Welcome witches and warlocks,
I recently had the pleasure of attending The Orphanage escape room by 60Out Escape Rooms and thought I would offer up some thoughts for my fellow escape room enthusiasts. To best describe the story, I will use my own summary:
We enter the hallways of a dilapidated orphanage where the ghosts of the former orphans are rumored to wander the hallways. Soon we find ourselves trapped by some evil presence and must uncover the motives of the evil headmaster before we too are doomed to stay forever.
This is the fourth escape room that I have had the chance to experience by 60Out having already taken on Ghost Ship, Dracula, and Alice in Wonderland. Based on these past encounters, I have a decent idea of what to expect from this company as far as design elements go as well as how their rooms tend to work. That being said, The Orphanage blew absolutely every other escape room they have done out of the water.
Before I get too much into my favorite flourishes, I have to give a lot of credit to the layout of the experience. The progression felt unique because we started out in a sparse hallway with rooms on either side that we had to make our way into. Many escape rooms have a pretty set flow where we would finish up in one area which would open up our next room. The layout broke up that fairly traditional flow by forcing us to double back through the initial corridor to advance forward. Not a major thing, but it was this small distinction that added a sense of realism to the proceedings.
The sets themselves were spot on. There was a general creepiness about the place from the opening moments right up to the grand finale where we finally discovered what was really happening. The rooms felt spacious thanks to the high ceilings and the fact that the objects within were rarely so large as to make the place feel claustrophobic. There were so many interesting objects to interact with that I found myself feeling like a camel as I kept carrying things from one room to the next, just in case it proved significant later. Without giving too much away, they managed to pull off the rare trick of keeping everything nicely themed while also giving a very distinct personality to each area we had to explore, which culminated in a finale that should be left a surprise.
Now, of course, all of this matters not if the puzzles along the way were not memorable. To be honest, they had me right from the get-go as the first riddle we solved was simple and clever in its execution. From there the brain teasers managed to stay smartly in theme, while providing a bit of head scratching along the way. None of them were too terribly difficult, but they were a lot of fun since they occasionally rewarded us for solving a puzzle.
The various rewards for solving the riddles were what truly made this stand apart from every other 60Out escape room. I am going to try not to tip my hand too much on this, but after we put together certain clues correctly, we were treated to some mini-show scenes that felt very much in theme. These moments not only provided my group with a sense of accomplishment, they also really upped the ante on what an escape room can achieve by carrying the theme through the entire experience.
All in all, I really cannot say enough nice things about how well executed of an escape room this one ended up being. The standout, as I mentioned, were the effects driven show scenes, but the production values were top notch throughout. Fans of other 60Out Escape Rooms who want to see some of the best work this company has done should definitely give this a go.