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Written by Rob Schultz (human).

Filtering by Category: Escape Rooms

Escape Room Reviews: Dracula

Company: 60Out
Room: Dracula
Date Played: 11/26/17
Player Count: 5. 3-4 would probably be best.
Success:  Success!

Premise: You know how sometimes your village gets a dracula, and you hope it’s just going to go away, but you start running out of eligible young people after a while, and then you’ve got to send a posse to vanquish the demon? That.

Immersion: As expected with 60Out, this is a room with lovely production design. It’s the high end of game show-esque design. 

Highlights: This was a cool room to showcase what room escapes can be like for the new players joining us for their first game. There’s an action sequence unlike anything I’ve seen in a room before.

Lowlights:  As usual, wear and tear on magical objects can make them finicky.  Also, our GM chimed in a lot - some GMs get trigger happy with the PA system, especially since a few times he was actually trying to talk to players in a different game.

And Finally:   I think you could probably sequence break this game. We didn’t, because the technically optional parts were easily accessible and listed in order in our dracula journal / walkthrough manual, but since we ignored the clues they produced, we might as well not have bothered with them. This was a fun game, but probably mid-tier as far as 60Out goes. Out of 39 games played, I’m ranking this one at #17. 

How to book this room yourself: Visit

Escape Room Reviews: The Norcross Art Gallery

Company: Evil Genius Escape Rooms
Room: The Norcross Art Gallery
Date Played: 11/24/17
Player Count: 2
Success:  Hint-free Success!

Premise: Having just fled the scene of Occam’s Apartment, agent X informs you that the art gallery may contain vital clues regarding the Evil Genius. And it does!

Immersion: This room totally looks like it belongs in a museum. Art abounds! Also, while this is not a scary room / experience, this might be the only room I’ve seen so far that has a genuinely creepy aspect to it.

Highlights: So often I want to complain about rooms that are little more than a collection of weird interaction devices someone built, lining the walls for no particular reason. But an art gallery is the perfect excuse to cover the walls with things that need the players’ attention. It’s a brilliant idea. Likewise the self-guided tour is a gimmick that is more fun and makes so much more sense than the increasingly common diaries and journals that are practically room walkthroughs. There’s a turn in the middle that I thought was pretty funny.

Lowlights: I don’t know if I have anything to complain about. I loved the theme, the puzzles all made sense to me (eventually) and we didn’t have to call for help, nothing was worn out or broken. There may have been a puzzle I didn’t understand, but if so that’s just because my partner solved it. 

And Finally:  I had read other reviews online that said this room was a let down after Evil Genius’s fantastic first part. I’m so glad I don’t agree. Everything about this was a delight. Like the Laboratory, I could imagine wanting to replay this (or to do the continuous experience offered here: playing both rooms as one big game) in the future, just for the enjoyment of physically running through it all again. I revisit some games like The Room series about once a year, and I could see doing the same with the cream of the live action adventure game crop. Keeping a numeric list is a crazy thing to do in the first place, but ranking my A+ rooms against each other is even more difficult. For today, out of 38 games played, I’m ranking this one at #3. I think I may have found it more satisfying than Occam's Apartment, but I think you should play that one first. 

How to book this room yourself: Visit

Escape Room Reviews: The Lair

Company: Escapedom
Room: The Lair
Date Played: 11/12/17
Player Count: 2, but maybe we needed more.
Success:  Failure!

Premise: You’re on the trail of a serial killer called The Dollmaker. Naturally, his hideout is just full of crazy puzzles. 

Immersion: This is one of those rooms that are almost escape room themed. It doesn’t look like much of anything, but it’s full of props and contraptions standing between you and victory.

Highlights: Some novel object interactions. Those moments when you see how something is going to work and you know it’s going to be a good time turning the crank to make it all happen. Great customer service!

Lowlights: We probably didn’t bring enough people to this one. There was more than one part where we were presented with a large task that could be done in parallel, if only we had more eyes and brains available to process it. Also, the part where time ran out before we finished the game.

