Searching furniture, assembling it, detaching it from the wall and solving puzzles in the room – this is not only possible in a real Escape Room. Escape the Room: the cursed dollhouse is set entirely inside a three-dimensional dollhouse that players explore. The mission: solve the mystery of the cursed dollhouse and escape from it!.
A girl’s dead eyes stare accusingly from the picture in the corner of the room. Spider webs hang on the wall next to the collapsed shelf. We are in the living room, the place where the game begins, when a faint voice sounds softly and you whirl around to locate it. Is it coming from the colorful porcelain doll with glass eyes lying on the floor?
A real doll’s house as a setting for an Escape Game at home – what a brilliant idea! To begin with, you open the game box and build the basic walls of the doll’s house from the two box parts and other components. In the box there is still dollhouse furniture and interior to assemble and at first glance, secret objects and puzzles of various kinds arouse curiosity, which are already placed in the rooms. For us, the assembly already made us really want to play – and we were very excited about what awaited us here.
The idea of using the game box as the central setting for the Escape Game also came from Schmidt Spiele with their exit game series BREAK IN. Here, however, you don’t have to assemble anything, but puzzle deep into the game box, which hides the finale in its heart according to the Matryoshka principle. Thinkfun also offers an invitation letter for guests to print out on its website, and provides costume tips and atmospheric music as Spotify playlists. A real effort has been made here to create atmosphere and make the Escape Game evening a real event!
How successful and varied are the puzzles? How much fun is had playing The Cursed Doll’s House and how involved are you in the story and the doll’s house? For whom is this Escape Game worth playing at home? These are the questions answered in this review – you’ll find a compact summary with rating in the conclusion at the end of the article.
Break out, escape, flee, break in and that in a race against time: the game principle of Escape Rooms has long since successfully made it into your own four rooms. There are now many small and large game publishers who have developed Escape Game adventures for the home. They all differ greatly in the game mechanism and the way of playing and everyone who likes to solve puzzles should definitely try out different ones. All of them have as a common feature that it is necessary to solve puzzles and solve a final mission.
We have already played many Escape Rooms and Escape Room Games for home and have long caught fire for these games. In our Game Tips, there are many more reviews of Escape Games for the home to discover: from several Exit Puzzles by Ravensburger, to story-heavy games like the dark Escape Tale the Awakening to the successful Exit Games with and without puzzles from Kosmos, the puzzle-focused Card Escape Game Deckscape, Escape Room books and more.
Transparency Note: ThinkFun kindly provided us with a free copy of Escape the Room: The Cursed Dollhouse for review purposes. However, this review and especially the rating is unpaid and reflects our own independent opinion.
The puzzle materials in the envelope go into the different roomsThe game box is part of the game. The two halves of the box each form two rooms of the two-story dollhouse. Inside the game box are components for the attic and roof to assemble, components for dollhouse furniture, interior and puzzle items as well as a letter with puzzle materials, solution wheel and a booklet with instructions and story. You should also have a pen and paper ready to solve the puzzles.
First, you build the dollhouse and arrange the rooms as well described in the instructions. Then the cursed dollhouse begins and a player reads the as the story begins.
The game booklet leads with the story, which is read out room by room, through the Escape Game to the exciting finale.
It is possible to play the game in a race against time as well as without. It’s entirely up to you.
Visually grandiose: the Cursed Dollhouse in 3DThere are a total of 5 rooms in the dollhouse, which are lovingly designed with small furniture, detachable and openable objects and many details. The order in which we are allowed to explore them is dictated by the story. We enter a room, first examine it closely and then try to figure out the puzzles and solve them. Like a real Escape Game but in miniature, the cursed dollhouse even has objects to assemble and change, and you have to turn each room upside down several times.
For example, at the beginning in the living room you start by rebuilding the broken shelf. You pick up the porcelain doll and examine it and the girl in the picture. And then, of course, there’s more to discover, such as a cross-stitch picture above the door to the next room, the jagged spider web with the fat blue spider, and the strangely shaped red carpet.
So you have to be sitting head-on in front of the dollhouse to examine the rooms. If you can’t see anything, you won’t have as much fun – so be sure to set up the dollhouse in plain sight for everyone to see, and everyone must have good access to the rooms.
To get deeper into the dollhouse or higher up into the attic, you have to solve one red, one green and one blue puzzle in each room. In addition, there are clues and objects that sometimes become important and are needed later. To crack one room and advance to the next, you have to find the right symbol in each color puzzle. You set these three symbols on the solution wheel and then you can check if the solution is correct. If two or three of the windows in the solution wheel show the correct solution symbol, you move on to the next room.
