Mad Mansion – Dragonborn: The Innkeeper’s Son – Escape Room Vitoria-Gasteiz
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Location: Calle Eskalmendi, 9 Pabellón 1, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Navarra
Date of Play: 07.10.2022
Group Size: 4
The Spanish Escape Room provider Mad Mansion was voted the best provider in the world at the Top Escape Room Enthusiast Awards 2021 (TERPECA). Therefore, we wanted to convince ourselves of the quality of the rooms. Most notably, Vitoria-Gasteiz is home to Top Escape Room 2021 You’ll float and Dragonborn: The Innkeeper’s Son (ranked 13th in 2021), the top two ranked escape room adventures. Read our review of Dragonborn: The Innkeeper’s Son here.
Like many of Mad Mansion’s rooms, this one is loosely based on a more well-known franchise. The inspiration for this adventure was The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Dragonborn.
The setting of Dragonborn: The Innkeeper’s Son is located near San Martineko Park in Vitoria-Gasteiz and looks like a storefront from the outside. The shop window and glass door are boarded up with wooden boards from the inside, so you can’t see the inside from the outside. However, a large sign above the store and two larger pennants arouse anticipation and curiosity.
After we rang the bell at the booked time, the host (innkeeper) opened the door for us, dressed appropriately and wearing a latex face mask, and so the adventure began immediately. He wanted to know what we wanted in his inn on this stormy and snowy night. After asking for shelter, he let us in and we took a seat at a large guest table. We hung our jackets and bags on the coat hooks. We were in an all wood paneled guest room with a bar on one side, large heavy furniture and a cozy atmosphere.
We learned from him what rules were to be followed in his inn, and then he disappeared to prepare our room.
There was a large window on the wall that provided a view of a snowy winter landscape. This window served as the screen for the actual introductory video with English subtitles, which introduced us to the epic world and backstory of Dragonborn.
Dragonborn: The Innkeeper’s Son
Legend has it that many adventurers set off in search of riches to an inn at the top of the mountain. But only a few return… In DragonBorn you’ll take on the role of a group of adventurers who must try to unravel the mysteries surrounding a strange inn on a remote mountain in a fantastic world inhabited by magical creatures. The enigmatic innkeeper has promised a great reward to the one who finds his son who disappeared during a stormy night, but it won’t be as easy as it seems, because you won’t be the first to try. Will you manage to find the innkeeper’s lost son?
After the tavern owner took us to our room for the night, the actual game began. The entire setting of the tavern is well implemented. Unfortunately, it is not outstanding. Some design decisions or elements within the adventure left us shaking our heads every now and then. The rather unfinished wood lacks the charm of an old tavern and the use of digital number pads makes you go off-world from time to time. On the other hand, there are moments within the adventure that we’ve never seen before in an escape game that left us amazed. These were worthy of a fantasy setting and could even be described as truly epic. They successfully rounded out the adventure. However, they would have been even more impressive with a more controlled use of lighting and special effects. The actual story was exciting and well rounded. The real climax was before the actual finale.
The puzzles in Dragonborn: The Innkeeper’s Son are mostly original and varied. They are embedded in the setting as well as possible and drive the adventure’s plot forward. The tactile tasks require teamwork and communication. Everything is logical and comprehensible at all times. Larger groups in particular will certainly appreciate the fact that some of the puzzles can be solved in parallel. At times you really feel like you’re in a computer role-playing game. The hints are well done and provide a good game flow, which, however, falters a bit shortly before the end.
Especially in the communication with the gamemaster in Dragonborn: The Innkeeper’s Son, probably one of the strangest design decisions ever was made for such a scenario. Whenever we needed help we could use the phone in our room to call room service. Yes, you read that right. Nevertheless, the hints were always to the point and to share within the given setting.
Dragonborn: The Innkeeper’s Son offers an adventure with a cinematic fantasy story unlike anything we’ve experienced in an Escape Room. With moments that were unique to us in their own way and ideas that made us marvel. At the same time, we wondered why more effort wasn’t put into making an almost perfect adventure just perfect. Dragonborn: The Innkeeper’s Son would have had the potential to be a 10/10 Escape Adventure for us. We were a bit disappointed by the previously mentioned details such as the digital number pads, the phone in the room, the inaccurate setting, and even the somewhat anticlimactic finale.
These are often points that we certainly overlook benevolently the one or other time. But in a game that really only narrowly misses telling an incredible adventure, you have to mention that – because you can see and feel the potential.
But of course, Dragonborn: The Innkeeper’s Son is a room that should be played once and will surely end up at the top of the all-time highlights list for many gamers, and rightfully so. We recommend the adventure especially to an experienced adventuring party of 3-5 adventurers.
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