Outside the room
We were travelling through Bournemouth on an escape room crawl and looking for games to take on. Ouija didn’t have a stellar reputation, but it seemed quite different from other games, so I was keen to try it out.
We threw our car in a space on a side street nearby and went to the address. It’s a strange introduction; there’s no waiting area, so you’re just left on the street outside till they’re ready. You even sign the disclaimer and pay your money out there! Once that admin is done, it’s into the house, where you can drop off your bags before the games begin.
Lisa is a young woman whom is a novel writer she lives alone in Bournemouth. One day she invites her close friends to her place, one of her friends suggests to evoke spirits for fun just out of the blue. Even though Lisa didn’t believe in evoking spirits she couldn’t resist the insistence of her friends. So they decided to use the Ouija board. As soon as planchette (eye of the board) moved they wanted to end the session. At that moment the spirit answered on the board there was someone who doesn’t believe in their existence in your house which was Lisa, plus thinking her friends were playing a game on her she was not to bothered, Lisa’s friends who got scared and agitated about all this ends the session and leaves the house.
Next day Lisa’s phone rings. The person on the line was Lisa’s aunt. She says “I feel very depressed can I came and visit you please”
Lisa sees her aunt pale and distressed once she arrives. They chat for a while but the more they spend time the more thoughtfulness and paleness on her face becomes more obvious. Aunt asks to us the restroom, at that moment the phone rings. Lisa’s mother mentions on the phone her aunt passed away after last night’s accident and he adds “Im sorry for our lost” Lisa loses her mind not understanding what is going on at that moment …….
Lisa has been lost since 4th January 1975, which is the exact date when these events are experienced. Lisa needs you!
Inside the room
The thing that makes this game so different from others is that it takes place across an entire house. There is a relentless sense of movement in the experience – you’ll rarely solve more than one puzzle in a room before being whisked onwards for something new. That sense of exploration is used well both to make the game more interesting and to put you off balance. They’ll be moving you so often that it would be easy to lose the sense of where you are, to the point that you can re-enter a room and not notice.
There is a story behind what you’re doing on the website (reproduced in all its glory above), but that barely gets a look-in during the game. Indeed, the first I really found out about the backstory was when I went to the website as part of this review. There’s no real sense of progress either (beyond paying attention to whether you’ve explored the whole house). That’s fine, though, because this isn’t really a game – it’s an experience. Knowing how far through it you are isn’t relevant.
Unsurprisingly, the decoration is minimal. Most of the game takes place in significant darkness and, for quite a bit of it, you won’t be able to see at all. You likely won’t be spending much time looking at the room, so there’s no real point in them making an effort, especially since it’s a huge space to decorate.
The puzzles were, pretty much universally, terrible. One broke on us because we didn’t follow the instructions quite right. Another required us to remember something from one room to the next which, in a scare experience and without paper, seemed like a bad idea. What did work was, well, very basic – find an object or numbers in the room and extract a code or number. If you didn’t solve it pretty quickly, they’d start cluing you in a very direct way, so it never really felt like it was much of a challenge.
I really do want to paint a picture of this not being very good because, well, it wasn’t. However, in all honesty, there were a couple of things about this game that I thought worked well. Firstly, there’s an actor in the experience who interacts with you a fair bit. They did their job well, not interfering with us directly but keeping us stressed throughout. The occasional glimpses of shadow across your vision and the sound of someone moving quickly past you in a dark space worked well to get your adrenaline flowing. Secondly, they singled out individual members of the team for specific tasks. That was great because it meant that everyone got a chance to get involved where it would be easy for one person to take the lead, especially in a room where some players may be a little bit reticent of the character interaction.
The game ends as you expect, with an adrenaline-fuelled race for the exit. Except that, here, the adrenaline really was pumping through our veins.
We escaped in about 44 minutes with some clues along the way. Time and clues in this game don’t really mean much – it’s much more about the experience.
Ouija is a strange game. I’m not entirely convinced it’s even an escape room, although it probably has just enough of the elements to count as one. The puzzles were pretty poor, the decoration was no better, and the only thing of merit was really the theatre of the scare side of things. If that interests you, go to a scare attraction. Or, even better, go to a scare escape room – there are a few dotted around the country.
If you do insist on going, then numbers don’t make much difference. You’ll get pretty much the same experience with six people as with three. You probably don’t want to play as a pair unless you’re happy to spend periods of the game alone in the dark…
Detailed Room Ratings