ESCAPE FROM HOME - DARKWOOD MANOR
A well thought out print at home game. Aimed at the whole family, with great child friendly puzzles, this will be a hit with kids and newcomers alike.
So the story - On the eve of her wedding day to Master Darkwood, mischievous Emily wanted to play one last prank on her soon to be husband and hid in the attic. Over time she grew restless and to pass the time she put on her wedding dress.Hearing a noise, she ran to hide inside a chest in the attic, however the chest locked with her inside. Sending his maids to track her down, they soon discovered Emily's death. Following her funeral, Master Darkwood left the home for good and it has been locked up ever since. Rumour has it that the ghost of Emily still haunts the building - Your mission is to track down her ghost and unlock the mysterious of this long closed household.
The first thing that was evidently noticeable is the attention to detail in the opening story. Many would simply open with "there is a ghost in the house" however this attention to detail really set the scene and gave you insight into the character and helps provide some depth to the story (which is clearly difficult with a print at home style game).
In terms of puzzles we were really impressed with these. The Escape From Home designers have cleverly created a strong mix of written games and some slightly more interactive puzzles, where the kids can get their colouring pencils and scissors out to really feel part of the game. There are a few games which clearly children would find difficult on their own, but with some adult guidance they would smash it. The puzzles presented are also a good split of some more lengthy games coupled with some quick punchy ones so nothing becomes too relentless - so don't worry about the kids attention span! As you would expect, given the family target audience, experienced gamers would find a few of the games slightly easier, however dont be fooled - we did have to use some clues!
Theme for the game was good and the puzzles match these well - as you work your way around the mansion house you visit different rooms and these puzzles match nicely with the theme - with "older" looking materials staying on point.
In terms of game play, the designers suggest that this game is played with a game master being in charge and then providing clues from an accompanying printable document. The clues are certainly helpful and provide just enough guidance without being a total giveaway. Alternatively, as we did, you can also play without a game master and simply check your answers via a link on the website, where you can hover to reveal your answers. This worked very well for us.
As an alternative method, you can also "hide" the documents and evidence around your own home and turn this into a proper play at home experience as opposed to a table top game. Given the theme of the game, placing puzzles in different rooms in the house would be a great idea!
An additional mention should go to the printable certificate and props which can be used for a photograph opportunity at the end of the game - a real great personal touch. Also the fact that there is a printer friendly option and the fact that this can also be printed in black and white without effecting the game play is a nice touch.
When all was said and done, we really enjoyed this game. The back story was good and nicely detailed, the puzzles were varied and strong, and all was very well pitched towards the target audience of younger guests and families. Do yourself a favour and visit the Manor - you never know what you'll find inside!
PADLOCK RATING; 4 - GREATLY RECOMMENDED
To Purchase this experience, visit;