RATING: 3 Key RESULT: Win REMAINING: 14:00
We’ve captured the Vampire and driven a wooden stake right through his brain! It didn’t kill him, but it certainly rendered him rather illogical.
You and your team are Vampire Hunters , Van Helsing needs your help to kill a really powerful Vampire. He will meet you in his Castle and will give you instructions! Good Luck!
Maze Rooms focuses more on the “mood” of being a vampire hunter than an actual linear story here. It leaves us a little uncertain of our actual impact on the narrative. As such, it’s difficult to become immersed in Vampire, suspend disbelief and accept its story as real.
Also I’m fairly certain Van Helsing never lived in a castle.
Starting in a room of nothing but standard red brick, it feels more like a back alley you might expect to find in Jack the Ripper than the apparent foyer of a Vampire’s castle. First impressions are unquestionably important, and sadly this one did not properly set the tone for the gothic adventure that should lie ahead.
From the alley foyer, we find ourselves in a large room of the castle. It’s certainly more in the direction we would have hoped, with posh looking wallpaper and ornate framed art on the walls. The missed opportunity here is in the size of the room. It’s massive, and as such, it feels more like a big, empty space than a believably room inside a castle. At first glimpse, this room feels like it perhaps could have been a grand dining room. Why not have a large, antique dining room table sit in the center to break up the space? As large as the room is, there would still be ample area to walk around it on all four sides – but the value of authenticity it would have added to the storyworld would be immense.
Once we uncover the head Vampire’s hidden lair – a smaller space that feels more proportionately full – we get our first glimpse of him in the (paled and rotting) flesh. Through a window. Yes, his coffin has a window. What we assume is in place as a means of protecting the prop only acts to draw us more out of the storyworld than into it.
From a story perspective, some of the steps within truly connect well to the world, and help immerse us into it as active participants. Following the head vampire’s family tree seems like an entirely logical thing we might do to end his curse once and for all, and driving a wooden stake through his heart is not only obvious but mandatory in telling any good vampire story. Other puzzles, on the other hand, feel like they exist solely to have more puzzles in the room. They really don’t connect to the lore at all, and when intermixed with the steps that are in theme, weigh in as even more off-putting.
And then there’s there’s the conversation of logic, which is without question Vampire’s greatest short-coming. While some puzzles throughout this game are clear, with their solutions intuitively achieved, others are a veritable guessing game of “well, we’ve tried everything else, so I guess try this?” No puzzle in any game should ever lack one solid and clear answer. Vampire lights a candle on this problem more than once.
Prior to our visit, we were excited to enter the world of Vampire. With the great evolution shown across Maze Rooms newer games, added to a cool, somewhat unique gothic theme, we expected this one to be a hit. And while we didn’t dislike it per say, it certainly doesn’t measure up to its own legendary family tree. So much more could have been down with a vampire theme. And so much more can be done in a newer Maze Rooms game.
While it’s not that we recommend you skip this game – because it still does have its own merit, there are other Maze Rooms offerings that definitely should take first priority. Even within their Tarzana venue, we’ve given higher marks to Pirate Bay and Lord of Swords – both of which are entirely logical, intuitively flowing experiences from start to finish.
Venue: Maze Rooms
Location: Tarzana, 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: $99 per group (up to three), $33 per each additional person
Escape Authority readers save $10 using code ERGIG18
We thank Maze Rooms for inviting us to play this game. Although complimentary admission was generously provided, that in no way impacts the opinion included within this review.