RATING: 1 Key RESULT: Win REMAINING: 4:32
It is not all fun and games when playing with dolls.
A creaky door reveals a room deep inside a condemned house. A criminal hides here, with only his… friends… to keep him company. Will his heart’s true desire help him leave behind his horrific past?Explore The Doll House, piece together clues, and solve the mystery to escape.
This killer’s only friends are the dolls collecting dust in his house. However, the narrative ends there. It never becomes clear what “mystery” we are trying to solve or why we entered this creepy old house in the first place. We were simply there because escape room.
The game starts in pitch black except for a spotlight on a desk with a phone. This sets an ominous tone that quickly fades once we are able to illuminate the rest of the room.
Once the lights turn on, we are met by a sparsely decorated room. There are dolls with missing limbs sitting on chairs and toy chests scattered throughout the room. Wood boards are randomly nailed to one wall – perhaps to give a condemned house vibe?
The Doll House takes place in a single room, so there aren’t many surprises. We had hoped to be immersed into a creepy killer’s lair, but the set came across as cheesy and not believable.
Much like the set, the puzzles in The Doll House are equally as unimpressive. The game master informs us that in order to turn on the lights and move around the room, we must first complete the single illuminated puzzle. It is designed for one person, which poses a problem for large groups.
Once the lights turn on, the game becomes less linear. However, the tasks become repetitive because a majority of the locks in the room are directional – and there are a ton of them.
One step requires entering an entire sentence into a directional lock. That’s right – we had to enter nearly thirty directions into one lock. It is easy to make a mistake, so it took us multiple attempts.
Another issue we encountered was with an extensive audio clue. There wasn’t a way to trigger it to repeat, so we had to ask the game master to manually replay it.
And then there was… math. There wasn’t a calculator in the room, and we were required to multiply two large numbers in our head. It felt like homework and had nothing to do with the story that was trying to be portrayed.
We have been trapped by many serial killers in the past, so we have certain expectations of what that should feel like. Unfortunately, The Doll House does little to immerse us into that world. It falls prey to an over abundance of directional locks and other design issues that are not easy to overlook.
A Room with a Clue tries to stand out from the crowd by offering an “artistic” spin on their rooms – both through written and audio clues. However, they ultimately fall short. The dolls are left in the house collecting dust.
Venue: A Room with a Clue
Location: Dallas, Texas
Number of Games: 4
GAME SPECIFIC INFORMATION:
Duration: 60 minutes
Capacity: 6 people
Group Type: Public / You may be paired with strangers.
Cost: $29 per person