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Review: Insane Asylum

RATING: 3 Keys          RESULT: Win          REMAINING: 4:00

Our first traditional escape room experience proves that a nondescript exterior in Hollywood can hide a lot of fun! We walked into the unknown and walked out absolutely hooked.

o (5)



Insane Asylum’s theme is a loose one at best. You are a part of a medical team tasked with solving the mystery of a patient who was locked into a mental hospital some 70 years ago. Unfortunately, that’s where the story begins as well as ends.

Once inside the room, your gameplay has nearly nothing to do with the story presented on PanIQ Room’s website, and at no point do you encounter or attempt to solve that mystery – but rather simply find the key to exit the room.


One thing you can typically come to expect from any PanIQ Room is a decent level of scenic quality. Though they are not the best of the best, their attention to detail is certainly well beyond the average found in given escape rooms elsewhere.

Insane Asylum is appropriately dressed in a dark, dingy color palette accentuated with dim lighting. The decor is somewhat minimal, but on point with items you’d expect to find in an abandoned asylum. It proves the theatrical theory of “light it with darkness” really does work, as this space – in show condition – feels a whole lot cooler than it might if the work lights were turned on.


Puzzles continue to be my biggest point of contention with PanIQ Room as a brand. While the atmosphere is nice, and the game play is typically always intuitive (which is extremely important in its own right) – the puzzles themselves are just that; puzzles. They nearly never seem to accentuate the story or theme of the room that they’re in. Expect generic 4-digit number codes, some keys and a seemingly PanIQ-standard maze table – which, while fun, doesn’t necessarily belong in an insane asylum which was abandoned 70 years ago.

Again though, perhaps the most important puzzle-point is that they are entirely intuitive, even to new players (which we were, at the time), making the experience enjoyable.


PanIQ Room games typically trend a bit on the easier side of the spectrum – which is by no means a bad thing. A good game is a good game – win or lose, easy or difficult. Understand that if you’re an experienced player, it’s entirely possible that you may make it out with nearly half your time still left on the clock – but you’ll have fun doing so. PanIQ Room is especially recommended for introducing new players to the genre. Got some friends that you’d like to expose to escape rooms? PanIQ is a great place to bring them. They’ll walk out feeling like they contributed, and are less likely to get overly stumped or feel like they’ve hit any major brick walls along the way.

PanIQ is also one of just a handful of national chains at the moment – with locations in Hollywood, San Francisco, Phoenix, Chicago, Miami and formerly San Diego. They earn an extra gold star for keeping every one of their game themes unique, however subsequently tend to lose that same star for their rampant rehashing of puzzles from game to game, sometimes even within the same venue. What this means is if you’ve played both games in the Hollywood location, and visit, say Miami, and know you’ll likely encounter a lot of the same puzzles you’ve seen before, albeit in differently themed rooms.

Venue Details

Venue:  PanIQ Room Hollywood

Location: Los Angeles, California

Number of Games: 2


Duration: 60 minutes

Capacity: 6 people

Group Type: Private / You will not be paired with strangers.

Cost: $35 per person (minimum 2)

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