⏲️ TIME LIMIT: 60 Minutes
💬 DIFFICULTY: N/A (Official) | Medium To Hard (Mattster)
👨👩👧👦 CAPACITY: Need *Exactly* 4 Connections
🔐 GAME TYPE:Private
💰 PRICING: $80 Per Game
► STAY-AT-HOME GAME SPECIFICATIONS ◄
🖱️ DISTRIBUTION ROUTE: Online, By Appointment
🎧 PRODUCT TYPE: Mixed Media Virtual Escape Room
► PREMISE AND OBJECTIVES ◄
Official Premise (from Mad Genius): You may recognize Edith Humphreys, your sweet neighbor with 24 cats. You may have even helped her out, snooped around her apartment. But there's something about Edith that doesn't quite add up... she looks way younger than she is, she says she was born in 1902 but that she's 97 years young... and she lives at a business called Mad Genius Escapes?! What is going on here...
► GAME ESSENCE AT A GLANCE ◄
📚 NARRATIVE: A side quest to their "Cat Lady" room, fantastic addition
👀 VISUAL: All the online media were purposefully weird and so fitting!
🧩 PUZZLE: Creative, eclectic, and eccentric; all team work required
🧠 IMMERSION: Super-sucked into the world of Edith, even without a set!
🎮 REMOTE INTERFACE: Must be proficient/familiar with internet to play
🏪 VENUE: N/A
💁♂️ STAFF: Both the actress and Katie were dears & pleasant to work with
💭 OVERALL: Doesn't even feature a set, but BLEW. MY. MIND.
🎟️ BEST FIT FOR: Those who embrace peculiarity, laughter, AND CATS
couldn't believe the truth! What in the world, Cat Lady?!?!
"The Truth About Edith" officially joins the "MUST DO!!!" rank!
► CAT LADY GONE WILD ◄
"The Truth About Edith" kept showing up on my radar, and everyone seemed to be buzzing about how unique, different, and crazy fun it is.
So yes, I had to find out for myself.
However, even before the game, during my routine research on the product before actually trying it out, I was already very confused--but in a great way--by so many aspects of it.
Cat #1 of 24, doctorate degree candidate
First, Mad Genius Escapes from Portland is the company behind this kooky concoction, and I noticed right away that they offer a physical room entitled simply "Cat Lady", featuring a sweet elderly neighbor named Ms Edith Humphreys. She has 24 cats! Count 'em! 24!
And while "Truth" is not an exact online duplicate of "Cat Lady"--in fact, they're two completely different experience--it does heavily focus on the one and the same Edith Humphreys. Since popular media has trained me to equate cat lady as eccentricity for years, this set up the tone nicely.
The company officially advertises this online play as "a 4 player, hour-long timed adventure sprinkled with interactive theater and a good dose of humor", and as such, I was instantly fixated at the 4 player part. This game requires exactly 4 Zoom connections to work. No more, no less, exactly 4.
Additionally, I was extremely intrigued at how the live Zoom video element would factor in.
Indeed, so many questions, none can be answered until you play.
Edith, Kayla, and friends doing their best "Brady Bunch" via Zoom
My dream team, John, Kayla, Jesse, and I, were tasked by a fellow in an office suit to find out what exactly is happening with Edith in an appropriate "The Office" parody intro video:
Edith is 118 years old, claims she's only 97, but is looking like 60 something at most, and beating 20 something year olds in marathons?! What age defying facial cream and miracle drug is she using?! I'll take a dozen.
And oh yeah, she lives at the Mad Genius Escapes venue now. She's not exactly homeless, but more like a business invader! The plot thickens...
Keep this browser tab open: the clock and the game master will keep you informed
Each of us, given a secret code name by our game host, were thrown into the mission head first. Once the clock started ticking, we found out instantly that team work is of UTMOST importance!
Though no physical set was ever directly involved throughout the entire game play, the very first puzzle immediately reminded me of split start escape room, in which all 4 of us had to work together, live in real time, if we were to get to the bottom of this investigation.
First puzzle of many, featuring newspaper, requires proper team work to advance
In a strange sense, the entire internet is our "escape room set", a stage for us 4 performers to flex our brain muscles, presented through the eye of an internet browser. The limitless web awaits our arrival.
We may not have to physically move our butts from one end of the room to another, but we surely traveled wide and far all over the internet to gather clues and solve puzzles. Prior to signing up for a game, be sure that you're proficient in the basic literacy of web surfing.
Fancy a quick game of DOS based Black Jack?
Playing flash based internet games, maneuvering password protected websites, composing electronic messages, and inquiring geographical information via online map websites, these are all fair game. Be prepared!
When I categorized this as a mixed media virtual escape game above, I really meant it. Within the hour we spent with the loony Ms Humphreys, we saw so many different mini games or puzzles, one after another, and none was similar to the one came prior or after. It was an intellectual omakase!
Of the many "oh so weird, but so good and fun" challenges we faced, several really stood out and stayed on my mind even to date. I am reliving my journey mentally as I am composing this review blog post.
And cats. So many cats. If you love cats, you're at the right place. CATS.
The actor led interaction towards the end, the grand finale, if you will, brought something of importance given to us in the beginning full circle, and this real time game sequence was my absolute personal favorite!
Kicked off by a familiar board game like activity, we then dived into the most difficult group effort assignment received thus far. John, who was randomly chosen to be our group leader, looked ever so frustrated when the rest of us just couldn't understand his directions for the rest of the team.
Seeing my friend almost spaz out, (nah, jk, he's a cool dude,) partially due to my stupidity, was not on the expected menu, but it's an ever so delicious treat from Bastet (the cat God) herself.
Overall, there's one particular sequence that encountered slight technical difficulty, but even with that aside, it's a very intense ride from beginning to end. This game had child like elements, but definitely offered adult level difficultly. We had only 3 minutes left, nonetheless, mission accomplished!
Turned out, Edith was... *GASP!*
Certificate Of Achievement souvenir photo given to all participants
Since this virtual online game doesn't actually occupy any of Mad Genius Escapes's physical rooms, I anticipate its being run indefinitely, which is great news because the owners created something very special here. And it merits being shared among all escape room and puzzle fanatics out there.
And just in case you want a random fun fact: Edith featured on the "The Truth About Edith" game poster is played by owner Katie, who is rocking a CAT-TASTIC apron dress given to her by my friend Michelle. The amount of awesomeness in that statement can hardly be contained.
"The Truth" is truly more ludicrous and meta than I could ever ask for.
Ahhhhhh! Edith! You drove me a little nuts!
► DISCLAIMERS ◄
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.