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Review: Henry Fortune's House of Illusion - Escape Quest, Macclesfield

Room Story - from Escape Quest

For 30 years his parents toured the world with their famous House of illusion magic show.

Henry would wait patiently backstage during the shows, wishing for the day he'd be allowed to take his place in the limelight, and maybe one day he might even be the star of the show. Unfortunately Henry's parents didn't think he was good enough to be included in the act.

show more.... Henry grew up bitter and disillusioned with the world, the anger he felt at his parents slowly turned to hatred, and then.....they suddenly disappeared never to be seen again! Henry's girlfriend and his Aunt and Uncle have also disappeared. Henry claims they have all gone abroad to continue the show without him, but Henry's Grandfather suspects something terrible has happened to the missing family members.

Henry has built his own private theatre. The shows he put on have not gone well, and ticket sales have dried up entirely, so Henry's decided to hold auditions for some new performers. He'll show the world that Henry Fortune has what it takes to put on a show just as good as his parents. Maybe even better!

Henry's Grandfather has hired a firm of private investigators, and this is the ideal opportunity to send them in as undercover performers to try to find out if Henry knows more than he's letting on. That's where you come in!

Will your performance be good enough to fool Henry whilst you secretly gather evidence and If not, will Henry let you leave if your cover is blown? Henry is short tempered and impatient, an hour of his time is all you'll get so make sure you work fast. As the final minutes tick by and the stage lights go out, it really could be the end of the show for you all......

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Key Stats

Room NameHenry Fortune's House of Illusion
VenueEscape Quest
LocationMacclesfield, UK
Date30/09/2018
Escape Time57:38
Team Size3
My Recommended Team Size3 - 5

Review

We’ve played all of Escape Quest’s other games and I’d go as far to say it’s our favourite venue. It has excellent games, but the hosting is what pushes Escape Quest to another level. From the welcome you get, to the perfectly timed clues in the game, Mike and Elaine do a great job.

We’d been aware this game had been coming for quite some time and we’ve really looked forward to it. The premise of the game is that the grandfather of the game’s sinister protagonist, Henry Fortune, has sent you a letter as he believes that Henry has murdered his family. You’re tasked with visiting the “House of Illusion” and posing as auditioning magicians for Henry’s show. It’s all a ruse of course, you’re there to investigate his missing family!

Before you head to the House of Illusion, you must choose which of three available detective agencies you work for – this determines the difficulty of the game you play. We chose to work for Anita Lockhard, the highest level of difficulty. We thought these difficulty ratings might just influence the level of help you get in the game, but it actually also influences the amount of puzzles in the room. It’s the first time we’ve seen this and it’s a great idea to cater for all.

When we entered the room, we were amazed by one of the most elaborately themed rooms we’ve ever been in. They’ve created a full theatre complete with stage, balcony and pullman seating to create an impressive and imposing entrance to the game. Before starting the game, you’re given a lengthy pep-talk from Henry Fortune. They don’t use a live actor, but they’ve done a wonderful job of allowing you to interact with Henry throughout the course of the game and really feel like the character is in the room with you. It’s very cleverly done.

Once we’d received our commands from Henry, we went about exploring the room. All of us repeatedly muttered sentences like “this is so cool” as we admired the work and effort that had gone into creating the wonderful space we were in. We flew through the first few puzzles with our searching skills unusually on top form. This took us to the major central puzzle in the room.

I won’t go into great detail to avoid the spoiling the surprise, but when the room description says that you are undercover and auditioning to join Henry’s magic show it genuinely means you audition. It’s a really great sequence that ties together the puzzles you’ve already solved and immerses you deeply into the storyline of the room. It was really great fun.

After auditioning, this gave us the opportunity to carry out our primary task to investigate the strange disappearance of Henry’s family and find evidence to confirm Henry’s involvement. Unfortunately, our brilliant searching form quickly ended and we quickly accumulated a lot of time whilst searching for evidence.

There was one part of the room that we unlocked and until we had a clue about it, we didn’t really understand what it was for. As a result of that, when we found items to use with it, we didn’t really know what to do with them! It’s a minor criticism of an otherwise flawless room.

As we uncovered more and more evidence, the story got more and more sinister and our interactions with Henry became much more, erm, “interesting”. The way the room builds on the story is fantastic, with every element explained as you progress. There are so many escape rooms we play that have a wonderful description online but then fail to develop the story any further. This room really is at the pinnacle of escape room story telling.

With all our evidence gathered, we quickly exited the House of Illusion, thankful that our “interactions” with Henry had come to an end. We were completely blown away by this room. The level of theming and storytelling were genuinely the best we’d seen in an escape room. This is an absolute must play game. We only have two things that we’re disappointed about: 1. that we’ve now played the game and 2. that there are no more Escape Quest games to play (for now).

The team were Becky, Daniel and Beth.

Ratings


Overall Wow! This is the most immersive game we’ve played. It’s a visually stunning game with a great storyline. Truly a must play game. 
Difficulty The game has three difficulty levels that players can choose from, so it’s a game that really does suit all. We chose the hardest difficulty level and still found it very manageable– albeit, there’s a lot to do in the hour! 
Fun There are very few games we don’t find fun, but this game was another level. We had so much fun and couldn’t stop talking about it for hours afterwards. 
Puzzles The puzzles are largely search and unlock style puzzles with clues hidden in lots of clever ways. The main puzzle, a “performance” for Henry Fortune, was a unique and immersive experience.  
Immersion This is really where all the game’s strengths lie. The set design is amazing and the storyline is the strongest we’ve ever encountered in an escape room.  
Surprises The game is one big surprise from beginning to the end. We had no idea what to expect when we read the synopsis, but the game kept surprising us with its clever storyline. 

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