|We were the rats in this lab|
Hatch Escapes was one of the new LA locations that opened up in 2018 and there was lot of hype about their game "Lab Rat". In June, I was in New Orleans on Room Escape Artist's Escape Immerse Explore Tour when Amanda (Queen of Escape Rooms) told me about Lab Rat and how it was one of her all-time favorite rooms out of +700 played. When someone of that stature says a game is good, you take it seriously, so I immediately booked a flight to LA for after the tour. (Actually, I already had it booked in advance but that doesn't the former sound much more exciting?)
Being a "rat" in a lab sounded pretty unique, so right off the bat, I was excited to see the room. From their site:
"Lab Rat takes place in a laboratory where giant rats are doing experiments on human beings, specifically you! The somewhat unhinged Ratkenstein, a doctoral student in the field of human intelligence (or, in his estimation, the lack thereof), has tasked you with completing a series of tests and puzzles. If you succeed, he can finally write his dissertation. If you fail, he’s going to put you and your friends in the old test-subject chipper (like a wood chipper, but for test subjects!). You’ll have one hour to complete the tests and attempt to get out of the laboratory for good, before Ratkenstein turns you into mulch!"
Set Design, Puzzles & Technology
Lab Rat quickly immersed us in another world with a colorful set full of puns. It was refreshing to see something so creative after playing so many jail and pi-rat rooms. There were rat-inspired movie posters that were actually funny and a lot of fun elements that perfectly fit the theme. My group definitely appreciated the whimsical nature of the game even though the giant rat scientist looked rat-her creepy. We started off slowly in the first part of the game but we didn't let that rat-tle us as we plowed through a series of tests. All we can say is cong-rat-ulations to Hatch Escapes for fabricating such a novel set!
The puzzles were tangible and diverse and thankfully no pen and paper (woohoo!) was needed to solve anything. The continuous "omg that's hilarious" vibe persisted throughout the game, just like in a good comedy film. While the difficulty wasn't extremely high, it wasn't easy so we suggest having a few games under your belt before playing.
The use of technology was great. Often times videos are seen as a distraction but the multimedia effects that moved the story along were done in a seamless fashion. We had seen some of this type of effect in Maze Room's Magic Kingdom and Lab Rat took it to another level. The soundtrack also effectively set the mood of the game and put us in fun mode. :)
Here is a video from their Facebook page to give you an idea of how the rooms looks like. We recommend you click the sound icon to hear the fun music.
If you are the type of person who doesn't want to know anything about the room, then you may want to skip over this.
Memorable MomentsThere were a lot of jokes in this game that I'll never forget. There were also a lot of silly things that I'll remember. There was also a moment where we got to play an old fashioned game and had even more fun.
Room For ImprovementThere was a part when an individual got to experience something that no one else did. While this asymmetric experience can be polarizing to some, it could be somewhere shared if there was a way that everyone could see each other throughout the moment...Not sure if this makes sense but if you played it you would understand.
Overall ThoughtsLab Rat phenomenally blends multimedia storytelling into an escape room experience filled with laughter and memorable moments. With over 200 escape rooms under our belts, we are proud to give Lab Rat the newly created gold 5-star rating for pushing the boundary in the world of entertainment.
- Set design: Colorful and fun
- Difficulty: Medium-High
- Price: $40/person
- Number of players: up to 8, private (we recommend 4)
- Duration: 60 minutes
- Overall Rating: ★★★★★ (The future of entertainment)