RATING: 4 Keys RESULT: Win REMAINING: 15:00
It’s a race to find the cure for before a new virus destroys all of mankind… unfortunately for us that cure may be hidden in the largest escape game in Los Angeles!
There’s a fine line between pretty straight-forward and pretty vague – and the Clinic’s story skates it. At its core, this adventure is about searching a massive abandoned laboratory facility to find a cute to this new rampant outbreak. Though as we’ll soon find out, while the lab may be abandoned by humans, it’s very much inhabited by brain-hungry zombies lurking in the shadows, ready to attack.
The story, vague or not is fairly well implemented, creating an escape room spanning a huge amount of space that sometimes feels as much like a haunt as it does a game. This one may not be suitable for the easily frightened.
First and foremost we need to stress just how huge this game is. At just about 1,500 square feet, it’s more than double the size of some of LA’s previously largest games. The Quest Factory makes use of that space by populating the Clinic with what feels like an endless collection of rooms and hallways.
The space is very dimly lit, and at times completely pitch black. A combination of sound effects and physical effects, as well as some well placed zombie figures creates a truly haunted house-style atmosphere for this game to exist within.
Each room is completely full of stuff, making it feel like an authentically lived-in real world environment. You won’t find empty shelves or drawers in this Clinic at all.
Some great scenic painting helps the mood come to life (or should we say death?) creating a dank and unwelcoming storyworld that’s easy to be come immersed within.
Yes, Clinic most certainly does have puzzles and is without a doubt a bonafide escape game – however it felt as though each room may have had just one single small puzzle to tackle before moving into the next one, and there was very little yo-yo’ing back and forth between them. For all intents, once you finished a room, it was time to move forward to the next and never return.
Just the same, we found the gameplay experience throughout Clinic to be enjoyable enough, thanks in great part to the superb environment it exists within. Unfortunately its weakest puzzle was in the finale, comprised of a rather unique gag that we just couldn’t quite get it to function as designed. Honestly, the finale in its entirety, from puzzle to scenic to story felt completely disconnected and out of place when compared to the rest of the experience.
Without the scenic, decor, scale and layout, Clinic as a game would probably be an ok one at best. Luckily for The Quest Factory (formerly Maze Quests), this is a total package experience wherein the weaker aspects are carried by some very solidly strong positives.
If for nothing else, Clinic is worth seeing just for its sheer scale alone. The sets and ambiance create a chilling and at times intimidating world to explore – and honestly there was more than one moment where I was far more interested in taking in the space as though it were meant to be an immersive theater production than I was worried about solving puzzles.
For me, that’s not necessarily a bad thing – as I’m very much a fan of both genres of entertainment. For you, it really depends on what you’re looking for. If gameplay surpasses all other needs for you in an escape room, Clinic might leave you feeling just a tad unfulfilled – but if you’re in it for the total immersive experience, wherein the “escape” is more about escaping reality than it is escaping a room, Clinic is actually pretty damn cool.
The Quest Factory exists within an absolutely massive warehouse type space, and each of their games are constructed with set walls a la haunted house style. This gives them the ability to create some pretty incredible rooms without completely breaking the bank with permanent physical construction. It’s a smart move for any venue that has big dreams of expansion – and from the sound of things, that is The Quest Factory to a tee. We’re excited to see how they continue to grow, evolve and improve. Without a doubt The Quest Factory is a venue in the LA market that has some pretty big potential.
Venue: The Quest Factory
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Number of Games: 2
GAME SPECIFIC INFORMATION:
Duration: 60 minutes
Capacity: 6 people
Group Type: Public or Private
Cost: $35 per person for a public game or $189 for a private room
We thank The Quest Factory for inviting us to review this game. Although complimentary admission was generously provided, that in no way impacts the opinion included within this review.