RATING: 3 Keys RESULT: Loss REMAINING: X:XX
Wait, we’re going INTO the creepy serial killer’s cabin? In the creepy woods? Alright, if you say so…
You and your adventure-seeking friends decide to take a scenic trek through the Devil’s Tramping Ground in small town North Carolina. With nightfall swiftly approaching, your group becomes lost within the ominous woods. While searching for food and shelter you come across a hidden wood shed. You follow the clues left behind by a previous group, and find yourself inside the home of notorious serial killer, Zachary Klein. Klein is known in these parts as a psychopath with an obsession with eyes, and he could be home any minute! If you don’t find your way out fast, you surely won’t live to see the light of day!
The Wood Shed takes a somewhat fresh approach on the generic serial killer trope, where instead escaping after being kidnapped, you find yourself stumbling upon the criminal’s literal front door. The story then takes a turn straight out of a bad horror movie – not only do you decide to break in to the creepy shed, but you also plan on staying the night!
This scenario raised so many questions in my mind. Why do my friends and I think it’s a good idea to wander around creepy woods? Why are we so desperate to break into a hidden shed in the middle of the nowhere in said creepy woods? Plot holes aside, we shrugged and played along because, well, why not? Armed with flashlights and a slight glimmer of hope that this won’t go terribly wrong, we continue on our doomed journey to (hopefully not) meet our fate.
Although the venue markets The Wood Shed as if you are already inside the killer’s humble abode, this game actually begins with you and your team in the “woods” outside the shed. The large “woods” area is pitch black, and outfitted with concrete floors and sparse prop trees, with the façade of the wood shed along one wall. There was also a small garden filled with department store variety Halloween props, including, I kid you not, a 6-foot-tall swiveling pumpkin-headed lawn decoration.
The shed itself was pretty impressive in size, with the front taking up an entire wall. It was believably ominous, further fueling your sense of dread. Peering through a window gives you a glimpse of what awaits you.
Inside the shed you’ll find that serial killer Zachary Klein isn’t a complete savage. His murderous lair is furnished with a sofa, dresser, fridge, and, oh yeah – a giant animatronic rocking doll in a cage. Joking aside, the scenic inside the shed is convincing and filled with Game Master triggered gags that build on your unease.
Some puzzles using physical tasks were intuitive and fun, while most were rather simple and tedious.
Other puzzles showed some pretty significant leaps in logic and had nothing, if anything, to do with the “Oh crap I’m in a serial killer’s house!” scenario.
One redeeming quality was the game’s final puzzle, which although we didn’t get to play, was a surprisingly creative step I hadn’t seen in any game prior.
Let me just say that unlike many other writers at Escape Authority, I am not a fan of haunted attractions. I’m afraid of the dark, unexpected loud noises, and jump scares. That being said, I want to be clear that while this game has ALL of those things, they are not what earned it a 3 key rating.
I can appreciate when games use traditional scare elements to organically add urgency to what should already be a compelling narrative – but the narrative itself was lacking for me in The Wood Shed.
The Wood Shed is Mindbender Escape Room’s newest and most expensive game to play. This doesn’t necessarily mean it’s their best room, though. A convincing scenic, but convoluted story and okay puzzles, make for a game that is entertaining to play but ultimately not among the best games we have seen in the Jacksonville market.
Venue: Mind Bender Escape Rooms
Location: Jacksonville, Florida
Number of Games: 4
GAME SPECIFIC INFORMATION:
Duration: 60 minutes
Capacity: 10 people
Group Type: Public / You may be paired with strangers.
Cost: $33 per person