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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."

Puzzles, Technology & Set Design

All the rooms we played at Exit Game were similar in that the sets were expansive and detailed. The puzzles were of the "aha" variety and very tangible, right up my alley! I can see some puzzle-centric folks not being challenged enough by these rooms but those who prioritize immersion and set design will not be disappointed.

An Hour to Kill felt the most polished and had a nice cinematic feeling to the game. The props were grand and a lot of fun. The last puzzle required teamwork in a good way and it's always nice to get everyone involved for the finale. I really do think that our low player count helped us fully enjoy the room as three felt more than enough players to escape with ample time.

The School of Sorcery had a lot of Harry Potter references and to avoid copyright issues they tweaked the names of everything by a syllable or two. I did not read or see the movies and I assumed that it would have been much more exciting for someone who actually got all the references. The puzzles are thematic and solid, but aren't overachieving except for a few moments including the finale which utilized tech in a unique way. The last part was a bit tricky and perhaps a little repetitive but still fun to experience.

Lab 51 was pretty huge with a sizable crawl space. The props you have to play with were thematic and enjoyable. It was one of their older rooms so a little less innovative compared to the other rooms we played but there were a lot of elements that were straight out of a movie scene. The room is more physical than most escape rooms and that made it fun. If you are a fan of large rooms and sci fi, and go in knowing it is low tech, you would have a good time. Again, being there people made for a great time as we got to move a lot and do a lot.

Memorable Moments 

The sets in all three rooms were magnificent so that definitely gives a lasting impression. The frantic finale in An Hour to Kill along with the overall look and feel was enjoyable and stood out a lot. The School of Sorcery had a really fun mid game puzzle that had everybody shouting and Lab 51's vast space and physical elements were second to none.

Room For Improvement

All the rooms seem to be geared towards beginners, which is fine as most people but enthusiasts will fly through these rooms with ample left which left us wanting more. Although physical size is definitely not a factor, it's also hard to imagine 10 people in these rooms having enough to do.

Overall Thoughts

All the rooms we played at Exit Game were on the easy side and perfect for starting out. The set designs were top notch and we're surprised these rooms weren't on many enthusiasts radars as we felt they were all a lot of fun. Try to play during an off time so that the room isn't too crowded.

  • Set design: Excellent!
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Price: $32
  • Number of players: 10 max (we recommend 3-4), public but can be made private for an extra $40
  • Duration: 60 minutes
  • Overall Rating: An Hour To Kill ★★★★½, The School of Sorcery ★★★★, Mission 2 The Lab ★★★★
See their website here: https://www.theexitgame.com

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