Atlantis (360° Virtual Experience) • Escape Room LA • Host-Assisted Point & Click Escape Room Review
Game Website | Company Website | Based In: Los Angeles, CA, USA
💪 Difficulty: 8/10.
⏲️ Time duration: 60 minutes limit.
🔢 Capacity: 3-8 players. Private booking.
💬 Hints: The game master monitoring may give hints when requested. (Otherwise, they are a silent overseer.)
📝 Careful--note potential time difference between your location and the host's when booking.
🛒 If you BOOK due to this blog, please give EscapeMattster.com a shout-out! ;)
💪 Difficulty (as perceived by Mattster): Not rated (team of 2), because I already know the solutions from a previous visit. However, I rated the live version around 7/10 with a team of 3 highly experienced escape room fanatics. (It's hard.)
🔢 Ideal team size: At least 4, up to 6 if you're feeling shaky. LOTS to do; make sure to split up and communicate.
A mysterious invitation from an eccentric professor leads you on the journey of a lifetime! Discover the fantastical lost underwater world of Atlantis as you search throughout the mysterious ruins in your quest to uncover the mythical Poseidon crystal and escape before your air supply runs out.
Escape Room LA boasts boldly that their new 360° virtual experiences are "as close as you can get to being in a real escape room!" And today, having completed their "Atlantis" escape game online, (so comfortably at home, I may add,) I can attest to their confident declaration.
I have actually played their "Atlantis" room in person just roughly a year ago, and fond memories of this escape game are still relatively fresh on my brain. And sure enough, even after a virtual replay, much of my sentiments I felt then still hold true today. Hence, for production value aspect and other game play related thoughts, visit my first-run review blog entry.
Due to my ability to solve every puzzle without much thinking, (you know, because I have already seen them before!), the review will focus on comparing and contrasting the live on-site version and its web-run counterpart--in essence, "Atlantis" 360° virtual experience is a very faithful and accurate porting of the original.
The entire game is run on the Telescape interface technology. Whereas Telescape functions more as a complementary inventory for other remote games I've played in the past, this time, the entire world of "Atlantis" is self-contained in it. You have a 360° panoramic view, from ceiling to ground, all side inclusive, and you can interact with all the props you see. It's not inaccurate to say it feels as if you're actually there--and that's the exact intent!
In case you're wondering, even though your appointment is technically hosted through Zoom, there will be no avatar acting as your eyes and hands. (The game master may provide hints and time updates in the Zoom meeting from time to time, but that's it.) This is entirely an intimate and non-intrusive game for just you and your mates--you shall do all your exploring, looking, and what-have-you. The labor is all yours, guys!
To make your experience even more immersive than it already is, every time you enter a new area, a brief video clip plays. This video file, enhanced with great soundtrack, shows you a quick, first-person perspective scan of the immediate surrounding as if you've just stepped through the entrance for the first time. Great visuals, along with awe-inspiring musical score, imitates very nicely of feeling of grandeur of seeing an escape room set for the first time.
From then you would proceed to fiddle with everything you see with your panoramic view. As mentioned, props can be manipulated, items can be collected (which will show on a side "inventory" area), pretty much anything you would do in the actual escape room on-site, you can do so similarly online. It's uncanny how closely this virtual play manages to emulate my real-life experience.
And because everyone on the team will have access to the same panoramic map at the same time independently, much like in a live game, you can split up! That is, part of your team can work on a rainbow conch shell puzzle in room 1, while the another part can work on underwater telescope puzzle in room 2. You do NOT have to stick together.
This underscores two things: 1) Puzzles are non-linear and can be solved concurrently to save time, or otherwise, accommodate a bigger group without crowding one, same puzzle with too many cooks. 2) Meanwhile, just like in real life, you have to verbally update each other when puzzles are solved. A lot can happen simultaneously on Telescape, so you may end up missing something another teammate has already finished if you don't effectively communicate.
Overall, I feel this aligns with the spirits of doing an actual escape room in-person, and despite still having some of the same pros and cons, there's no denial that it feels very real. And I think that's the big takeaway here: pandemic doesn't have to get in the way of your hobby. There is a very viable alternative available at a fraction of the normal pricing.
As far as puzzles go, I would say it's up to 90 to 95% identical to the in-person rendition, and the same ideas come across nearly fully. Yes, they've made some minor modifications to better operate "Atlantis" for the online conversion, but it's mostly for beneficial simplifications and therefore a smoother customer experience. (Because let's be real--this is a hard room. Some puzzles are just way convoluted even for in-person; a strict online equivalent may turn frustrating.)
In fact, there is a small portion of things that did not translate as well to the web-run game. It isn't anyone's fault per se; it's just that certain set pieces make more sense when seen and handled real life. For instance, the "wine cage" was already eccentric enough on-site, and it looks even stranger for online players who won't get to see it in real life.
One last tip: Avoid playing the virtual experience, which is multimedia-intensive, in Chrome. Somewhat counter-intuitively, the most-used internet browser today will lag like no tomorrow, especially when you use a centuries-old desktop like I do! Escape Room LA recommends Firefox, Safari, or even Internet Explorer instead. (Yeah, I know, IE! Go figure!)
There's no replacement for real, live escape rooms; I think enthusiasts and owners alike can agree upon this. However, if you want to try out one of Los Angeles's gems without being in the city, or you just want to enjoy a great game option safely from home, "Atlantis" the new 360° virtual experience is a golden opportunity worth diving right in.
READY FOR FUN?
"Atlantis" is available for booking HERE.
If you BOOK due to this blog, please give EscapeMattster.com a shout-out! ;)
ESCAPE MATTSTER 😀
⤻ Full disclosure: Complimentary game access was generously provided for review purposes.
⤻ All media credited to and provided by contents owners. No copyright infringement intended.
⤻ Speed code for on-site search: ERLAAlantis360