RATING: 3 Keys RESULT: Loss REMAINING: X:XX
A classic escape room set in an old-timey 1940’s detective’s office full of way too many puzzles and way too many players to possibly be able to communicate with mixed with some awkward operations, as seen on TV.
As an attraction, The Detective has nearly no story to speak of. Inside the detective’s office, you’ll find yourself trapped in a film-noir style Hollywood mystery where it’s up to you to identify suspects and solve some cliché escape room puzzles.
I really did feel as though the staff member posing as vintage-style secretary was fun and added a bit to the over-all ambiance of the story. (Bonus points – we were lucky to get the same actor who played the secretary role when Conan O’Brien filmed his segment at Escape Room LA. She was just as fantastic live as in the clip – and seemed truly flattered that we recognized her and requested her to be in our game.)
At it’s core (and by design) this room is “just an office.” It’s a single room set-up with the most basic of environments – so if you’re looking for something scenically spectacular, you’ve probably picked the wrong LA venue. It works for what it’s mean to be – but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t have been much more.
The Detective was a fun game – with some engaging puzzles and others that were fairly basic escape room fare – however while other reviews talk about how difficult it was – I wouldn’t agree that is the applicable term here; The puzzles felt “just right” in terms of their difficulty for our group of experienced players – there’s just *a lot* of them.
Perhaps too many.
We were literally opening the last lock as time ran out, so we don’t feel cheated by any means – but I would imagine that a group of less experienced players would have trouble finishing so very many different puzzle steps in under one hour. Shaving just a few smaller puzzles out of the game might help streamline The Detective and gain it a higher ranking.
To put things in perspective – while it’s common to find somewhere in the neighborhood of fifteen or so major puzzle steps in a given game, The Detective crams in twenty-five.
Truth be told, I got the impression that it was more important to Escape Room LA that the majority of players lose – not because the game is too challenging, but simply because it’s essentially too long.
Escape Room LA also jams way too many people in a game. At twelve, they’re one of the highest you’ll find in the US – and make no mistake, when there’s that many different people in a room – especially with many of them being strangers, the game play experience is just not an enjoyable one. Communication becomes damn near impossible- even for the most experienced of players.
Another bizarre frustration of Escape Room LA in general as a business is their awkward and frankly time-wasting pre-game meet and greet session. Our group was really turned off by the impossibly forced introductions session prior to starting the game – that make no mistake you are told everyone is required to participate in. The whole “Let’s go around the room and each say our name and one fun fact that makes us unique!” feels much more like the first day of kindergarten than a group of adults preparing to play an escape room.
It was bad the first time we played at the venue, and unbearable to have to sit through it a few days later for our second. The fact that it takes 10-15 minutes just makes it all the more torturous. Truthfully, all factors considered it’s one of several reasons we opted to not even return to play their two newest games. We’re just not interested in such spoon-fed nonsense.
The Detective was fun enough (though The Cavern is entirely another story for another day) – but without major changes to design and operations, we will not be in a hurry to return to Escape Room LA.
Venue: Escape Room LA
Location: Los Angeles, California
Number of Games: 4
GAME SPECIFIC INFORMATION:
Duration: 60 minutes
Capacity: 12 people
Group Type: Public / You may be paired with strangers.
Cost: $30+ per person (prices vary between weekdays and weekends)