It’s time to face your fears and end the nightmare.
Completion Time: 73 minutes
Date Played: 13th June 2021
Party Size: 4
Recommended For: Horror fans! (14+)
Be careful, children… The Sleepy Man is coming.
Mystery Mansion Regina knocked it out of the park with their brilliant ‘finale’ to the Sleepy Man trilogy and, despite the swelteringly hot weather we had in the UK this weekend, horror games never fail to send a shiver down my spine! We were also super excited to have booked for the opening weekend…. Which I suppose makes us one of the first teams to take on the evil demonic entity that is The Sleepy Man!
In this case thank goodness we did a good job banishing him. I was worried he might make a surprise appearance in my dreams last night. It’d be a funny explanation as to why I can’t make it into work the next day:
“Ahh sorry I was dragged to hell hope that’s okay see you Tuesday instead.”
Sleepy Man is the final part of the a three-room story that is told through multiple characters interacting with the same space (both physical and err, astral). The first two games of the series are:
In Night Terrors, you play as Alex’s subconscious – one of the victims who mysterious vanish after complaining of nightly Sleepy Man visits. In D’Viles Curio Shoppe you continue the story alongside streamer Livestreamer1337 (Sam) after hearing the mysterious rumours of Alex’s disappearance. Alex’s girlfriend Estelle was last seen at the mysterious Curio Shoppe and in a jovial ‘Buzzfeed Unsolved’ kinda way, your team and Sam hop along to investigate.
The game Sleepy Man comes in after… You guessed it… Sam also goes missing. This time his producer Jesse is hot on the trail. You’d think Jesse would know better, huh? I’d probably just call the police but hey! Then we wouldn’t get to go on such a fun adventure.
This is where the story sets up for the scariest game in the trilogy.
Sleepy Man is played on two screens via Zoom and Telescape. On Zoom, you control your life avatar as they navigate the room: “Pick up this please Jesse”, “Put your hand into that dark hole”, “Poke the severed tongue please.” You know, just normal escape room stuff. On Telescape, you have access to your inventory – anything you’ve picked up along the way, and a map of the rooms.
The experience will flick between both Zoom and Telescape several times throughout the game. For example, the host may say “here let me take a quick video and send it to you for a close up”, or they may take a photograph of something that you can examine more closely in your own time.
This was surprisingly immersive and worked well, but it does mean you’ll want to play on 2 screens or devices for the best experience – and be sure to mute yourself if you don’t have headphones!
Another interesting thing about the experience, which I haven’t seen done in any other live avatar escape room game yet, were the fact there are two hosts in this game. We were hosted by Elijah and Owen, playing Jesse and Sam respectively.
At a few points in the story you’ll be looking at 2 live camera feeds – each with half of a puzzle on it. This means directing two hosts to complete tasks and even more information to take in. At other points both hosts will be on the screen at once interacting with each other and the environment together. I really enjoyed this – it was creative and clever, fitting well within the story Mystery Mansion Regina have created.
Mystery Mansion Regina have two sites – one on Albert Street and another in a building they only use for remote avatar escapes. Sleepy Man is located in the latter and with such a large space to explore we practically had virtual free run of the whole site. Parts of the game take place outside, parts inside the ‘escape room’ and parts in the in-between liminal spaces joining the game together.
As there are no customers in this location, I found a lot of the props were very good quality and things that wouldn’t work if you had customers going through the environment daily worked beautifully here. An example is to compare it to D’Viles Curio Shop which is a real life escape room you can play on-site at Mystery Mansion Regina. Many of the more valuable and fragile items are behind glass (well, it makes sense! It is a curiosity shop!). In Sleepy Man, you could break things, squeeze into small places, and interact with hyper realistic body parts- yes! Really!
This experience has around 5 or 6 distinct ‘spaces’. To explain what those spaces are would be a spoiler, but you can be sure that the creepy atmosphere and decoration is consistent throughout. I’m fairly sure I’ve had nightmares that resemble the interior spaces of this escape room.
Of the three games in The Sleepy Man trilogy, the titular game (this one) is probably the most difficult. However, I preface that with mentioning that we chose to play all three games back to back from around 4pm – 9pm… So, it could have been tiredness.
The style of puzzles in this game differs from Night Terrors and D’Viles Curio Shoppe – in this game it’s less about finding keys and cracking digit code locks, and more much intuitive:
“OK so we’ve found this item, what could we do with it that makes sense?”
Another style of puzzle which, although present in the earlier games, really came into it it’s own here was the idea of castling spells. You find many spells as you explore the area and by the end you’ll need to cast every single one of them. Each requires items and secret spell words, so we generally knew what we were looking for at each point. I also think magic puzzles just work so much better via Zoom than in a real life escape room and there were done very well too!
Besides these, players can expect to encounter a range of puzzles that’ll challenge the whole team. There’s ciphers, sorting puzzles, locks and keys, search and find puzzles… And so on, and so on. With 90 minutes on the clock, you’ll have plenty do to! But hurry – the Sleepy Man is coming.
We really enjoyed Sleepy Man. It was an excellent conclusion to the horror trilogy and despite my ‘not being good’ with scary escape rooms, this one was easy to digest on a sunny Sunday afternoon. Each game in the series brings a fresh level of creativity and I love that they can be played from anywhere in the world! I hope more escape rooms continue the trend of designing for ‘play at home’ in the future.
Sleepy Man can be booked for $25 CAD per person on Mystery Mansion Regia’s website here.
Mairi is the editor-in-chief and covers escape rooms/immersive theatre in London, play at home games, and video games.