There are so many variables that go into making an immersive experience a memorable one, such as a great story and an engaging atmosphere that beckons you to explore, something that I experienced in spades at Cross Roads Escape Games newest event.
This was my first time at Cross Roads Escape Games and walking in I was immediately struck by the air of professionalism. This isn’t an company put on by someone who thought they could make a quick buck. Instead, everything about this experience feels tailored and fresh. When you enter, there are folks behind the counter who greet you and give a run down on the games and what to expect and they do so with a giant smile and eager enthusiasm. Current game posters line the wall and The Bride of Frankenstein is wonderfully displayed in the restroom, making the whole experience of just walking in one that puts you in the mood and mindset to play.
THE SEANCE is what I was partaking in on Friday the 27th. I, along with six other excited participants, waited in the lobby. Some were nervous, others giggled with excitement. We were then led outside, around the building to a door, and told to head up and knock when we were ready to enter. All eyes looked to the next person as we entered where we saw a set of stairs set in shadowy candlelight. Pictures of people from bygone years lined the walls leading up to the door. The atmosphere was mysterious, and moody, a solid indicator that this was the start of our night of Spirits and Suspense.
I lead the group up the stairs and as I arrived on the landing I tentatively reached my hand out and knocked on the door three times. The door slowly opened and a beautiful young woman appeared. She is a gypsy, a psychic, a witch, she’s our guide to the Spirit Realm and she steps to the side welcoming us in with a hesitant smile.
As I said before, there are certain things can make or break an experience. The Production Design Team gets my solid 20 thumbs up of approval on this room. Entering, you are immediately transported into the mood of the night which centers around Mystery, Paranormal, and Secrets. No detail has been spared, from the runes carved into the table, and the beautifully painted Ouija board in the center of the room. There are also other various items such as the Goats head on the wall, to the old-fashioned radio player, the tapestries and old paintings. There is not one thing that was an afterthought, and it’s apparent that everything was deliberately placed in order to lend validity to the story, to the room, and to help us on our journey throughout the night.
Madam Ruby, our guide, plays her character wonderfully. s=She interacts with us in a way that is consistently moving the story forward, giving us nudges, and allowing the personality of all of us to mix and mingle with the story. Without a strong actor in this role, it would be easy to let the players take over; however, Madam Ruby always had control of the room, allowing us to really work together as a team throughout the night.
The other thing I really loved about this experience was that it wasn’t an escape room but instead an immersive experience that implemented escape room elements. In THE SEANCE, the evening has a much more organic feel. There was no rush to what we were doing, it just came naturally with the timeline of the story that we were presented. Searching for the clues was also an exploration of this beautifully curated room. The whole experience really allows you to not just work as a team, but to really have a fun connection with the other players. Its not so much a competition as it is a quest that you get to engage in with your fellow teammates.
There are amazing special effects, such as the lighting and sound, that are right in line with the overall high bar that this experience has set. It was almost impossible to fully play along with the story because there were so many hidden gems that all I wanted to do was hit pause and explore all the secret nooks and crannies. Though this was my first time with Crossroads Escape Games, it certainly won’t be my last. This experience has really shown me how wonderfully theatrical experiences such as this can be .Crossroads Escape Games has truly elevated their newest experience from a simple room to one that is filled with magic and wonder. Do not miss THE SEANCE when it opens October 2nd , running until November 3rd , as it will be an evening to push yourself to explore doors you were afraid to open to see what restless spirits await you on the other side. For more information, and to purchase tickets, visit www.crossroadsescapegames.com.