Go Mad in The Asylum by TrapZone
“Unlock the dark mysteries and secrets behind the former-doctor-turned-patient at the Hamilton Asylum! But there’s more than what meets the eye! Your team must work together to understand the facility’s heinous crimes and find the cure to the experimental treatments before it spreads into society!” (TrapZone)
The door of “The Asylum,” with words in dripping blood, set the tone of the room, and I dreaded what we would find inside. Blindfolded, my friends and I were brought in to find the cure to a life-threatening experiment by an insane doctor. We waited in the dark as a raspy voice from the speakers gave us our task. Told we could take off the blindfolds, our game host left us alone in the creepy doctor’s office. The room was decorated with unsettling, shifty photographs; a desk with hidden, morbid secrets; drawers for bodies in a morgue; and blood-streaked walls. My team searched for order in the madness of a multitude of puzzles that fit the general tone of the room.
The second portion of “The Asylum” was furnished like a cross between an operating room and a patient’s dorm. Hidden knick-knacks and bloody doctor’s tools helped us find answers to the various locks around “The Asylum.” If we got stumped, the walls whispered to us, or our game host rang us on the wall phone to assist. A few fun technological endeavors elevated the experience and provided a pleasant deviation from the combination locks.
“The Asylum” is located in Costa Mesa and is clearly made by puzzle enthusiasts. A lot of theme-appropriate, clever clues were hidden throughout the rooms, with a few spooky surprises thrown in for good measure. The music and sound effects were also a nice touch. Most of the locks were combination-based, so it was a bit disjointed and difficult to figure out which clues went to which lock. A small number of the puzzles were very tricky and/or hidden, which tripped us up and wasted a good amount of time. I wish the story element was stronger, as I didn’t see the correlation between the supposed experiment/cure and the puzzles we were solving. It felt more like a general grotesque insane asylum, rather than us being immersed in a specific story.
While “The Asylum” isn’t too scary, I would not suggest it for anyone younger than 13, as it is a pretty dark theme. TrapZone accommodates groups up to 8, which I’d recommend for beginners, but I would keep it to around 5 for intermediate to advanced players.