Developer: Lost Sock Studio
Date Played: September 2023
Number of Players: 1
Time Taken: 100 minutes
I don’t know why but I get really excited when I see a new name or new game studio pop up in our little ‘escape room’ niche corner of the internet. So when I started hearing about Escape from Mystwood Mansion from the brand new studio “Lost Sock”, I was more than intrigued! Lost Sock are about as indie as it’s possible to get – they’re a game developer duo from Sweden and this is their first release. And, well, for a first release, I was super impressed! Tt’s polished, the puzzles satisfying, and it’s comfortable to play. It’s also very marketable. I mean, that spooky old mansion and launching right before Halloween, it’s *chefs kiss*.
But enough about the marketability of a game like Escape from Mystwood Mansion, and let’s get into the nitty gritty of why I enjoyed this game!
Deliver a Package to the Library or Face the Consequence
Escape from Mystwood Mansion opens with you, the protagonist, stepping out of your delivery truck with a package. You knock on the door, the door swings open, and very quickly you find yourself trapped. You are Test Subject Number 83, and it’s clear from the narrative of the game you’re not the first to be locked in by the house – nor will you be the last!
What follows is a classic escape room adventure as you move from room to room, solving puzzles, finding keys, cracking codes, and uncovering secret doors. Sometimes you’re breaking things too. I love breaking things.
At the very beginning, you’re given the instruction to “deliver the package to the library”. I actually never got to deliver the package to the library – I think I lost the package somewhere along the way, although I did (for a while) try to keep it with me. Whether this means I ‘won’ or not, I’m not sure, but I certainly escaped and so I’m calling my 110 minutes in the game a resounding success. I escaped from the library itself, as well as a lovely conservatory room, several secret (and slightly creepy) hidden passages, and the foyer.
Now, on my successful exit from Mystwood Mansion, I discovered a secret door that hinted that there were a few tiny details I had missed. At the time of writing, I’ve unlocked two out of the three secret locks to the secret room, and I’m thoroughly looking forward to going back and figuring out what is behind the mysterious final door. But for the meantime, the game is complete.
It’s very hard not to compare this game to Escape Simulator. Thematically, it’s quite similar to the Escape Simulator levels set in a spooky old mansion. The controls feel the same, the movement feels the same, and even a few puzzles are very similar. The game gives me the feeling of playing an Escape Simulator level, for example one from the vast wealth of community workshop escape rooms available on it’s platform. One of the most memorable puzzles in Escape Simulator was a ‘butterfly sequence’ puzzle in which you could move the butterflies around in order to complete the sequence. Now, sequence puzzles are common, but sequence puzzles specifically involving butterflies… Less so!
But for each ‘this is similar’ puzzle, there were countless others which were wholly original – so there’s a balance for sure. It also differs from Escape Simulator in a few marked ways. The levels are enormous, and each room rolls onto the other to build up a big picture of a large house. There’s an underlying story, and touches of light humour I really appreciated. Fans of Escape Simulator will love this.
Puzzling Through Mystwood Mansion
In terms of puzzles, I really enjoyed these. In fact, the puzzles were some of my favourite things in the whole experience. They really felt like escape room puzzles in the classic sense of the word. A few I recognised right away – there’s some pretty common ciphers in there, including Morse Code, Pigpen, as well as a few dashes of anamorphic text and negative space puzzles. But even then, there were plenty other puzzles I didn’t recognise at all and gave my brain a run for it’s money! Over the course of the game, I used very few hints – just a few to confirm what I already knew if something wasn’t working quite the way I expected.
Escape from Mystwood Mansion probably errs on the side of a little short for a game in the genre. For a seasoned escapist who wants to complete everything in the game, you’re looking at around 120 minutes. I took 110, with plenty of breaks, and didn’t quite complete everything. So let’s add on 30 minutes for “going back in and looking for hidden clues I missed”. To get 100% achievements, you’re probably looking at 3 hours. Each ‘room’ itself takes around half an hour to solve, so you’ve travelling through the game quite quickly.
I had almost no technical issues with the game. I say almost, because I did tweak the settings in order to make my playthrough slightly more comfortable (I like my mouse sensitivity as low as possible!), and secondly because I’m convinced that after searching a room top to bottom that a key item was missing – and needed to reset the level in order to find it in it’s place. Personally, I think the extra item disappeared into the ether. Knowing me I probably picked it up and moved it, but after a good 15 minutes of searching, I had no choice but to reset the room.
I’m giving Escape from Mystwood Mansion a solid 4.4/5. Yeah! That’s quite high, but I stand by it. I genuinely had fun playing the game. There’s been a big “escape room game” shaped hole in my life right now that nothing on Steam was quite scratching, and this game came along at the perfect time. It felt spooky, and cosy and exciting in all the right ways, and I felt the designers attention to detail was second to none. I’m also genuinely in awe that it’s the company’s first game. It had a really professional level of polish and I’m absolutely certain this game will be a success.
Is it perfect? No, of course not. But is it good? Yeah! It really is.
I’d recommend this game for just about anyone, but if you’re a big fan of physical escape rooms, this one is fantastic.
Please Note: We were offered a free Steam key in exchanged for an honest review. This does not affect the content of our review.
Escape from Mystwood Mansion can be downloaded from Steam.