Great way to lose a few inches off the waist by method of involuntary restraint ▪ Cross Roads Escape Games
COMPANY: Cross Roads Escape Games
ADDRESS: 4245 E La Palma Ave, Anaheim, CA 92807
GAME: The Asylum
THEME: Psychiatric Ward, Patient Isolation Cell
Here is a carbon copy of my Yelp review, posted originally on 03/21/2018:
I got an email from Cross Roads from the mailing list, & found out they were one of vendors at the convention "Adventures Worth Exploring 2018" at Anaheim Convention Center. They also boasted about how the exclusive mini game "The Asylum" would be available to play for FREE, & the tickets to the con itself were ALSO FREE!
Just seeing the name "Asylum" makes me wanna attend. Reasons? This game is usually a travel demo game available at cons only. It was also shortly open for public gaming on very limited dates around Halloween in October 2017 as a special, & it was only $10 per game for 2 players. (Game must be played with in pair.) I missed out, of course. But now that all stars were aligned perfectly with $0 admission to everything, I had to be there!
Upon arriving, I found out the mini game was very popular, with the sign-up spots running out quickly! Why? First, it was free. Moreover, "Asylum", in many ways, can be considered an intro game to people who have never done an escape room experience before. With only 10 minutes committed to each session, you can get a small taste of what an adrenaline-pumping escape game is like, & the quality of work that Cross Roads offers. Even if you end up not liking it, (but why the heck would you not?!), you'd only lose 10 minutes of your time. My friends & I were all lucky enough to get spots, & couldn't be more thrilled!
When it was my turn to play, my friend & I were greeted by a couple of psych ward nurses, one of whom was played by the owner Madison! Even though I knew she was the owner, I didn't say anything, & neither did she during the entire con! What she did do was briefing us on the premise of the game: You are a patient with split personality, 2 minds, 1 body. Your objective? Escape the patient cell room that you're about to enter within 10 minutes, or else doctors would arrive for your scheduled lobotomy. Ouch!
Now keep in mind, all this explanation was happening while they tightly bound your two bodies together with straitjackets, to the point that I now understand the effectiveness of a girdle. I must've lost about 5 inches off my waistline during this process! By the end, the 2 players would end up with having only two arms & hands to work with, & your mobility would be limited to tiny shuffling gait. Talk about a unique gaming experience! (Oh yeah, you have 3 locks on your jackets. You probably wanna unlock those...)
Then we got thrown into the padded cell; the game commenced!
Obviously, now I'm getting into spoiler category, so I won't be able to relay any more details. But as illustrated above, the game play itself, while short, was golden all around. Leave it to the folks at Cross Roads to turn a padlock based game completely upside down. Talk about the creativity! While 99% of the venues out there put padlocks on boxes, drawers, etc, who would've thought you could lock your actual players with them? This is why I constantly admire & recommend Cross Roads to players of all levels. Everyone, no matter novice or experienced, can find & appreciate the innovation that this company strives to provide for their customers. Their love for the genre shines through each time I interact with them.
Due to game's set up, players are literally forced to work together every step of the way, & the elements of team work & communication become ever so essential during that short 10 minutes. A lot of enjoyment derives from having to work together in a coordinated & timely manner, which is not always true in all the rooms that you may play in your escape room career, if you will. Sometimes, players may end up being a bit passive in some rooms, & that is impossible for "Asylum".
Finally, being kind of a fan boy for this company, I know that Madison (Luke too?) have a background for art direction & are experienced in creating movie-quality sets. Though this is only a mini game, it is also a gateway to many beginners of what the genre & company is about. So they poured their heart & soul in this creation, hoping to generate a positive, lasting impression. The entire game takes place in a small, confined cell, but every inch of the room was done with perfection. The artistic construction of the inner padding, the clever and immersive lighting, the just perfectly hidden puzzles & clues, to the considerate implementation of air-conditioning, I simply just cannot commend these creators enough for such a well put together experience.
In fact, this could be summarized by my friend's quote, "The Asylum was definitely the highlight of, not only the con, but the entire day!"
*I would recommend everyone to play this room, but alas, THIS ROOM'S RETIRED, PER OWNERS.