ESCAPE ROOM – Epic Escape Game: Blood Thirst – Arizona



As a woman that grew up reading Interview with a Vampire and fantasizing about handsome pale skinned figures that could exist for eternity, I know that nothing is more exhilarating than being hunted by a vampire, except hunting one yourself.

At Epic Escape Game’s Blood Thirst, you become part of an elite vampire hunting team. You must enter the room with your team and solve the puzzles leading up to finding and eliminating the most famous of all, Dracula.

The story is strong and the room is well themed. The puzzles are all tied to the theme and not just your standard boxes with locks. I especially liked the use of both physical and mental challenges combining for a uniquely fun and challenging game. Note that this room’s difficulty level is Challenging so it may require some out of the box thinking. It is nice to see a company that can take a “scary” theme and make it appropriate for all audiences, yet still find creative ways to add in the fear and excitement without any sort of bloody special effects or gross decor. This room has one of the most creative puzzles I’ve seen that totally and completely ties together puzzles and story as you approach your objective. That really helps this room stand out among the standard escape games.

I recommend making a whole event out of it and having your friends over to get in the mood by eating some garlic flavored popcorn while watching a few popular vampire movies ahead of time. Maybe even dress the part. Am I the only one that thinks it’s cool to show up dressed like Blade in my black leather trench coat? Okay, admittedly it gets a bit warm and confining to try to play in my trench coat, so maybe just dress comfortably.


ESCAPE ROOM – Epic Escape Game: The Fortune Teller – Arizona


How long will your future last if you don’t escape The Fortune Teller in time?

Epic Escape Game has created an incredibly innovative and fun escape room that not only can be done with your team competing against the clock, but you could actually compete against another team as well. The Fortune Teller is the first room you see upon entering the building on your right and your left. There are identical rooms across from one another.

The room has a curiously captivating story about Madame Zarra and her secret. The reveal is a fun surprise. The puzzles are clever and the room is beautifully decorated. I really felt as though I had entered the room to wait for a genuine psychic complete with “woowoo” decor and traditionally recognized “reading” tools. The puzzles incorporate the themed props. They are logical. Be sure to keep your eyes open and communicate with your team in this game. Hopefully you will be in the top quarter of players to discover the secret and escape in time.

ESCAPE ROOM – Epic Escape Game: Whimsical Library – Arizona


The Book of Fun is missing!?!?! Oh NO!!! Grab you friends and your kids and head over to the Whimsical Library to save it from being closed…forever.

This family friendly escape room in Phoenix Arizona is a wonderful beginners room and especially good for kids. The story is excitingly magical. It feels as though you’ve walked into a cartoon upon entering the brightly colored library. The energy in the room is quite spirited and fun. The puzzles do not require difficult problem solving, but rely more on observational skills, focus and patience. There is plenty to do for all ages and everyone can contribute in a useful manner.

ESCAPE ROOM – Cross Roads Escape Games: The Fun House – California


If you were one of those kids that dreamed of running off to join the circus, then this escape room is for you. Even if you didn’t dream of living among the elephants and being BFFs with the bearded lady, you’ll have a blast. This hour under the big top is sure to entertain. The puzzles are unique, creative and clever. They use multiple ways of thinking and skill sets. There are wonderful “aha” moments around every corner. The incredible immersion into the theme extends beyond the decor and reaches both the puzzle integration and hint system. But let’s not skim over the decor that easily. This is one of the best decorated rooms I’ve played. It’s impressive, especially for such a unusual theme. I played this room shortly after it opened with my husband and one of my favorite moments was when he realized he was able to open open something that he had believed to be simply decoration. His face lit up like a kid at a circus. It was so wonderful. They’ve even made a few updates since we played and I’ve heard it’s even better.

This room is located in Anaheim, near Disneyland. They also have the amazing Hex Room at this location. So I recommend getting five friends and booking both rooms back to back. The Hex Room is a group buyout room. The Fun House is individual tickets so you do not need a group of friends to play. However, that means you may be playing the game with new friends that buy tickets for the same time slot as you.

