Booking a new room on a trip is always a risk, you have no idea what you’re going to get. So I will openly admit that I wasn’t expecting much from The Grudge as we were playing the room in its opening week.
We arrived at a rather dilapidated looking house where we were met by the old caretaker. He thought we were here to take up job roles in the house and assigned us all roles and put to work in our own areas.
The room starts as you’d expected, with a couple of warm-up puzzles, then the interactions begin. The puzzles are nicely themed to fit the story and set up the players to experience some well-executed set pieces. The gameplay makes very good use of the space available, and I was particularly impressed with the use of the lighting to provide subtle clueing.
For me there are two things that elevated this game from being another fairly standard haunted house adventure to something special. First was the Japanese theming, which was evident throughout, but not overstated. The second was that the actors and their interactions with us evoked more emotions than simple fear. I found myself feeling empathy for one character and the actor must have picked up on this and ensured that they interacted more with me than the others. This reinforced my feelings of sadness for the character and even now this is my lasting memory of this room.
Having entered this room with very little expectations (due to it being so new), I left feeling very impressed with how well-polished the actor interactions were and how well the narrative was concluded. The Grudge became one of my highlights from our recent Athens trip. I’m already looking forward to seeing what 1Way escape room will come up with next for our next visit.