RATING: 3 Keys RESULT: Win REMAINING: 1:25
You can summon spirits with a … chessboard?
Can you and your companions find the clues, solve the mystery of the last will and testament of the recently departed Professor Firestone, and escape the seance before time runs out?
Professor Firestone was a world traveler and collector of rare items. However, after his passing, it is not known who has the rights to his massive collection of valuables. It is up to you to make contact with his spirit, find his will, and escape.
The Eventide Departure has a few seemingly magical moments as you contact Professor Firestone. However, it ultimately falls short in tying together all of the loose ends into one immersive package.
The scene starts in a dimly lit Victorian style room with gaudy wallpaper and wood trim around the walls. There are numerous black and white pictures scattered throughout, along with candlelight fixtures that set the mood for the room. A few wooden pieces of furniture line the walls. The chessboard in the corner looks a tad out of place.
The second room’s centerpiece is a large circular table fit for a summoning. There are more pictures decorating the walls, a bookshelf resting in the corner, and a Ouija board out in the open. Red curtains hang around the fireplace, and a large mirror is fixed above the mantle.
The players eventually discover Professor Firestone’s hidden trophy room. There are many artifacts from his travels such as Buddha heads and mammoth skulls. It feels a little chaotic – the great Professor didn’t care too much about organizing his valuables.
One of the first items discovered is a list of instructions needed to start the seance and contact the spirits. It was a very structured sequence of events that needed to occur, which posed a linear puzzle flow.
There is a good amount of scavenging and finding objects hidden in sometimes obscure places. We had to ask for a hint when it was apparent we were missing a piece. It was not in an obvious location.
A couple of the puzzles were clever in theory, but they suffered from the dim lighting in the room. In these cases, it was necessary to use the flashlight on a phone in order to properly solve a puzzle. The designer simply cannot assume that the player will have an outside device – a handheld light source needs to be included.
The Eventide Departure offered some cool surprises and interesting special effects to enhance the feeling that the player was conducting a seance. However, there was one puzzle that the game master later confirmed is manually activated. This makes the magic of the room lose a lot of its luster.
The Eventide Departure’s flow also felt off. There were numerous times when we solved a puzzle, but it was not obvious what it triggered within the room. It was often necessary to walk in and out of the three connected areas in order to find what to do next. The final meta-puzzle had an extra step that was completely unnecessary to advance the narrative – it was simply there to increase the time it took to find the solution.
Before the game started, the game master handed us a drawing of an artifact. If the player is able to find the item drawn, it would be a “bonus”. There was no indication as to why this specific item was of significant importance. Usually side quests require solving a puzzle. In this case, the item was just hidden in the room, and it wasn’t even hidden well. There isn’t an extra puzzle to unlock, which resulted in no excitement from finding this rare object. It seemed tacked on for no reason other than because escape room.
The Eventide Departure had some well decorated rooms that fit the story and time period. There were clever uses of technology and a couple of unique elements that I haven’t seen before. It was not a bad game. However, it lacks a lot of elements and polish that make a GREAT game.
The scene is dim, which properly sets the mood for the seance that awaits. However, a couple of the puzzles fall prey to the lack of light. Therefore, it almost becomes necessary to use a device not included in the room.
Most of the puzzles make sense with the overall story. However, there are a couple that do not. It was often difficult to know if a puzzle was executed correctly because there were a lack of indicators. In several cases, a puzzle in one room causes something to change in another room. The Eventide Departure could be much better with a few relatively easy tweaks.
Venue: Puzzle Break
Location: Seattle, Washington (Belltown)
Number of Games: 2
GAME SPECIFIC INFORMATION:
Duration: 60 minutes
Capacity: 5 people
Group Type: Private / You will not be paired with strangers.
Cost: $150 per room