Read about the owners HERE

INTERVIEW – Misha Suvorov of ER Games – ESCAPE ROOM

Please introduce yourself.
I’m Misha Suvorov, actor and owner of ER Games, the company that produced Haunted Recording Studio.
Why did you decide to get involved in the escape room industry?
One of my friends came up with idea of opening an escape room a year ago. At that time I had no idea the entire industry even existed. I did my research and liked the concept. As funny as it is, I never realized we were in the entertainment business, at least not until we opened and start getting customers.
What makes your rooms unique?
No one had done a Recording Studio before. Likewise, no one has done the room we’re opening right now. We always look for unique themes. Also, I believe we were the first to implement sound and visual effects to the extent we are doing, including the unique voice of a ghost itself. Not to mention the use of a live performance by a professional actor as we do for the story line.
What do you think is the most important part of an escape room design?
The most important part is the soul, heart and sweat invested by the owner. The escape room industry is a relatively young creative business. I think there’s still some space for unique creative work by the owners. It’s like the DNA of your brand. Who, if not you, will set it? The hired designer, engineer, constructor? I don’t think so.
Besides that, finding the place is essential. Rather than create the atmosphere from scratch, I’d rather utilize something that’s already there. It becomes so authentic and real then. From that perspective, taking over a space when a previous tenant steps out of the business is a huge plus. We’ve been lucky to take over Track Design recording studio after Richard K. Allen who ran it since mid seventies. The entire atmosphere was right there. It was harder to kill it than to keep it there.
Story line is of huge importance, of course. Be creative. Write stories you believe in, stories you’re involved in. Write the stories that relate to you.
Puzzles should be unique, no doubt.
Please share with us a fun story that has happened with your company.
Uhmm, I really don’t know where to start. It’s been endless fun since we came across the idea of setting up an escape room. What I like about the escape room business, as well as the entertainment industry in general, is that it’s tons of fun! Hosting people who want to be entertained and scaring them when they want to be creeped out, all while watching on surveillance cameras – what can’t be funnier?!
The most fun customer call so far was when I spent a good 15 minutes, explaining how booking works and what Haunted Recording Studio is all about, before figuring out he was looking for an actual recording studio to record his music. I was so eager to explain that he’d better gather as many friends as he can while he was trying to make it clear that it’s not his way of doing ‘this’.
What advice do you have for players?
Even if you’re real pros – don’t forget to sink in and enjoy the atmosphere. Yeah, hitting the top score is a goal indeed, but what’s the use of it if you lose the sense of immersion in the experience down the road?!
Anything else you’d like to share?
Sure! Be good, stay positive, enjoy your life! There’s so much more!
Thank you Misha!

ESCAPE ROOM – Maze Rooms Pirate Bay – California


Pirate Bay is a fairly new escape room located at one of the newest Maze Rooms locations in Tarzana California, just outside of Los Angeles. This is one of the top games in the Los Angeles area in my opinion. They do a wonderful job overall.

You can park in the lot behind the building then head upstairs for your adventure. The lobby is spacious and professional. The story is interesting. Not only is the room decorated to match a pirate theme inside the room, but outside as well. It is very well decorated. The puzzles are unique, creative and fun. This is not your typical room with boxes and padlocks, this is much more immersive and clever. My favorite thing about this room, however, was the fact that I wasn’t worried about breaking everything that I touched like a lot of rooms I’ve played. I don’t remember any of those horrible Do Not Touch stickers placed on objects all around the room. I actually felt like I could solve the physical puzzles “my way” and not worry about whether or not I was doing exactly what the game designer wanted. I got to be MacGyver if I wanted to and I loved it!!! I’m not saying you have to, but you won’t necessarily have a game master piping in saying, “No No Not THAT way.” I really enjoyed the puzzles and flow of the room. It felt very logical and on theme. It’s very well done and I recommend it for all ages.

INTERVIEW – Jason Garvett of Mobile Room Escape – ESCAPE ROOM

Please introduce yourself 

Hi escapers! My name is Jason Garvett and I am the owner, writer, designer, builder, and puzzle creator at Mobile Room Escape in Chicago.

