RATING: 3 Keys RESULT: Win REMAINING: 1:30
Strap on your spurs and saddle up cowboy, Deadwood stinks a lot less than being dead would.
Kersey Valley Escape describes Deadwood like this: “Step back in time into a Western saloon. This game is a kind of bar particular to the Old West. Saloons served customers such as fur trappers, cowboys, soldiers, prospectors, miners, and gamblers.”
It’s safe to assume from their description that this game is lacking an in-depth story, and upon playing, that assumption was confirmed. There really wasn’t much in the way of a preshow or even so much as a verbal description of who you are and why you are suddenly trapped in this saloon with no way out. After talking with the owners, I can see that their intent was there, but it just wasn’t executed in the best of ways. A scenario as simple as “The town jail is full of other rotten varmints and the last secure place the sheriff had to contain you is this old deserted saloon…You have until high noon to find the clues a secret accomplice has left for you and escape your fate, which lies at the end of a rope” would have worked.
Deadwood is actually a perfect game for where it’s located. You see, Kersey Valley has been operating a very successful haunted attraction on their 55-acre farm for over 30 years. Part of this experience is a very foreboding trip through the woods and ultimately through this series of “ghost town” facades aboard 25-passenger trams pulled by tractors. Deadwood was actually built into one of these buildings in the small ghost town area, which actually really works even when you play the game out of the Halloween season as we did.
Stepping inside this wood-clad structure, we are immediately transported to the Wild West and can almost smell the gunpowder and hear the hooves of horses clip-clopping down the dirt road just outside. The game itself takes place in a saloon complete with all the things you’d expect any proper saloon to deliver, maybe with the exception of the upstairs brothel.
There’s a bar, tables, wanted posters on the wall, and even an authentic upright piano that may or may not be part of the game.
I mean I could get picky, being a very detail-oriented scenic guy, but even though it wasn’t perfect to my standards, it was very well done and really puts you into the scene.
I felt like most of the puzzles in the game were really in the spirit of the theme and wouldn’t seem out of place in a saloon. The first puzzle we had to work on however, was a bit confusing as to what it was asking for. Without going into too much detail here, there was an excess of information that I suppose was a “red herring” that really threw us off. I’m not totally against red herrings in a game, but I feel in this case it was a bit disadvantageous to our mission.
Moving along in the game, we discovered some tech that was a bit ahead of its time for the story, which is assuming we aren’t actually in present day locked in an 1890’s saloon. But that was such a small part of the game that I don’t really fault it. One particular puzzle dealing with some rope I really enjoyed, and really got a kick out of it once we figured it out. That’s always such a satisfying feeling when you think a clue is for one thing, and it ends up being something totally different, but even more satisfying.
The clues, which we ended up using 2 or 3 of, were given to us via a mirror on the wall in which we would ask and they would magically appear on the mirror as if some ghost was running the place. This was a nice transparent option to your typical two-way radio communication, which would have really pulled us further out of the story world.
Overall, the gameplay in Deadwood is fairly linear with one exception of that being a final meta-puzzle in which you take things you find from other parts of the game to solve.
Kersey Valley really has a lot going for it in all aspects of the business, and their escape games are no exception. I have been a fan of their haunt and other seasonal activities for over 15 years, so I can only see them getting better at what they do every single year. It’s definitely not your normal escape game venue since like I stated earlier, it’s located on a 55-acre farm. But don’t let that fool you as the folks at Kersey Valley are as welcoming as your own friends and family and will make you feel right at home.
Personally, I am excited to play their other two games, The Manor and Autopsy, which I have heard great things about. They even said they have some other very unique games in the works to really set themselves apart from the typical escape room. If you live in North Carolina or are maybe just passing through, you really owe it to yourself to stop in and check this very unique place out.
Venue: Kersey Valley Escape
Location: High Point, North Carolina
Number of Games: 3
GAME SPECIFIC INFORMATION:
Duration: 60 minutes
Capacity: 12 people
Group Type: Public / You may be paired with strangers.