“You are cordially invited to the residence of a killer, an assassin of men who’s showing no signs of stopping. Can you and your friends survive her ‘hospitality’ and collect all the evidence against her before this bizarre black widow traps you in her web for good? Come experience 60Out’s wildest, weirdest, and raunchiest adventure against the devious debutante herself at Miss Jezebel’s Tea Party!”
I have a bit of a confession to make: Before yesterday, I’d never played an avatar-led online escape room. While they’re an unprecedentedly great opportunity to play games in cities you’re unlikely to visit, the idea of guiding a stranger around a room is anxiety-provoking for me. However, when I heard about Miss Jezebel—the raunchy, black-widow-as-portrayed-by-a-drag-queen, murder-investigation room—I knew it wasn’t a question of if I was going to play it, but when. A close friend of mine, who I also knew would be super into this game, was having a birthday, so I booked this room as a birthday gift to her. It was worth every cent I paid for it.
At the scheduled game time, we connected to Zoom and were thrown into the story and game room right away, with the in-game avatar introducing himself and asking us to help fill-in the details of his cover story. The actor portraying the avatar brought a sense of character to the role, allowing us to guide him into saying and performing some truly absurd actions, while still offering resistance to some of the more out-there ideas. We never saw his face, but he did a fantastic job.
While the avatar actor was good, the true star of the show was Miss Jezebel, herself. The character was the perfect balance of hilarious and unhinged and the actor did a truly impressive job of improvising reactions and jokes based off of our responses and actions. The whole thing was incredibly raunchy and we found ourselves laughing uproariously throughout the entire hour.
We puzzled and laughed our way through the game and were able to find the last piece of evidence and j’accuse Miss Jezebel with 32 seconds left on the clock! If we had been playing in the physical space, I don’t think it would have been as close, but we were still very excited to have completed this game successfully.
At the end of the adventure, there was a little debrief with the actors and we got to hear about some alternate puzzle solutions and conversational interactions that they had encountered with other groups. We really appreciated how flexible the solutions were to some of the puzzles and how much our choices in the game were truly driving parts of the narrative. It was a fantastic blend of interactive theater and escape room, and the actors and 60out executed on it perfectly.
While the actors were very good, and we had an amazing time with this room, I still don’t think avatar-led rooms are for me. There’s just something that’s lost when everyone is forced to look at the same thing, and you have to wait for the person to move their head in order to look at the thing you want to look at. So I’m not sure that I’ll be doing any more. That said, if I am only going to do one avatar-led room, I’m very glad it was this one.
We knew going in that the narrative was going to be the highlight of this room and it definitely didn’t disappoint. The game was filled with some delightful interactions and surprises—including one so good that I don’t even want to hint at what it is. All I can say is that this room felt made for me and my teammates, with the theme, jokes, characters, and other elements feeling like the center of our Venn diagram of interests.
The authentic and mostly improvised interactions we had with the avatar and, vicariously, with Miss Jezebel created an impressively strong sense of immersion and stakes that wouldn’t be present if we were by ourselves in a room with the avatar. I can’t stress enough how well this worked and how smoothly everything went for the game. (Though considering they’re consistently booked for five performances a day, that makes a lot of sense.)
The production values and acting were all top-notch and, in many ways, it felt less like we were in a Zoom call and more like we were playing some sort of amazing, interactive FMV video game. Except, unlike a video game, our choices got to have a real impact on the story and character interactions, leaving us with a unique experience with the room that no one else with ever have. It’s truly something special.
All of the puzzles were themed around the story and the raunchy, yet menacing, nature of Miss Jezebel. They were cleverly written and none of them felt too difficult, though I did feel like it took me a bit longer to solve several of them based on the nature of interacting with the environment through an avatar. Despite my personal dislike of the avatar system, everything worked well, and none of the puzzles felt like they were that negatively impacted by being streamed over Zoom.
One of the really novel puzzle elements of the game was Miss Jezebel herself, who presented a very unique kind of puzzle that we had to work around in order to conduct our investigation. The fact that Miss Jezebel was played by an actor with a talent for improvisation meant that we could be extra creative in solving these challenges. There was no “one right way” to solve a lot of those social interaction puzzles, which gave us extra license to be clever and personalize the experience to our own sensibilities.
There was only one puzzle that was color-based and it did require being able to distinguish between red and green. Fortunately, the shades of color uses in this puzzle were distinguishable to me, but it might cause issues for other people, especially monochromats. After I played through the game, I ran a screenshot of that puzzle through a series of colorblind filters, and it looks like tritanopes might especially impacted by the color selection. If you’re playing solo or are in a team composes solely of colorblind folks, the in-game avatar should be able to identify them for you. So not too much of an issue, but fair warning.
This has all the raunchy humor and sexual content of a drag show; if that is something you’re uncomfortable with, you’ll want to skip this one. Otherwise, even if you’re on the fence or reluctant to do an avatar-led room, I can’t recommend this room enough. It’s a truly memorable and hilarious experience and, at the time of this writing, is one of my favorite escape room experiences ever. You have to do this room, you won’t be disappointed.