Why did you decide to get involved in the escape room industry? 

I have been involved in theatre all of my life including a degree in acting and directing from Emerson College in Boston, MA. For the past 10 years I have worked for a tour boat company in Chicago as a Captain, group sales manager, marketing and advertising associate, and a private party coordinator. I have loved being in the tourism and hospitality industry but had been longing to get back to my theatre roots. For my birthday my wife took me to an escape room. I was not looking forward to it at all. When we arrived we were paired with a group of 15 year old kids (“this is going to be the worst birthday ever!”). In 59 minutes and 50 seconds (we escaped!) I had more fun than I had in years. The theatricality, working together, truly being immersed in the task at hand, and the suspension of all other problems in my daily life reminded me of my years on stage. Escape Rooms were it. This was my way back into the creative realm of theatre.

What makes your room unique?

We basically took a 32′ x 8.5′ rectangular room and put 3 axles on it, 6 wheels, and hitched it up to a Ram 2500 pickup truck. Hence our name Mobile Room Escape. I wanted the escape room experience to not be limited to one store front location. We had our trailer custom built for us so we could take it to offices for corporate team building events, houses for birthday parties, fairs, festivals, fundraisers you name it and we are there. We also keep the trailer at Gurnee Mills shopping mall just north of Chicago for weekly performances to the public. 

What unique benefits and challenges do you face as a mobile game?

We have had many benefits to being a mobile escape room. With the ability to travel we are not defined by just one location. We are accessible to clients in Chicago who do not have vehicles to make it out to the suburbs, and we can be in the suburbs for our customer who have no interest in navigating the hustle and bustle of downtown life. As long as our customers have roads we can go to them. We have even gone to other states to do our premier escape room “The Laboratory”.

Being mobile also allows us to be just one aspect of an event as opposed to the main feature. This allows us to be a part of many fundraisers, fairs, and festivals, where large groups of people gather and we can gain more exposure along with introducing more people to the concept of “Escape Games”.

Of course the challenge of parking a 32′ trailer can at times be daunting. Also the initial investment to build a trailer and purchase a truck is higher than what most escape rooms have at startup. There is also the added fun of working with local, state, and federal transportation regulations.

What do you think is the most important part of an escape room design? 

In college I had a musical theatre teacher who hated the musical “Les Miserable”. This was one of my favorite musicals so I was very curious why he hated it so much. He explained to me that the music was structured as a modern day pop musical. He said “A musical set in Revolutionary France should have music indicative of that time period.” The music drew him out of the story. I still love Les Miserables but I do understand where professor Leo Nickole was coming from. If sets, costume, props, and story is of a certain time period and one aspect is not, it can draw the audience away from the story. I believe the same is true when entering an escape room. The escape rooms I love make me feel like I am on stage in a play. The combination of sets, story, actors, sound, lighting, and props working together is what draws me into the scenario and makes me escape reality for an hours time.

Please share with us a fun story that has happened with your company.

One evening we had a group of 8 come to experience our escape room. A very normal fun family that loved having a great time. It turns out one of our audience members that night was the son of a camp director in Wisconsin. The director had been talking about doing an escape room with their staff for years but there were none near by. This June, Mobile Room Escape will be travelling to their summer camp in Wisconsin to put 200 of their staff members through a very unique team building. Our staff has been invited to stay overnight in their cabins, eat in their dining hall, and participate in camp activities for the week we are there. Nothing beats getting to relive your youth, while doing your job!

What advice do you have for players?

 Have fun, and don’t worry about “winning the game”. Play the game and have fun doing it. Talk to each other and share every piece of information you find, as silly as it may seem. It stinks when someone has a screwdriver in their hands and never announces it to the person looking for a screwdriver. Remember only a small part of communication is talking, the most important part is listening to each other.

Anything else you’d like to share?

When I started Mobile Room Escape I thought I would just be operating an escape room. Since then I have been approached for many opportunities including writing escape rooms, building escape rooms for others, being a part of Comic-Con San Diego, and even building Mobile Escape Room trailers for other escape room owners. It has been exciting to see how starting one business venture can lead to so many others.

