I have also been at the event this year and have some thoughts on the overall event and the experiences throughout. I've always held some very strong opinions on Scarefest and it's mazes, some of which being quite controversial, and this year is no different!
I feel that an important distinction needs to be made between the mazes and Scarefest first. I personally view Scarefest as the overall experience at the event as opposed to how I feel the mazes were - the mazes are attractions that come as a part of Scarefest and Scarefest is the event that they're a part of - in short, whilst they have an effect, they're not what makes the event for me. It's for this reason that I honestly feel as though this year's event is the worst Scarefest I have attended (that being said I've only attended a handful of years) and I feel that the previous few years especially have been far stronger events. My opinions on mazes aside, the lack of atmosphere this year was such a let down, and considering I am able to count the amount of theming elements park wide
on one hand it's concerning. I think the overall event is lacking in some much needed scare zones
NOT two roaming flight attendants and also some more spooky theming. Along with this I have to say I did not enjoy the atmospheric music used for the event this year at all. Whether it be the unfitting metal tinged Dark Forest music or the dreadful screeching violin-esk note that seems to be played consistently across Towers Street it just didn't sit well with me this time around. Along with this, I'm slightly unsure what has happened with lighting this year outside of mazes as this is an aspect Towers usually do quite well in, yet this year you'll be lucky to even see where you're walking down some quite major pathways. Thankfully though, whilst the park wide event seemed almost an afterthought this year (unsurprisingly based on factors discussed later on) the mazes do some seriously heavy lifting for the event this year. Below I will discuss each maze based on how much I enjoyed each one, spoilers hidden where necessary.SUB-SPECIES: THE END GAMES - 3/5
Remember when I was talking about controversial opinions? Well this is the maze that always seems to get that opinion from me. Sub-Species and I have never really gotten on, to the point that before this year I'd just say this maze is a dull and, quite bluntly, bad experience. Having done it a few times in previous years and being let down by the maze every single time, I was highly reluctant to even bother buying a ticket for it again, and so in the end I ended up buying the combi ticket as it just worked out to be more cost effective. I decided to head into the maze and suddenly I was sent into the maze with only the two others in my group, and my hopes (and nerves) began to rise...
The experience started off on a low note as the pre-show didn't seem to be working and so confusion set in. In the end we just moved on and when it came to the first room my heart sank. I was in-front of a door. This didn't matter in the end, as due to there only being three of us inside the maze at this point we ended up having an almost custom start, where all three of us were pulled away and all at unexpected times. The whole "being dragged backwards into the maze" thing is highly exaggerated by enthusiasts I think as I was merely grabbed by the arms and rotated into the maze.I don't tend to enjoy this maze purely because the theming is very minimal. Thankfully this time the actors did a great job of getting a few jumps, albeit small ones from me. One girl in particular was great in the labyrinth with sending me back on myself and eventually getting me into the dark room. THis room was lacking any actors and so was kind of dull by all accounts, and I would argue the maze as a whole was pretty tame from here minus the best scare of the maze after the bridge. I was heading toward the silver box tunnel where an actor popped out into my face - brilliant. After here I saw an alien just kind of, standing there, and the chainsaw was waiting at the end - just in plain view meaning there was no scare at all with it. Oh and yes, I was alone the entire time!
As a whole it was the best run through I have had in this maze, even if I still think it lacks the theming and scares that the others do. I'd say I get why people love it now, and I can even say if it remains at least to this standard for the rest of the year that I like this maze. One other thing, I really don't get the whole 'alone' thing as for me mazes are always more fun in preferably a small group (even a pair), as on my own I tend to be startled and spend the rest of the time looking at the theming, or lack there of in Sub-Species!DARKEST DEPTHS - 3/5
A surprise to me, this maze was actually far more exciting that Sub-Species in my opinion, albeit with some flaws. The theming here is really quite wonderful, even with it not being my first choice of theme. It's interesting to see Towers playing with theming that actually alters the physical feeling of the maze here rather than just for cosmetic purposes. I'm very glad I ended up booking this maze as again, due to no queue I was sent in with only two other offering a very good amount of interaction.
This maze was wonderfully detailed and had some very intense scares for me. The use of sand on the floor and water effects was fantastic as well as a pretty great ending that honestly makes this a worth Welcoming successor. There's not really much more I can say here as it's really a fairly standard maze as whole!
