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April 3, 2017

Kuma Escape: Detention (Santa Clara, CA)

Michael (second from the right) was a bad boy in detention

Kuma Escape's "stage 3" room, Detention, opened in May 2016 and even though it touted the highest escape rate (20%) out of their three rooms, it was actually the most difficult one. Keep in mind that "stage" simply means room and you don't have to do "stage" one or two to play the third one. It seemed that a lot of enthusiasts played this room and given that the record was only 45min, it was no surprise that this was a challenge. We were six people in the group with two people who were new to escape rooms.

"Detention" was loaded with puzzles. There were a LOT of things to solve (in parallel) so this was one of the very few rooms where we feel it would make sense to have a group of 8+ people. The puzzles fit well with the theme and you really did feel that you were in a classroom. It's pretty rare for an escape room to have live actors but there was an actress that played the role of a teacher in this game. It was a Sunday morning and I think she was a bit low on energy but the implementation of the teacher in the story was great. In addition, there was also a game master in the room with us at all times, which we generally find takes away from the immersiveness. The room is a "Gen-1" room (low technology) and all the triggers were manual and executed by the GM.

There were a few moments where we actually felt like we were in class and trying not to laugh out loud so that was pretty funny. "Detention" is a puzzle lover's dream. It felt a lot like the SCRAP type of room with the familiar crossword, low tech and heavy puzzles elements for big groups.

Pros: Unique theme, funny moments, nice cohesion of smart puzzles and environment
Cons: Game master is needed for a lot of the puzzles, teacher giving you orders :)
  • Set/room design: Average, then again hard to made a classroom that impressive
  • Technology/automation: Gen-1 room (low tech)
  • Difficulty: Difficult, tons of puzzles
  • Price: $30/person
  • Number of players: 6-12, open to the public (we recommend 8-10)
  • Duration: 60 minutes
  • Overall Rating: ★★★★
See their website here: http://www.kumaescape.com

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