RATING: 5 Keys RESULT: Win REMAINING: 8:00
Check in to the legendary Camp Crystal Lake for a peaceful night in the wilderness on the least convenient date imaginable.
Ch Ch Ch Ah Ah Ah! Jason is back and he just wants to play! It is Friday the 13th. We’ve picked the worst possible day to visit Camp Crystal Lake. We’ll need to hole up in a cabin and keep Jason out until midnight… after all, everyone knows nothing bad ever happens on Saturday the 14th!
Another summer has arrived and it’s time to head off to camp. Unfortunately for us the only one with any vacancy is the infamous Camp Crystal Lake – iconic setting for all of those grisly murders made famous by the Friday the 13th film franchise. But those are just movies, right? Surely there’s no truth to the legend of Jason Voorhees, or the superstition that he returns to this place every Friday the 13th to kill again.
And even if they’re was, we don’t have anything to worry about. Today’s date is…… well crap.
Friday the 13th’s somewhat compact footprint is laid out in such a way that it flows quite well. The first scene exists outside the cabin, centered around a classic campfire. Though its flames still burn, slowly toasting some surprisingly fresh looking food, there doesn’t seem to be anyone left to sit around and tell scary stories. How odd.
The interior of the cabin works perfectly for what you’d come to expect out of a summer camp. Cramped quarters maximize their space with a bunk bed against one wall, a large chest for securing personal belongings at its foot. A calendar on the wall reminds us of our poor life choices made by our arrival date. A window overlooking the woods beyond or cabin is ominously lit by a worsening thunderstorm, thanks to the magic of embedded video content.
Like every game at Escape Room Live, Friday the 13th masters the use of scenic decor to artfully create a threatening world that clearly cares real-life urgency for our well being on this cursed night.
Friday the 13th puts great effort into ensuring all of its puzzles exist logically within the storyworld. Each step connects to well known camp activities – from cooking dinner on the camp fire to, you know, locking down the cabin to protect yourself from a deranged mass murderer who just wants to watch you bleed.
And once inside the cabin itself, all focus shifts to doing exactly that, thanks to a brilliant use of a milestone puzzles structure. On one wall, you’ll find a checklist for how to protect yourself in the event of another Jason attack. You’d think that if this was such a known problem that Camp Crystal Lake needed to professionally produce a preparedness checklists, perhaps they’d relocate their facilities. But I digress.
That Jason Safety Checklist™ gives you a proper order for how to lock down your cabin and ride out the kill-storm until the authorities can arrive. Doing everything exactly as it states in the proper order maybe-kinda-guarantees your safety. There’s only one problem: while the checklist clearly tells you what to do, it gives you no indication of how to do it. Come on – you really didn’t expect surviving a night at Camp Crystal Lake to be THAT easy, did you?
Friday the 13th is an incredibly story-driven game executed with top notch scenic quality to really ensure maximum immersion. It’s simply Escape Room Live doing what Escape Room Live does best. It finds the perfect level of difficulty – being challenging to our very experienced group without alienating newer players. There’s something for everyone to be working on – and different puzzles geared towards different skill sets to keep everyone engaged.
As much as we loved this game – and we did, a lot – the one thing Friday the 13th was somewhat lacking in is the presence of its main character, Jason Voorhees. We wish we could have had a few harrowing encounters with him, be it through special effects, audio or video moments (we understand it’s not always prudent to have an actor involved in a game.) Even subtle or not-so-subtle nods would go a long way – for example finding one of his hockey masks left behind, or perhaps a few blood-stained machetes jammed between the cabin’s walls to tell us he’s indeed been here, and he will probably be coming back for us.
Again to be clear, Friday the 13th, even as it stands today is one of the coolest immersive games we’ve seen in quite some time- but adding a few more detailed nods to the franchise would bring it to an even higher level. We’re huge fans of Escape Room Live’s strategy of embracing the use of licensed intellectual properties in their games, and for us it unquestionably makes them recognizable from the sea of their competition. But a big part of having the IP is using it in a way that connects to and furthers the brand of that franchise. It’s more than just naming a game and loosely theming it to a film – it’s about putting us smack dab in the middle of the action, and if i’m going to Camp Crystal Lake on Friday the 13th, I damn sure better have my head almost chopped off to give me an exciting tale to walk away with!
Escape Room Live’s willingness to try something different and embrace known IPs makes them different, and their production quality makes them great. We made a special trip to Washington, D.C. just to visit them – and there’s just no doubt that if you find yourself in the area, you definitely need to find the time to check them out!
Venue: Escape Room Live
Location: Washington, D.C.
Number of Games: 5
GAME SPECIFIC INFORMATION:
Duration: 45 minutes
Capacity: 8 people
Group Type: Public / You may be paired with strangers.
Cost: $28 per person