November 20, 2017

The Hidden Passage: The Pharaoh's Curse (North Hollywood, CA)

The Pharaoh's Curse
Written by Matt Neal: Southern California has a few things going for it that produce some amazing rooms. A huge population and endless stream of tourists keep the customers coming. The film, theme park, and haunt industries provide an amazing talent pool to pull from and inspiration to dive into. Well established escape room brands keep delivering amazing new experiences, driving competition higher and higher.

The amazing rooms and huge market, however, have brought quite a few “me too” rooms, popping up to try to make a quick buck. So, on a quiet Sunday, when two new unknown rooms popped up having just opened without any buzz or fanfare and a complete lack of reviews to be found, we knew we were taking a gamble with either. A flip of a coin and we were off to visit the Hidden Passage in North Hollywood to face the Pharaoh’s Curse. From their site:

"One morning as the Ancient Nile Breaking news was broadcasting a story about the Kings lost tomb, it was found by a couple of archaeologists! Upon the discovery the Tomb opens and the King awakens, raged, and is trying to escape his tomb to bring darkness onto all of Egypt as he wants to avenge his death.

The only way to shut the tombs door is from the inside. You and your fellow archaeologists did so and now you were stuck inside the tomb and need to find a way out. As you were wandering around, you step on a trap which triggers a countdown of 60 minutes for you to find the kings tomb and escape before you are trapped in the chamber for all of eternity. Will you make it out?"

Make it out we did and we were amazed at the gold we found inside.

November 11, 2017

Escape Games PDX: Sherlock's Secret (Portland, OR)

Escaping Sherlock's Secret

Having trekked to Portland for a family reunion, I decided it would be a great opportunity to introduce my cousins to escape rooms, and to check out the Portland escape room scene. Escape Games PDX's Sherlock's Secret did not disappoint, and proved a delightful experience for our escape room veterans and neophytes alike. From their site:

"You’ve been called in to help an infamous but now kidnapped detective and his assistant, a Mr. Watson, has asked for your assistance in recovering a missing artifact and using it to barter a deal to release the hostage. It might feel elementary but you will only have 60 minutes to discover all the hidden clues in Mr. Holmes’ library and help him escape, for if you fail, you will both be trapped forever!"

November 9, 2017

Escape Room LA: The Alchemist (Los Angeles, CA)

If you are in the downtown LA area there are two popular escape room companies that are in the vicinity: "The Virus: Get The F Out" and "Escape Room LA". Both these public rooms take upwards of 10 people so it may be a craps shoot in terms of who shows up in your game. Escape Room LA's "The Alchemist" is known to be a puzzle centric and challenging room where you only have only 50 minutes to escape. We were lucky enough to play on a Thursday night with only our group of four. From their site:

"An ancient library leads you through a secret passage into a medieval alchemist’s mysterious lab, where you must find the four lost elements of earth, air, fire and water. Unite the elements and unleash the magical powers of the Philosopher’s Stone before the alchemist returns! Will you escape?"

November 7, 2017

Exit Game: An Hour To Kill, School of Sorcery & Lab 51 (Monterey Park, CA)

A hidden treasure in a jungle of escape rooms in the Los Angeles Area

Exit Games was one of the companies that we haven't really heard much about and initially not part of our LA escape room crawl. We heard good things about "The A.I." room so it made our final list but that particular game was down for maintenance so we ended playing some other ones instead. "An Hour To Kill" was their newest 007 James Bond game, "The School of Sorcery" was a Harry Potter inspired room and the closest thing I could think of for "Lab 51" was the X-Files. We played all these games as a trio, well short of their 10 person max. This turned out to be a good thing as I feel anything more than 4 people would greatly hinder the experience. From their site:

"An Hour To Kill: Come and be a part of James Bond's last adventure. James is on his last mission before retirement when he went missing. You, England's best agents must figure out a way to get through all the security systems in Military Intelligence (MI-6) and the vaunted training facilities and danger room. Your mission, should you choose to accept it agents, is to find out what happened to Bond on his final mission?

The School or Sorcery: It's your first year as a wizard. You have 1 hour to finish magical exams to prove your abilities. Conjure up spells, and make potions with your classmates. Be careful, there is dark magic in our castle.

Lab 51: As part of an elite military strike force, you must infiltrate Lab 51 and find out what happened to the mysterious alien life form that is kept there. The lab is set to self-destruct in 1 hour. The clock is ticking, soldier."

November 1, 2017

Maze Rooms: Lunar Mission (Los Angeles, CA)

Floating in a tin can

Written by Brad Melluish. Maze Rooms' "Lunar Mission" is the first escape room I've encountered that is fully committed to a hard science fiction theme in a space setting, so I was excited to give it a spin when I found out it would be part of our recent Los Angeles escape room marathon. The room did not disappoint, and it was refreshing to see this room boldly go into a genre that is so surprisingly unexplored! From their site:

"Try to escape lunar station in disrepair and survive. Far in the outer space. Only team work can return lunar crew home."

October 29, 2017

Get The F Out: The Virus (Los Angeles, CA)

Get The F Out: Dab Best!

"Get the F Out" states on their website that they offer "Virtual Reality that will blow you away". We decided to try out their game, "The Virus", late on a Thursday night and as a duo, we weren't sure what to expect given it was an eight player room. From their site:

"A deadly virus has ravaged the planet.  Join a team of top scientists and descend hundreds of feet to a military laboratory below.  There you must discover an antidote and save the world. But be careful not to set off the computerized decontamination system or you may be smashed flat by the slowly moving laboratory walls."

While there are a LOT of lab themed escape rooms out there, there are some unique elements at GTFO that were fresh and exciting. There was an Easter egg and I feel all rooms should have this as it makes the game more special for those who have extra time to spare. Given we were only two, when I saw the lab my initial thoughts were "we're toast, there are a LOT of locks in this room"...

October 17, 2017

Secret City Casa Loma: Escape The Tower & Station M

So you're staying near downtown Toronto and ask around about what escape room you should do. What does everyone say? Casa Loma! This Gothic Revival style house is a landmark and similar to "The Secret of Station House No. 4" in that the actual location the game takes place in was film worthy even before escape rooms were invented. I don't know how companies are able to partner up with landmarks but the setting and environment are absolutely perfect.

Toronto is known for having large format rooms and I signed up as a solo player in Escape the Tower and Station M. The exterior of Casa Loma is magnificent and I was hoping for the game play to be great as well.

October 6, 2017

Crazy Cats Escape Room: The Deadly Dining Room (Houston, TX)

Crazy Cat Escape Room (Houston)

The Deadly Dining Room at Crazy Cat Escape Room was an enjoyable room. The story is that your long lost great uncle has recently died and you and some other guests have been invited to his estate for the reading of his will. Upon arrival you all find out that instead of a reading of his will, you've fallen into a trap and have 60 minutes to solve the mysteries and find his will or you'll meet your death. At the start, each person is given a character card on a lanyard which has some symbols next to the character name and bio.