When: 23 Oct 2015
Team: Five people (four friends)
Location: SAFRA Mount Faber
This mystery event invited us to be “murdectives” (most delightful portmanteau ever) to investigate the death of a certain Mr Mayhem. Although billed as a scary event and timed to coincide with Halloween, we were glad to find that negligible creepiness was in store.
Another source of relief — a significant one, given the experience of I Know Who Killed You This Halloween, by a different escape room firm — was that the logistical challenges involving were quite forgiving. With five different closed-off areas to visit, some of which could only be accessed by one team at a time, we were initially worried that resource management would prove key — not least given the 45-minute time limit for investigation. Fortunately, however, there was barely any queueing required, and hence more than enough time in that aspect.
Another touch that I appreciated was the complete lack of wasted time, thanks to the presence of trustworthy witnesses we could interrogate at our own pace. I enjoyed how you needed to ask the right questions in order to gain the relevant information; the witnesses wouldn’t just hand you clues on a silver platter.
What about the meat of the mystery itself? I thought the storyline was fair and quite well thought out. In particular, one of the reenacted scenes (or, strictly speaking, scenes from before the murder that we were watching thanks to our detective-ly powers of clairvoyance) held a very satisfying key to unlocking the mystery, although we did manage to get to the same conclusion without noticing the clue.
Speaking of which, I’d say the event was generally very forgiving. You were allowed three wrong guesses when confirming answers with the Police HQ mid-way, which could easily be used to narrow down the list of suspects, if teams were so inclined. (Our team did have one wrong guess, which helped us choose between two likely suspects.)
If I did have any complaints, it would be that the introduction to the event wasn’t comprehensive, though I’m not sure if that was a function of being the last group for the day. We weren’t told the setting of the crime, so it took us a while to even discover that there had been a party that night and that all the witnesses had been present. We also weren’t aware that the countdown referred just to investigation time and that there would be time to consolidate our solution afterwards, though that was possibly just our own fault.
One witness also gave us an unwittingly misleading testimony, which didn’t affect the general solution but did introduce a bit of ambiguity regarding one piece of the puzzle. And the room search element of the event felt somewhat shallow in comparison to everything else.
But all that aside, the fluid mix of tasks, satisfying storyline and soft logistical constraints made The Mystery Mansion an enjoyable experience. I’d certainly be keen to attend any other murder mysteries which The Escape Artist might bring us.
Result: Solved the mystery with time to spare, hurrah.
The Escape Artist – The Mystery Mansion