RATING: 5 Keys RESULT: Win REMAINING: 23:36
You’d better watch out, you’d better not cry, you’d better be quick or you’re gonna die.
After dozens of different cold cases solved on our watch, it goes without saying that we’re pretty experienced private investigators by now. It was no surprise when we got called in to Countdown Live Escape Games to crack their coldest case yet – but this one was different. It’s not another bank robbery or bomb threat. It’s…. Christmas!
The investigation has brought us to the morbidly festive apartment of the Krampus Killer. But what will happen to us when the suspect is more myth than man? Escape his lair before he returns or we will have one Hell of a Christmas.
It’s no secret that we’re big fans of unique themes, and the concept of battling Krampus put Countdown Live Escape Games high on our list of must sees – and like kids on Christmas morning, we weren’t disappointed.
We honestly weren’t sure how we would react to the interior sets of The Krampus game. A little backstory – Countdown Live Escape Games is still a somewhat new venue to the Los Angeles market, but the space it inhabits is not. They purchased the former CAPTVT, re-branded, and completely changed out all of the games in the process. To say they’re “under new management” would be understatement of the year.
The space occupied by The Krampus was formerly the Psycho Room – a generic serial killer themed game, and while it was a decent experience full of fairly strong scenic, it was missing something to really leave us wowed.
Countdown Live Escape Games found that “something” when it unleashed the Krampus Killer. Even knowing the layout of the space, its interior was so completely transformed that this game truly felt like an environment we were seeing for the first time.
It’s dark and dramatic, which only serves to make its Christmas decor all the more unsettling. Localized speakers allow sound effects to create a chilling sense of jingle bells and hooves literally landing on the roof above you and walking from one end to the other. It’s clear he’s coming for you.
To be honest, the whole scene was enough to even make our team of two huge haunted house fans nervous to turn each corner. It’s truly a delightfully devilish experience from start to finish. If you finish.
While the scenic feels different, everything about the puzzles are completely new. There’s nothing carried over from the original venue (and, without meaning any disrespect to CAPTVT, we think that’s very much a good thing.)
Previously knowing the space as we did gained us no advantage. Even objects found in the discovery phase had all new, previously unseen secret hiding places.
Every puzzle from start to finish in this game was logical, intuitive and fun.
Making things better, they all solidly connected to the Krampus storyworld, bringing the legend of this Yuletide beast to life while giving us a flavor that artfully mixed festive with frightful.
Though we were excited to visit a new brand (and see their third room) we were a bit apprehensive about playing the original two prior to arriving. We’ve seen rooms that have been re-purposed to house new games or new versions of existing games before, and by our experience it never quite worked. It was difficult to get past already knowing the layout of the space, and with that knowledge also walking in with a pre-programmed knowledge of where every hidey-hole or secret passage was. Countdown Live Escape Games, for us, did the seemingly impossible, and proved that not only can this work, but it can end up as a far superior experience.
We didn’t have a negative experience on our visit to CAPTVT. It was fine. The games were good-not-great. Countdown Live Escape Games’ extreme escape room home make-over took a good venue and turned it into one of the best in the market – and in my opinion The Krampus is their crown jewel of both experience and gameplay.
It’s important to note that though we held this review to have something topical to post during the Christmas season, The Krampus is a permanent, year-round attraction – and trust me when I tell you, it’s so good that you’ll get into the holiday spirit, no matter what time of the year you visit.
Whether you’ve been naughty or nice, you’d better be quick, because the Krampus Killer may be coming for you next. And honestly, after our own experience facing off against him, you’ll hope that he does!
Venue: Countdown Live Escape Games
Location: Los Angeles, California
Number of Games: 3
GAME SPECIFIC INFORMATION:
Duration: 60 minutes
Capacity: 6 people
Group Type: Public / You may be paired with strangers.
Cost: $30 per person
We thank Countdown Live Escape Games for inviting us to play this game. Although complimentary admission was generously provided, that in no way impacts the opinion included within this review.