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Review: The Haunting: Secret of the Mansion

1 Keys

RATING: 1 Keys          RESULT: Win         REMAINING: 14:25

A game that can make you speechless after playing it could mean multiple things, but when you break the silence with “That was the worst game I’ve ever played!”, it doesn’t take a paranormal investigator to figure out that MindQuest Escape Games’ newest game is haunted by something just plain bad.


There are those that say that Worthington Mansion is haunted, if not by spirits then by terrible secrets hidden somewhere in the home. Your job is to confirm or disprove that this site is haunted, and if it is haunted, find a way to cleanse the home of any entities that may linger there once and for all…

Ok, sounds simple right? While not the most original storyline ever created, it was one with promise and probably the best thing conceptually about this game, especially after being introduced to certain characters. With that said though, that promising storyline was instead ruined by the poor execution of pretty much everything else.

If there was ever intent to scare anyone with this “ghost story”, my bunny slippers were yawning from boredom the whole time. Just saying…


At first glance, there seems to be a lot of effort put into the scenic of this game. You start off the in the biggest room, which looks like a study…turned into a museum? At least I think that’s what they were going for considering there plaques and associated audio recordings under the art around the room.

The second room looks like your supposed to be in a vault, which would be logical for many old mansions to have one as a “secret attachment” to an office or study. What’s not logical though is the third room…now suddenly you are in the attic? I don’t recall going up stairs or anything that would signify moving up a floor or two, but that’s just me I guess.

So this, plus closer glances, in reality does show that these incomplete rooms were poorly designed. For example, the “hidden doorway” from the study to the vault wasn’t exactly a surprise, considering you can clearly see the doorway is taller than the bookshelf that was supposed to be hiding it. Also a lot of the walls in the vault and attic seemed really fragile to the point that they just looked unfinished, like the designer gave up on them.

As far as incomplete, remember that details also make a difference. For example, there are bookshelves in the first room. You would think that they would be loaded with books and odds and ends, not just things needed for the clues and puzzles. Same goes with desks, which were empty minus the things needed for the game. I know what you’re thinking, it’s sounding like I’m wishing this game was harder by adding things that are not needed in order to confuse us. I’m not. If I’m going to be playing in a story-driven, interactive game, then I want to be IMMERSED in the story, and that is where details come into play. Clearly there was lacking in that department.


So let me tell you the story of four friends that stood around in a room for at least 20 minutes completely dumbfounded because there was no starting point to their game… the end. Ok, not the end, but that seriously happened. After reading every piece of paper found, searching high and low and gathering clues, there still was confusion on where to actually start. We even had to use our first hint just figure out the direction we had to go in, and even the hint itself was so convoluted that it really didn’t really help. Eventually by some miracle (and clarification galore), we were on our way…and yet still won with plenty of time to spare.

The puzzles in this game really had no rhyme or reason, weren’t intuitive whatsoever, and barely flowed along with the story at all. There was a slight attempt made though to keep with theme. As the paranormal investigators that we’re supposed to be, we’re given these “ghost meters” to use that were left over from the previous investigators. The problem with this though was that there was no clues on what we needed to be scanning, let alone when we did try scan something that seemed right, the device barely worked. I’ll give slight credit for trying to stick to the story, but that’s about it.

Whoever came up with these had some serious design flaws. There was one (attempting to be tech-savvy, but not) puzzle in particular that was in the vault room that we completed and we know we completed it but we couldn’t find what the result was supposed to be. Again we had to waste another hint – this time to literally ask what we just SOLVED – to continue after minutes of finding nothing relevant in the room we were in. As it turns out, the outcome was back in the study but none of us would have known because there were no sounds or indications made that we had to go back there, nor any logical connection to the puzzle we just solved to trigger it.

The rest of the puzzles here were barely memorable enough to even mention. We did though come across one that was probably put in there just to be an annoying time killer, meaning that this puzzle could have been skipped over completely because the information that we needed by solving it we had already discovered. Considering this one involved math (and we all know how much I loathe math), I really wish we did figure out we could skip it early on.


I have played most of the games at this venue and every one of them were fairly decent and enjoyable. For me to step out into the lobby and after a speechless moment say “This is the worst game I’ve ever played.” was a complete shock to myself. It was like I’d never stepped foot in this place before. This game was the total opposite of MindQuest Escape Games’s previous fun and enjoyable games. I’ve seen so much better from them; it’s like their team either gave up or became lazy, or both. Granted, since playing this game I have now played an even worse one elsewhere (that I don’t have to review, thank goodness), and I’m sure they’ll be even more bad eggs in my future gameplay. Still though, it just goes to show you that sometimes high expectations for a familiar place can lead to some pretty big let-downs if not careful.

I just really hope the next game that MindQuest Escape Games comes up with will learn from their mistakes and go up the ladder in fun, intuitive games rather than crash at the bottom and burn like The Haunting.



Venue Details

Venue:  MindQuest Escape Games

Location: Orlando, Florida

Number of Games: 5


Duration: 60 minutes

Capacity: 8 people

Group Type: Option of Private or Public / You may or may not be paired with strangers.

Cost: $26/28 per person (minimum 2)

EAR Disclaimer

We thank MindQuest Escape Games for inviting us to review this game. Although complimentary admission was generously provided, that in no way impacts the opinion included within this review.


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