Light-hearted, ghostly fun
Geoff the ghost has been stuck in this mansion for many many years, never being able to solve the mystery of what is keeping him inside. You have entered the mansion yourself and find that you too are now stuck and need to solve the puzzles and escape the mansion before midnight!
Our fourth Panic Room online experience for the day, following CSI: Grounded, CSI: Mafia Murders, and My Dearest Emily, was Mansion Impossible, making our Saturday feel a bit like the long-forgotten days when we travelled to Gravesend and Harlow to play six or so games in a day at The Panic Room’s physical locations. We even took a break with cake and coffee between the games as was our usual escape day tradition. Properly sugared and caffeinated, we settled in, set our timer, and pressed play on the intro video to receive our briefing for Mansion Impossible.
With cartoon images, a friendly spirit, and an intro video that felt a bit like walking into the foyer of Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion when it’s been redone in the “Nightmare Before Christmas” theme for the holidays, Mansion Impossible certainly has a more family-friendly vibe than most of the other online games from The Panic Room. The Panic Room’s website recommends the game for ages 6+, and while it’s not scary, some of the puzzles feel a bit complex for a six-year-old. If you’re looking for a game for a group of older children to play (you can have up to six devices logged in at the same time after all), Mansion Impossible would be good, but perhaps stick to playing as a family if your child is a bit younger.
After playing through three of The Panic Room’s online games prior to Mansion Impossible, the set up for the game was hauntingly familiar. The game is entirely browser-based and contained to one website, no printers or online treasure hunting here. The platform the game is built on is relatively easy to use – the game plays in a linear fashion, and you can progress from room to room, following the notes from your ghostly guide, Geoff, discovering the secrets of the mansion, or go back to the central foyer if you need to revisit a previous room with more ease. The sounds of creaking floorboards echoed from our speakers whenever we moved from room to room, and with an optional soundtrack you could download, Mansion Impossible was good at creating a bit of atmosphere.
Mansion Impossible stepped it up a gear from their CSI games, and even My Dearest Emily, both in terms of gameplay and the puzzles. With the previous games from The Panic Room, there was very little to interact with on each page. Here, there were a number of items that you could click on to interact with, adding a search element to the game. The only annoyance was the discrepancy in whether clicking on something in an image would open a new tab, or if the new page would open in the same tab. And while I was impressed with the very simple point and click features, the final challenge hints at possible things to come from The Panic Room, with a much more impressive feat of coding which was fun and interactive.
Mansion Impossible felt as though it was trying to emulate the feeling of a traditional live escape room, within the confines of the digital set up. Not only are there plenty of puzzles on offer that felt more traditionally “escape room” (spotting patterns, codes and decoding, brainteasers, and more) than those in some of their other games, but players will also find themselves confronted with one or two rather sneaky “search” elements, inviting players to investigate the “room” as they would in a physical game.
While the bulk of the game is primarily linear in structure, this feeling of exploration continues as players gather information throughout the game that makes no sense at the time, but that immediately clicks when presented in context, and culminates in one final puzzle, building on what you’ve already discovered.
In general, the puzzles were fair and logical, and we enjoyed the vast majority of them. But there was one that we weren’t particularly great fans of, involving colours. The colours on this puzzle were incredibly close and would be nigh on impossible to complete if you were colour blind. I’m not colourblind, and even I struggled with it, giving up halfway through, and just solving it by treating the letters we found in a different way.
Geoff is on hand throughout the game as your “handy spirit guide,” happy to provide a hint for anything you may need help unlocking. While the clue delivery is the expected gradual reveal of increasingly more obvious hints, just adding into the intro video that hints are from Geoff integrates them into the story just a little bit.
Mansion Impossible is a fun, family-friendly way to spend an hour or two. With a lovely little homage to live escape games that made me giggle with delight, this was my second favourite of the digital games on offer from The Panic Room, but it only just missed out on being my favourite.
- Device with internet connection (desktop/laptop running Chrome, Firefox or Edge provides best experience)
- Pen and paper for note taking (optional)
|Value for Money|
Team: 2 players
Time Taken: 54 mins
*Disclaimer: we weren’t charged for this experience, but this has not influenced our review.