|Game experience: EXCELLENT
|Very convincing actors.
|Some puzzles might be improved.|
‘Manoir de Paris’ is a haunted house that opened its doors in 2011. In their main attraction, you walk across a spooky mansion with a group of friends, among gloomy decorations and actors with make-up who do their best to scare you. I had played it a year earlier, and it was very fun – I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys to be chased by a psychotic clown with a chainsaw. They opened in 2017 their own escape game venue, ‘Skeleton key’, which also feature actors – something you can find regularly in cities like Toronto (with e.g. the excellent games at Casa Loma or Murdoch’s station 4), but very rarely in Paris. Currently, they have only one game, ‘The cursed crypt’ (‘La crypte maudite’), which I was really looking forward to play.
As you could expect from a place with such an expertise in scaring people, the immersion is a strong asset of this game. When we arrive, the receptionist explains to us the general rules of the place. Once this is over, an Indiana Jones-like gamemaster brings us to our adventure: this separation between the two roles is a good idea, as the gamemaster can remain in his character all along. He accompanies us to the entrance of an impressively decorated crypt: our mission is to enter the tomb of the count Saint-Germain and kill him.
The puzzles were very decent, with some nice manipulations, but there were not many of them: most of the time you will spend in the room will be dedicated to handle some other complexities… The game is designed to foster collaborative work. Surprisingly, one of the puzzle involves some prior knowledge – but the gamemaster will provide it to you in case you don’t know the relevant facts. This is also one of the rare escape games for which you will use – to a moderate extent – some physical skills.
The help of the gamemaster in the room was very well calibrated to our progression, and he was both friendly and entertaining. The fantastic actor play adds a lot of value to this escape room, and can lead to some strong emotions during the game. At some point, I really felt trapped in a desperate situation, and a part of me could see myself dying (don’t worry, there is no risk, and you can always come back to the game).
All in all, this is fantastic escape game that renews the genre and which I recommend to everyone who’s not too faint-hearted (note that pregnant women are not allowed to participate, for good reasons). I would say that the ideal group size would be 4 players: you can play it up to 8, but that would probably be too many, given the room size and the structure of the game. Don’t forget to bring good, comfortable shoes!
Game played in September 2017