Hourglass Escapes: Evil Dead 2™ Dead by Dawn Official Remote Escape | Review

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Evil Dead 2™ Dead by Dawn Escape Room Review | Seems your leader decided to break into the old Knowby cabin and can’t escape…You and your team must guide him via his ghost gear technology through this misadventure so he can escape and find a way return the evil dead to their realm and escape before the cabin is sucked into the time-space vortex forever.

Date Played: 19th September 2021
Number of Players: 4
Difficulty: Medium
Time Taken: 55 minutes

The nights are getting longer and there’s a definite chill in the air… You know what that means? Spooky season is almost upon us! 💀

I’ve had Evil Dead 2™ Dead by Dawn: Official Escape Room on my to-play list since way back in Spring. But somehow playing a game based on one of the most iconic horror movie franchises in the world didn’t feel right on the eve of summer. So here we are, kicking off the beginning of autumn as we mean to go on: playing a brilliantly chilling game!

Evil Dead 2™ Dead by Dawn Official Escape Room is real life room converted into a remote avatar hosted escape room by the creative geniuses at Hourglass Escapes. One of the common threads in other reviews of the two versions are along the lines of “this was amazing but it would have been even better played in person”. Honestly? I agree! But since we’re not likely to visit the United States any time soon (thanks global panini!), playing wonderful escape rooms from all corners of the globe via Zoom is the next best thing.

The Story of Evil Dead 2™ Dead by Dawn

It is highly recommended you watch the film(s) before playing this escape room! Don’t get me wrong, it absolutely can be played as a standalone spooky experience, but you’ll get so much more out of the experience – such as spotting all the brilliant Easter Eggs – if you watch the film first.

No time? No worries! Here’s a 5 minute version to catch you up:

Unfortunately none of us had watched the films beforehand (heyy, I’m no good with horror!), but this didn’t hinder our enjoyment of the experience in the slightest. Our host, Seth, was kind enough to give us the full run-through of every hidden detail after the game. It’s evident a lot of love and care has done into making Evil Dead 2™ Dead by Dawn Live Escape Room as true to the original film as possible. Speaking of the story…

Way back in 1987, Ash Williams and his girlfriend visited an abandoned cabin and accidentally summoned a troupe of Kandarian demons (of course!). After one of them swallowed the soul of his girlfriend, Ash went to awesome lengths to defeat the demons using the Book of the Dead. Unfortunately this obliterated the whole cabin and himself…

…Until now! The cabin mysteriously resurfaces in Hourglass Escapes. It’s up to you to help Ash get home. Remotely. Via Zoom of course. It’s Shemp, our funny yet slightly clueless ghost-busting host, doing all the heavy lifting.

Image (c) Hourglass Escapes

Welcome to the Gnostic Research of the Occult, Omens, Vampires, and Yetis… GROOVY!

To get ready to play the Evil Dead 2™ Dead by Dawn live game, you first need to get into character. Yep, just like in The Rise of the Mad Pharaoh, your booking email will contain a link to some character sheets for you and your team. It’s up to you to decide who you’d like to play as, get all dressed up, and perhaps even mix a cocktail or two (yep, your handy pre-game cheat sheet also has some recipes and drinking games to play).

For this challenge, we went as the following:

The Kandarian Historian – Played by Grace, the Kandarian Historian has discovered some information on the Cult of Kandar in her most recent archaeological dig. However she was contacted by G.R.O.O.V.Y. Ghost Hunting company to deal with some Kandarian demons before she could take her research further.

The Psychic – All week the cards were telling me (Mairi) about a foreboding future of hellfire and undeath- but tbh, when aren’t they?! This morning I felt a chilling shift in the integrity of the veil between the worlds. Being a certified medium, of course I followed the trail and discovered a team of ghost hunters.

The Skeptic – Whilst bored at work, Nick found himself scrolling through Craigslist. One day he discovered a job posting that claimed to guarantee interaction with the paranormal. “This ought to be good for a laugh”, Nick thought!

The Ghost Hunter – It’s been three weeks since Rebecca informed everyone online whom they should call if there are preternatural happenings within their community, and yet the business’ phone has never left the proverbial hook. After investigating, Rebecca realised she was being outshined by G.R.O.O.V.Y. ghost hunting company… But hey, they are hiring!

There were two further roles that were available, but since we played as a team of 4 we left them un-claimed: The Detective and The Realtor. Whilst there are 6 characters available, it’s worth knowing that you do not need to play with a party of 6. The benefits each character gets (such as specialist equipment) will actually all be handled by your trusty host, Shemp. So really, these are just for fun!

An Escape Room for Halloween

In terms of scenery, no attention to detail has been spared in the construction of this room. It takes place over several large spaces, closely mirroring (though slightly smaller) the original cabin from the movies. I counted at least 4 unique spaces, and that’s not even including puzzles hidden inside walls, beneath floorboards and so on! Impressive all round!

Since the game unfolds in a non-linear way (meaning any puzzle can be solved in any order), you’ve ample time to explore your surroundings. Supporting the live avatar in Zoom is a simple online interface that allows you to take a closer look at any object. When our avatar found something of interest, he instructed us to input a code, allowing us to view (or manipulate) the object further.

It’s fairly clear the game has been built for a real life audience – so if you ever get the chance to visit in person, you absolutely should! However it’s been converted well for the at-home audience. The more tactile puzzles have largely been simplified to make sense in the virtual world, and any jump scares were slightly numbed by playing the game over Zoom. Despite the changes, it’s still a brilliantly immersive experience and a must-play for any Evil Dead fans.

