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March 12, 2018

LA Dragon Studios: Knights Of The Round Table (Van Nuys, CA)

Written by Matt Neal: As a seasoned veteran of escape rooms, when I see a new room pop up that touts being “family friendly” and “great for all ages” I get a little nervous. I know that experienced enthusiasts do not make up the bulk of the market and targeting newcomers and families makes a lot of financial sense, but in my experience, the rooms that result just don’t scratch my itch for a challenging, exciting experience. Likewise, the rooms that offer a challenging, exciting experience to those that have ran out of fingers and toes to count rooms on can leave those exploring an escape room for the first time with a frustrating experience, never getting to taste success. Rarely does a room offer an experience that is accessible to those that have never heard of an escape room, a playfulness to be within reach of children, and enough fun and excitement to have the experienced walk out with just as big of a smile. LA Dragon Studios offers just that. They have one of the first games from Israel to make its way to the United States and if this is a sign of what’s to come, I can’t wait to see more. From their website:

"In this adventure, you are sent into Camelot on an epic quest. Explore the castle, find the hidden clues and become a Knight! 

We want you to have the fun, there's no limitation on hints, no pressure, it’s about your experience and your story."

This experience is about letting you into their world to play around and that allows for a positive experience for a much broader audience. For someone that’s done a lot of rooms, saving Camelot wasn’t particularly difficult, but it didn’t need to be. There’s so much to see and do, enough to play with and take in, that there is something here for the experienced. I only wish that this was how my first escape room would have been.

Puzzles, Technology & Set Design

Knights of the Round Table dabbles into a broad assortment of puzzles. Variety here is key, giving a taste of everything. There is a generous use of large, hands on devices that are exactly what you’d expect to find in a medieval castle. While the puzzles aren’t difficult per say, they are still satisfying to do. Technology integration is done where appropriate. There’s a nice balance of hidden switches and magical devices where it fits thematically. It does its job well and stays out of the way.

The highlight of the set design is the amount of space LA Dragon Studios has managed to dedicate to this room. As a consumer, I much prefer an escape room with a little room to stretch out, particularly when it offers multiple new places to explore. While the set dressings aren’t quite that of a full movie set as a handful of places in the Los Angeles market have done. For example, some of the scenery are murals painted directly on the walls and there are occasional reminders that Camelot is actually in an office building. With that said, the immersion level is quite high, especially once you’ve entered the castle.

Memorable Moments 

The game opens with the players outside Camelot with the obvious task of getting in. There puzzles here are quick and light but the actual mechanics of interacting with the environment are incredibly satisfying. It is simple but exactly what I’ve wanted to do in a room for some time and it starts things off impeccably.

Room For Improvement

There are enthusiasts out there that won’t be satisfied by having an easy, yet immersive experience. They will need the pressure and adrenaline that can only come from overcoming a really challenging room. There are rooms that have experimented with scaling difficulty and if properly executed, doing so here could broaden the appeal just a bit more.

Overall Thoughts

LA Dragon Studios has earned its place among the top rooms that I personally recommend, especially to those that are new to escape rooms or want to share the experience with their children. It’s a wonderful change to be able to make a recommendation like that without having to caveat the recommendation by adding that it would only be good for the inexperienced or families. The only caveat I give to those more experienced is to maybe not take a large group with you.

  • Set design: Good
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Price: $29.75-40/person
  • Number of players: 7 max, (we recommend 2-4), private
  • Duration: 60 minutes
  • Overall Rating: ★★★★½ 
See their website here: https://www.ladragonstudios.com

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