Pleasant, with a hint of creepy
Eddie O’Brien bought a plot of land in the hills of West Clare. Against the advice of then locals, Eddie chopped down an old Hawthorn tree to make room for his cottage. His neighbours warned him that the Hawthorn tree was a Faerie tree and a curse would befall anyone who cut it. Since then, every generation of O’Briens to live in that cottage has suffered a sudden and unexpected death. It happens always on a night with a strange and sudden storm, and the locals report hearing the wailing of a woman in the wind.
You have 60 minutes to find a way to appease the Banshee before she takes your life next!
This was our third ‘visit’ to Escape Rooms Ennis in Ireland, and I’d probably go so far as to say it was our favourite visit. Previouslly we had visited for The Beach Bar (avatar) and Under Siege (online). Coincidentally our trip happened to coincide with it being St Patrick’s Day which made it seem like fate that we would play, and enjoy, O’Brien’s Cottage.
There is a non-hosted point-and-click version of O’Brien’s Cottage offered by Escape Rooms Ennis but we were here to play their Live Avatar version, hosted by the wonderful Sarah. Once again, our friends Amy and Ian from Brit of an Escape Habit invited us to join them for this game, and there was no way we’d say no to that invite!
Before our game time, we received a detailed email that contained both the Zoom and Telescape link, so at our allotted time we joined the call ready to meet our teammates to try and appease this grumpy Banshee.
As this is a live avatar room, you are essentially playing the real version of the game, just through the eyes and hands of your avatar on the ground. In a way it’s a shame that we played this game online as it looks like it would have been a great room to experience in real life.
The game started with a creepy video that set the tone nicely for the rest of the game. Once the video ended we found ourselves in O’Brien’s Cottage, and surprisingly, I must say that it was actually a rather pleasant cottage. We were expecting to find a rundown/dilapidated cottage but what greeted us was basically a cottage you could imagine your grandmother living in.
You could probably class this game as a horror, but it was really more creepy than anything else. Think creepy noises, eeriness, lightning, and you’re pretty much there – perfect for family friendly fun.
This game utilised both Zoom (for the video) and Telescape (for the inventory) and we found both to be seamless. We played this game as a team of four, each using our own computers for the inventory and were able to work collaboratively on some of the puzzles in Telescape.
The inventory gave us access to 360 degree view of the room(s) and also enabled us to get close up views of items in the room. To add to the spookiness (and to make us jump), everytime an item was added to the inventory, the banshee screamed, other than making us jump this also let us know that we had discovered something new.
Sometimes the Telescape inventory is used just for showing static items, but Escape Rooms Ennis have got it set up so that we were able to manipulate items in the browser. I like it when this is done as it means we get to feel a bit more involved in the puzzle solving. While some of our team were solving the puzzle in Telescape the rest of us were able to keep investigating the room.
For what was essentially a horror/creepy style room, it was nice to see that ‘difficulty by darkness’ wasn’t a thing. We were able to see everything very clearly and anything that we couldn’t see particularly well was suddenly available in our inventory for closer inspection. The puzzle types we did encounter were; observation, searching, wordplay, and there were some physical interactions required (by our Avatar, obviously).
The puzzles were satisfying to solve and there were some great ‘ah ha’ moments when we pieced things together. Signposting was good and the flow of the game worked well, with puzzles intertwined with the story. We found the game to be quite open and items could be found that would send us off on a different path, there was an element of linearity, but we didn’t feel like we were being overly forced to solve things in specific order.
In real life, a good room can really be let down by a poor gamesmaster and it’s the same online. A poor avatar can break the experience for us. Fortunately, Sarah was on top form. Perhaps it was because it was St Patrick’s Day so all of Ireland was in a good mood, or perhaps she’s just good at her job (I think both).
Sarah gave a masterclass in avataring (is that a word?). Her camera work was smooth and stable, she added the right amount of humour, she listened to our stupid ideas and didn’t judge, and her subtle hinting was delightful.
We didn’t actually ask for any hints in this game, that’s not because we didn’t need them, it’s just that Sarah did such a good job in reading our frustrations that she knew when to subtly leave the camera in one location for just long enough to realise what we were missing. Perfection.
It wasn’t all just Sarah though, I’m pretty sure her other half was behind the scenes controlling the inventory as everything we found was added automatically and was removed just as efficiently when we were done with it.
This was a really well put together game and wasn’t at all what we were expecting. I guess you could loosely class this as a horror room, but really it would be great for all the family.
GOOD TO KNOW
- Number of connections: Upto 6 people
- Price: 2 Players €50.00, 3-6 Players €75.00
- Devices: Computer recommended
- Platform: Zoom / Telescape (browser)
- Inventory: Yes
- 360º View: Yes
- Time Zone: Ennis, Ireland (GMT)
|Value for Money|
Team: 4 players
Time Taken: 48 minutes