A Witchy Christmas • Daydream Adventures • Remote Escape Room Review
Game Website | Company Website | Based In: Toronto, ON, Canada
💪 Difficulty: Not specified.
⏲️ Time duration: 90 minutes limit.
🔢 Capacity: Maximum of 8 players. Private booking.
💬 Hints: Most likely through avatar Hilda the witch. However, my team did not use any hint.
📝 Careful--note potential time difference between your location and the host's when booking.
🛒 If you BOOK due to this blog, please give EscapeMattster.com a shout-out! ;)
💪 Difficulty (as perceived by Mattster): Around 3 to 4/10 (team of 6), but up to 5/10 with the hardest puzzle.
🔢 Ideal team size: Would recommend capping at 4 max; or else you may find teammates talking over each other often.
Like many of us this Christmas, Hilda is in her cabin all alone. It has been so long since she has seen a human in her forest, that she decided to visit the human realm to see what they were up to. She saw that everyone was wearing strange masks, but even stranger was that their towns were decorated with lights and garland. She heard whispers of something called “Christmas” and wished to know more, so she took a few things from the human realm and brought them back to her cabin to learn more about this Christmas.
Last time this same team hung out with Hilda the eccentric witch, we were kindred spirits who helped her avenge a human trickster who trashed her sacred and enchanted woodland sanctuary. But it looks like, since then, Hilda has taken up some new interests about the culture of mankind--she's about to learn all about the festivity of Christmas time!
Although this brand new, seasonal remote adventure takes place in the identical set as last time, "A Witchy Christmas" is indeed a distinct experience, with minimal commonality confining to set pieces that are permanently affixed on location. Otherwise, there is an entire new set of puzzles to solve, interesting and different props to interact with, and of course, a fresh story line to follow.
I must admit, however, the plot sounds very closely inspired by a certain Jack's obsession with the December holiday, though Hilda's unique journey to understanding the Christmas spirit turned out different enough to call it her own: Looking to quench her curiosity, Hilda has stolen some signature yuletide items from the human realm, and that kicked off our roughly-an-hour-long interactive puzzle-story show-experience. Yup, this is a multi-element hybrid.
Much like "The Witch's Forest", the greatest appeal of Daydream Adventures' virtual escape rooms is not the puzzles, but Hilda the starlet herself. You'll chat with her, laugh with her, and explore the world through her ever-so-slightly wicked perspective. Yes, you'll still be solving puzzles, but there is plenty to watch, listen, and be mesmerized with. I once again found myself engrossed in her universe.
There is one huge improvement worth mentioning, however, and it's the way the show is presented. Originally, players are instructed to bounce back and forth between the Zoom livestream window to see Hilda at the actual location, and a web browser every now and then to watch "visions", which are essentially video cut-scene breaks in between puzzle-solving to further the storytelling. That system worked fine, but not the most convenient for the customers.
That is no longer the case! Any video breaks in "A Witchy Christmas" is completely automated and 100% seamlessly incorporated into Zoom. This makes a vast difference--the players now only need to focus their undivided attention on one single app, and this thereby allows them to dedicate all their energy to enjoy the experience, and that's pretty sweet!
The basic format of the game therefore goes like: puzzle, video clip, puzzle, video clip, and so on so forth. Game play naturally remains to be strictly linear, with the entire team only able to solve one puzzle at at time.
Since the game uses the same exact set, I won't rehash about the incredible production value. It was, however, refreshing for the company to start the participants inside Hilda's cabin and work their way out to her garden, which is the exact opposite of the first game. I applause this simple yet clever way to utilize the same space and yet still give returning customers a new perspective.
The initial puzzles kicking off the beginning were pretty standard: there is a combo lock code hidden in one puzzle, then there is another involving some simple math, and of course, a demonic sacrificial ritual to round it out... WAIT, THE WHAT?
I am only jesting, but there was truly one segment that I felt out of place for Hilda's brand. As I mentioned in my last review, Hilda is an antihero. She's reasonably kindhearted and is someone to root for. Therefore, comical violence used in this particular segment, albeit obviously employed for humor, did not land well. Perhaps, it isn't so much that damage is inflicted upon another character, it's just strange for me to witness Hilda's showing her more sinister side.
However, the mood is quickly lightened, and there are many instances I found delectable. The presents that Hilda ended up making looked adorable. There was a couple of challenging puzzles that were especially to my liking due to their complexity. (The overall quality of puzzle improved, but most remained to be somewhat "standard".) And best of all, there was a muscular "GILF", as one of us naughtily put it. And really, think hard, when was the last time you get to enjoy a "GILF" moment in an escape room?
Uh huh. That's what I thought.
(Note: "A Witchy Christmas" is absolutely family friendly, and comedy used during the show is actively and constantly adjusted according to team demographic makeup. Suggestive humor not applicable to younger audience.)
Is this Santa Claus?! Book "A Witchy Christmas" to find out.
Concluding the experience was a lovely surprise, which was incidentally a callback to the very beginning when the game first started at the top of the hour. I won't reveal any spoiler by spilling the details, but let's just say Hilda will treat all her spirit guests with some very personal touches.
I honestly don't know how accurately Hilda has come to learn about our winter holiday traditions, but I had a pleasant time witnessing her progress. As far as holiday special production goes, some companies may rush out a half-arsed title meant for a quick cash grab, and this is NOT the case. Daydream Adventures has spent significant effort in conceiving a quality option for their fans to celebrate the end of a horrible year, and I think they've largely succeeded.
READY FOR FUN?
"A Witchy Christmas" is available for booking HERE.
If you BOOK due to this blog, please give EscapeMattster.com a shout-out! ;)
A boy who's on the nice list signing off,
ESCAPE MATTSTER 🙂
⤻ 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: DAWitchy