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In-Depth Escape Room Reviews

Review: The Basement

RATING: 5 Keys  6 Keys        RESULT: Loss          REMAINING: X:XX

 

Of the countless games I’ve played – some good, a few great and a bunch bad – one constant remains – they ALWAYS end up compared to The Basement.

Story

The Basement is actually comprised of three completely unique, completely incredible escape rooms, each interlocked in the twisted original story world of cannibalistic serial killer Edward Tandy. In Chapter 1, You’ve been captured and (literally) caged in the basement of his deceased mother’s horrific home, and if you fail to escape, you will be consumed as his latest meal.

Although each game builds on the story established by the games that came before it, all three absolutely work as a stand-alone experience if you only have time to try one of them. That being said, MAKE THE TIME to play them all – and be sure to do them in order (The Basement, The Boiler Room, The Study) as the story progressively and artfully builds from start to finish.

Scenic

The scenic quality within The Basement is straight out of a horror movie – not just because it’s frightening, but because it’s literally movie-quality sets. This is a rare escape room where you truly just do not want to escape, because the space is so beautifully foreboding that you just won’t ever want the experience to end.

Everything in the room feels gritty and real. It’s easy to suspend disbelief and accept that you truly are trapped in this cannibal’s basement, because the combination of scenic, lighting, effects and audio do all the work for you.

Like everything else, The Basement does a fantastic job of hiding surprises, including secret rooms and even a live actor. In fact I’d go so far as to say The Basement was the single best implementation of an actor in an escape room until they trumped themselves a year later with The Study.

Puzzles

Sometimes it’s tough to connect puzzles to a story – especially one that is intended to be more on the “real” side. The Basement takes this issue and gives it a clever spin – the demented Tandy loves the thrill of the hunt.

He doesn’t just want to eat you – he want’s to prove he’s smarter than you first. Then eat you.

Within the story world, the killer has intentionally set these puzzles to test your wit and worthiness to survive – and most do not. This approach is made clear from the start with an introduction from Edward himself (though you cannot see him thanks to the bag over your head at the time.) It allows The Basement to organically mix “real world” danger with “game world” puzzles seamlessly.

Of note here, The Basement also has multiple versions of the game available – meaning if you alert them in advance, they can ensure that essentially all puzzles will be different upon your return visit. They are, in fact, the first escape room I ever visited a second time – and was easily just as excited to walk into the space then as I was on my first visit.

Overall

The Basement exists in a whole other class when it came to scenic quality, story, immersion and intuitive game play. After our first visit, we all excitedly discussed “How can any other escape room ever top this?!” Years later, the answer remains just as evident: very few will ever even come close.

Everything about this game is the standard-bearer for the entire escape room genre, and it literally redefines how the entire genre should be measured.

The attention to detail is second to none, with clever gags that will leave you surprised, shocked and even a bit genuinely frightened. The atmosphere in the room feels so real that you can taste it thanks to fantastic lighting, audio and effects, as well as several other surprises that I don’t want to spoil. From the game play side of the coin, much like story, The Basement delivers on every single beat I find myself wanting as an experienced escape room player.

It’s just not possible to recommend a game any higher than I would The Basement. Find an evening to play all three back to back (make sure you do them in the right order) and I guarantee you’ll view every other game you’ve ever seen differently as a result.

 

Venue Details

Venue:  The Basement

Location: Sylmar, California

Number of Games: 3

GAME SPECIFIC INFORMATION:

Duration: 45 minutes

Capacity: 12 people

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

Cost: $30+ per person (prices vary between weekdays and weekends)

 

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