Mystic Project is a game with quite intriguing story. As a team of trusted journalists you were assigned a task to write an article about a first ever escape room that conveniently has just been reconstructed. If you think that the first escape room has been built by SCRAP in Japan you are clearly mistaken because the first one was actually built by eccentric lord Beaverwood in 18th century. As a first step of your research for this article you obviously want to play this game. Apparently it was a short one, because it lasted 30 minutes, however something is not right, because Mystic Project is advertised as 2 hours game. Were players just much more clever and faster in 18th century or does it mean that there is more than meets the eye?
The game takes place on a really impressive set that steampunk fans will love. It is both big and beautiful, there are quality props all around you. There is certainly an element of intriguing exploration to be felt while uncovering secrets of this place.
I am a quite spoiler-sensitive person and I think I would like to play that game without that knowledge before, but since these reviews always contain a scarefactor rating and many people usually like to know whether a game is scary ot not and it seems to be a common knowledge anyway … yes, this is a scary game even if it’s not obvious from the start. Common agreement seems to be that this one is not as scary as majority of Athens horrors (so I hope that people that omit horror games can maybe overcome their fear and come play this awesome game?), but I have to admit in that regard I liked it here more than in others. And it is not because others are too scary for me, it’s actually quite the opposite. I am very difficult to be scared and I have to admit that the type of tension that is created here is quite different than usually and actually caused more anxiety to me, which I definitely appreciated.
Similarly as with Chapel & Catacombs, this one was among the games that I loved so much during my first trip to Athens, that I chose to repeat it with my different group of friends during the second trip so that they won’t miss it. During this second trip at some point my friends mentioned that they like both puzzles and being scared, but they have yet to see a game that is simultaneously scary and strong in puzzle aspect and I replied to it with “oh, just wait for it to come, you’re gonna play one” knowing that Mystic Project awaits us (but I didn’t want to reveal to them which one I’m talking about). It indeed can be distinguished from scary games as having quality puzzles and I think that’s the combination that many enthusiasts will love. However I have to say that quite a lot of them is reliant on being quite observant/being aware of your surroundings, while not that many involve some kind of complex logic or other types of riddles, so I wish they were more varied.
Another aspect that needs to be mentioned is acting. This has to be one of the most impressive games I have played in these terms, I think it was really professional, actors are definitely not fooling around. At some moments you feel like you are a part of the movie and the experience becomes really cinematic.
However, this game has one drawback in my opinion. During both games I felt that the rate of hinting was too aggressive. I have to admit that at one point during the second game when I felt we are interferred too much with, I did my friends a favour by taking walkie-talkie and without them knowing “accidentally” holding it for some time in such a way so that when somebody spoke through it, I could have felt it vibrating, but even I couldn’t hear a thing (I don’t recommend that though if you don’t want to be a part of Santa Claus’ “naughty list”). Sorry GM! Indeed my friends said that this game was very good and strong on puzzles, but they often felt like they were not given a proper chance to solve them and they would enjoy it much more with less hints. To be honest that’s not something trivial to remedy, because it’s not like we escaped with a lot of time to spare – the second game took us full 2 hours, so it was not really an option for GM to wait much longer before giving us hints. But after the first trip when I got the same feeling this was the exactly my fear about this game that this is gonna repeat on the second trip and indeed that turned out to be a factor that kinda lowered the experience for my friends. However I have some reasons to believe that things might have improved in that regard. All in all, even despite the hints issues I surely loved this game, it’s definitely among my all-time favourites and is certainly among must plays in Athens. When playing all around Athens and talking with many locals I got an impression that Mystic Project is a local favourite along with Paradox games and I can surely see why!