Mindtrap Escape Room (Based In Murrieta, CA, USA)
◣ GAME'S SPECS
💪 Rated as 8/10 (for in-person version) by company.
⏲️ 60 minutes duration limit.
🔢 Accommodating 3-10 Zoom connections, private booking.
💬 Hints given through avatar. They will help subtly, such as via specific camera angle, to nudge players along.
💼 Inventory platform designed in-house by company! 360° (or similar) room view available.
📝 Note potential time difference between your location and the host's (check time zone).
🛒 If you BOOK GAME due to this blog, please give EscapeMattster.com a shout out! ;)
◣ MATTSTER'S TAKE
💪 Difficulty: For Mattster's team of 3, it was actually quite easy. Probably 3/10. (Used up almost the entire hour, though.)
🔢 Ideal Team Size: Considering how we succeeded with 3, I would cap it at 4. It isn't all about what number would be most efficient in conquering all the puzzles, but more about how many together to share & enjoy visually exciting scenes.
🤷♂️ Best Fit For: Fans of disaster films, especially for zombie genre followers. Room is novice-friendly as well.
🍵 Boils Down To: A mildly horrific but wildly terrific zombie encounter set on the stage of a war-torn, apocalyptic Earth.
😍 Overall Rating: This provided a similar level of satisfaction, if not even more thrills, as the other Mindtrap room I've reviewed not too long ago. If "Gold Rush" was a must-do, then this must be, too. So there ya go, I highly recommend both!
...WHOA! LOVED IT.
THIS JOINS 🏆 "MUST DO!" 🏆 RANK!
Allied attempts to stop the launch of the V3 rockets as part of Operation Longbow are successful... and the Axis powers have turned to the unholy powers of the undead! Your commando team must infiltrate an abandoned medical facility under cover of darkness, face the horrors of the enemy experiments, and defeat the zombie soldiers before you join their ranks!
Storytelling • World War 2? More Like World War Z!
"Operation Nightwalker" tells a dystopian tale of a world in midst of destruction brought on by World War II. The Allies have gained the lead, but the Axis has a trump card--Black Sun Virus, an agent capable of turning ordinary war prisoners into mindless, bloodthirsty beasts, an existence somewhere between the living and the dead. They call them the undead, nightwalkers, or "zombies", if you will. Some say it is just hearsay... But can it be true?
One lone private assigned to investigate an abandoned medical facility is about to find out, and you're tagging along! (Although... Exactly what 194os technology are we using to do so? Hmm... Aw well.) This young, inexperienced, and literally shivering soldier could go from zero to hero if he were to intervene the most sinister human experiment in history, and halt an imminent zombie apocalypse! (And as soon as his hands are done shaking from intense fear, he'll get right on it.)
What follows the next hour is an exciting, a tad creepy, but not so scary sci-fi adventure. And of course, that includes some good ol' undead action. Though all surroundings are communicated in German to reference the Nazi, "Nightwalker" at its core is a zombie game. I'll say... 25% war supporting cast, 75% zombie main star. As such, the specific plot matters relatively little, and as long as you know your goal is to stop the rise of an undead army, you're good.
In fact, this escape room is so action-centric, it's rather possible for its main narrative to get lost among the chaos. Hence, your experience may feel more complete if you go in already prepped. Watch the following introduction video before logging onto your Zoom remote experience, and everything will fall into place easily:
Theatrics & Production • It's Quite The Show
Having played the fan-favorite "Gold Rush" from Mindtrap prior, I already know from experience that the avatar leading the game will very possibly steal the show. They tend to be personable and know how to work a crowd--that much I've anticipated. What I did not foresee is "Nightwalker's" more theatrical approach in delivery. The very first thing we saw when the game camera went live was a man in army suit, confused, anxious, and longing for assistance. That's a huge departure from when usually, patrons only get to hear the avatar's voice, and rarely get to witness their worried face.
Throughout the game, the camera feed will periodically switch between a familiar first-person avatar perspective, and occasionally, a third-person view to better witness certain not-to-be-missed rousing moments, best captured through a bystander's standpoint. True to its intention, every time our host put down his camera for a far shot, players are treated to a mini action movie sequence. Jump scares or otherwise (maybe a zombie brawl?!), you know something's about to happen. So forget that puzzle for a moment. You won't wanna miss this!
The avatar (and the second actor, wink wink) are critical to "Nightwalker's" success. Like an action movie, this game's story may not need to be fancily intricate, but the physicality needs to be well executed. Humor doesn't hurt, either. And that's exactly what Mindtrap served us tonight with much savvy. The army man speaks with an ideal amount of apprehension, but he also manages to carry a playful banter with his guests without breaking character. Should it come time to wrestle the undead, both parties give believable, and frankly, just pure fun performance that elicits plenty chuckles. Good times.
To tag on a related note, as expected of Mindtrap, the set looks professional and fantastic; and as I said before about "Gold Rush", and I will say it again here, this is movie set level quality. Looking spacious and detailed, the set must be such an adrenaline rush to play in-person. In particular, I imagine the colorful--almost trippy--finale should be quite a sight to see.
Puzzles • An Operation Even A Rookie Can Manage
The entire original roster of puzzles from the in-person edition survives to roam the night in the online rendition. There are very few padlocks to open, but majority of puzzles is still gen-1 logic based, albeit presented impressively via more tech-y props, and very enjoyable. They all translated well on the virtual interface, especially thanks to the excellent camerawork. Thematically, some correspond to battle aftermath, while others relate to general science, something I especially enjoy given my academic background.
However, the puzzle designs do function differently online, since in-person, much of the difficulty derives from having crucial information being physically separated, forcing a group to communication across a room's span. This isn't feasible for online play, as info is laid out on screen readily side-by-side in your inventory. As such, I don't think any of the puzzles is necessarily super challenging in the way that a hardcore puzzler may prefer. On the flip side, this also means players of any level can probably achieve 100% completion, rendering this a suitable option for the mainstream public.
In either case, do work efficiently! Factoring in the scenes to be acted out, you do lose a bit of time off your 60 minutes.
Truly, what I find so attractive about this room was the whole package, and not just the brainteasers on their own. To perfectly illustrate this point, one late obstacle involves a "puzzle" that requires very little brain work, but the amusement payoff is arguably one of the most effective, because it's visually interesting, and so rarely encountered.
Finally, the in-house programmed inventory system continues to be easy to use, and even easier than ever, since for this game, everything's automated. Participants need not to manually enter any password to unlock items: they will appear when found, and disappear when used, all on their own. A very noticeable chime will sound to alert players only when inventory is refreshed, freeing their attention to focus on solving puzzles, or more notably, to watch what's going on onscreen. And once again, trust me, there's a lot not to be missed!
Officially, my "Operation Nightwalker" run was only a beta test, but it's exceptional as is and ready for spotlight. If you're not within convenient travel distance to Murrieta, CA, having the option to remotely enjoy this excellent zombie fest is a blessing. In addition, with all the exclusive theatrics thrown in, this is a great alternative way to experience "Nightwalker" even if you're in the area--especially if you scare easily in person and want to socially distance from brain-eaters!
★ Some subjects seem to love their iron supplements more than others, huh?
★ Where my medical field folks at? You won't need a chart to tell which bone is which, would you now?
(These aren't tips for you as much as they are fun, medicine related in-jokes for me. I'm just--humerus-ing--myself! Hah!)
(Ok, I will stop now and go back to my time-out corner...)
⤻ Full disclosure: Complimentary game access was provided for testing/review purposes.
⤻ All media credited to and provided by contents owners. No copyright infringement intended.
⤻ Speed code for on-site search: MERNightwalker