Great is that not the cursed dollhouse contains not only logic puzzles. There are puzzles to build together, one reminds of a magic trick and the materials must be used to come to the solution. The puzzles are very different and varied. For puzzle novices, the puzzles are too intense. Even for advanced puzzlers, there might be some puzzles where things get sticky.
The puzzles are classified by ThinkFun itself as extremely challenging. And that is really true. The fewest puzzles are easy to solve, most of them are combination puzzles, which are really very difficult to solve. Great I like that there were some new types of puzzles that I have never come across before and that you need not only brains to solve the puzzles but also manual dexterity.
On a website there is the possibility to get hints if you get stuck once. Several hints are given that lead step by step to the solution of the puzzle, this is well done.
Does the chest in the attic contain the final puzzle to escape the dollhouse?Examine objects, solve puzzles and play rooms one after another to escape from a three-dimensional dollhouse. The Cursed Doll’s House differs from most other home escape games in terms of gameplay, and comes as close to a real escape room game as any we’ve played so far. On the website of the game manufacturer there are invitations for the guests to download, costume tips and the right music: everything it takes to make the Escape Game evening at home an event. This home exit game is first and foremost a puzzle game with very challenging, sophisticated and versatile puzzles, the story provides the framework and guides you through the mission.
Unlike most home escape games, in the cursed dollhouse you can properly examine the rooms, collect and combine clues to solve puzzles and riddle your way deeper into the mysteries of this gloomy place. So you move room by room and penetrate deeper and deeper into the dollhouse and its dark secrets until the exciting finale, in which it is necessary to leave the cursed dollhouse.
New room, new clues to investigateThe game box becomes a three-dimensional escape room and the lovingly designed dollhouse with its many details really makes you want to start playing. Visually, the dollhouse is very impressive. The rooms are atmospherically designed, there is even some miniature furniture, cupboards and furniture can be opened and the puzzles were thought up to match the gloomy setting as much as possible. Unlike most other exit games for the home, not so much has to happen in your head here, but you have items to puzzle over and assemble in your hand as well. This makes the cursed dollhouse really interactive – if you work well together and everyone gets involved. This is really super successful.
There are different types of puzzles to solve. Many are not logic puzzles but are about discovering clues, combining and using objects! This is a big difference to most exit games from other game makers, which rely mainly on logic puzzles. I really liked the fact that there were some puzzles that I had never encountered before and that you also need manual dexterity to solve puzzles and that it is not pure mental work. The puzzles themselves are almost exclusively very challenging. Anyone who manages to solve the cursed dollhouse without a single clue from the website is definitely a genius. We often had the right items, the approach and the path were also right, and the solution was still only correct after a few attempts. Without the very well-designed website with hints for solving, which was soon opened on the smartphone, frustration would have arisen quite quickly with us. Without this, Cursed Dollhouse wouldn’t have been much fun for us.
We played Cursed Doll’s House in pairs and without measuring time, taking our time with the puzzles. This was just right for us, as we were more interested in the puzzles and the game itself than in getting through the exit game as quickly as possible. But that’s a matter of taste and with this Escape Game for at home both are possible! Really ingenious is that each room is really played and included to the last corner. This also makes it necessary to see every room from every angle and the more players play, the more difficult this becomes.
What’s great is that there are detailed instructions on the website for putting the game back together to its initial state including the ability to print out all the spent puzzles. So you can pass the cursed dollhouse on wonderfully and play again although the material is used and consumed while playing. Whereby, of course, already traces of use on some items remain and printed out is not quite as beautiful as in its original state.
This Escape Game is suitable for experienced and advanced Escape game players and puzzle fans. The puzzles are very challenging and whether 13 year old children will manage to solve some of them alone I dare to doubt. Since it is absolutely necessary to see everything and have direct access to the dollhouse, 4 players are almost too much. In pairs and probably in threes it is perfect. If you play this game without time pressure, you can also interrupt after each successfully played room and continue the game later. So it is not necessary to spend the 2,5- 3 hours at a stretch (which is very difficult for us with a small child at the moment).
Demanding 3D Escape Room game with magnificently designed dollhouse that comes as close to a “real” Escape Game with miniature items, clues and very varied puzzle types for which you use items, as hardly any other Exit Game for home. As you puzzle room by room through the eerie dollhouse, its dark history is revealed. Since the puzzles are very crunchy, this game is best suited for very accomplished advanced puzzle players.
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