Month: August 2016

Room review: Xcape: Annabelle

Their description: The paranormal investigator, William had performed exorcism on the infamous Annabelle doll and showcased it in the Paranormal Museum within his home. Unfortunately the demon that possessed Annabelle had returned! As demonologists, can you help William to end the curse on Annabelle once and for all, or die trying?

Xcape continues their slow takeover of Bugis Village with two ‘Xcape Haunted’ rooms, in collaboration with Malaysian outfit Lost in JB. Having heard a lot about how terrifying Lost in JB’s rooms apparently are, my curiosity triumphed over my cowardice — and I think it was worth it.

In promoting its Annabelle room, Xcape has highlighted the horror aspect, and that’s fair enough. There are plenty of multimedia thrills and scares, some of which do feel quite cinematic. The scares are also somewhat more propelled by the narrative than e.g. random body parts, giving a mixed sense of progress and apprehension.

But even if you don’t enjoy horror (and I certainly don’t), there are other things to appreciate. The puzzles are fair and logical without being entirely boring. Scares aside, there are various great physical aspects, from puzzles to hidden spaces.

It’s also great that Xcape doesn’t use logistical constraints to make this room artificially hard. Surprisingly for a scary room, the lighting is bright enough that torchlights aren’t needed, which I deeply appreciated. The room also has a generous, longer-than-usual 75min time limit, presumably to make up for the delay that fear could cause.

My only real complaint is that there’s a risk of technical malfunction, which did happen to my group and basically caused the creepy atmosphere to dissolve; good if you’re a coward, but bad for general room immersion. But maybe you’ll be lucky enough not to face that issue.

If you enjoy horror, you should definitely play this room. But even if you’re a coward like me, this room is RECOMMENDED for fair puzzles and a real sense of (fear-laced) adventure due to the room structure. (And though this room was more consistently scary, I personally found it less terrifying than certain aspects of Unravel’s Ouija, though I don’t know if this was also due to the people I was playing with…)

Puzzle difficulty: 3.5/5
Puzzle logic: 4.5/5
Multimedia aspect of puzzles: 4/5

Atmosphere and setting: 4.5/5
Exciting flourishes, use of technology or physical aspects: 5/5
Storyline integration: 4/5

Their suggested number of players: 6 to 8
My suggested number of players: 4 to 6