Alice in Puzzleland

A 190 page original 'Alice' themed escape room design.

If Wonderland really is a dream, does that make it any less real? When Alice sleeps, a delightfully perplexing world springs into existence. The characters in Wonderland know they are imaginary, but that doesn’t stop them from wanting to keep on living. So the Cheshire Cat dreams the players into existence, hoping they can navigate this magical landscape and lock Alice’s memories in place. If they succeed, she will remember Wonderland even after this night is over.

Alice in Puzzleland is an original escape room design commissioned by Escape Hunt and topped off at 190 pages of detailed design documentation, from narrative and player experience, to detailed puzzle designs and implementation with diagrams and spatial mockups. The design was completed in less than a month by Jerry Belich and design partner David Pisa working remotely from each other. It required a great degree of project management and planning to coordinate the design work, documentation, and testing. It was also important to handle business and logistical concerns with client progress milestones and rounds of feedback.

Game Details

In this escape room game, players are attempting to find all five Memory Locks along with the Memory Key in order to clasp them onto the branches of the Memory Tree. Each lock clasped helps secure Wonderland in Alice’s mind and ensures she will remember every curious detail until next she sleeps, giving Wonderland a future beyond tonight.

Key Player Experiences (an excerpt)

Players get to play. Puzzles encourage experimentation, where doing something results in information that reveals part of what’s going on, leading to more experimentation, in a satisfying feedback cycle.

In Wonderland, everything works differently than expected. Player expectations about escape rooms are inverted:

  • The goal is to lock locks onto something, rather than unlocking them to reveal something
  • The majority of desired locks are plainly visible, rather than being the reward for solving a puzzle
  • There are no number or letter locks
  • Sound and lights are not just ambience, but sometimes controllable by players

Many puzzles involve things being backwards, upside down, or needing to change states:

  • Mirror writing
  • Tea Party is on the ceiling
  • Night needs to turn into Day
  • Roses are the wrong color
  • Logic works backwards

Credits

  • Jerry Belich – Game / Narrative Designer, Software, Electronics
  • David Pisa - Game / Puzzle Designer