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.

CALIFORNIA ESCAPE ROOM LIST

Below is a list of the Escape Rooms I’ve played roughly in order of MY favorite to least favorite. Note: I prefer strong storytelling and immersion, especially in horror, paranormal & magic themed escape rooms, so my preferences may be different than yours.

Feel free to write to me Twitter @christinebarger or Instagram @TheHauntGirl  

GROUPED BY REGIONS:  LOS ANGELES AREA, “THE VALLEY”, ORANGE COUNTY, INLAND EMPIRE, HIGH DESERT, VENTURA COUNTY, PALM SPRINGS, BIG BEAR, SAN DIEGO, SAN FRANCISCO

LOS ANGELES AREA ESCAPE ROOMS

Maze Rooms: Magical Kingdom

Maze Rooms: Spy Dogs

Maze Rooms: Sky Odyssey

Quest Room: Warlocked

Quest Room: Amnesia

Quest Room: Resurrection 

60out: The Orphange

Quest Room: Red Giant

Maze Rooms: The Abyss

Quest Room: Bloody Elbow

Maze Rooms: They’re Coming

Maze Rooms: CyberPunk Samurai

60out: Hyde Circus

Quest Room: Perfumer

Planet Escape Rooms – Wise Guys

Planet Escape Rooms – Game of Swords

Maze Rooms: World of Illusions

60out: Alice in Wonderland

60out: Time Machine

Quest Room: Cannibals Den

Maze Rooms: One Way Ticket

60out: Houdini

Maze Rooms: Lunar Station

60out: Amityville

Quest Room: Da Vinci’s Challenge

Maze Rooms: The Dragon’s Lair

Two Bit Circus Story Rooms

Maze Rooms – SteamPunk Samauri

Planet Escape Rooms – Cntrl-Alt-Reality

Fox In The Box – Tesla

Maze Rooms: Jack the Ripper

60out: Jumanji Welcome to the Jungle

Hypnotic: Project 5150

60out: Grandma’s Masterplan

Roomescape LA The Bank (now Fox in a Box)

60out Escape Rooms: Casino

60out Escape Rooms: Doctor Psycho

60out Escape Rooms: Cartel DEA Undercover

60out Escape Room: P.U.T.I.N. (now Red Alert)

60out Escape Rooms: Ghost Ship

60out Escape Rooms: The Mystery of Senator Payne

Roomescape LA: Prison (now Fox in a Box)

60out: DaVinci’s Secret

Maze Rooms: Castle

60out: Nautilus

Mobile Escape Room LA: MacGuffins Cocktail Room

Maze Rooms: Secret Mission

Roomescape LA: Bunker (now Fox in a Box)

The Laboratory Escape Room (original location)

Horror Escapes LA: Captive Chamber

Horror Escapes LA: Dr. Office

Back in Time – Salem Witch Hunt

Maze Rooms: Motel

Roomescape LA: Zombie Lab (now Fox in a Box)

MagIQ Room: Secrets of Wizardry

Maze Rooms: FBI

MagIQ Room: Pirate’s Den

Quest Room: Polar Station

60Out Escape Rooms: Hangover Game(now Mafia)

Hatch Escapes – Lab Rat

Escape Room LA: The Pyramid

“THE VALLEY” LOS ANGELES ESCAPE ROOMS:

The Basement (Basement, The Elevator Shaft & Study) *NEW GAME* The Courtyard

Maze Rooms: Wizard’s Tower

Maze Rooms: Lord of the Swords

Escape the Room: Cartman’s Escape (South Park)

Maze Rooms: Whatever Happened to the Garretts

Escape the Room: Jurassic Escape

Exit Artists

Theme Quest Escape Room: Houdini (now Architect)

Maze Rooms: Pirate Bay

Maze Rooms: Tombstone

Theme Quest Escape Room: Bonnie and Clyde (now Architect)

Nodus 805 Escape Room

Arcane Escape Rooms: The Hideout

The Bunker Experience (the original version)

Arcane Escape Rooms: The Agency

The Room Live Escape Room: The Cabin

Escape the Room: Clock Tower

Enchanted Escape Room: Spellbound

ORANGE COUNTY ESCAPE ROOMS:

I now own an escape room in OC: EXIT GAME

CrossRoads Escape Game: Hex

Scenario Escape Rooms: Mad Rapper

Unlocked Escape Room: Game On! Unlocked Arcade

The Escape Game: Playground

Mission Escape Games: Escape the Hydeout

Unlocked Escape Room: The Return of the Magician

Hidden Donkey – Irvine School of Wizardry

Not Another Escape Room: Battleship

Cinema Escape Room – The Strange Thing

Puzzle Workshop: CSI Hollywood

Puzzle Workshop: Secrets of the Illuminati

Crossroads Escape Game: Funhouse

Escapade Games: Zoe

Escapade Games: The Last Experiment

Not Another Escape Room: Time Machine

Nerdy by Nature: The Initiation

EscapeX: Odditorium Emporium

Deceptive: The Butcher

Legacy: Sugar Rush

Nerdy by Nature: The Lost Treasure of Captain Blackbeard

The Escape Bus

Detectives Society Escape Rooms: Da Vinci’s Lost Workshop

The Escape Game: The Depths

Legacy: Cabin 13

Legacy: Georgie

Deceptive: Return to Coulrophobia

EscapeX Rooms: Mafia Heist

Escape ERA:  Ben Franklin

PuzzleMazement Escape Room: Paranormal

Immersion: The Cursed (now Entangled)

