RATING: 5 Keys RESULT: Win REMAINING: 6:22
A whimsical wonderland waits behind the tiny door to a rabbit’s house – and our dog got us invited to the party.
Once upon a time… You had a dog. It was a grand dog, though it had a terrible habit of running away. Thankfully, it also had a wonderful habit of always coming back. Sometimes, he would bring back strange knick knacks.
Your curiosity has gotten the better of you. One day, you see the dog running away, and you decide to follow him through a forest. You almost lose sight of him, until you see him dashing into an oddly large hole. Fearing for his life, you chase him deep, deep, deep into the hole, and end up falling down, down, down…
Stuck down the rabbit hole, there’s no way back. But there is a way forward, and you think you hear your dog ahead in the distance. Your only choice is to head through the door…
Simply uttering the words “Down the Rabbit Hole” instantly evokes visions of Alice in Wonderland – and while this game unquestionably exists somewhere within that storyworld, the biggest – and best – surprise is that it is entirely its own unique adventure. Sure, we’re in Wonderland – but we’re not here for a Mad Tea Party – or to stand trial before the Queen of Hearts. This time, we’ve ventured Down the Rabbit Hole for an adorable, enchanting experience we’ve never seen before.
Trapped! does a wonderful job of transporting us into this whimsical world – and its supporting cast of iconic characters helps to make it instantly recognizable. But once our foot shrinks down small enough to fit through the tiny door at the end of the rabbit hole, gone is the sense of familiarity that might bolster our confidence in this quest. This is a whole new adventure through the Looking Glass – and this time, we’re the stars – all thanks to our adorable little dog and his penchant for running off into the forest.
Down the Rabbit Hole exists across three distinct spaces – two indoors at the White Rabbit’s house and one in his yard outside it. Each space feels larger than life, evoking comical images of actually falling into a very real life cartoon world.
Beginning in the common area of the White Rabbit’s house, we find a tiny table (obviously set for tea), a flickering outlandish fireplace and portraits of some of our host’s pointy-eared siblings. Extending down from the ceiling and subsequent real world above us, hobbled together pipes form a sort of enchanted telephone that serves as our in-game hint system, offering direct communication to the Dormouse, whose high-pitched, squeaky voice shall serve as our guide.
The White Rabbit’s yard sits under the shade of a mighty tree. It’s home to his flowery garden, and, for good measure, a wishing well. And don’t even think about wishing for an easy escape; that well hasn’t worked in ages.
And finally, back inside we find the White Rabbit’s bedroom – just as you’d imagine it. Small and colorful, a tiny bed sits in the center. Surrounding it? Well, clocks of course. Lots, and lots, and lots of clocks. After all, our host is known to be a fan of punctuality (a desire which directly conflicts with the fact that each clock displays a very different time.)
Every task tackled once Down the Rabbit Hole serves to further enforce the storyworld. Following a milestone-based puzzle flow, we find ourselves hunting for the purpose of each strange knickknack our curious pooch has collected during his various visits to Wonderland. What seemed like random items at the time suddenly makes so much more sense within the context of this wacky world.
Trapped! artfully embraces gameplay which is both enjoyable and challenging to an experienced team, while also still entirely achievable to a newer player. What results is a game that is sure to delight the curiosity of all who wander Down the Rabbit Hole, young or old.
Each step is logical and intuitive. It’s always clear what you should be working on next – with tasks leading from one to the next so solidly that they provide several “ah ha!” moments that both further the story and reveal the next surprise along the way.
Down the Rabbit Hole (along with the venue as a whole) is a game which came highly recommended to us for quite some time – but like the White Rabbit, it seemed that no matter how hard we tried to fit it in previously, we always found ourselves with no time to say “hello, goodbye!” We knew it was long past due that we set our over-sized pocket watch for a very important date to visit Trapped!, and boy are we glad we did.
We can’t say enough positive things about Trapped!, but Down the Rabbit Hole is without a doubt its crown jewel. This game is fun on a level that few daydream to achieve. It feels authentically “Wonderland” while still standing strong with its own distinct identity leaving us excited to see where each turn of the page in this story will lead.
And while Upland may be a bit of a journey for those visiting Orange County – or even Los Angeles-proper, this is one Rabbit Hole you simply must fall down. “Don’t just do something, stand there… Uh… no no! Go go!”
Location: Upland, California
Number of Games: 3
GAME SPECIFIC INFORMATION:
Duration: 60 minutes
Capacity: 6 people
Group Type: Private / You will not be paired with strangers.
Cost: $32 per person
We thank Trapped! for inviting us to play this game. Although complimentary admission was generously provided, that in no way impacts the opinion included within this review.