I do have to say, safety is a concern in this maze for me. I tripped and stumbled quite an alarming amount in here, with ramps being hard to see and steps being easy to miss so be aware of this. I'm not sure based on my run that I agree with this having the same restriction as The Dungeons as I honestly found this one to be scarier than Sub-Species. Initially I considered that being down to actors knowing we were a group of three adults, however an actor clearly attempted to carry on scaring a non-existent person behind me at one point in the maze and so from that I can assume this is just how the maze is. Personally I would say a 13+ limit would make more sense, and for parents to try this out first!PROJECT 42 - 4/5
Weirdly, I didn't realise people disliked this maze last year until I was at the event! I personally really enjoyed this maze both last year and this year. I still stand by this being the only 'zombie' maze to have scared me, and for good reason. The changes made this year also really help the maze feel even more intense with more tight passage ways and opportunities for actors to scare.
Once again, this proves to be a high intensity maze that really delivers. The maze was crawling with actors during my run and this really made some of the more intimate scenes far more intense. Along with this, my group ended up getting separated from the rest of the group just due to the speed that we moved through the initial section of the maze. The changes really added to the maze and the way that actors each had slightly varying scare tactics was really interesting as it made the maze unpredictable. The 'new' egg room was fantastic and featured what looked to be a new separation door similar to what Sub-Species used to have in order to split the groups up. The only bug bear I have with this attraction is the finale which remains to be loud, confusion and a little nauseating with how intense the strobe is.
I really liked this maze this year. The only area in which it fell short was the finale, where although I disagree that it's quieter I personally wish it was! I really don't enjoy the mix of the audio, relentless strobe and confusing layout as it truthfully makes me feel quite sick...THE ATTIC: TERROR OF THE TOWERS - 4.5/5
The brand new maze for 2019 is simply wonderful. Having not enjoyed the last rendition of the "Terror of The Towers" line, I was concerned that this would feel similar. In short I don't really think it does besides it's location, however I think that Towers knows this and have purposefully bigged up "The Attic" and not the "Terror of The Towers" name. Something that I found fantastic about the maze was how I could identify the inspirations for it from the experience alone, having not watched anything relating to the maze prior (looking at you The Sun). The theming and blend of clear storytelling (the clearest in any modern Towers maze ever) combine to make this an incredibly special experience in my opinion.
The way that this experience pulls together lighting, performance, sound and theming is phenomenal. Whilst not the scariest it's certainly the most theatrical maze I have ever experienced. I don't really want to go too in-depth however the way that the maze builds up to going into the fireplace where the corridors are so warm to eventually death and entering hell where it's freezing cold is absolutely astonishing and I honestly can't wait to get back and do this again.
If you appreciate story telling and a good use of effects and performance I'd definitely recommend this maze. Whilst it isn't the scariest it's certainly one of the best mazes that the resort have ever done in my opinion as absolutely everything in the maze has a purpose which adds to it unlikely other mazes past and present that include things just because they can.ALTONVILLE MINE TOURS: LEGEND OF THE SKINSNATCHERS - 5/5
So of course, that means that Mine Tours was my favourite of the event. Now, you could write this off as bias as it has been my favourite Scarefest maze since it's introduction, however this time Mine Tours has solidified itself as one of the Resorts strongest ever mazes in my opinion...
Not only was Mine Tours the most intense maze of the event, it also has had cosmetic improvements too. The new theming in the queue and new headlamp sequence really adds to the maze and build the anticipation, whilst the actors inside are now back on top form. With new scare locations within the 'yellow suit' corridor they have finally made the maze feel scary and claustrophobic at the same time rather than as separate sections and the way the bedroom scene is now being used is far superior. Not only this, but there is now a very clear distinction in behaviour between the family who are luring you into the mines and the Skinsnatchers themselves, with the Snatchers being far more aggressive - one ever grabbed my arm tightly and went in to try and eat it causing me to yelp! Meanwhile the family characters are far creepier and are using all levels of the maze to scare you including crawling along the floor again.
I love this maze, I really do. It combines the best parts of Sub-Species and The Attic to create what I feel is the best maze I have ever experienced at Alton Towers. Whilst Sub-Species feels as though it's gotten stale a year or so ago I feel like the Skinsnatchers are only just getting started. Absolutely fantastic.
One other thing, don't waste your time with The Dungeons, the queues seem to be ridiculous and there aren't any changes inside the attraction itself. Wait until they quieten down and then definitely give it a go if you haven't already!
As a whole the mazes are probably the strongest set I have seen at the Resort ever, which is surprising considering there's five adult-friendly ones this year! Whilst the Scarefest event is overall somewhat lukewarm this year, the mazes are seriously good. Next year I'd love to see a new maze replace Sub-Species, and the return of the much needed scare zone. I feel like then this event could genuinely be near on perfect.