Escape Room Reviews: Midnight on the Bayou
Special note: we were beta testers for this room, which was not yet open to the public at the time that we played.
Company: Red Lantern Escape Rooms
Room: Midnight on the Bayou
Date Played: 4/11/17
Player Count: 4 (me and a family of 3)
Premise: "You haven’t set foot in Bayou High since graduation, but this carnival-themed reunion sounded fun. Though it is a little strange they’re holding the event on the old Boudreau property at the edge of the swamp, where decades ago several students died in a barn fire. And it is odd that all the carnival workers are mysteriously absent, with the exception of your reunion host who keeps nervously glancing at that creepy old chest…” -from their site
Immersion: This room is a) huge, just physically big, and b) totally plausible as the site of a high school reunion. Like, the decorations look a little home-made, but it's just right. The in-character host who stayed in the room with us did an excellent job (I understand there are multiple hosts, each playing their own different but reasonable character). There are also in-character pre-recorded prompts of a different nature, that seemed to play randomly when I was there. Like hearing the miscellaneous things characters in video games have to say, it's fun to catch them all, but every now and then one is ill-timed or a repeat which takes a tiny bit of the luster off.
Highlights: There are some very fun interactions in this game. This room is very non-linear, and there are a series of completely separate threads to follow. It is sometimes my strategy that when I notice the whole group is focussing on just one object or puzzle, I look for something else to do, and there was always more. I think a big group could split up and follow a few different puzzle threads without ever knowing what their other teammates were up to. (Although, I would prefer to see it all!) Even though I was there in the beta test phase, just about everything was in working order and ready for their big open. I don't usually pay much attention to our finish time, but we wrapped this one up at 59:59.
Lowlights: This was the first game I went to alone / without any of my usual teammates. It worked out that way because the testing was in the middle of a weekday on a day I just happened to be off, and I'm very happy I got to play it, but I think my enjoyment (and my final score) would have gone way up with my regular group. One or two of the story points didn't make the most sense to me, and one or two of the puzzle elements seemed a bit out of place, but nothing especially offputting or game-breaking, and some of those elements may have changed since the game officially opened.
And Finally: This is a family owned and operated establishment, and it's really a whole family affair. I got to chat with them after the game and their origin story is neat. Certainly, I liked some parts of this game better than others, but it's very possible that the sections I liked better are mostly just the puzzles that I worked on. There's already a plan in place for how this room can be refreshed in the future, and I'm very much looking forward to returning if they go through with it, or open up a new room. Out of 22 rooms played, I'm going to call this my #5 favorite.
How to book this room yourself: Visit https://www.redlanternescaperooms.com/games/