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Review: Forbidden Aztec Temple

RATING: 1 Key          RESULT: Loss          REMAINING: X:XX

We should have listened when they told us this temple was forbidden; it’s like they were openly trying to warn us of how bad the game hidden within is…


The ancient Aztec Temple that you and your group were exploring seems to be collapsing! You realize that you may have just sealed your fate and could potentially be trapped here for eternity. Can your group band together, outsmart booby-traps and escape this Forbidden Aztec Temple with your lives, before time runs out?

So basically, the story is that there’s no story. You’ve stumbled upon an Aztec Temple, and now you need to get out of it. That fact that two “actors” portraying natives accompany your group for the entire journey is basically never touched on.

And then there’s the fact that they literally do absolutely nothing, so calling them actors would technically be a stretch at best and a joke at worst.


If it’s one thing we cannot take away from The Great Room Escape – it’s that their scenic quality is always executed to a decent level. That really should come as no surprise; at their core these guys are haunt industry folks – a professional world wherein sets and effects mean everything.

This multi-room game exists within different chambers of the Aztec Temple itself, with stone textured walls, over-grown vines and lots of tribal artifacts.

The space would work well if this were a haunt – but unfortunately set dressing and decor can only go so far in a game, and by its very nature needs quality puzzles to carry it to the finish line.



So about those quality puzzles. Forbidden Aztec Temple has, essentially, none of them.

We’ve come to recognize that what The Great Room Escape is good at is scenic, and what they’re bad at is game design. Typical experiences at this venue always involve giant logic leaps in their puzzle design – and simply put, Forbidden Aztec Temple was the worst of their trio in that regard by a very, very large margin.

At the end of the day, there was a puzzle that we never did figure out what their intentions were for us to do with it. Even after an employee tried to explain it once time ran out, the logic still did not make any sense. Or, perhaps more accurately, the logic was non-existent.


Forbidden Aztec Temple is another example of The Great Room Escape being “all show, no go.” They’re literally the peacock of the escape room world; beautiful feathers but no meat on the bones. This probably is certainly not helped by another major downfall of this brand: they jam way too many people in a game at a given time, making it both difficult to move within the space, even more difficult to communicate and damn near impossible to have a good time.

Honestly though, there’s a bigger problem than their games just being bad – and that’s that their quality of staff is even worse. We’ve visited their San Diego venue twice now, over which times we’ve played all three games. Our consistent experience has been that the staff is rude and short with the guests. They clearly lack the understanding of how to operate a hospitality-based business. And to make matters even worse, they flat out refuse to give players clues when they get stuck on their nonsensical puzzles.

It seems that to The Great Room Escape as a brand – at least in this San Diego venue – it is far more important that guests lose a game than it is to design one that is enjoyable and achievable. They brag about how few people make it out of any of their rooms. And I’m here to tell you – we’ve played three and escaped two with plenty of time to spare. We found none of them to be what we would call “difficult” – including this one that we did not escape from. The consistent issue is never how challenging they are, but how convoluted they are. Their puzzles are just not well designed, nor are their games well run.

I’m a firm believer of never saying never, especially now that I run this site which will always try to cover as much as physically possible. That being said, I’m in no hurry to return to The Great Room Escape anytime soon, and would recommend you explore other offerings in the San Diego area before choosing this one.

Venue Details

Venue:  The Great Room Escape

Location: San Diego, California

Number of Games: 3


Duration: 60 minutes

Capacity: 12 people

Group Type: Public / You may be paired with strangers.

Cost: $34.95 per person

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