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Review: The Locked in Dead

4 Key

RATING: 4 Key         RESULT: Loss          REMAINING: X:XX

When you find a derelict lab in the middle of the zombie apocalypse you have to explore it. Lucky for us this lab is stuffed to the gills with delectable story line!


You and your companions have been running from zombies, when they corner you in an abandoned building, which turns out to be the Laboratory of none other than Dr. Clements! Luckily for you it looks like Clements left a few things up and running…perhaps something will be useful?? The zombies are at the door and trying to get in…the only hope is to complete the tests that Dr. Clements left active, and find another way out!

The Locked in Dead is the original room at Quandary Escape Rooms and, like other venues before them, all the rooms at this venue play as one overarching story line. Quandary approached this a bit differently however, instead of each new room going forward in time, they take a step backwards to show you how they got there. So while this is their original room it is essentially the third installment into their saga.

While the zombie theme may feel tired and played out, Quandary Escape Rooms simply uses the zombies as the background of the world. This story really isn’t about the zombies, the story is really about Dr. Clements and how he lost his mind trying to find a cure, shut down his lab and left breadcrumbs to lead anyone else to what he has discovered.

One thing worth noting- during our time in this room we found that there is a lot of background story. Legitimately, this is one of the most impressive worlds that has been put into this room. You could literally spend the entire hour learning about the lore of this world and not feel as though it was a complete waste of your time- and this feeling plays out over all of their rooms.


The scenic for The Locked in Dead was well done.  There is only so much that can be done with what is essentially office space but the team at Quandary did everything within their power to set the correct feeling in this room. Essentially the room feels much like an at home lab during a zombie apocalypse- boards over the windows, dim lights, bloody hand prints on door frames- Everything felt right.

Right as you walk into the room your eye is drawn to a custom creation that seems almost out of place but upon further inspection you can see exactly why it’s there. It’s that feeling of “something’s not quite right” that is interrupted by introduction video from Dr. Clements chronicling his spiral into madness.

Scenically the Locked in Dead didn’t just take what they were given with the office space, they crafted a nice little world within their walls and told an effective story that kept us hooked.


The puzzles for The Locked in Dead were also well done. At first when you walk in the room and see physical locks and clues you think they are there “because, escape room”, but what you find out is that the good doctor did all of this. “Why?” you ask? Well, as you progress and solve the puzzles you come to realize exactly what is going on and why Dr. Clements has gone to such great lengths.

Not only do the puzzles build the story but they are clever and quite a few of them are original and the mechanics of the puzzles also fit into the storyworld perfectly and showcases the Quandary team’s passion for escape rooms.

The team over at Quandary did a great job in staying true to their theme as I found myself instinctively thinking “whoever would have left these puzzles would have to be mad….oh wait”

The logical flow of the puzzles themselves as well as the multi-layering of some of these puzzles was very well done. I was specifically impressed with a puzzle that triggered a very nice “Wow” moment that even I, as a jaded enthusiast, did not see coming.


Overall The Locked in Dead was an extremely well done room. The use of tech was seamless and integrated into the storyline very well.

After talking with the owner for a bit we got onto the subject of tech and the dreaded “tech malfunction” and he shared with me a very cool bit of information. The Locked in Dead has all of its electronic components connected to their network. So if a puzzle were to malfunction, instead of wasting the player’s time and breaking the immersion by walking into the room to manually trigger things, the game master can trigger the result remotely!

As someone who really enjoys the use of great, well integrated tech in rooms I thoroughly appreciate the fact that Quandary figured out a way to keep the customer experience intact while still having a fail-safe for a faulty moment!

There are easter eggs hidden inside the room as well that connect this chapter to the previous one which is a nice touch to tie everything together. While there is a preferred order for their rooms each rooms stands alone as a contained story and allows you play in almost any order.

With construction of the “next” chapter of their story well under way make sure you go experience the world being created by the team at Quandary!

Venue Details

Venue:  Quandary Escape Rooms

Location: Roseville, California

Number of Games: 2


Duration: 60 minutes

Capacity: 8 people

Group Type:  Public and Private / You will not be paired with strangers depending on ticket type.

Cost: $25 per person public/private starts at $120 for 1-4 people

EAR Disclaimer

We thank Quandary Escape Rooms for inviting us to play this game. Although complimentary admission was generously provided, that in no way impacts the opinion included within this review.

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