Doll House – Puzzlemazement’s 3-Story Escape Room
Puzzlemazement’s “Doll House” tells the story of a little girl who lived with her doll-maker uncle. Since she had no siblings, the girl’s uncle made her a doll named Little Brother, that she loved so much he became sentient. After her uncle passed, the girl grew up and took over the business. The (now) woman was a terrible doll-maker, so at night, Little Brother would come to life and fix the dolls to be sold. They lived like this until the woman got engaged to her next-door neighbor and planned to move from the house. In order to keep his friend with him, Little Brother trapped the couple and turned them both into dolls.
Now, Little Brother has locked me and my friends in his doll house. In order to escape, we must find the dolls containing the lovers’ spirits, and get them (and ourselves) out of the house within the hour, or else WE will be turned into dolls, too!
Follow the Names
Entering the “Doll House” was like stepping into the movie Annabelle. With over 200 antique dolls in the display cases lining the room, I could feel their creepy, lifeless eyes watching me as we looked for clues. A desk adorned with a colorful abacus and children’s building blocks stood in the middle of the room. Several trunks sat on the floor, some locked, others filled with fabric. The unique props – including an old-fashioned sewing machine – were detailed and added to the experience.
“Doll House” was made up of many multi-part puzzles, made clear by the different names printed on each lock. In all instances, solving the labeled clue would lead to the corresponding lock. Each name represented a soul that Little Brother had ensnared and turned into a doll for his collection, which I found a clever way to tie the puzzles together within the theme.
Reminiscent of a doll house itself, the 1,200-square-foot escape room spanned three floors, each a little more difficult to clear than the last. We overlooked a major puzzle on the second floor, but made it to the creepy attic where we would spend eternity if we weren’t swift enough. My friends and I finally freed the couple (in doll form) and ran down the stairs, escaping with a minute or so to spare.
The puzzle design was old-school; “Doll House” didn’t include any tech, instead relying heavily on combination locks or keys. But I did enjoy how we got those combinations – by translating clues one would find in a child’s room into usable codes. Since the story Puzzlemazement created was so inspired, I generally wanted more from the puzzles than strings of various numbers and/or letters. But since there were so many combinations, I was thankful that they were labeled in order to keep the threads straight.
Apart from the awesome display of real, antique porcelain dolls on the first floor and a handful of really neat hands-on puzzles that utilized multiple people, the rooms were relatively sparse. I’d wager it’s because the first floor used to be the lobby of the establishment, and when it was moved, the puzzles and decorations became more diluted in the extra space. Special care is required as one or two of the bigger elements did not seem secured properly and almost tipped over on us.
“Doll House” is a basic-but-fun escape room. Good for groups of up to 10, and not scary, it is appropriate for teens or beginners. A special shout-out to Puzzlemazement for including some Doctor Who easter eggs.
Book your chance to meet Little Brother.