At the end of the day my favorite part is hopping into the escape room with our customers, putting on the mad scientist costume, and watching friends, families, coworkers and complete strangers come together to laugh, struggle, and work together to complete one common goal .

INTERVIEW- Madison Rhoades of Cross Roads Escape Games – ESCAPE ROOM

Please introduce yourself.

Hello! My name is Madison Rhoades. My husband, Luke, and I own Cross Roads Escape Games (Get it? Rhoades… Roads…? Well, we thought it was cool). I am the designer and scenic painter. He builds and makes my crazy ideas come to life. 

I love puns! I agree that it’s cool.

Why did you decide to get involved in the escape room industry? 

My husband and I love theatre. We did it in high school and college. I got my degree in set design & scenic painting at USC. His was in Scenic Carpentry at Vanguard University. We loved it, but honestly, we hated working with actors. Almost always we had some diva of the show tell us how to do our job. We decided that theatre would be perfect if it didn’t have any actors, but it also seemed kinda impossible. A few years later we played The Basement (back when it very first opened). We thought we were going to a haunted house, boy were we wrong! It was actually our first ever escape game, us 2 with 10 strangers. Needless to say, it was a hot mess, but SO MUCH FUN! We talked about it for months afterwards. Almost immediately we had our idea for The Hex Room and thats when we found out that we could actually make theatre without any actors. It was perfect. 

What makes your rooms unique?

All of our sets are completely custom built. We have played quite a few escape games and found them to usually be inside prebuilt office buildings. We made sure to find a space with a huge warehouse so we could make our games exactly the way we wanted, built from the ground up. 

Our Hex Room game is super unique. The story is a horror movie loving mad man wants to recreate a horror movie using you as his cast. What makes it super cool is that we have everyone fill out a questionnaire beforehand to find out which cliche horror movie victim they are: Virgin, Rebel, Prom Queen, Jock, Detective, or Nerd. We give you costume pieces so you truly become your character and then we put everyone in a room by themselves. This makes it so everyone has to participate and it also makes it replayable! You can come back and play The Hex Room as a different character and have a completely new experience. Even though you are apart from your group you do still have to work together as a team by relying information and sending objects from room to room to help your team get out, and hopefully they do the same for you. 

The Fun House is the exact opposite of The Hex Room. This game is more silly and whimsical. The set is seriously beautiful. Its like stepping into a circus version of Alice in Wonderland. In this game you have to ask Zoltar for hints, who is a very sassy painting on the wall. It’s probably the best part of the game. 

Hex is absolutely replayable. I’ve played it twice. It was fun and different both times. 

What do you think is the most important part of an escape room design? (Story, puzzles, decor, etc.)

That’s hard to answer. I think all of them play a key point in an overall great game. For us, we definitely pay a lot of attention to detail when it comes to our set. We really believe an immersive atmosphere is very important. Everything from set, lighting, and sound can help tell a story on its own. Our puzzles are also custom built and completely from our own heads, so its something new that players have not seen before. I think what is very important that your puzzles should work with your theme and story. I personally hate it when I play a game that is suppose to take place in a dungeon but I am solving a puzzle that has to do with the periodic table on the wall… or a sudoku puzzle…? There needs to be a reason why you are solving these puzzles and why they are there in the space. I really think that gets overlooked a lot. Cohesiveness, I guess, is what I think is the most important. 

Please share with us a fun story that has happened with your company. 

I have SO many great stories of people getting scared in The Hex Room, but I don’t want to give away any of the fun surprises. Lets just say some people have screamed, “I think I just peed myself!”

What advice do you have for players?

“The key to escape is to communicate.” This is a sign we have on our wall that we stress to our players before their game and its remarkable how many people come out saying, “wow, you were right, communication is everything in this game!” Use your teammates strengths and talk things out. It’s surprising how people will clearly see the answer after just saying what they are working on out loud. 

Anything else you’d like to share?

