ESCAPE ROOMS – Escape Games at the River – CA

Escape Games at the River

Playing this Baker Street Mystery game was a throwback to the early days of escape rooms. It was the type of first gen game that would’ve impressed up when we started playing escape rooms, however felt a little lackluster now. 

We ran into a few small glitches in the game. There was a problem with one of the puzzles not working as well as it could physically that caused us to waste some time and get annoyed. The final lock was jammed. Honestly my biggest problem was the final puzzle’s logic, it felt misleading. Everything else was fine.
They did have one really clever puzzle I hadn’t seen before, but it didn’t really fit the decor of the room as well as some of the other puzzles. The room looks nice, nothing fancy but certainly clean and well kept. 

If you’re in the area I would say check it out. 

Advertisements

ODDITIES – Jurassic Planet at the LA County Fair – CA


I’ve never been particularly interested in dinosaurs, but I heard about Jurassic Planet and my curiosity got the best of me. I’m glad it did. 

For only a small $5 up charge to your fair admisssion you can walk among 40 life sized realistic animatronic dinosaurs. It pretty darn cool! I know they aren’t actually real dinosaurs (except for a few live creatures on display such as an emu, alligator and tortoise), but they seem pretty real if you let your imagination run wild. I found myself wanting to pet them and at one point talking in “baby talk” to a few adorable animatronic baby dinos. 

I really enjoyed Jurrasic Planet and wanted to share it here. I also recorded a bit of my experience which you can watch from YouTube below. 

ESCAPE ROOMS – Escape Hotel: Jack Reacher – California

*YouTube Video

ESCAPE HOTEL: JACK REACHER

I want to start off by letting you know that Escape Hotel offered free tickets to the general public on their website to play the Jack Reacher game for beta testing purposes and I that is how I booked tickets for this experience.

I didn’t know anything about Jack Reacher going into this escape room experience (aside from Tom Cruise being in the movie) and I didn’t learn anything about the story from playing the game either. I would recommend at least watching the movie trailer before playing the Escape Hotel’s Jack Reacher room if you want some idea of what the story is meant to be about. There isn’t really any story given to you for gameplay, however I think it’s assumed that the story is there from players’ prior knowledge of it. My team did mention that they didn’t think the room had anything to do with the movies aside from familiar faces in pictures used in some of the props. There is a video at the beginning of gameplay outside of the rooms we were locked in with the mascot of Escape Hotel talking, but I wasn’t really able to hear it because it wasn’t loud enough. That video might have given some of the information I was looking for, but alas I don’t know. There was an attempt at immersion through the use of blindfolds and environment, but it would have been much stronger if the story was made clear.

The room layout was interesting. We started out blindfolded and were placed in three different cells where we worked to escape our small cells into a larger room to work together to solve the final objective. It was unclear to us that the objective was not to escape the room. Since we entered blindfolded, later in the game I accidentally opened the exit door while exploring because I didn’t realize it was the exit door.

Puzzles. There were a few puzzles in the room. I hate to be too critical of puzzles since this was a beta test situation. I always try to be forgiving of small glitches and tech issues when testing a game prior to ticket sales opening up to the public and in this case we only had one, so I won’t elaborate on that. I will say that the room has some tech and I assume it will work wonderfully once the room is officially open for ticket sales. There weren’t very many puzzles for the length of the game. They all seemed fairly simple aside from one major puzzle that stumped our group until we asked for a hint. Once we were looking in the right place, we easily understood the rest of them. Sometimes I am not sure if it is fair to say that puzzles are easy when I am playing with experienced teammates because we’ve been exposed to so many different puzzles.  However this time, along with my husband and a friend, I had two random teammates that had never played an escape game before and they didn’t have any trouble with the puzzles either. Again I want to stress that since we played during beta testing, it is very possible that the puzzles will change or more puzzles may be added to the game.

The rooms decor was not as elaborate as I expected. One of my favorite things about Escape Hotel is the amazing lobby. Unfortunately the beautifully themed lobby is not a reflection of the decor in the games that I have seen at this location including Jack Reacher. It was rather plain and parts of the set dressing was already falling apart. The props looked a little more like handmade craft projects than professionally designed props. It’s disappointing that the game itself isn’t more elaborately decorated since it seems the purpose is to promote the movie and give customers a “Hollywood” experience.

This game is a ticketed game, meaning you buy a ticket and may be playing with random customers that also bought a ticket. Normally I dislike playing with strangers, but our team ended up being a lot of fun. There were five of us, which was more than enough to play the game. There were times where there wasn’t really enough for all of us to do. I will say we had fun playing the game together though.

We escaped in time and then waited for the game master to come congratulate us. She did not, so after an uncomfortable amount of time we exited the room ourselves and made our way back downstairs to retrieve our phones from the lockers behind the check in desk. The receptionist called the game master on her walkie talkie and she came out and apologized for not coming up to get us and explained that there is a blind spot in the room, so she didn’t know we had escaped.

If you haven’t played an Escape Hotel room before, be prepared to arrive 30 minutes early and fill out a waiver and create your passport. Also leave plenty of time for unexpected traffic and parking. There are paid lots nearby and some street parking. This location is also easily accessible by metro.

