You get a strange email from your paranormal investigation group “Gnostic Research of the Occult, Omens, Vampires, and Yetis” aka G.R.O.O.V.Y.
Seems your leader decided to break into the old Knowby cabin and can’t escape…You and your team must guide him via his ghost gear technology through this misadventure so he can escape and find a way return the evil dead to their realm and escape before the cabin is sucked into the time-space vortex forever.
The Autumnal Equinox has now passed and that means it is officially Spooky Season, with all the thrills, chills, candy and pumpkin spice that comes with it. And what better way to usher in the Spooky than by playing the official Evil Dead 2 game, from Hourglass Escapes in Seattle? (Of course, the game is enjoyable at any time of year – I just really enjoyed writing that intro.)
We have been hearing literally nothing but good things about the Live Avatar version of Evil Dead 2, both from other bloggers, escape room owners, and just generally anyone that has had a chance to play it since it went online in May, and have been just dying for the opportunity to see what the fuss was about. That opportunity finally presented itself thanks to our friends over at Brit of an Escape Habit. And after playing Ghostly Galleon, I was even more excited to give it a go.
In preparation for the main event, Gord and I decided to refresh our knowledge of the film, Evil Dead 2, just a few hours before playing, during which we realised that we both only remembered Army of Darkness, the third film in the Evil Dead franchise. I’m glad we opted for our film refresher; being familiar with it meant we could better appreciate some of the details hidden throughout the game. But the film is definitely not to everyone’s taste, so rest assured that no outside knowledge is required to play the game, and the experience is incredible, whether you’re a fan of the film or completely oblivious to the fact that the game is based on a film – and possibly even still enjoyable if you’ve seen the film but wish you hadn’t.
Evil Dead 2 isn’t just a remote escape room – it’s an experience blending roleplay, elements of live theatre, and escape rooms. The experience begins before you even join the Zoom call, with our player packs, full of useful info, character details (complete with costume ideas if that’s your thing), and even a few recipes for cocktails and mocktails to fully round out the evening.
With characters selected (don’t worry if roleplay isn’t your thing, it’s really just for fun if you want) and cocktails in hand for those that wished, we connected to our ghost gear (aka, Zoom) to meet Shemp and rescue him before he is sucked into the space-time vortex and hell is unleashed on Earth. Or something to that effect.
Having watched the film only a few hours prior to playing, the first thing that struck me was just how true to the original source material the game is – from the tape recorder on the desk and the missing chainsaw in the woodshed, even down to the wallpaper. I’m pretty sure the floorboards of the cabin even run in the same direction as they do in the movie. No detail was too minute for the team at Hourglass Escapes, and the set and puzzles are chock full of easter eggs for fans to geek out over, while still being wholly accessible for those that aren’t familiar with the film.
Evil Dead 2 makes use of the same bespoke inventory system designed for Ready Mayor One. It’s particularly useful because not only are you able to access 360 views of the game and keep track of what you’ve found, but it’s also interactive – a nice touch.. Without the inventory and 360 photos, the game would have been pretty linear, but their inclusion allowed the game to claw back some open moments as we could split up to work on puzzles or explore the cabin, via Shemp. Even so, the game had a nice flow, and we found ourselves lost in the moment.
While I would say that the puzzles are not the main attraction in this game, Hourglass Escapes have paid such meticulous attention to the details in the set and story, that it was no surprise the puzzles were equally well thought out. Although we came across the sorts of challenges and that we have come to expect in escape rooms (logic, observation, critical thinking, minor maths, and a bit of searching) everything was perfectly on theme, well signposted, intuitive, and immensely satisfying when solved. The puzzles fit so seamlessly into the story and the setting that nothing ever felt as though it was there just for the sake of keeping us busy. Any padlocks in the game were in logical places but, unsurprisingly for a game with a supernatural theme, many relied on hidden tech, giving the game an extra immersive factor, as we set about exorcising the demons.
I have no doubt that I would have loved this game if we had been able to play in person, but it was our avatar that made Evil Dead 2 a truly exceptional experience, and the reason why I am not even remotely disappointed that we played online instead.
Shemp was a humorous addition, integrating himself seamlessly into the team. With a strong character, and a solid reason for being in that cabin in the first place, this is where we found the elements of immersive theatre that made this game an experience over just a remote escape room. On the technical side, Shemp was excellent with the camera work, deciphering directions from tired teammates across the globe, and knew just when and how to subtly clue us in that we were missing something, without ever having to give overt hints – my ideal style of gamesmastering in a live avatar game.
Even if you have never seen Evil Dead 2, or even if you have and are not a fan, this experience is truly exceptional. No, really; there’s a reason this is regarded as one of the best remote games out there right now, even with the relatively hefty price tag.
GOOD TO KNOW
- Number of connections: Up to ten
- Price: USD $30 per person
- Devices: Computer or Tablet recommended
- Platform: Zoom
- Inventory: Yes
- 360º View: Yes
- Time Zone: Seattle (Pacific Standard Time)
|Value for Money|
Team: 4 players
Time Taken: 47 mins