RATING: 5 Keys RESULT: Win REMAINING: 30:00
One might naturally expect that a haunted recording studio may hide its fair share of secrets, yet perhaps most surprising to us is that shrouded among them would be what turns out to be one of the best games we’ve ever played.
In the early 1900’s, Natalie, a Russian opera singer, fled to the United States to escape the Red October Revolution. She landed in Hollywood and quickly began working with a successful music producer. Within a matter of weeks he fell in love with the attractive singer, but his love was never to be reciprocated. Instead, Natalie and her singing partner Zak began to form a relationship that over time became a passionate romance.
On one dark December evening, the stress of the love triangle came to a head during a recording session. The producer proclaimed his love, but Natalie rejected him without hesitation. Zak, her true love, left the studio to let Natalie and her producer work through the problem, but no one witnessed what happened after that.
Natalie was never seen again, and the recording studio was shuttered.
Now, nearly 100 years later, a descendant of Natalie’s has re-opened the recording studio. However, business is not going well. It seems musicians are not fans of strange sounds finding their way on to recordings, nor of having their equipment constantly malfunctioning without explanation.
Perhaps something is lingering in the studio, waiting to be released.
Aspects of the space were left seemingly untouched when transitioning from real world studio to storyworld game setting. Actual recording equipment is still everywhere. The walls are lined with sound-proofing. Shelves and drawers are bursting at the seams with hundreds of CDs, records and film reals.
It’s literally difficult to tell how much of this is real stuff left over from the prior business – and that’s awesome.
Every room is dramatically lit with vibrant scenic lighting – yet still very dark. What results is an ominous mood that will make even the bravest of your group feel a bit uneasy to venture off alone down a dark hallway.
Theatrical location-based sound effects trigger all around you, giving the clear impression that your group are not the only souls trapped in this place.
Static-screened monitors cast an unnerving glow in the darkest of spaces, yet they only amplify the sense of terror if you’re lucky – or unlucky – enough to catch a glimpse of a ghostly spirit passing through their omnipresent distortions.
Perhaps best of all is their in-game hint system – pre-recorded tracks voiced by an angry poltergeist, clearly displeased with your presence in her world. We’ve never seen such an immersive means of delivering vital gameplay information to players.
Even better, every single puzzle – no matter how small – directly connected with the storyworld. Clear connections to the music industry, and integration of technologies which would naturally exist within a recording studio.
Innovative spins created truly satisfying moments of accomplishment for even our seasoned group of players.
The highly immersive setting also combines perfectly with both the storyworld and the gameplay to create some of the most enjoyable discovery phase we’ve ever seen. These are puzzles done right, in every sense of the word.
The gameplay itself was entirely satisfying, and although we finished in record time for them, at no point did we feel like our experience was too short. That is the sign of an incredible attraction!
We weren’t sure what to expect when we booked tickets to visit Haunted Recording Studio. On paper, the concept sounded a bit hokey. Upon arrival, the less than modest exterior furthered our belief that we would likely not walk out impressed.
Haunted Recording Studio is proof positive that the old adage, “never judge a book by its cover” can often be entirely true, because Haunted Recording studio from cover to cover is easily one of the best games we’ve ever played.
More than that, as a group of long-time fans of haunted attractions – something that truly led us to the escape room genre in the first place years ago – Haunted Recording Studio is perhaps the best example of a paranormal game we’ve ever see.
A classic story of earthly love and ghostly betrayal, Haunted Recording Studio made us believe in the supernatural while proving the very best of games may lurk in the most unexpected of places.
Venue: Escape Room Games
Location: Los Angeles, California
Number of Games: 2
GAME SPECIFIC INFORMATION:
Duration: 60 minutes
Capacity: 6 people
Group Type: Public / You may be paired with strangers.
Cost: $30 per person (minimum 2)