Our team was recently invited out to try “Fright Before Your Eyes,” a brand-new 90-minute escape room experience at The Escape Effect in Orlando, Fla.
“Fright Before Your Eyes” takes place in the abandoned Grand Compass Theatre which, a hundred years prior, hosted the magician Victor Strange. Rumors still persist to this day about the circumstances surrounding the deaths of his assistants. Players take on the roles of ghost hunters using “Spectre Detectors” to find the ghosts of his assistants and put them to rest before time runs out.
Our gamemaster was helpful and friendly and was able to explain the setting and story clearly. After the usual rules about how to interact with the room, we were given instructions for how to use the unique Spectre Detector props and a few other elements inside. The devices ended up being intuitive once we started using them, but the sheer amount of information thrown at us before we even stepped foot in the room felt a little overwhelming.
The room itself had wonderful scenic design showing off the backstage of an old-time-y theater filled with a magician’s stage props. Flashlights were provided for all the players as the house lights were kept off in the room. This had a nice side effect of keeping the room’s temperature comfortable throughout our experience.
The puzzles varied, but mostly involved searching the room for spectral hot-spots and figuring out which ghost corresponded with them. We appreciated that the open-ended nature meant there were fewer bottlenecks and everyone could continue solving their own puzzles. This did lead to a number of “Oh, have we already used this?” moments, but they didn’t detract from our overall experience. Our team of six experienced escapers managed to complete the 90-minute room in about 45 minutes. This room would be ideal for fewer players based on the time allotted, though our game master did say they would be adding additional puzzles in the future.
All in all, we had a wonderful time! The Escape Effect venue is professional and clean. The unique puzzles and setting really showed off the heart that goes into making these kind of experiences at a mom-and-pop-style, family-owned business. If we had any criticisms, we would say that, at times, the room felt a little too guided, with a provided map pointing us exactly where to go to find the clues.
That small quibble aside, we definitely think this room would be perfect for a group of mid-level experienced players looking for a spooky good time! If this is indicative of the quality of the rest of their offerings, then we can’t wait to go back to The Escape Effect and try them all!
For more information on The Escape Effect, visit TheEscapeEffect.com.