[N/A] THE CABIN - Containment Escape Games
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This is Matt's game No. 13.
Venue: Containment Escape Games
Address: 936 W Foothill Blvd, Claremont, CA 91711
Game: The Cabin
Here is a carbon copy of my Yelp review, posted originally on 03/25/2018:
THE CABIN // Grade: B+
"...Enjoyable experience, would recommend."
I'm always a bit apprehensive in trying out a new business, always wondering if the owners have worked out the kinks yet. Nonetheless, after reading so many positive reviews on Yelp, I decided to give Containment a try. Besides, it's never fair to discount a venue just because it's new; also, I wanna support fellow escape room enthusiasts (the owners, Kyle/Nicolette), so I booked the "The Cabin" for me & my friend!
(Side note: private games are available without extra cost. Contact owners/see website for details. I purposely booked this game for only 2 people to test out our skills; to let my friend participate more since she was a passive player historically. Now after playing, I'd rec 3-4 players for best escape record time possible.)
Upon arriving at the location, Kyle was resetting the room, so we waited in the very clean & tidy lobby, which had chess, puzzles, & N-64 available to kill time. The bathroom, which I always need to use before an escape game, was also very pleasant. When the Cabin was ready, we went over the story's premise: we took a wrong turn in the woods, got a flat tire, & now stuck in pitch darkness. (What luck!) We saw the nearby, titular Cabin, & our plan was to go inside to get help! Given 2 lanterns, we entered the Cabin...
First, production values! I was expecting it to smell like a cabin like some other Yelpers said, but I didn't detect that. My friend did, however. Having done 10 or so escape rooms in the past, I'd say the decor of "The Cabin" is adequate, leaning towards the side of decent. I am not trying to grade it down on purpose, but having seen Hollywood-grade props in other locations, & to be fair/honest in my reviews, I can't say it's super excellent, but still decent. But hey, that means there's room for improvement ;) However, I could still tell great consideration were taken in the choices (furniture, boxes, etc). Rest assured, immersion was still fully and aptly achieved.
The game was heavily padlocks based, with a few techs thrown in. Personally, I don't mind lock based games, if execution is smooth, & the process is enjoyable. Containment fits into this category quite comfortably. In fact, Containment reminds me a lot of another company Puzzle Workshop (also reviewed). They're both great companies that may not have super "fancy" budgets, but *very* respectable products are still available for consumers to savor.
Truth be told, with the sound effects, I did get lost in this imaginary story line. Being able to lead the customers into this illusion is a significant part of escape games, sometimes almost as important as the puzzles themselves. "The Cabin" succeeds in that notion. In fact, it did so with a nice mix of variety of puzzles, seamlessly incorporated with the theme, which was much appreciated
Speaking of, the puzzles themselves were beginner-med level difficulty, which was right at home for my group of 2. (Some of which were super creative and SMART!) My friend'd only done 2 rooms prior, & with me, we were able to crack through majority of puzzles in record time without any hints (per owners' words), while being thoroughly entertained. Such thrills! :)
That was until we hit our roadblock. :(
Being stubborn, we didn't want any hints! We only started asking for clues after being stumped for a good 10-15 minutes. (Clue system: unlimited help available upon request, provided through a baby-monitor-like system, which was nice, since your hands were still free to explore, while your mouth did all the talking.) In a way, I thought it was actually great that we got stuck, since it meant the puzzles progressed into something more challenging. Let's face it, you don't want a room that you could just solve without any solid effort! To put another way, these were puzzles that I hadn't seen before, which meant now I'd been exposed to more puzzle formats! That's always greatly cherished in my book.
As mentioned by other Yelpers, some surprises might come along the way, too.
In the end, we made it out with minimal hints with 13 seconds left, with only 2 brains! We were quite proud. We also got a chance to interact with the owners a bit more after the game. Kyle & Nicolette themselves seemed very passionate about the genre, & I always admire people who venture bravely after their dreams. And you know, the best games are always created by people who actually care about the hobby!
If you couldn't already tell, I thought the customer service was excellent, which started during the booking process. I actually asked a few questions through email while reserving our game, & Nicolette was very speedy & kind in her responses.
Overall, I would say the Cabin was probably ~4 stars for more experienced players, but a solid 5 stars for beginners. The venue itself would get a 5-star rating from me, with all interactions & amenities factored in. We will surely return when new games are available!