Canterbury, Jun 2021
It’s often hard to know when booking a game with a spooky theme whether it’s going to be mildly creepy or sixty minutes of terror. But most nervous players should be fine with The Haunting – the fear factor here shouldn’t go above a degree of apprehension.
It’s currently the top rated of the games at Escape Kent, and it was clear why: the set starts well and improves. I find it a good sign when, partway through a game, I find I’ve lost awareness of where I am in relation to the outside world, which happened here. Each part of the game’s world is distinctive and spookily attractive. There’s a narrative to the game, and while many puzzles don’t particularly tie into that, others do, giving players a sense of the past residents of this haunted house.
While The Haunting is effectively creepy and likely to leave many players nervous, the emphasis here is at least as much on fun as on scares. That means the design mixes in, for example, wordplay and coloured LEDs that weren’t an obvious match for the story but which I thought successfully made the game more varied and entertaining. (Opinions may vary – I liked the latter puzzle but my teammate found it incongruous for the room.)
For me The Haunting started well and improved through to an excellent ending that was both dramatic and amusingly silly, making it a fitting finish to the game in all respects. There was a brief hitch when we thought something had opened or been released, when in fact the sound we’d heard was just atmosphere-building, but we managed to sort that confusion out and get back on track.
If you’re escaping rooms in Canterbury, then The Haunting is one that should certainly be on your schedule – a lush, energetic design with a great set and fun puzzles.