The Cavern: Trapped deep inside a cavern underneath the city streets, our group of adventurers discovered the remains of a lost city. However, we had to find our way out quickly before we ran out of air.
The Theater: We found ourselves trapped in an old haunted theater with a discontented ghost. We had to free the trapped spirit without permanently trapping ourselves in the underworld.
Alchemist: This alchemists lab held many ancient secrets waiting to be discovered. Our group had to reveal them all and unite the four elements before the alchemist returned.
Pros: The set designs in the rooms at Escape LA are absolutely fantastic. We especially loved the alchemist set for its ingenuity and immersive feel. The cavern and the theater were also quite impressive. These rooms were very large with lots of room for movement which is great given the large group size. The puzzles were multi-linear, aligned to the story themes, generally logical and fun to solve. The puzzle master deserves praise for the effort put into aligning these to the overarching narrative.
Cons: We have very conflicting feelings about our experience at Escape LA. On the one hand, the puzzles were fun and the sets in the rooms blew us away. On the other hand, the large group size, massive number of the puzzles, and very limited time frame severely detracted from our full enjoyment of the experience. Elsewhere In this blog we have railed against large group sizes and the limitations they place on a positive and productive playing environment. We will not repeat those points here except to say that once again (three times again) our theory on this was validated through our game play at Escape Room LA. We detest group sizes over six and recommend escape room owners think more about the player perspective in a game with this many people. Even with the large numbers of players in the room (10-12) we did not have nearly enough time to solve the multiple numbers of puzzles in these rooms. Although we enjoyed the puzzles and their clear ties to the theme, we felt there were far too many to solve in the time frame. With only 50 minutes instead of the standard 60 minutes the buzzer often went off with the exclamation from the game master "Oh so close, only two minutes away." In all three of the games we were only one puzzle away or one box in process of opening before a successful escape. The missing ten minutes and ridiculous number of puzzles explains the low escape rate at Escape LA. Even with our extensive game play knowledge, we found ourselves overwhelmed and short of time. We also had mixed encounters with the various game masters who were ever present in the rooms. We generally disapprove of game masters in the room since they tend to intervene either too frequently or discourage the free-thinking of players. This was no exception. The game masters interrupted our thoughts to say "don't touch that" or "that's not important" which tended to suppress the exploratory, trial and error approach to problem-solving that is essential to an enjoyable escape room experience. Instead, players often turned to them asking for permission to touch items or advice on how to proceed, in effect robbing them of independent thought and action. We did however truly appreciate the very thorough walk-through and debrief at the conclusion of each game. This should be standard practice at all escape room venues.
Major props to Escape Room LA on the set design. Truly remarkable craftsmanship and creativity. You definitely deserve the Eacapeologists Set Design Award!
Cover photo taken at Countdown Live .
We are escape room fanatics who have played over 300 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: 352