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In-Depth Escape Room Reviews

Review: Doll House

3 Keys

RATING: 3 Keys          RESULT: No          REMAINING: X:XX

These dolls want you to be part of their permanent collection. The only thing standing in the way? True love.

Story

Puzzlemazement crafted an intricate backstory for the Doll House. Before the start of the game, the game master tells the history of the property dating back decades focusing on a little girl’s relationship with her Uncle, their humble doll store she helped run, and her prized doll Little Brother.

The girl grows up, finds love, and plans on leaving with her future husband. But there’s something more hidden about Little Brother, and he can’t stand to see his friend gone. Through an unknown force, he turns the girl and her lover into dolls — forever a part of his collection.

Players must find the couple inside the doll house and reunite them to break the curse.

This backstory, told in a much longer form, is one of the more detailed and nuanced stories we’ve seen in an escape room. The idea of these dolls holding personalities and characteristics is carried throughout the game with puzzle steps often directly relating to quirks of the characters.

Scenic

The Doll House is a minimalistic escape room from a scenic standpoint and is the weakest area for this game. It almost feels like players themselves are inside of a child’s doll house with the way the space is sparsely decorated, but not in a way that aids the feeling of the game.

There’s not any scenic lighting in the rooms, and the props and dressing are solely ones that are used for puzzles.

We were impressed by the incredibly large collection of dolls on display in the room. These porcelain creatures’ blank expression add to a general sense of unease while playing.

Another thing to note is the game is marketed as taking place across three floors. While this is technically true, the first floor is really the lobby for the escape room and only contains one simple puzzle that feels like it exists just to check the “game on three floors” box.

Puzzles

While I’m not normally one for a play session with a group of dolls, this doll house was fun to play with. A cool element was that every puzzle corresponded to one particular doll. This gave some story significance to the puzzles, but also served to link puzzles to locks.

The reason for this is every lock in the game was the same type of four digit combination lock with a name label on it. While I enjoy this linking mechanism, I would have preferred for there to be more variety in the types of locks in the room.

Every answer also required translating it from one format to another in order to accommodate the existing locks. This is an easy to fix design problem that would really help add to the experience.

For the most part, every puzzle was intuitive and enjoyable. We only encountered issues with the final puzzle in the game. Even after a thorough explanation of what the solution was, we still couldn’t quite understand how we were to arrive at that conclusion.

Overall

Puzzlemazement’s Doll House is an enjoyable game. Before playing we were told it was rare for small teams to do well because of the large number of puzzles in the game. While it certainly was a challenge to get through everything, the game is playable by smaller teams.

Doll house is light on scenic, but makes up for it with genuinely fun gameplay and a unique escape room story.

Venue Details

Venue:  Puzzlemazement

Location: Anaheim, California

Number of Games: 4

GAME SPECIFIC INFORMATION:

Duration: 60 minutes

Capacity: 8 people

Group Type: Public  / You may be paired with strangers.

Cost: $32.50
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Puzzlemazement - Doll House
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