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Escape from Mystwood Mansion review

Escape from Mystwood Mansion review
Richard Hoover avatar image

An escape room adventure done so well, you’ll surely want to stay even when you’re free to go

One of the main influences for real-life escape rooms was undoubtedly adventure game puzzles. It’s been interesting, then, to see things come full circle with the real escape rooms now becoming the inspiration for digital equivalents. Of these, Lost Sock Studio’s Escape from Mystwood Mansion is definitely among the very highest caliber. With clever puzzles, an assortment of varied rooms and a charming atmosphere filled with brainteasers and secrets to uncover, there’s much for escapologists to admire here.

You’ll assume the first-person role of a parcel delivery person. As the game opens, you’ve arrived at the titular manor with a package to drop off. The house is open but it doesn’t remain so for long. After stepping inside and finding a note directing the parcel be taken to the library, the front door closes and becomes locked. Through a number of other notes over the course of the game, the one overseeing the puzzles, who is watching through a series of security cameras, apologizes that you’re stuck in the house, but the trials must continue!

The mansion is divided into five main areas progressed through in a linear fashion: the entrance, an office, the wine cellar, the indoor garden, and the library. An additional sixth area can be unlocked at the end of the game by finding and completing three optional challenges scattered through the rest of the mansion. Within each of these locations are a number of puzzles that have to be completed before the path to the next room opens up. Typically several challenges are available to solve at any given time, with part of the game’s difficulty stemming from determining which pieces go where.

The puzzles themselves primarily involve opening various locks, as befits obstacles inspired by escape rooms. Some locks require keys while others need number or letter combinations. However, the experience doesn’t completely limit itself to these, taking advantage of being a video game instead of a real-life escape room, to do certain non-real world things, like burying seeds in soil and immediately having them sprout into small plants. None of the latter cross the threshold into moon logic, with all the puzzles making sense, but they do add a nicely heightened reality to the game that real escape rooms would be hard-pressed to emulate.

On the path to unlocking the various drawers, doors, and other game gates, the puzzles consist of a nice assortment of elements. One challenge requires you to decode a lamp flashing Morse code. Another sees you tipping a painting so as to read a message that requires a certain perspective to see its letters. Yet another involves pouring wine into and out of different-sized mugs to get the precise quantity of liquid. I could go on extensively as the variety is truly impressive.

With all these pieces in play for multiple puzzles at once, it would be easy to get lost in what goes where, but Escape from Mystwood Mansion does a great job of subtly cluing what elements are related. A framed sketch of a spider may be in one area of a room, with a more stylized rendering of another printed on bricks that, when arranged properly, yield a needed combination related to something near the sketch. If such gentle cluing is insufficient, the in-game menu also provides a nice hint system. Here, for each major puzzle in the current location, three levels of help can be revealed, starting with just a nudge in the right direction and then increasing in specifics. While I never needed to avail myself of the hint system, it’s a fantastic option to have available.

Escape from Mystwood Mansion

Escape from Mystwood Mansion
Genre: Mystery
Presentation: Realtime 3D
Perspective: First-Person
Graphic Style: Illustrated realism
Gameplay: Escape room, Puzzle
Control: Direct Control
Game Length: Short (1-5 hours)
Difficulty: Medium

Despite the premise of a person getting locked in a mansion against their will, there’s never any sense of impending doom. In fact, the game’s atmosphere has been wonderfully designed to make playing it a pleasant experience. The house is well-lit and features a rustic charm. Wood paneling, paintings, tapestries, and elegant tiling and furnishings are the order of the day. With nary a soul in sight, there’s no need for any voice acting. However, gentle, contemplative music accompanies your free-roaming 3D exploration without drawing undue attention to itself. It’s like taking a puzzle-packed trip through a comfortable ancestral home on a lazy Sunday afternoon, and it’s a setting that I absolutely appreciated.

I’ve done real-world escape rooms by designers who have clearly poured all of their best efforts into the sets, to the point where it’s hard to tell what the puzzle pieces even are. They are annoying, to say the least. For all its rustic décor, Escape from Mystwood Mansion does not suffer from this failing by any means. When you draw near to something that can be interacted with, prompts appear on-screen to reinforce that status. However, even without these, it’s still easy to identify areas of interest from a distance and where you should focus your attention. For those like me who detest escape rooms that throw in dummy puzzles – challenges that waste your time by not actually moving you forward – you’ll be glad to know there are no such diversions here.

Speaking of time, Escape from Mystwood Mansion has no time limit. This may be a pro or con depending on how much of a real escape room purist you are. For myself, I appreciated not having a ticking clock looming over me, especially with the relaxed atmosphere presented here. In fact, not only does the game itself lack a countdown, there are no timed or action sequences here either. You may be trying to escape, but you are free to take things at your own pace. 

Something I particularly liked about playing the game on Steam was the presence of its achievement list. I’m not an achievement hound, dutifully tracking down every last one in a game, but I was really glad that for this game an achievement list existed. That’s because a few of the achievements hinted at the presence of optional puzzles, such as ensuring the package being delivered actually makes it to the library. As you can only hold one item at a time, it’s possible, even likely, to leave the package behind and you might never be the wiser that there was something more to do with it. I wish more developers took advantage of putting high-level hints in their achievements to guide you towards optional content. In this case, it goes beyond solving a few additional puzzles, as completing three particular achievements in one run opens a whole bonus area of the mansion. I won’t spoil what you find there, but I definitely found it worthwhile playing the game a second time to get those achievements and access that extra location.

All told, the game clocked in at a little under three hours on my first playthrough. Despite its brevity, I wasn’t able to do it all in one go, which leads to my only real qualm about Escape from Mystwood Mansion, as it falls into that dreadful category of games that don’t have free saves. Instead, the game relies on a checkpoint system with an autosave kicking in only at the end of each major area. Not all rooms are created equal, as the entrance, which serves as a tutorial to the game, only took me about fifteen minutes, whereas the wine cellar and library were closer to forty-five. Once you’ve reached a new part of the manor, it also becomes unlocked on a level selection screen off of the main menu. However, if you’re replaying in order to get to the bonus area at the end of the game, you’ll likely have to start over from the beginning – especially if you do what I first did and forget to keep bringing the package along!

Final Verdict

Escape from Mystwood Mansion is a short but delightful trip through a warmly inviting manor house. I’d have gladly stayed even if it hadn’t locked me in! Its chambers are full of wonderfully varied puzzles, some of the open-a-series-of locks kind popular in escape rooms, and others more organic to the environment common to traditional adventure games. With a just-right level of difficulty backed by an excellent hint system if ever in need of a nudge, it’s clear the developers wanted to provide an excellent challenge without the worry of players getting truly stuck. Escape room players and puzzle lovers will really get into this game. For those who have not tried an escape room but wondered what their challenges are like, this is a great introduction. Whatever your background, this is definitely one modest little title that’s not to be missed.

Hot take


A charming atmosphere, puzzles that are just right, and bonus secrets are all waiting to be unlocked in the fantastic escape room adventure Escape from Mystwood Mansion.


  • Wide variety of escape room puzzles
  • Just the right difficulty supplemented by an excellent hint system
  • Inviting, contemplative atmosphere
  • Achievements provide high-level hints to find surprising amount of optional content


  • No free save option

Richard played Escape from Mystwood Mansion on PC using a review code provided by the game's publisher.


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