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In-Depth Escape Room Reviews

Review: The Orphanage

RATING: 2 Keys          RESULT: Win          REMAINING: 18:43

For a game that left us feeling alone and clueless, The Orphanage seems like a very fitting name.

Story

One hundred years ago, St. Sebastian’s Home for Children was closed after four children died under suspicious circumstances. Now, a developer wants to turn the building into loft apartments. But, strange noises, sightings, and other paranormal phenomena are preventing the construction from moving forward. Your team has been called in to investigate the events and the evidence left behind. Can you discover the truth, free the spirits, and escape The Orphanage?

Personally I have not played many games that have this sort of creepy or haunting undertone, so needless to say I was excited going in. I think the whole “historical building redevelopment gone awry”, while somewhat overplayed in film, is still interesting and definitely something I have not seen in the escape game world. With that said, that’s where the story pretty much ended. There was nothing in the game, neither scenic nor gameplay, that helps to further this element of the story. Furthermore, for a game that boasts “strange noises and sightings”, we encountered none of that. It’s a definite miss from the story point of view which could have been easily remedied by some simple scenic and gameplay tweaks, but more on that below.

Scenic

Walking into Kryptology, seeing their eye-pleasing lobby and waiting area had me hyped up to see what might be in store in the actual game. Entering the game space, however,  was an immediate letdown as we could clearly tell these rooms were just vanilla shells that were treated with some paint and a few furnishings. Granted though, the scenic paint treatment on the walls really conveyed a sense of age and neglect, so points for that. What I do hate seeing is a black drop ceiling, especially when it’s just out in the open. I can understand the need and convenience for this type of ceiling, but there are more decorative options out there that would have better fit the theme than black tile. Going back to the original story, I would really have enjoyed seeing some type of hint that construction crews were there and the work had just stopped. This would have made things more interesting with different styles of props and gameplay devices, such as maybe some old blueprints showing a hidden room that we would have to find for example. Instead we were just left with a room with a couple beds and other furnishings that really made the construction aspect of the story unnecessary. Next time, I would like to see some interesting architecture for a building that is over a hundred years old.

Puzzles

Wait for it….Wait for it…(20 minutes later). Twenty minutes. That is how long it took us to even begin to discover what we were supposed to do. There was no semblance of anything that was begging to be solved or discovered as soon as our clock started. This is a big escape game no-no, as you should always want the players to at least find something right off the bat so they don’t feel immediate frustration. Keep in mind also, that we are fairly experienced players with many games under our belts. However, once we did finally get started after having to ask the game master for a nudge, we were off to the races. We did encounter some mild tech in the game, what should have been fairly simple to pull off. However something was not working properly so the staff had to slip a piece of paper under the door which cost us even more time. Another puzzle we encountered was able to be solved out of order, so in essence we skipped a vital step somehow which only ended up serving as mental clutter afterwards. Going back to the story, I cannot help but continue to stress how there were no spooky elements or even a single startle. In a game that prides itself on the paranormal, they really dropped the ball. Actually, I wish they would have dropped a literal ball, or anything for that matter, to try and make me jump. We did find a “ghost meter” in the game, and while excited at first of the opportunity to use it to solve a puzzle, we were ultimately disappointed in the end.

Overall

My first visit to Kryptology I must admit wasn’t the best experience, but not so bad as to make me not want to return to see their other offerings. I really feel, despite my rants, that this game could be much better with some simple and inexpensive tweaks such as the addition of better sound, sound effects, and some off-the-shelf startle gags that would help further the story. With them not being the first, or even the second venue to open in Pigeon Forge, they certainly will have to up their game to compete with some of the others in town.

Venue Details

Venue:  Kryptology Escape Rooms

Location: Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

Number of Games: 3

GAME SPECIFIC INFORMATION:

Duration: 60 minutes

Capacity: 8 people

Group Type: Public  / You may be paired with strangers.

Cost: $28.99 per person
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Summary
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Kryptology Escape Rooms - The Orphanage
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