CHAPTER 2: THE SILENCE - The 13th Room Escape Rooms
This is Escape Mattster's game No. 56.
Venue: The 13th Room Escape Rooms
Address: 109 E 3rd St, Pomona, CA 91766
Game: Chapter 2: The Silence
Here is a carbon copy of my Yelp review, posted originally on 12/07/2018:
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Current room count: 56
CHAPTER 2 // Grade: A+
"...Holy mother of God! Orgasmic-ly good!"
Having just come back from "Chapter 2" of 13th Room, I was fully blown away from how different, immersive, and PLAIN O' AWESOME my experience was. The best way to describe it? Horror video game turned real life adventure on (mild) steroids. Think "The Evil Within".
Normally, I'd give you a synopsis of the plot, but the company deliberately left it super vague on its website, so I'd do the same. I'd say the background image of the syringe came into play, and there was, as mentioned, a hell-evator involved. (Also, loved that it's PRIVATE booking.)
The site also mentioned that it's scary and it's got twist(s). So let's talk about that.
I don't scare easily anymore, so I was pretty satisfied when Ch 2 was able to elicit fear from even me the way it did in our game. Sure, the usual tricks of flickering lights, sudden loud noises, and other forms of jump scares were employed, but it was their unique twist of live actor implementation, and how it related back to the central story, that made the fear factor rather effective. Their heavy banking on suspense, the unknown, and strangely, a new take on one of your childhood's favorite pastime game, transformed something that was already pretty great into something even more special.
The set was beautifully crafted, as in, super believable as the setting of this creepy journey (with blood and gore!); and though usually I'd spent some time praising this aspect, you'd just have to take my word for it, since it's clearly the immersion that deserved the most applause...
Because the game started before we knew it.
We waited outside on the street. A key fell down, we unlocked the entrance door to the location, and the game commenced. There's literally 0 time from beginning to the very end that any outside knowledge or reference came in contact with us, as we were TIGHTLY TRAPPED in the 13th Room's Mayfair Hotel universe, and I F**KING loved it. Give it up to the owners who have the innovation and the balls to pull this off.
Without explicitly spoiling any essential contents from the game, I'd say the puzzles were all solvable even for beginners. Under the intense stress of a horror setting though, everything seemed harder. (And me having a car accident just prior didn't help, but more on that later.) Many puzzle steps were automated by high-tech components, though the core DNA of the puzzles were still familiar escape room tropes.
3 clues maximum were available, should you choose to ask. However, in actuality, your clue system, or rather a guide (and no, this wasn't the actor), would constantly provide nudges and helpful tips throughout the hour unprompted, so we actually received a lot more help than just 3 clues. We still used our own wits to solve the actual puzzles, but would've definitely taken longer if left stranded. This didn't deter in anyway from our enjoyment, as ultimately, we wanted to see the story through its conclusion, which is always more satisfying than left wondering with a cliffhanger.
Furthermore, even the clue system (the guide) was 100% immersion-proof, and it worked really well, both in terms of the plot, AND the spooky atmosphere!
After a short bit of struggles and a whole lot of hair-raising fun later, we completed our main mission AND bonus mission in roughly 50 minutes.
A very well structured format game play with a few dashes of villainous chaos, I'd say difficulty was around medium, but may rise to hard if you're super easy to scare and can't manage to do sh*t in aforementioned situations.
Also, quick notes: 1) Game is replayable as there're 3 versions with different puzzles. 2) No, you do not need not to play Ch 1 before Ch 2.
Oh yes. I completely appreciated their degree of care and effort for customer satisfaction, especially tonight when I ran pretty late due to a flat tire. My game was scheduled at 9pm, and I barely arrived at 8:55pm, which was technically considered tardy by escape room standards (rules & such take time!). However, not only did the game go smoothly, owner (pretty sure he's the owner) Eddie voluntarily gave us a run-through post-game, shared with us some inside scoops on his future business plans, and also discussed other escape room good stuff in general.
I positively love it when owners display their love and enthusiasm for their craft!
And just to briefly return to the topic of immersion, never once did Eddie break character when he texted me and called me when I was running late, contacting me as a Mayfair Hotel staff. Moreover, my friends and I were constantly referred by our first names during the game, which altogether, effectively made *us* part of the narrative, even *the stars* of this terrifying tale, if you will.
Hands down, "Chapter 2", best horror themed escape room with live actor that I've survived from.