Photo (c) Hourglass Escapes

The Verdict

It’s a real stand out in the escape room world! With October just around the corner, I expect this one to book out quickly – so if you’re planning on a spooky night in with friends from afar, definitely include the Evil Dead 2™ Dead by Dawn room in your plans and book early to avoid disappointment!

We escapes with around 15 minutes left on the clock and no hints used – though our host’s gentle nudges were greatly appreciated!

If you’re not a fan of horror, check out Hourglass Escape’s Rise of the Mad Pharaoh, or The Navigators and the Call From Beyond games instead.

The Evil Dead 2™ Dead by Dawn Official Remote Escape Room can be booked directly from Hourglass Escape’s website here.

Ratings

Mad Genius Escapes: The Truth About Edith

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You may recognize Edith Humphreys, your sweet neighbor with 24 cats. You may have even helped her out, snooped around her apartment. But there’s something about Edith that doesn’t quite add up… she looks way younger than she is, she says she was born in 1902 but that she’s 97 years young… and she lives at a business called Mad Genius Escapes?! What is going on here…

Rating: Absurd!
Completion Time: 53:39
Date Played: 2nd January 2021
Party Size: 4
Recommended For: 4 Players, Cat Fans

The Truth About Edith is one of those games which I’ve heard so much about in 2020. It not only won an award at TERPECA, but also won at other reviewer-awards such as the Golden Lock and The Bullseye Awards. So when one of my real life escape room teams suggested a digital game, I jumped at suggesting this one.

Having now played it I’m not entirely sure it lives up to all the hype (just my opinion haha!) however we did enjoy it A LOT, and for that I’m very glad to have finally got round to booking it.

It’s got cats (lots of them!), strange old ladies, and a sinister undercurrent of ‘what is this secret shadowy organisation and are they going to take over the world?’. But the real stand out about The Truth About Edith is how you play. It’s actually quite unlike any other play at home escape room I’ve ever experienced and, as such, I really struggled to put it in a ‘category’ for this review. Is it a Zoom / avatar game? Is it a digital online game? Heck it might even be considered a video/audio escape room.

You start out in a mysterious Zoom call where a hurried secret agent tells you your code names and that he needs you to find out all you can about Edith Humphreys. Without much instruction, you must then take to the internet and research in an online treasure hunt across multiple websites. Within those websites are multiplayer activities – which is where your code name comes in, giving everyone something to do at the same time. For example when looking at CCTV footage, one player may be able to pause and play, whilst the other can only rewind and fast forward, while another can zoom in and so on.

At some points in the game we weren’t entirely sure what to do, but there is a helpful Games Master on hand if you get too stuck. At one point in the game there is also an interactive video element, which was a nice touch to feel connected with the Mad Genius Escapes team. Our Edith was funny, helpful and a joy to talk to with lots of laughter all around.

We finished with a respectable 06:21 left on the clock, which is about average compared to other teams. However, the current record stands at 25:00 minutes left on the clock – why not book this game and see if you can beat it?

The Truth About Edith can be purchased for $100 USD (~£73) for a team of 4 on Mad Genius Escape’s website.

UNLOCKED Escape Room: Return of the Magician

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After a long hiatus, The Magician has returned to the stage. Join us and book your tickets to find out just exactly why he was named Magician of the Year 3 times in a row! This comeback performance will be exclusively shown only at UNLOCKED Productions Theater. His magic and illusions will free your mind…

Rating: Intriguing!
Completion Time: 45 minutes
Date Played: 26th December 2020
Party Size: 5
Recommended For: Everyone

Return of the Magician is the first live online escape room from Californian escape room company UNLOCKED: Escape Room and came highly recommended by my friend Escape Mattster. To give it a whirl, I teamed up with Gord & Liz of Review the Room, Armchair Escapist, and Brit of an Escape Habit in an all-UK escape room team extraordinaire!

Escape rooms on Boxing Day might just be the best day of the year to play escape rooms. Now hear me out – you’re well fed and relaxed, but there’s no more Christmas stress. This might be why this was the 4th (and final) escape room of the day. But they do say to save the best for last, right?

Return of the Magician lived up to the recommendation and did not disappoint! In essential terms, it’s a classic remote avatar escape room with the added bonus of an inventory system, allowing all players to take a closer look at objects and details in their own time.

You, a team of intrepid magic-enthusiasts are invited along to an incredible magician show but, when disaster strikes at the opening event, not all is as it seems. Aiding you is the Games Master, an active character in the live escape room who plays your eyes and ears on the ground. Your job is to find the missing magician in just 60 minutes. The show must go on!

Return of the Magician is an almost identical version of the real life escape room with the same name at UNLOCKED: Escape Rooms. Players who have previously taken on their live room may not be able to play this again, but with some changes for the digital world, the game runs seamlessly as a remote avatar experience. There’s special effects, sound bytes, and of course… MAGIC!

In terms of puzzles, there’s a little bit of everything in here. You can expect a logical, linear flow with plenty of signposting! In most cases, puzzles solutions give a 3, or 4 digit code or reveal the location of a key to proceed. But there are plenty more that surprise and delight with really outside of the box thinking.

Our troupe of enthusiasts completed the game in a very respectable 45 minutes! The approximate completion time is around 59 minutes for the average team – meaning it’s challenging and exciting, but not so impossible you won’t finish in time. Plus, verbal clues from your helpful Games Masters (shout out to John and Tony who ran our game!) are on hand if you need one at any time.

Overall, we had fun! As I say, a lovely way to spend a Boxing Day evening with friends and good company. Our host was enigmatic, the room seamless, and puzzles creative. It’s a good game for beginners and veterans alike, and I’d be happy to recommend this to anybody looking for something a bit different to do during lockdown!

The Return of the Magician can be booked for $60 USD + per team on Unlocked: Escape Room’s website. Photos for this review provided by the company.