I am always looking for something new and different and without giving too much away Cross Roads does have some really great innovative ideas for the future with our 3rd game hopefully opening up this October! Our games are also constantly changing. We grow bored of puzzles or maybe have a new idea. I would say both of our games go through major changes at least once a month. We also have some big plans for The Hex Room for the Halloween season to make it really really scary 😉

Sounds like I’ll have to come back in October to play Hex a third time. I love scary!!!

Read Cross Roads Escape Games HEX ROOM review at 

Read Cross Roads Escape Games FUN HOUSE ROOM review at 

INTERVIEW- Ron Subaba of Epic Escape Game – ESCAPE ROOM

Please introduce yourself and your role in the business.

My name is Ron Subaba and I am the Co-Founder of Epic Escape Game. I oversee all operations for all of our locations, game design and franchise development.

Why did you decide to get involved in the escape room industry?

In 2014, my partner Michelle Fleming and I were on vacation in Nashville and came across an escape room. We played the game with three other people and was amazed on how well the game played out and the story unfolded each time we opened a lock. The whole experience was immersive like we never experienced and we decided right then that we needed to get into this industry. Upon returning home, I researched the escape room industry and found there were only a handful of companies operating in the United States and none in the Denver area. We immediately began setting up shop, leasing an old mansion and installed five escape rooms. Since then, we’ve opened a location in Phoenix and brought on 4 franchises in Englewood, CO, Grand Junction, CO, Cheyenne, WY and our newest location in Muncie, IN.

What makes your rooms unique?

First of all, every escape room we design and build will not challenge our social morals. So we do not have any rooms where you must rob a bank, steal from a museum or anything along those lines. Many of our customers are families with children or corporate team building events and we do not want to send the wrong message. Secondly, we put a lot of emphasis on the story line and how immersive our escape rooms are. As players progress in the game, the story is reinforced and continues to unfold. Similar to a good book or movie, players get to experience the story through their game play. Thirdly, we do not duplicate any of our escape rooms or puzzles. We currently have five locations with a total of 20 unique and different escape rooms. This encourages our players to visit all of our locations knowing what level of service and quality we provide, all the while playing a new escape room.

What do you think is the most important part of an escape room design?

The story line, puzzles and production value (sound, lighting and décor) are all equally important aspects when designing an escape room. However the most important part of designing an escape room is how well you intertwine these aspects together. Every décor item in the room must support the storyline, all the puzzles must be relevant to the room and reveal more of the story along the way and the story must be intriguing enough to capture players’ attention when they are deciding which escape room facility to choose.

Please share with us a fun story that has happened with your company.

I got a call from a gentleman who wanted to surprise his girlfriend with an engagement ring in one of the puzzles while they play one of our escape rooms. He had arrived early and secretly gave me the ring so that I can place it in a puzzle about half way through the game. As soon as the girlfriend opened the locked puzzle and noticed the engagement ring, the boyfriend was on one knee and proposed to her in front of all the other players. Everyone was so happy for them and to top it off they successfully escaped the room. I was honored that we could share in their important occasion.

What advice do you have for players?

To have fun. This is fun activity that allows players to bond in special way. Parents are proud to see their kids figure out a difficult puzzle, kids are surprised that their parents aren’t as dumb as they thought and co-workers find new respect for their team mates when they come up with new ways of thinking to solve puzzles.  

Anything else you would like to share?

I would like to thank all of the players who have shared their experience with their friends, family and co-workers as well as those who have given us an honest review of our rooms. Because of your feedback and referrals we were able to grow into the company we are today. One motto I tell all of our employees is “the most important person in the company is the customer, without them we are nothing”.


The Tension Experience

The Tension Experience


I first heard about The Tension Experience in late February from friends that described it as an interactive haunt. The thing that drew me in and got me obsessed with checking their website and social media was the puzzles hidden throughout. I didn’t label The Tension Experience in the title of this blog as I normally would because honestly I don’t know how to describe it. It’s not a haunt or a puzzle game, it’s an…experience. So far I’m not clear of the purpose of it all, nor am I concerned, I’m just enjoying the ride. 

