Yesterday, we were lucky enough to play the long-awaited House of Illusion at one of our favourite game locations Escape Quest. We say long awaited because it feels like Elaine and Mike have been building this one for 5 years! So, was it worth the wait?
“For 30 years his parents toured the world with their famous House of illusion magic show.
Henry would wait patiently backstage during the shows, wishing for the day he’d be allowed to take his place in the limelight, and maybe one day he might even be the star of the show. Unfortunately Henry’s parents didn’t think he was good enough to be included in the act.
Henry grew up bitter and disillusioned with the world, the anger he felt at his parents slowly turned to hatred, and then…..they suddenly disappeared never to be seen again! Henry’s girlfriend and his Aunt and Uncle have also disappeared. Henry claims they have all gone abroad to continue the show without him, but Henry’s Grandfather suspects something terrible has happened to the missing family members.
Henry has built his own private theatre. The shows he put on have not gone well, and ticket sales have dried up entirely, so Henry’s decided to hold auditions for some new performers. He’ll show the world that Henry Fortune has what it takes to put on a show just as good as his parents. Maybe even better!
Henry’s Grandfather has hired a firm of private investigators, and this is the ideal opportunity to send them in as undercover performers to try to find out if Henry knows more than he’s letting on. That’s where you come in!
Will your performance be good enough to fool Henry whilst you secretly gather evidence and If not, will Henry let you leave if your cover is blown? Henry is short tempered and impatient, an hour of his time is all you’ll get so make sure you work fast. As the final minutes tick by and the stage lights go out, it really could be the end of the show for you all……”
Oh. My. God. It’s clear to see why this room took a while to build, as they’ve pulled out all the stops. We knew the game was going to be set in a theatre, but I don’t think we expected it to be this authentic a theatre. This is an absolute masterpiece of a set, with old style theatre seats, the perfect decor, excellent props… I don’t want to go into much more detail (there’s some pretty obvious things I could mention!) because it would take away from that amazing moment you step through the door.
As you can see from the room description above, there’s a great backstory, and the narrative is so well woven into the gameplay throughout the hour. The story of Henry Fortune has had so much thought put into it, and the character himself has a lot to him. He does appear in the game (sort of), and he really is quite the character, adding an extra element to the immersiveness.
The gameplay was well structured, with you on the hunt for a number of items that are found in many different ways. There’s quite a bit of searching to be done, but nothing too bad for people like us who are terrible searchers, and all of the puzzles were logical, with a great flow to the game.
An absolute highlight though is mentioned in the above room brief. You might be private investigators, but you do have to audition for Henry. The room brief is spot on. We performed stage magic, in an escape room. It’s such a bizzare, unique experience, but it’s a brilliant concept.
Overall, this game shouldn’t be missed. The set design is so ambitious, and despite the fact it was completely built by only Mike & Elaine, fully delivers. It’s an exciting game, with a burst of adrenaline at the end, with so many typical “Escape Quest” touches that we’ve come to love. We just had to give this our Must Play stamp, with this jumping right into my all-time top five. Abracadabra.
Host: As always, our game was hosted by Elaine & Mike. You’d be hard pushed to find an escape game centre that offers a warmer welcome. Some of the loveliest people in the industry!
Clue System: Clues were delivered via a screen.
Success: Yes, we escaped with around two and a half minutes remaining.