Seen • Mystery Mansion Escape Rooms • Remote Escape Room Review
Mystery Mansion Escape Rooms (Based In Regina, Canada)
◣ GAME'S SPECS
💪 Rated 5/10 by company.
⏲️ 60 minutes duration limit.
🔢 Accommodating 3-10 players, private booking.
💬 Hints subtly provided by avatar while staying in character.
💼 Inventory platform based on Telescape Live by Buzzshot. 360° (or similar) room view available.
📝 Game rated 14A (similar to PG-13 in the US) for coarse language, dark comedy, and inappropriate themes.
📝 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 (or 4), easy, 3/10. This bloggers team is highly experienced, though!
🔢 Ideal Team Size: 3-4. There is a long series of puzzles to conquer, so a typical small group setting is appropriate.
🤷♂️ Best Fit For: Those with a broad sense of humor, that are not easily offended by crude subject matters, that also happen to love doing puzzles. (Ideally have not yet experienced any form of "Cut-throat" by the same company.)
🍵 Boils Down To: A more flippant version of "help hostage survive before it's too late" escape room. Some details warrant more developments, edits, or reimaginations even, to narrate a more compelling story. I see a potentially awesome parody vision in the rough; gradual and continual improvements will help its final realization.
😶 Overall Rating: A viable and comedic pick among the company's variously themed online experience, albeit somewhat overshadowed by stronger contenders like the cleverly written "Night Terrors" or the puzzle heavy "The Detective's Office".
Searching for a job, but having little luck, you decide to turn to Craigslist. Everything seems pretty sketchy and illegal, until you come across a posting from DirkyDirk420. The posting reads: “Babysitter needed. To watch a baby. A big one. No physical contact; only watching via video link.” A little odd, but definitely the least strange you’ve found so far. You contact DirkyDirk420 and he hires you. He says he will send you another email with more details closer to the date of the job. Fingers crossed this Dirk guy isn’t some sort of pervert. I mean, you did find him on Craigslist…
Storytelling • Applicants Should've "Seen" This Coming
The owner of Mystery Mansion had once briefly described the idea behind "Seen" as somewhat "Saw" inspired, thus room title word play. What ultimately came to fruition, however, was quite another breed of its own, a parody dripping with not only (PG-13 limited) gore, but also with that signature slightly naughty humor that I've come to expect from this brand.
The official plot briefing is the most cryptic one yet thus far. The premise of babysitting a "big baby" remotely sounds both puzzling and illogical. But of course, players soon find out they've been hired as voyeurs of not a child, but a full grown adult, one that soon wakes up from a drug-induced stupor. Dirk your employer then announces their life is in your hands, should you choose to help. Aye... Craigslist always brings out the crazies. Fine, fine, I guess we'll help.
Dirk, however, is no Jigsaw. While he does also kill by sadistic "traps", he has no noble philosophy to preach. His victims of choice are those who have wronged him in school... or at least as he perceives so. (Here lies why you should sympathize with the victim--they're innocent, after all.) In the end, this is a case of "revenge of the nerd" gone horribly wrong. Dirk turns out to be a psychotic sociopath who makes bad judgment and a clumsy executioner. Conspicuously painted as a bumbling fool for laughs, he isn't meant to be taken seriously: instead of "Scream", we're in "Scary Movie" territory.
What I found to work suboptimally at the moment was the game's wavering between two distinct humor styles. Though Dirk's characterizations are nothing short of Nickelodeon-cartoonish, the victims' deaths are reported with a sense of realism, though laced with dry wit and sarcasm. While either works separately, together, they seem to clash. The former is outlandish, and the latter more subtle. I would encourage the staff to further explore and find that one sweet spot where both can converge more organically into one coherent product.
Puzzles • Dirty Dirky Makes A Jokey
As far as puzzles go, they're very consistent with what Mystery Mansion has shown in the past. The puzzle designer tends to embrace gen 1 brainteasers, so expect to crank out combo codes, find keys, and undo various padlocks. On one hand, gen 1 challenges tend to translate well in a remote Zoom setting, so that's a strength. On the other, having done several rooms with this company prior, I feel the puzzles are starting to blur due to the finite, limited range of gen 1 formats.
Fortunately, where puzzle novelty has fallen short, it is uplifted by the injection of humor, albeit maybe a bit crass for some. This is an unapologetic parody rated for teens after all! A few solutions spell out silly words, reminiscent of the classic "58008" calculator trick. (Remember that?) One particular puzzle stands out ever so prominently for its gross and shock factor, and the immature child within me gets a giggle. So be forewarned: "Seen" may not be everybody's cup of tea, as is the case with any comedy, though it works well enough for my no holds barred group.
One thing that stands to improve is the amount of reading required to solve otherwise straightforward puzzles. Pertinent descriptions of the traps, aftermaths, and even some genuinely delightful jokes are exclusively conveyed through long text, thereby eating up more time than most would endure in a timed game. It may prove helpful to provide strategically bolded headlines or pictorial illustrations in place of too many words: should the patrons choose to bypass detailed reading in favor of faster and less cumbersome game play, they have that freedom.
Production & More • A Killer Déjà Vu
In some aspects, "Seen" can be interpreted as the spiritual successor of "Cut-throat". Truly, both productions involve the rescuing of a hostage from a malicious criminal, and though the felons' motives and M.O. differ, at its very core, all escape room killers share similar DNA.
Also factually, "Seen" IS the physical successor, because it utilizes the same set that once housed the lair of the handcuff killer. Though modifications are made, some same prop pieces live to see another day. For instance, the lockers and the toilet (a vicious slayer must-have!) both make a return. Therefore, understandably, even with all brand new puzzles, part of the overall game flow will still feel the exact same since, well, there's really only that one way to examine the John.
So for above rationales, I have reservations recommending playing both games. While "Seen" is most surely the improved version and more enriching choice between the two, "Cut-throat" is much cheaper per head once you've gathered a group of 4 or more. Weigh your options accordingly, consumers.
Overall, production is adequate and, again, consistent with what I've come to expect from our Canadian friend. While there is definite room for improvement, Mystery Mansion's strengths often lie in the overall package, and not visuals alone. (Nevertheless, actual inclusion of trap setups as physical props would certainly up the wow factor by numerous folds!)
Admittedly, "Seen" may not be the most refined selection off the company's online games roster, but if you're simply looking for some casual puzzling sprinkled with some harmless, arguably lowbrow comedy, this may be a good fit. Hey, nothing wrong with that--adulting is hard in 2020. (Or rather, especially hard in 2020.)
⤻ Full disclosure: Complimentary game access was generously provided for review purposes.
⤻ All media credited to and provided by contents owners. No copyright infringement intended.
⤻ Speed code for on-site search: MMERSeen