Kryptic: The Mystery of Stillwater Asylum

PuzzleMazement: The Dollhouse(original version)

Square Room: Harry Potter (now Sorcerer’s Study)

Brainy Actz

*DeadRingers by Escape Bus (seasonal 15 minute Escape game)

*Crossroads: The Asylum (ScareLA mini-game availability varies)

INLAND EMPIRE ESCAPE ROOMS:

Wizards & Wires: The Ghost Chamber

Breaking Point: Whitmore Estate

Wizards & Wires: The Curiosity Shop

MindTrap: Taken

The 13th Room: Chapter 2 The Silence

Quest Tavern: Last Supper

Breaking Point: Headcase

MindTrap – Jingle Bells

Mind Trap Escape Room: Gold Rush

Quest Tavern: The Bridge Between

Clever Fox – Book of the Dragons

Mind Trap Escape Room: Conspiracy (original version)

Clever Fox: Forbidden Temple

Quest Tavern: Witches Cauldron

Trapped: Pandora’s Box

Confusion: The Last Job

Chronos: ChronosTopia

Chronos: Jurassic Island

Unity Escape Rooms: The Cabin

Unity Escape Rooms: The Temple

HIGH DESERT ESCAPE ROOMS:

CENTRAL VALLEY ESCAPE ROOMS:

VENTURA COUNTY ESCAPE ROOMS:

House of Clues: Pirate Ghost Ship (original location)

PALM SPRINGS ESCAPE ROOMS:

Escape Room Palm Springs: Dark Shadows Room (Vampire’s Lair)

Escape Games at the River: The Great Candy Challenge

Escape Room Palm Springs: Saw Room (now Locker Room)

Escape Room Palm Springs: Titanic

Escape Games at the River: Mutiny Skull Island

Escape Games at the River: Secret of the Dragon’s Spire

BIG BEAR ESCAPE ROOMS:

Mountain Room Escapes Big Bear: Alpine Ski Lodge

SAN DIEGO ESCAPE ROOMS:

Quicksand Escape Games: China Town

Steal and Escape: The Neighbor

Quicksand Escape Games: The Diner

The Unlockables: The Escape

Escape Game SD: Japanese Thriller Room

Top Tier – Outside In

Quicksand Escape Games: The Speakeasy

Boss Play – Chocolate Factory

The Entrapment: The Disappearance at Fogmore Manor

Top Tier – Undercover escape the safe house

Escapology San Diego: TH3 C0D3

Clue Avenue: Villain’s Lair

Escapism: Art Gallery

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA AREA ESCAPE ROOMS:

Enchambered – Whispering Halls

Enchambered – Containment Breach

Palace Games: Houdini

Omescape: Kingdom of Cats

R.I.P.

These are rooms that I have played in California but are no longer available:

The Purge Truck

CrossRoads Escape Game: The Psych Ward

Enigma: The Will

Level Games: Fortune Teller

Level Games: The Menagerie

Enigma Escape Rooms: The Seance

Enigma: Apartment 205

Level Games: Doggy Dog World

Countdown Live: PsychoCountdown Live: Spaceship

Countdown: Mrs. Jezebel’s Tea Party (original version)

School of Hard Locks: Halloween Room

CatCon Animal Planet Escape Box

Exit Game The Ai (Los Angeles location)

Exit Game The Villains Lair (Los Angeles location)

Exodus: Quake Escape

Exit Game: The Chamber (Los Angeles location)

Captured LA (old location)

Paniq Room: Creepy Cemetery

X Room Victorian Mansion

X Room Court in Session

X Room Escape the Wonderland

X Room Curse of the Mummy

Trapped! The ChamberTrap House (Think Tank)

Square Room: Mario Brothers

Real Escape Room: Treasure Island

Countdown: Special Event Beta Test

Kaien (the game we beta tested, but isn’t open yet)

School of Hard Locks: Principal’s Office

SCRAP Real Escape Game Escape from the Cursed Forest Event

SCRAP Real Escape Game Escape the Magic Show

Salvation Room: The Inferno

Ace Escape Game The Pharaoh’s Treasure

SCRAP Real Escape Game: Escape from the Time Travel Lab

The 13th Room (ScareLA mini-game)

Trapped! Escape Room: Jailbreak 

Room of no return: Jail

Mysterium Escape Room

Escape the Night (VidCon)

The Cromwell Estate (Midsummer Scream mini-game)

Maze Quests: Queen Anne’s Revenge

Countdown Live Escape: Krampus

Evil Genius Escape Rooms

Enigma: Crime Scene

Enigma: Secret Temple

Mobile Escape Room LA: Sleep Study

Captured LA: The Starlet Killer

Logiquit: Warehouse of Jack Travis

Logiquit The Laboratory of Dr. Lev Pasted

Logiquit Secret Agent Room

Logiquit: CSI Room

Escape Room Treasure Hunt: The Alchemist’s Lab

The Basement: Boiler Room

Amazing Escape Room: Operation Desert Storm

Famous Escape Rooms:  The Great Redemption

Maze Rooms: Demon Hunter

S.H.A.D.I.E. Grove Escape Room

Hollywood Escape House: The Royal Indian Dungeon

Eskape Rooms: Operation Dream State

PuzzleMazement Escape Room: Professor S!

