Mayhem on the Menu
Written by: The Bat
On our visit to Eugene, Oregon, the Daring Damsels wanted to play at least one type of escape room that we can’t play in our hometown of Las Vegas. We found a company, Mental Mansion, that offers outdoor escape rooms. So of course, we gave their game Operation Mindfall a try. And, as often happens with enthusiasts, we not only loved the game, we loved the venue as well. So when the host mentioned that he would love to see how we do at one of his indoor games, we could not resist.
The venue only offers two indoor games, and only one is recommended for two people. It is called Mayhem on the Menu and the theme is catching an art thief at a dinner-auction. The art thief is named Mr. E, and he seems to be the villain in both of the games at Mental Mansion.
We showed up for our game, and were greeted by the same host as before. He not only remembered us, but gave us the same great service that we received when we played Operation Mindfall. The game was clue themed, and we had to pick our cards for the hidden envelope before we entered the room. Then we were given code names and hats to match! We felt like we had started playing the game before we even entered the room!
Dragon: I wish I woulda got the purple hat…
Then the game began, and so, now my review will as well.
Props & Decor:
The scene was well put together, and you were immersed from the minute you entered the room. Some of the decor was obviously things that the creator had bought around town, such as the addition of a wine bottle from a local wine company. We had just seen that wine in a shop the day before, so it was a bit of a fun Ah Ha moment for us.
Enough of the decor and props were part of the game to make the room well done. At the same time, enough of the decor was just decorative to make it a challenge to find the puzzles. There was also a fun little nod to the clue game hidden in the room. They were super cute and fun to find.
The decor was very well put together. While a lot of escape rooms have hidden doors, not all of them fit into the decor. I won’t tell you where this door is, of course, but it fits in perfectly. There was also an actual fireplace, as opposed to one just painted on the wall like in certain rooms we have played in the past. That was fun to see.
It is hard for an escape room to make puzzles for enthusiasts. We like to see new things and conquer new challenges. At the same time, we play escape rooms over and over because we like the familiar. It is like people who watch horror movies for comfort. We know that that music means a jump scare, but also we are disappointed if the jump scare doesn’t follow. We like to see puzzles with components we recognize; it makes us feel at home. So creators have to find new ways to put together familiar themes.
Mayhem on the Menu did that perfectly. There were find puzzles, visual puzzles, physical puzzles and matching puzzles. But they were put together in ways that were unique enough to stump us at several turns. We had to use 4 hints! Two of them were for one of our biggest weaknesses as a group. We are so used to looking for complicated things that we have a tendency to overlook the simple ones. However two of the hints were for puzzles that were so unique that we didn’t know how to put them together. And in each one, once it was explained, there was a definite moment of clarity. As you have read in past entries, I believe that a puzzle is only well made if it can be comprehended once explained. Each of theirs fit that description.
One of the puzzles was a bit nervous-making for me, as the solution involved using up a finite resource offered in the game. That meant once you tried the solution, you could not try again without the host having to come in and reset your mistake. However, once you were brave enough to try it (The Dragon had to do it for us), the solution was immediate and amazing! We had never seen one like it before.
Dragon: Brave enough? Pff it seemed so obvious for um “reasons” I’ll call them to keep from spoiling it. Also it was a really cool puzzle I hadn’t seen done that way until now.
I can’t say that I was disappointed with a single one of the puzzles in this game. We had a great time solving every one of them.
The theme of this game was a dinner-auction held at an estate. I won’t spoil it for you by telling you how many rooms there are, but as in most games, it is a multi room experience. So you are taken into the dining room where the event takes place and then into the back area. Both are well decorated and fit into the theme set out.
The puzzles and story lend more to the theme than the decor does. The intro comparing it to the game clue does most of the work. While you do solve the “clue puzzle” at the end, by the time you get there, you have spent so much time not thinking about it and solving other puzzles that it doesn’t seem to be very important. I was way more interested in getting that final door open than finding out what was in the envelope.
I loved this game. Whether or not I cared about the whodunnit part of the game, I loved every single puzzle. We won, of course, but it was down to the wire. A minute or so was all that was left. And after the game, the host was able to hide the clues enough to let us take pictures with the props and in the room! That is rare for escape rooms that we have played before.
The host was amazing, again. I cannot rave enough about the service at this venue. He even gave us a special challenge, since we were being a bit cocky about how good we were. It involved dancing for clues……and was hilarious.
I know I said this in the last article, but if you are in Eugene Oregon at any time, I highly recommend Mental Mansion. Go and see for yourself!