HOUSE OF CLUES ESCAPE ROOM
My husband and I drove up from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara to play their Pirate themed game. I called ahead several days earlier to make sure that the game was not the same as the pirate game at MagIQ in Los Angeles and was told by the person on the phone it was different and I would be impressed. Unfortunately I was not.
The game itself was poorly designed. The room is quite large, which is nice. They made good use of the space with levels. However the puzzles themselves were poorly designed and the flow of the game was not well done. There is a good amount of searching/finding involved, which is really a matter of preference (and I prefer not to). There was a lack of creativity in the puzzles. There was a lot of creativity used at one point in the game, however it poses a major problem if the team moves ahead before they are actually ready because there is no logical work around to backtrack. The decor is pretty, until you get close enough to see that several props are flimsy Halloween decorations. I’m also still confused by the random TV in the room. There is one major prop that you are told not to touch, but it is so central to your eyeline when you enter the ship that it feels like the logical first thing to open…but don’t…there’s a sticker on it. Oh, and that apparently wasn’t reset properly for our game anyway.
All of this still equals about a C+ room until to factor in the “hint system”. I have never, in any of the 130+ escape rooms I’ve played, had a game master walk into the room unrequested and unannounced to simply ask how our team is doing. That’s why there are cameras and microphones in most games…then the game master can see and hear what’s going on. It took me out of the experience completely. What’s worse the game master came back into the game later and lingered in the room while it appeared as though he was in the middle of a phone conversation. We finished the game around the 45 minute mark (which is the full length of this particular game) and were rushed through signing releases and a quick photo in the lobby. We weren’t able to sign releases before the game because they weren’t ready for us when we arrived.
Overall, this was not an experience I would recommend to my friends…unless, like me, they’ve simply run out of escape rooms to play in the area and need a quick fix for their ER addiction and don’t really care what grade it is.