Escape the Place: The Chamber

PuzzleMazement Escape Room: Saving Christmas!

The Cromwell Estate

The 13th Room: Alchemy & Wizardry

The 13th Room: Jack the Ripper

The Game Maker Escape Room (temporary room at Coffin Creek)

Funhouse Escape 60 Minutes to Curtain & Another 60 Minutes to Curtain

Real Escape Room: Bomb

Broken Chains Escape Games: Caught In A Rumple

Real Escape Room: Crazy Secret Laboratory

One Way Out: Apocalypse (now Exodus)

Escape This! Mosi’s Curse

Rooms of No Return: The Classroom

Rooms of No Return: Dead Silence

The Great Escape: Mafia Bomb Squad

Bakersfield Escape Room: Winter Fall

Real Escape: Bootlegger Warehouse

Real Escape: Wizards Lair

Excido: Studio

Excido: Casino

Escape Room Palm Springs: Mystery Room

Divergent Realities: The Informant

Great Room Escape San Diego: Houdini’s Hidden Workshop

Great Room Escape San Diego: The Lab

School of Hard Locks: Art Class

Maze Rooms: VR Cosmos Game

Escape Room Police

Omescape: Forgotten Treasure

Spookador

Escape SF: Escape from Antique Room

Escape Room LA: The Cavern

Kaein LLC: The Alien

Kaien: Time Machine

Suite 201

Escape the Night – PopUp at UTA

LA Dragons – Knights of the Round Table

Escape From Godot

Exit Game: The Lab (Los Angeles location)

Exit Game: The School of Sorcery (Los Angeles location)

Exit Game An Hour To Kill (Los Angeles location)

Escape Room Long Beach: Bad Blood

Escape Room LA: The Theatre

60out Escape Rooms: Outbreak

60out Escape Rooms: Titanic

60out: Wizard’s Workshop

Escapedom: The Lair

60out: Zen Room

Get the F Out: The Virus

Escape Room LA: The Detective

Escape Hotel: Agent

Trapped in a Room with a Zombie & Still Hungry

Countdown Live: Pandorus (now 60out Galaxy Quest)

Maze Quests: Clinic

60out Escape Rooms: Quest in a Box (temporary popup)

Countdown Live: Tiki Palace (now 60out)

EscapeIQ: Alcatraz

Escape Hotel: Day Care

Escape Room LA: The Alchemist

Escape Hotel: Witchcraft

Escape Hotel: Jack Reacher (renamed Espionage)

Escapedom: Den of the Occult

Horror Escapes LA: Edmond’s Attic

Escape Haus LA: Masquerade Ball Room

Haunted Recording Studio

Escape Chronicles

Amazing Escape Room: The Starlight Lounge

Amazing Escape Room: Escape the X Corporation

Amazing Escape Room: Black & White

Amazing Escape Room: Mystery of the Red Dragon

Unlocked Escape Room: The Professor’s Basement

Paniq Room: Bunker

Paniq Room Insane Asylum

Hidden Passage: Pharoah’s Curse

TrapZone Escape Rooms: The Asylum

Legend X Iteration(original version)

MindTrap – Wizard of OZ

Containment: Carnival

Gaslamp: The Sword in the Study

Containment – Cabin

Hall of Shadows: The Signal

Hall of Shadows: Shadow Menagerie

Trapped! Escape Room: Puzzlemaster (original version)

Trapped! Escape Room: Sector 13 (original version)

Xscape Pods: Galaxy Adventure

Xscape Pods – Pharaoh

Xscape Pods – Government Secrets

The 13th Room (original)

Open Door Escape Games: The Study

Get a Clue Room Escape: The Toy Shop

The Ultimate Escape Rooms: We Are All Mad Here

One Way Out: Bank Heist (now Exodus)

Xcape Room Fresno: Murder Scene (original version)

Breakout Fresno: Sabotage – Code Red

Bakersfield Escape Room: RESCUE (now Puzzle Effect Bakersfield)

Escape the Asylum (All Saints Lunatic Asylum)

Escape Games at the River: Baker Street Mystery

3rd Day Escape: Harvest Motel

Top Tier – Atlantis Dive to the Forgotten City

Mighty Awesome: The Office of Professor R.K. Alogee

Enigma HQ

Nightwalker Caverns Escape Room: Clownotorium (original)

3rd Day Escape: Hourglass (original version)

Omescape: Omega

Escape Room Movie 2 Pop-up Subway

Stranger Things Mini-Game Pop-Up

Cryptic Escape Rooms

Breaking Point: Patient 17