Zodiac Killer – Based on the real-life story of the notorious zodiac killer, you have to try to solve the mystery before you become its next victim.
Zombie Lab – A zombie outbreak. A secret cure. A very limited time before you become just like one of the many dead characters of The Walking Dead. You know what you have to do.
We have reviewed Room Escape Live before and we definitely recommend it. They presently have six games and in our experience they are all great fun to play. This review is specifically for the rooms Zodiac Killer and Zombie Lab.
Pros: Both rooms are meticulously designed and created to reflect the theme and storyline. The high quality props and solid construction of the rooms is what we have come to expect from Room Escape Live and they definitely did not disappoint in both these rooms. The puzzles are always logical and aligned wit the theme. The game masters are professional, attentive and ready to help at a moment’s notice. This is a thoroughly professional establishment in every respect.
Cons: The puzzles are complex. We need lots of hints every time we come to Room Escape Live. That is not always a problem. We have no ego issues in asking for hints, but we do like good game flow without interruptions. A few more guideposts to help players through the process could eliminate the frequent need for hints. We found ourselves at a complete loss on some of the puzzles, especially in zodiac killer. Since that does not usually happen to us, and we assume that beginners would really struggle, we suggest that they just offer a few more signals in the room to help guide players to the solutions.
You really cannot go wrong playing at Room Escape Live. So just do it. You know you want to.
Smuggler’s Tunnel: Artifacts, artwork, precious jewels and more! All just waiting for us to steal it. But how much could we gather before time ran out?
Testing Facility: An Artificial Intelligence machine has developed a mind of its own and is literally out of control. We had to find a way to shut it down before we became its best friends forever.
Pros: We played both Testing Facility and Smuggler’s Tunnel in back-to-back games at Escape Chronicles. The game masters were accommodating and helpful in every way. The set design was appropriate to the themes in both rooms and especially impressive in Smuggler’s Tunnel. The puzzles were also aligned to the storyline of the rooms. We especially enjoyed the creativity of the puzzles in Testing Facility. The game flow procceeded smoothly overall thanks to helpful and timely hints from our game masters.
Cons: There were a few puzzles in both rooms that were overly convoluted, requiring a few too many steps or logical leaps to solve. In other cases, we found puzzles that we were able to work around in some way that led our game on a different trajectory than the game designers intended. Most of these issues can be fixed with a few minor adjustments. Our advice to the designers/owners is to carefully observe future players and note which puzzles players need hints to solve. Those are the problem areas that need to be fixed in future games. A good game should be perfectly solvable without any hints. We all get stuck sometimes and need a little help. But a puzzle that requires the same hint over and over again reveals a problem in design logic or puzzle execution.
Despite the issues mentioned above that caused us to fail to escape on time from Testing Facility, we definitely recommend Escape Chronicles. The creativity of the puzzles, the set design, the helpfulness of the game masters and the enjoyable storylines made for an overall good experience. Bring your friends to Escape Chronicles!
The Cabin: Dwight has mommy issues. And daddy issues. And just issue issues. He’s insane. He’s a cannibal. He wants to kill you. What else do you need to know? You gotta get the hell outta here quick.
We have to admit that we are not the biggest fans of the all-to-common “serial killer on the loose” or “locked in the basement of a madman’s house” theme. But the Cabin was an excellent experience and highly recommended.
Pros: The solid set design of the cabin not only fit the theme perfectly but helped set the murderous cannibal ambiance. The quality of some of the props alone caused me to stop and admire the work of the set designers. Props to you, Ms. Puzzle Designer (pardon the pun). The puzzles were logical and simple, but fun to solve. There was quite a bit of searching but it didn’t feel monotonous or impossible with our group of four. We worked our way through the game methodically and managed to escape without a single hint and setting a record. So we felt very good about the overall game flow.
Cons: The puzzles could be scaled a bit more in complexity. A few multi-step puzzles could add to the challenge (especially in the last room). This might make the game more fun for experienced players.
This is definitely recommended for beginners. Experienced players will also love playing the Cabin. After all, when was the last time you got to beat an insane cannibalistic serial killer? What’s that? You do that at almost every other escape room you visit? Well even if you did it just last week at that other escape room, it’s still worth our time to visit The Room LA.
The Basement: A dark, dank basement. A deranged serial killer who likes to play games. An hour to escape. You’ve done this before. You know the drill.
