CURSE OF THE MUMMY - MagIQ Room
This is Escape Mattster's game No. 41.
Venue: MagIQ Room
Address: 1446 S Robertson Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90035
Game: Curse Of The Mummy
Here is a carbon copy of my Yelp review, posted originally on 10/18/2018:
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Current room count: 41
CURSE OF THE MUMMY // Grade: B-
"...Put on to-do list, try it out when free... or not."
I never pass up a decent Groupon deal, so hi again, MagIQ Room. Last we beat "Pirate's Den" (See "Previous Review") with a decent time record, let's see if we could do better today with "Curse of the Mummy".
The overall "performance" of both rooms were consistent, though each had its own strengths and weaknesses. Let's start off positive: The puzzles were fun. Never mind how horribly forced into being "Egyptian" themed, this game has an eclectic collection of brain teasers that I, an escape room enthusiast, still thoroughly enjoyed. Not that they were super challenging, but they're so varied in formats and styles, they still tickled my fancy in all the right places.
1 or 2 puzzles in particular even wowed me for their cleverness.
Next, production value. Even by a more DIY standard for MagIQ Room, (that's my way of saying even when NOT comparing MagIQ with today's leading franchise like 60Out), Curse's decor is still on the weaker end of the spectrum. Last we visited Pirate's Den, they've turned their office building into an authentic looking, wooden pirate's ship. In stark contrast, this mummy's tomb flat out sucks in comparison. Not even close.
To the best of my recollection, little effort were spent on the walls, and this was essentially plain rooms with Egyptian statues standing in the corners. To add more insult, a miniature pyramid contraption is the center focus piece, and the mummy is resting in a plain, un-decorated, wooden coffin. I may not be a history buff, but wouldn't it make more sense if the walls were covered in hieroglyphics, and the coffin constructed in the shape of a human king's body, as popularized by... you know, all mummy related multimedia?
Poor choice of props and sets lead to minimal immersion. Firstly, electrical outlets were exposed (I think), a big no no for any historically themed rooms. Next, almost all puzzles felt like puzzles for puzzles' sake. Why would there be giant maze box, sliding wooden blocks, and TAROT READING CARDS installed in a mummy's tomb? And for the many padlocks we opened throughout the game... early lock models were invented in the 19th century. So.
The most authentic Egyptian "thing" in the room was probably my friend, who's full-blooded Egyptian, lol.
Lighting, however, was spot-on, and the one single most successful attempt in keeping the players barely in the story world. It was just dim enough to instill a sense of dread, but not so dark that kids would be seriously creeped out. I did feel like I was exploring someone's eternal resting place, so for that, kudos.
No matter how much I "bash" this game, there's always saving grace that is bargain pricing. With Groupon, each participant ended up paying less than $20, which is an incredible deal. (I could honestly lose $20 worth of credits at the local arcade within the span of 15 minutes, and today's game proved to be a much more cost effective hobby alternative.)
At the end of the day, it is what it is--a mildly themed puzzle room, designed for kids party, not adults. (Had this been more immersive like Pirate's Den, it would've earned a solid "B", since Curse really did have better puzzles.)
Nonetheless, I can say with good conscience and confidence that, we were entertained for a good 40 something minutes. It may not be the same heart-pounding experience derived from more intense escape rooms, but for the price we paid, and for games that are intentionally geared towards younger kids, MagIQ Room did a fantastic job.
If I ever had kid(s), and want to train them into escape room artists at a young age, I would 100% bring them here, since this business knows their target audience well, always semi-educational (there's always a math problem, what's up with that?), and provides good customer service.
It's with much regret to report that I most likely would not return for the last of the 3 rooms, Secrets of Wizardry, the Harry Potter-esque themed room. This is mainly because there doesn't seem to be discount available (Groupon or otherwise) for their most popular room, and if I had to pay full admission on their basic gen 1 style games, I personally don't think it's worth my bucks. Not that there is anything wrong with gen 1 room format; it's just that you can't just throw a bunch of locks together, paint a thin layer of "theming" over it, and expect it to be a good product.
Alas, from what I've seen in various media, the Wizardry room is probably the closest solution to my complaint--it is fantastically decorated, seemingly the most immersive of the 3, with secret pathways, and with more magical puzzles embedded. (The puzzles are also rated the easiest, thus probably not going to offer big challenges for us enthusiasts anyway.) Aw well.
Until a good promo rolls around, I guess this is where we part. Thanks for the good times!