A ‘tech heavy’ cabin in the woods!
While hiking through the woods, you and your companions are beset by a sudden storm. Taking shelter in an abandoned cabin, for a moment you enjoy the illusion of safety. But outside, the storm grows in strength, and the full moon begins to rise…
Continuing our virtual world tour we thought it was about time we visited Connecticut in America, well not really, but we had spotted that Before Moonrise by Escape New Haven had been ranked number 20 in the world for the Online Escape Rooms so we were eager to give it a try.
We wanted to play a game for Liz’s birthday and as luck would have it, Before Moonrise was available at the time and date that we wanted – fate? To make it more like a virtual birthday party for Liz, we invited our friends James and Charlie (from Deadlocked) and Amy and Ian (Brit of an Escape Habit).
When we signed up for our slot we received an email thanking us for booking our afternoon hike, this also included some nice little information about the area we were ‘visiting’. Once I got over the initial confusion I quite liked this little bit of extra scene setting that they put in. One thing they mention is to not look at your inventory before your game experience – follow that rule.
So at ‘birthday o’clock’ we signed into the zoom call and were ready to see what all the fuss was about.
The first decision we had to make was on the difficulty level that we wanted to play. Before Moonrise has two difficulty levels, so naturally, we chose the hardest one which from what I gather basically just gives a couple more puzzles.
A little description on the Escape New Haven website says: “Light, sound, décor, and even smell combine to build immersion in our most stunning game yet” – no pressure then! Obviously we weren’t expecting to experience smell while playing this game, but we had high hopes for the other three areas.
The first thing we noticed when we stepped foot inside the cabin was the set, it looked delightfully authentic as a cabin in the woods, promising so far…
For a small cabin in the woods, this room had a surprising amount of tech in it and managed to keep us guessing throughout. To say we were impressed with what they did in this room would be an understatement; they had done things that despite having played a few hundred games we had never seen before.
Game play was smooth, signposting was good, and our host was entertaining, basically everything you’d want in an online game. There was an inventory system that was basic but worked well enough. If there was anything in the room that we wanted a close up of, our host was able to add a picture to the lightroom inventory. Despite there being no 360 view available we found that the pictures in the inventory were enough to give us the information we needed to solve the puzzles.
Don’t log into the inventory before your game time, just in case there are still images in there from the previous session. We made the mistake of looking at ours early and this meant we saw a few images from the previous team’s game. It didn’t really affect anything, and having just checked the link again now, it is empty so I think they are probably on top of this now.
The theme of this game was obviously Werewolves, which is a theme we don’t see very often so that was nice. The story integrated well and when we got to the end of the game, we felt like the story had come to a satisfying end (like the end of a movie). Speaking of the end of the story, there were actually two different endings to this story, and the ending you got depended on the decisions you made in the game.
I would imagine that in person this room really comes across as something special, even online it felt better than many. We found there to be a good mixture of puzzles, logic, pattern recognition and some light searching. In terms of difficulty, I would say that this game likely won’t be too challenging to experienced escapers, but there was still plenty to keep us going.
Looking back on this game, I am trying to remember if there were any padlocks, and I’m struggling to remember any. There may have been one or two, but this room really relied on technology to give an element of surprise. Interacting with your surroundings you never really knew what was going to happen next and this was the cause of many ‘wow’ moments. Credit to the game designers here, they’ve introduced some really cool tech!
Our host for Before Moonrise, Mike, played his character, “Rex,” perfectly and seemed suitably scared/confused by everything that was going on within the cabin. We found the puzzles for this game made sense, but Mike did some subtle camera placements to make sure we could see something that we otherwise may have missed.
At one point we joked with Mike about wanting a picture of some random obscure object in the room, and if we hadn’t swiftly said not to worry about it, I think he would have uploaded it to the inventory. It sounds like they have photos of everything in the room, talk about attention to detail!
The only issues we encountered were a few moments where the camera feed went a bit ‘choppy’ and when it came back we found that the puzzle had been solved. I gather this is because the camera switched connection to their lobby wifi (this was being fixed so is likely no longer an issue), but other than that, the camera work was smooth and we didn’t experience any other issues with it. One other odd thing was at the halfway point in the game we had a little intermission which enabled our host to change the battery on the device. I’m still not sure how I feel about this, it broke up the flow of the game, but actually also gave a nice little break to replenish drinks and have a quick pee break.
This is a game that would be amazing in real life, even online it was really good fun. Some really clever technology and fun puzzles made this an enjoyable choice for Liz’s birthday game. This is a game that deserves to be played.
GOOD TO KNOW
- Number of connections: Maximum 6 players
- Price: $89 USD (flat fee)
- Devices: Computer recommended
- Platform: Zoom / Browser
- Inventory: Yes
- 360º View: No
- Time Zone: New Haven, CT (ET)
|Value for Money|
Team: 6 players
Time Taken: 47 minutes