So this was it. We had finally made it. After years of hearing about the allegedly BEST escape room in the world, we finally had the chance to play it. Prior to this day we had several missed opportunities to play owing mostly to the fact that they require a certain minimum number of players for optimal game play. Everywhere we have visited people have asked us: Have you played the basement? Now we could finally say: “YES!”
Much to our disappointment, however, we felt, in our humble opinion, that the Basement has been much exaggerated and definitely overhyped. Our theory on this is that many so-called escape room review bloggers have never actually played the games they recommend but only pass on what they have “heard” from others (most of whom are first-time escape room players). But to give credit where credit is due, let’s start with the positive.
Pros: The set design was cool! Not the best of the best, but still pretty darned cool. The dark lighting and added effects created the spooky ambience befitting of its reputation. The fear factor was definitely heightened in the minutes waiting before the start of the game and the whole group was mentally prepared to be scared silly by the trailers and overview videos. The game master was likewise instrumental to creating a sense of terror and preparing us for the feeling that we were really about to be locked away fighting for our lives.
Cons: It wasn’t scary. Wait, maybe that should go in the pros? Yes, that is definitely a pro. Let me repeat: IT IS NOT SCARY. For those of you who HATE HAUNTED HOUSES (you know who you are), you can breathe a sigh of relief. I personally love haunted houses (though usually not in combination with escape rooms) but this was definitely not a haunted house in any way. There was a surprise sound or spooky element here and there but nothing terrifying at all. So never fear, my fretful friends who may have steered away from this place based on the promos. The reason why we have placed this fact in the cons section, however, is based on the fact that their entire advertising campaign and hype is focused on being a terrifying experience. It was, in fact, not terrifying.
With that out of the way, now we can evaluate it as a normal escape room. As you know we love puzzles (like all escape room fanatics) and focus mostly on looking at quality of puzzles, logic of puzzles, and game flow. The Basement suffered on all these accounts. First, the puzzles were not all aligned to the theme of the room. Some were random and most were not puzzles at all but merely objects or codes to find. Finding objects in a dark and dirty (faux dirt) room with only one flashlight between twelve people is nearly impossible. The logic of a few of the puzzzles was questionable. Game flow was severely complicated by the sheer number of players packed into the room. Twelve people? Communication is nearly impossible. Twelve people and a linear, one puzzle at a time room? Definitely impossible. We did not escape. We were close, we were told. But we did not escape. This was not for want of trying or lack of experience but due to the fact that twelve people were crammed into a dark room with 1-2 flashlights and very well-hidden codes and objects. Reduce the number of people and provide us proper lighting and then we will be able to see well enough and communicate well enough to easily solve the simple puzzles in this room.
Our recommendation? Play it to say you’ve played it but we found it mostly just overhped and overcrowded. The large number of people in the room made for an unenjoyable escape room experience especially when compared to the vast majority of other escape room companies out there. Southern California has so many other AMAZING escape rooms – give some of those a try.
Spellbound: A deadly curse has afflicted the town and trapped inside the evil wizard’s lair we had to find a way out and break the curse.
Task Force Agency: As potential future secret agents, we had to prove our worth in order to qualify for admission to the academy.
Pros: Although we were tired after our flight to the Los Angeles area, the game master at Enchanted Escape Room quickly improved our spirits with his enthusiasm and joy. First we tackled Spellbound. This other-worldly adventure through the spirit realm challenged us with a variety of magic-themed puzzles. We had little trouble progressing through the game with few hints thanks to good game flow and logical puzzle design. We had a similar experience as undercover agents playing Task Force Agency. The game had several unique physical puzzles that deviated from the monotony of typical escape room word or math puzzles. We needed a few more hints than usual to move us along, but we were ultimately able to uncover the sleeper cells and succeed in our mission.
Cons: The set design was somewhat cheesy (mostly with the game Spellbound). Cheap props tended to detract a bit from the magic of an otherwise great room. In Task Force Agency, shoddy equipment or puzzle pieces complicated or delayed the puzzle-solving. For those who play lots of escape rooms, you will recognize this as a pretty typical phenomenon for most establishments. But in Los Angeles the escape rooms tend to go above and beyond in set design, so this one is a bit atypical of the norm in the area. This should not deter people from playing. Enchanted Escape Room is definitely a good, solid game-play experiencs and is definitely recommended for both beginner and advanced players alike! Be sure to visit Enchanted Escape Room in Northridge.
Cover photo taken at Countdown Live .
We are escape room fanatics who have played over 370 games in the U.S. and Europe. We love the art of escapology and we wanted to share our adventures in playing room escapes with you!
Rooms Played: 370