LOCATION: Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, Canada
Photo above is property of Sauve Qui Peut
📖 THE STORY
The enchanted forest of Falderon is a magical place, full of lush greenery and mystical creatures. In order to replenish its magic, a special ritual must be performed on every 100th full moon at the sacred well. However, the hobbit normally in charge of this task has disappeared! The Queen has called you together to take on the task of finding the well and completing the ritual before all magic is wiped from the land (and all the creatures along with it)! Your party consists of a knight, a sorcerer, a fortune teller, and an apothecary - each with your own special skills…
🎯 HIT THE BULLSEYE
A visit to Falderon is truly a magical experience, and it all starts with the gorgeous set! Each space is utterly charming, with its own unique feel. While they are not huge areas, the designs in some ways make them feel more expansive than they are. The exception to this is perhaps the middle bit, which could get a bit tight for some, though we had no problems with this in our group. Not only do the scenes hit you visually, auditorily, and tactically, but they even have a unique (and appropriate) scent for each room! For us, this totally enhanced the immersion (and was not overly cloying or overbearing), though anyone sensitive to such things should be aware.
We loved the light-hearted and humorous tone of this game, most epitomized by your 6 faerie guides! Each faerie has its own unique personality, and you will hear their banter throughout the game as they try to help you along in your mission - their lives hang in the balance, after all! You have opportunities to interact with them, and each individual faerie will respond slightly differently, according to their character. This contributes to the fact that there are an incredible number (more than 400) of different audio clips you might hear, helping to make your game unique and to have more agency in determining your exact experience. The faeries do like to tease you…so be prepared for some ribbing!
There is a super immersive and fun primary hint system. (Though, if you run through the programmed hints, you may eventually need to ask the GM, and you do have a walkie-talkie for that purpose as well.)
Falderon Forest has adaptive difficulty, in that it can both adjust the number and the difficulty of puzzles based on the amount of time that has passed. This is an awesome system that means more experienced groups will feel more challenged and get more puzzles, while those who are struggling can get some additional help and will never quite know how many additional puzzles they never saw in the last room. Our group did not get to experience all of the puzzles, but in talking with the GM, it seems like there were quite a few more! We did get to see how some of the clueing for puzzles shifted over time to help us get through when we were struggling, which was really cool and clever!
This game is designed to be played by exactly four people, with each one taking on one of the four unique roles, each with its own special powers. I thought that this was well-implemented! They do a good job in the initial description of each role to describe the attributes each person ideally has to help you pick, and the use of the special powers was quite well distributed throughout the game. This gives each person an opportunity for their own moments to shine and to help ensure everyone is involved. Though, it did slightly backfire on us a few times, when one of the kids got frustrated that they were not able to complete a task that was “theirs.” However, we were able to trade objects around as needed in the room in that case. Overall, it was certainly a cool aspect of the game.
🧩 MISSED THE MARK
There were a couple of bits of tech that were slightly finicky, which is not surprising given the amount of tech in this room!! There was one really cool moment for my character, the sorcerer, for instance, which I couldn’t get to work, and the GM had to come in to do for me. However, the vast majority of things worked well.
While we found them highly entertaining and a positive that made the game more fun and memorable, there are some who could find the faeries distracting, annoying, or even a little rude). They do talk quite a bit throughout the game. You do need to pay close attention to determine what is a good hint vs. what is just banter or might otherwise mislead you.
Sauve Quit Peut recommends this game for those 13+ who have some experience. Despite the adaptive difficulty, it is not intended for newbies! So, really we were the ones who missed the mark on this one by not totally listening to their advice. I played with my brother and his kids (13 & 15), who had only played one (not well-designed) room previously. The theme definitely appealed to them, and they loved all of the immersive and entertaining aspects, but it was a little more challenging than ideal for them. We initially did not complete the ritual…though you still get a victory of sorts! The GM very kindly actually then let us stay an extra few minutes to do the ritual! So do pay attention to those recommendations.
🏹 TAKE A SHOT?
"Falderon Forest" is an enchanting experience and incredibly impressive design feat! While it is a ways outside of Montreal (though closer to the US if you are driving up from the border), it is absolutely worth the trek. You do want to have a group of 4 that have at least a handful of rooms under their belt and are 13 or older. Then be prepared to embrace the silliness of the faeries and delve into this magical world! I can’t wait to go back and try some of their other rooms…
Look VERY closely when interpreting the clue to the code for the front door!
ℹ️ ADDITIONAL INFO
The lobby/waiting area where you check in and have your rules/intro also has lockers and seating. There also are bathrooms available. There are a variety of parking options (both paid lots and some that should be free) in the area.
Photos above are property of ESCAPETHEROOMers
(If you do decide to try this game, give us a shoutout or tag us on social media so we know you heard it from "ESCAPETHEROOMers"!)
Disclosure: We thank Sauve Qui Peut for comping our tickets for this game. Although complimentary admission was generously provided, it does not impact our opinion on the review whatsoever.