The Tension Experience website allows participants to complete a fairly lengthy, personal questionnaire. After that everyone’s experience is unique. So far my journey has allowed me to have a few email and phone interactions with the OOA Institute that resulted in a live meeting in downtown Los Angeles.

I will do my best to describe my experience exactly as I remember it. 

My meeting took place on April 30th at 8:05pm. I was given very specific instructions to arrive at a designated location alone and wait for my cell phone to ring. I waited on the corner near the bus stop watching people arrive and depart for several minutes when I heard that glorious Dr. Who theme song (my ringtone) begin. 

I answered and the voice on the other end instructed me to raise my right hand. I stood on the corner with my hand raised high above my head as a young, nicely dressed woman approached. She embraced me in the kind of hug your grandmother gives when she hasn’t seen you since last Christmas and started telling me how excited she was for me. She gripped my arm tightly and we walked arm in arm like schoolgirls down the dark Los Angeles sidewalk. After a short walk she paused, had me sign a waiver and then asked if I trusted her. I assured her I did and she handed me a hood to place over my head. She then gently guided me through a doorway, down a hall and into an elevator. While in the elevator that felt as though it was traveling to a basement she continued to compliment me until I asked her name. This seemed to fluster her a bit and she explained to me very thoroughly that her name, Talia, was not important and she was the lowest of the low. Then she left me alone outside of the elevator still blinded by the hood to contemplate why I deserved Enlightment and wait for someone higher up to fetch me.

While I stood alone in the darkness with my thoughts someone approached and whispered the question, “What makes you so special?” Then after some pause stated, “I don’t think you are special.” Then they vanished.

After what seemed like an eternity, someone approached me and grabbed my shoulders to push me quickly down more hallways to a room where I was placed in front of a mirror still wearing the hood. I was asked why I had come. Then over the next several minutes I was allowed to remove the hood but only gaze directly at my reflection in the mirror while handing off my cell phone and answering questions being rapidly fired my way. “What’s your name?” “What have you done to improve yourself today?” “What have you done to improve humanity today?” “Are you a good person?” “Who is your best friend?” “Who knows you better…your best friend or your cell phone?” “Are you a good person?” “What’s the worst things you’ve every done to another person?” “What’s your biggest regret?” “Are you a good person?”  Then I was told by a male voice that it only takes 2 minutes to completely download the information from a cell phone and they had done that. I was instructed to replace the hood on my head and shoved back down the hallway that smelled of burning candles to have my phone placed in my hand as a woman’s voice told me that they were not who they seemed and gave me instructions to look my attendant in the eyes and say something specific once my hood was removed. I was then passed off to Talia and escorted in the elevator and back to the entrance. We had a quick exchange and then I was heading back with instructions not to interact with anyone between there and my car. The entire experience took about 40 minutes.

I was not allowed to mention anything of my experience until after all applicants had completed their experiences that evening. Lucky for me I only had to wait about 15 minutes. 

It was all quite exciting and fun. Well, that first moment when my phone was removed from my hand was a bit stressful. It’s not everyday unlock my phone and give it to a total stranger. 

I was surprised to find the above photo of myself hooded in front of the mirror in my photo gallery. 

I have since been checking The Tension Experience forums and sharing stories with other participants about their experiences with the OOA. You can visit the forum and even participate once you create an account on the site. Participants also discuss theories about the experience as well as plan meet ups and discuss puzzles on the site. It’s quite a community. 

If this blog post has peaked your interest be sure to check out the site. Anyone can be part of the online action, however live events appear to only be happening in the Los Angeles area. Not only is it a unique and thrilling experience, so far it’s been free. 

You will only get out of The Tension Experience what you put into it. So join the community and get active. 

Update 1: I received this tweet tonight which has me excited for what’s to come. 

Update 2: The OOA is always watching!!!  Within minutes of posting this blog and sharing it on Twitter (around 2 am) I received a surprising call on my cell phone from a blocked number. The mysterious voice on the other end called me by name and then proceeded to tell me something to the effect of my account of the event had been noticed and I had done some good in light.