August 8, 2017

Red Lantern Escape Rooms: Midnight On The Bayou (Anaheim, CA)

Unique and different...in a fun and enjoyable way!
Red Lantern Escape Rooms opened earlier this year and there weren't any enthusiast reviews that we were able to find to help guide us in our research. We were intrigued by the theme so we made a stop here after we played the Hex Room and Funhouse at Crossroads. From their site:

"You haven’t set foot in Bayou High since graduation, but this carnival-themed reunion sounded fun. Though it is a little strange they’re holding the event on the old Boudreau property at the edge of the swamp, where decades ago several students died in a barn fire. And it is odd that all the carnival workers are mysteriously absent, with the exception of your reunion host who keeps nervously glancing at that creepy old chest…"

The look and feel of this room is truly unique. The setting takes place at a high school reunion and it honestly feels like a scene out of a high school themed movie. Our game master was the founder of the room and also, we assume, an amateur magician. A magic show included in our escape room? Oh yeah! While some members thought that the setting had a homemade feeling, it actually seemed like what people at my high school would create for a 20 year reunion. The vast space used gives you a lot of breathing space, similar to an open world video game where you can go anywhere you want.

The immersion of the game begins immediately after you step into the room and put your belongings into some lockers. The mysterious feeling, along with the oddish behavior of the reunion host made the whole scenario intriguing. As you attempt to solve the mystery, you learn about the missing high school acquaintances and Red Lantern really tries hard to convey the story to the players. I always have a hard time with story heavy rooms because I'm too focused on puzzle solving and looking for things to do. The story could be simplified or shortened but other members on the team were fine with the level of detail that was narrated to us.

There was a mix of tangible and logical puzzles and I was lucky enough to be the one to do one of the cooler tactile puzzles. There was frustration with one puzzle (you'll appreciate this after you play the room) and some solutions seem to be a bit far fetched but as with any new room, I imagine there would be some fine tuning. Their current escape rate is really high at 38% so I'm sure things are now calibrated.

The best part of the room was the creativity channeled through the immersion, the game master and the open world feel of it all. Even the hint mechanism was unique. There's also an indescribable charm to the room that you'll have to experience for yourself.

If you are looking for something unique, we highly recommend this room.

Pros: Unique immersion, great GM at least for our experience
Cons: Some puzzles were a bit of a stretch
  • Set/room design: Great
  • Technology/automation: Gen-2 room
  • Difficulty: Medium-Difficult
  • Price: $35/person,  
  • Number of players: 4-12 (we recommend 6-8), public
  • Duration: 60 minutes
  • Overall Rating: ★★★★½
See their website here: https://www.redlanternescaperooms.com

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