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. 

ESCAPE ROOMS – 60out Escape Rooms: Outbreak – California

60OUT ESCAPE ROOMS: OUTBREAK

YouTube Review

I love this company and Outbreak happens to be at my favorite 60out Escape Rooms location in Marina Del Rey. Not only is there easy parking, awesome staff, amazing food walking distance from the location, but they also have some of my favorite escape games at this venue. Outbreak is one of those favorite games.

Outbreak is a wonderfully immersive experience. The set design, props, decor, use of technology is outstanding. The puzzles are not your standard “puzzle room” style conundrums, but rather a more hands on approach to figuring out what you might really do in the situation. I find this makes the experience all the more immersive and fun. However, if you are looking for a more puzzle heavy, mentally challenging game you may want to choose one of the other games at this location. However, if you want to really feel like you’re in a high stakes situation or a character in a video game that is going to save the planet, this is a perfect game for you.

There is a serum that you must find to save the world from a deadly virus. I know it’s not the most original concept in the world of escape rooms, but they do such an amazing job of executing the game that the over-used theming that it’s perfectly fine. I mean, just because I’ve played games with that theme before doesn’t mean newer players have anyway. Besides, people love being a hero and saving the world.

Overall Outbreak is one of my favorite games in the nation for it’s creative out of the box style, beautiful set and incredible immersion. It’s like spending an hour being in your own science fiction action movie, instead of just sitting at a theatre watching one. I highly recommend this game for players of all levels.

 

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WHERE TO EAT NEARBY:

SINNERS & SAINTS DESSERTS

One of my favorite bakeries is walking distance from this location. The Sinners & Saints Bakery has a large selection of delicious baked goods (including gluten-free) as well as unique coffee options.

EKKAMAI RESTAURANT

I’ve eaten here every time I’ve come to play games at the Marina Del Rey 60Out location. They have great Thai food with a good variety of gluten free options. It’s reasonably priced and always yummy. They have quick service. They are a couple of blocks from the games. I think they may be in a converted Taco Bell, so not a fancy place but a great local find.

 

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 ROOMS -Open Door Escape Games: The Study – California

OPEN DOOR ESCAPE GAMES

I know your works. See, I have set before you an OPEN DOOR, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name.-Revelation 3:8

Open Door Escape Games is a family friendly game created by a husband and wife team. Their idea in opening this company was to be a light to downtown Redlands and to support world and local missions. Matt is an assisting pastor at Wildwood Calvary Chapel and Angela is a Sr. Sales Director with Mary Kay. In my opinion they have successfully created a fun escape room that you could bring any of your family members or friends to play and enjoy. However, I do want to be clear that this room is not a “kids” room, the minimum suggested age is 13 because of the complexity of the puzzles.

The Study is a first generation game with a solid story and clever low tech puzzles. I liked that since they don’t really lock you in the room, the justification for the “escape” is done seamlessly through the story. The Study has a super creative hint system that made me smile. The puzzles are complex and great for groups. The decor is nice. It feels like you are in a lived in study, which is spot on for the theme and story. Overall it’s an enjoyable game.

  • Restaurant Suggestion: We ate at Crepes of Wrath and it was amazing! They offer wonderful gluten-free crepes and are great about other food allergies as well. Also very nice staff.  We walked past it on our way to the room from the parking structure.

ESCAPE ROOMS- Houdini’s Room Escape: The Game Room – Ohio

HOUDINI’S ROOM ESCAPE

houdini

I may have been Bess in a former life because I am absolutely in love with Houdini. Therefore, every time I’m in a city with a Houdini themed room I must play it. This however, was not my favorite Houdini room. Actually it could’ve been called, “Any old magician’s office,” since I didn’t really feel as though Houdini inspired anything in it. I know we were looking for shackles and a straightjacket, but Houdini was so much more than those two props.
The room itself was spacious and well decorated. The study looked like a real study and so forth. The set pieces were nicer than the typical Ikea furnished room. The lighting and color scheme was pleasant. However, I didn’t really feel immersed in a Houdini-esque world. It felt like a really nice study that probably belonged to a magician.
The puzzle design was average. There was little to no technology, which is fine, but the puzzle creativity was a little lacking especially when considering the theme. There was one really fun “Aha” moment, but other than that it all felt a little overwhelming and chaotic. There was a little searching involved. There was a lot of solving simple yet tedious puzzles both physical and mentally. There were two puzzles that stood out as far as being difficult for the sake of having something difficult in the room, one of which required prior knowledge. (Maybe playing chess is common knowledge, but I don’t think it is.) My biggest problem with the room was that amount of people they stuffed in it. It was way too crowded and even with the busy work there wasn’t enough to occupy everyone simultaneously.

Congratulations 2016 Skeleton Key Award Winners

Congratulations 2016 Skeleton Key Award Winners

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Congratulations to all of the 2016 Skeleton Key Award winners!

The following games are all incredibly fun and unique in their own ways. Below you can see them listed by the category in which they shine especially bright.

Overall:

13thgate

13thgateescape2

60out

Immersion:

wizardsandwires

paniq

enigma

Innovation:

crossroadsaward

basement

puzzah

Family Fun:

epic

1st Gen:

escapemyroom

quicksand

escapezone

Creativity:

exitgame

mazerooms

Competition Room:

denverescape

Set Design:

escapology

ESCAPE ROOMS – PanIQ Room: Wild West – Arizona

PanIQ Room: Wild West

I had a rootin’ tootin’ grand ole time in this fully immersive Wild West escape game. I felt like a real old fashioned cowgirl trying to break out of jail with the physical puzzles that required me to use not only my brain power but other skills as well. One of the most impressive things was the set decor. You could easily forget that you were in a building in the year 2016 because of the impressive set design. The props were made to stand up to the roughest of cowboys. The puzzles were a good mix of physical and mental challenges. It isn’t the most difficult room and the gamemaster is willing to give assistance, so it’s great for beginners. I had a lot of fun playing it as an experienced player, but if you have a large team of experienced players I might suggest playing a more difficult game at this location. The staff here was outstanding, which made the whole experience even better. I actually came back later that day with a friend to play Kidnapped based on how much fun I had in Wild West by myself earlier that day.