I can’t stress enough that this experience was a FREE BETA TEST and may or may not reflect the experiences of those that pay to play the Jack Reacher game once they officially start selling tickets to the public. I am curious to hear from others that play the game in the future to see if it has changed. If you play Escape Hotel’s Jack Reacher please leave a comment here on this blog post or on my YOUTUBE video for it.

 

 

 

ESCAPE ROOM – Escape Hotel: Agent – California

Escape Hotel: Agent

We enter a beautiful hotel lobby reminiscent of the Disney California Adventure’s former Tower of Terror. A strange bellhop greets us in a rather robotic manner. Upon approaching the desk we are warmly greeted and asked for our IDs. Several minutes later we are handed a very professional looking passport. To the right of the desk stands a counter that serves sandwiches, salads and drinks. Many comfortable couches are scattered about the lobby and the second level. The wheelchair specific lift to the second floor next to a backdropped photo op look a bit out of place, but it’s forgivable because their purposes are so clearly important. Postmodern Jukebox rings throughout the building adding to a fun but slightly creepy environment. This lobby sets expectations high even if you haven’t watched the incredible marketing videos before arriving.

Unfortunately the Agent Room isn’t quite as spectacular as the lobby, but it is a lot of fun. The decor is good. I honestly expected a bit more from it based on the amazing lobby. There are zip ties holding a few things together that seem a bit more functional than decorator choices. I’m usually not a fan of war themes, but this one was quite fun. I felt transported to a different time, maybe because I would never expect to find swastikas on anything these days. I couldn’t tell you the story primarily because I couldn’t hear the video that explains it over the loud music meant to set the tone. There is very little tech in the room, but what is there worked properly. It is very much your typical well-done escape room. I liked one of the puzzles near the beginning because it felt very MacGyver and I hadn’t seen it before. The room bottlenecks near the end, but up to that point there seemed to be enough to keep all six of us busy. If you are sensitive to violence or historic war visuals, this may not be the room for you. Also be aware this is right smack in Hollywood, so arrive early to find parking and deal with unexpected traffic.

Overall my husband and I had a really good time. We went opening weekend, so the company is still going through some growing pains of a brand new business. I expect amazing things from them in the near future, but until then The Agent is the room I recommend at Escape Hotel.

ESCAPE ROOM – 60out Escape Room: Doctor Psycho – California

60out Escape Room: Doctor Psycho


I’ve played A LOT of psycho killer rooms and honestly I thought I was “over” that theme until I played Doctor Psycho. This new room in Los Angeles is a refreshing change from the typical psycho killer escape rooms. It is innovative and fun. There is a great creep factor and comfortableness about it that I haven’t felt in a while. The decor is good. The puzzles are great. Yeah, there are still typical locks and some standard puzzle logic that I’ve seen before, but they also did some new and creative stuff that I just love! (Honestly I’m almost at my 200 room mark, so chances are the puzzles I have seen before will still be fresh and new to most players.) I especially love the way they integrate the players into the story in such an immersive way. Normally when I play a room that just opened I expect a few glitches and growing pains, but this room didn’t have them. I am looking forward to seeing what these guys come up with next.

 

ESCAPE ROOM – Steal and Escape – California

Steal and Escape

stealandescape

The government wants me to break into my neighbor’s house to save America? Sure. I always thought he was a weird dude anyway. Let’s go!

The story of Steal and Escape is a unique take on the typical “you work for the government.” I really like that we are called on to save our country by breaking IN to the neighbor’s house. Not a lot of rooms have you break IN, usually you are breaking out. The story continues throughout the game as you discover and unlock the pieces. The puzzles themselves are well done and creative. I managed to solve a large physical puzzle by myself that was supposed to be a team effort. I enjoyed the creativity of the puzzles, instead of the standard blacklight searching games I see in so many rooms. There was a lot of thought and passion in this game and you can tell. The decor is great, as well. Overall it is a fun, immersive game located in San Diego.

ESCAPE ROOM – Exit Game: The School of Sorcery – California

Exit Game: The School of Sorcery


You and your wizard friends are all dressed in your finest Hogwarts attire about to head to Universal Studios Wizarding World of Harry Potter for the 45th time when you realize it’s over 100 degrees today. Wouldn’t you rather enjoy some magic and excitement in more comfortable conditions? Go online and book a time slot for The School of Sorcery. You won’t be disappointed.

I have always wanted to be able to wave a wand and do real magic…The School of Sorcery is the closest I’ve come to that in an escape room. The wonderful blend of tech and traditional puzzles make for a strong game. The storytelling throughout the game creates an especially immersive environment, although the characters can feel a bit long winded considering we are racing the clock.

I had played the old wizard game that previously occupied this room, and I am glad they upgraded to an almost completely different game. (If you played the old game you may recognize a couple of things in the room.) Without giving any spoilers, I’ll just say the final puzzle of this game is one of my favorite uses of technology in a room. It’s done in a way that feels organic, clever and fun.

I played The School of Sorcery with my husband and a friend of ours that is also very good at escape rooms and we barely made it out in time. I would recommend a team of at least 4 people for this game, however if you are determined to play with less I think you must have at least 2 for certain puzzles.

This escape room is located in Monterey Park, just outside of Los Angeles.