on movie-like experiences. In spite of not being horror fans, we decided to head down there and try out their rooms because we were in the area.

It’s not the best signposted location in the world, but we put our faith in the Sat Nav and were happily guided to the mill where it’s housed. At first glance we thought we’d arrived in the wrong place – the building is huge and packed with plenty of other businesses, so we couldn’t immediately see the entrance, but we eventually noticed the relevant sign and parked up before heading inside. I say inside, but you’d barely have known it by the temperature – the corridors to the building aren’t protected from the elements and it didn’t feel like there was any heating. This was most definitely one to keep your coat on for!

Moving into the middle of the building was a little better, and we soon found our way to the reception area, where we were welcomed by the owner. It’s worth mentioning that the games are located on the same premises as a paintball site, so it’s perfect for stag and hen dos that want a bit of mental and physical challenge. That also means there’s plenty of waiting space, so I expect them to be fine even when they’ve opened the extra rooms they’re planning.

Background

Using props sourced from real life Haunted Houses across the world, the HAUNTED HOUSE room is the best horror themed escape experience you can have. You play a group of Paranormal investigators sent to Crowley manor to investigate the disappearance of a previous Paranormal Investigation Team.

Inside the room

First impressions on walking into the room weren’t great. It wasn’t quite as run down as the rest of the mill, but it still wasn’t the prettiest room to look at. To some extent, that fits with the haunted house theme, but I think there’s plenty of scope to make things that look creepy and worn down while still looking professional. When it comes down to it, there’s a balance to be struck, and I felt they’d not focused enough on creating a set that’s fun to be in.

The game is played in reasonably low light levels but you soon find a light source per person, which meant it shouldn’t have been too frustrating. Unfortunately, a couple of the torches were a bit temperamental and, while the flickering didn’t massively affect the gameplay, it was still fairly distracting. And no, these weren’t the haunt industry torches that deliberately become temperamental! Speaking of which, there are a few haunt industry-style effects in the game that added a little creepiness to the room – not so much as to make you feel nervous about playing but enough to make life a little more interesting. There’s also a really nice twist near the end which, while not really affecting the game much, was an original and clever idea to add to the story.

In spite of my first impression that the game was a little bare, there were a reasonable number of puzzles that were generally interesting. None of them were earth-shattering, though, and there was little that was truly memorable on the puzzle front. They made use of one particular mechanic several times (indeed, their other room also used the same mechanic a few times). When we encountered it for the second time, my instant reaction was that they were being lazy in the design of the room, but it’s actually used to good effect to expand on the story in a very accessible way that didn’t require you to read out a load of text.

Result 

We escaped in about 23 minutes without taking any clues.

Verdict –

I never really got excited about this game. It was perfectly playable with some OK puzzles, an OK theme and a reasonably good story, but there was very little about it to make it stand out. As a first game, I’m sure players will find it fun, especially if they’re into horror or haunt attractions, but I didn’t feel it brought anything new to the table beyond the twist mentioned above. In spite of the quick finishing time, there’s a decent amount of content in the game, so I’d happily recommend three to four enthusiasts and perhaps even the full complement of newbies.

Detailed Room Ratings

Venue
Host
Wow! factor
Immersiveness
Difficulty

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