And Finally:  This is a room with a lot of search, which is sometimes our downfall but in this case wasn’t much of a problem. While this room does not look cheap, it trades high-end fancy design for innovative puzzles and a fair amount of process-oriented solving. I hope to go play their other room one day. Out of 37 games played, I’m ranking this one at 14.

How to book this room yourself: Visit

Escape Room Reviews: Escape the Laboratory

Company: Escape the Laboratory
Room: The Laboratory
Date Played: 10/22/17
Player Count: 2, but more would have been better.
Success:  Success!

Premise: In classic video game fashion, you have been imprisoned by a mad genius who wants to watch you solve puzzles. Those who do avoid being patient zero for a humanity-ending plague.

Immersion: This room IS like a lab. Or, it IS like a room a madman puts you in to solve puzzles, because it is jammed full of puzzles. The props are mostly custom made and well built. The bomb that is also your timer is wonderful and realistic.

Highlights: The Laboratory uses a scheme for keeping players on track that I’ve never seen before. On the wall there is a large chart, with photos, documenting the puzzle flow of the room. If you start with the first item in a track, you’ll use whatever comes from it (keys, codes, objects, etc) in the next item in that track. So there’s no wondering what to work on next, and very little search. It’s pure puzzling against the clock. And these are primarily physical puzzles, not activity book material.

Lowlights: The hint system is GM-enters-the-room, but at least that makes things quick. Because we played as a couple, (and requested ‘hard mode’) that meant we only played with 4 out of 6 or 7 tracks of puzzles. I wish I’d known to bring more people so we could have seen everything. 

And Finally:   This game was really excellent. LA has a fair amount of rooms that are sort of guided tours of lovely sets, but for the puzzle-solving player, this room is a can’t-miss. I would strongly consider replaying this game with a different group so that I could focus on the tracks I haven’t seen before. (Or, I kind of wonder how far I could get get playing solo, with the knowledge of how a bunch of things work. There are one or two puzzle types in here that I don’t know if I could process on my own, even if I know how they work.) Out of 36 games played, I’m ranking this one at #8. 

How to book this room yourself: Visit

Escape Room Reviews: The A.I.

Company: Exit Game
Room: The AI
Date Played: 9/30/17
Player Count: 2, but would work well with 3 or 4.
Success:  Success!

Premise: You’re visiting the apartment of your missing friend and his pet AI, a murderous, SHODAN-looking thing. 

Immersion: This room looks like someone should be shooting their webseries or Syfy original programming in it. Which is to say, it looks good but a little cheap, with a lot of colorful lighting. 

Highlights: This room has some cool tech interactions that are unlike anything I’ve seen before, including a take on virtual reality that isn’t what it sounds like. Certain things, like inserting the ‘cores,’ has a great sci-fi movie feel. Also, I like interacting with computers in escape rooms, and this game has a lot of opportunities for that.

Lowlights: We got caught up on search. The volume was very low and hearing our departed friend and his AI's taunts and hints was a little tough over the music. And customer service is always kind of a drag at Exit Game. There’s the silly metal detector thing they do, but more than that there's the sense that your game master isn’t paying attention. We called for a hint and the delivery system here was someone coming in after a couple of minutes and trying to offer advice without knowing where we were.

And Finally: I'm surprised that we don't do more rooms themed around being high-tech in some way. Maybe it's hard to pull off, or maybe we're more likely to naturally spot the shortcomings because we interact with touchscreens and computers and stuff a lot more often than Egyptian tombs. In any case, we'd been looking forward to checking this room out. For my money though, The Lab is still the room to beat at Exit Game. Out of 35 games played, I'm ranking this one #23. 

How to book this room yourself: Visit

(and while you’re there, check out some of those photos. Particularly this one. This is exactly what I’m afraid of whenever I see a room that says it takes 8-12 players.)