🖱️ DISTRIBUTION ROUTE: Online, By Booking/Appointment
🎧 PRODUCT TYPE: Audio Led Escape Room
► PREMISE & OBJECTIVES ◄
Official Premise (from Escape Room LA):
The curse of an evil witch has brought eternal darkness to a small secluded village. Now it’s up to you to travel to the village and reverse the curse before dawn. Along the way you’ll outwit trolls, play pub games to win gold, and cast powerful spells! Can you break the Curse of the Dark Raven?
► "GAME AT A GLANCE" SUMMARY ◄
📚 NARRATIVE: Reverse the evil witch's curse and rescue a village from eternal darkness
👀 VISUAL: Fairy tale book style of art work punctuated with puzzles of simpler graphics
🧩 PUZZLE: A large variety of average or easy difficulty, some fun interactive ones as well
🧠 IMMERSION: Most immersive when players are asked to physically participate... :X
🎮 REMOTE INTERFACE: Zoom audio conference call with screen share function
💁♂️ STAFF: Professional, quick, and efficient game host
💭 OVERALL: Not a bad option, engaging story, especially given affordable price point
🎟️ BEST FIT FOR: Family night, introduction to audio led escape room or puzzles in general
🎫 IDEAL TEAM SIZE: Probably would max it out at 4 people, can easily be done with 2
AUDIO LED EXPERIENCE
I have done one audio led escape game to date, so this is actually just my second one. And spoiler alert, I feel fortunate that both ended up being entertaining!
For those who have never done one before, I've learned to best describe the experience as "Dungeons & Dragons" mixed with escape room puzzles:
Though participants still "congregate" via Zoom app, there is no actual live video feed of a physically constructed set. They are instead presented with still images or other multimedia, while a moderator narrates the story and validates the participants' puzzle solutions.
Upon hearing this, one of my teammates, who's an avid player of D&D for years, exclaimed the same sentiment, "It sounds just like Dungeons & Dragons!" And he proceeded to excitedly wait to the game to start in the Zoom lobby. Eeeeeek! Can't wait for the town to be cursed!
Nothing but darkness, one chance to break the curse
A VILLAIN'S BEST FRIEND
Maleficent had Diablo, and in "The Curse Of The Dark Raven", this village's token evil witch also had a dark raven! Cawwwww!
Poor misunderstood black aviator, once again forced to be the embodiment of malice in another fairy tale. Circling high above doomed village, the raven spread its wings and banished the sun. Total darkness befell this unfortunate little town. I hope everyone likes Marco Polo.
What's worse is, they never bothered explaining why the evil witch has done this! Was this evil doing for evil's sake because "Shrug, it's 2020"? Whatever the case was, 5 very experienced escape experts were ready to reverse the spell.
The Curse Of The Dark Raven (Credit: Escape Room LA)
BRING IT AROOOUND TOWWWN
We first headed to the village's mayor's office where we received a note of gratitude from the mayor for our brave attempt to end this misery, and also a handy dandy town map.
Our adventure's itinerary then became clear: visit all indicated locations, collect clues, items, and solve puzzles, and most importantly, uncover a way to break the curse before sunrise.
Point of interests included story world stable like a mysterious old house, the local favorite tavern, and of course, the spooky witch's cabin.
And just to lightly touch on the graphics aspect of our journey, most scenes employed a similar oil canvas painting style artwork, appropriate for a medieval vibe fairy tale. At times, the style would slightly change, or resolution/quality would suffer, but overall not critical to game play.
A non-linear, logical, and structured format of game play, it's very easy to just pick up and go. The OCD personality in me loved the simple but effective organization. I am sure even a family with average puzzle solving experience will handle this experience just fine.
A VILLAGE FOUNDED BY PUZZLES LOVERS
Everywhere we went, there was always some form of lock or, if you will, a "bouncer" that detered us from walking right in. But since most puzzles were ones we've seen before, we metaphorically flashed our VIP passes as seasoned experts and entrance was granted.
Variety, however, was plentiful, and there was never a dull moment.
Even though "Raven" in its entirety was enjoyable, there were indeed a couple of mention worthy locations and moments to point out:
The tavern opened with a somewhat questionable riddle that I felt was era inappropriate, so some tweaking would be ideal. After that though, it's party/pub games time! This was one of the most interactive section of the audio led escape room, and the participants even had a degree of freedom as to what they wanted to play, rendering each experience totally unique.
The witch's house is where you would encounter the most amount of puzzles of the traditional escape room sense, so get ready to solve, solve, solve. Puzzle lovers would get to expressively flex their big, bulgy brain muscles in this area, arguably the most difficult portion of the game.
(Incidentally, I can see the witch's home easily transformed and constructed as a physical, in-real-life escape room if the owner should ever consider such implementation.)
My absolute favorite moment during our quest, however, was a performance done not by our game master, but by one of our own, resulting in these gems of photos:
I won't spoil the what and why, but I love everything about the above.
The final sequence was also, as one would predict, a test of wits, though not difficult so. I would actually rate everything children friendly, so this one's a clear contender for family night.
TEAM MATTSTER, 1; WITCH'S CURSE, 0
Breaking the curse was no big problem, and we pretty much laughed our way from beginning to end. Thanks to Escape Room LA for creating a lighthearted virtual adventure for many to enjoy in times of uncertainty. Staying safe at home is a privilege.
Curse lifted, and raven flew free of burden
If I were to make a few suggestions for improvements, I would suggest players of high experience level to relax, take their time, and really explore the town as clueless tourists.
We completed the entire plot within 35 minutes, so we could've circled the Town Square twice, gotten drunk off of the pub's home brewed beer, took numerous selfies along the way, and still have time to make some ruckus at the witch's house, and maybe a tarot card reading even!
Either that, or possibly add in another building or two for 3-5 additional puzzles. I'd love that.
The Curse Of the Dark Raven (Credit: EscapeTheRoomers)
The game master could also consider a more dramatic portrayal, perhaps in character as one of the villagers longing for a ray of light once more. Not everyone is a thespian, but those who can act will surely bring another layer of complexity to the game.
We at "Escape Mattster" appreciate this company's hospitality and the opportunity to publish an honest review. Though game access was complimentary, we aim to provide *only* genuine & unbiased opinions.
All official media are provided by or credited to respective contents owners, and are used with proper permission for the purpose of this post.