Level Games presents...
Company: Level Games
Company Website: Click Here
Address: 5000 Lankershim Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 91601
Game Name: [CLOSED] Disrupted Decades
Time Limit: 75 Minutes
Room Type: Private
This room, experience, or game is currently not available for booking or purchase. The blog entry will remain on site for your reading enjoyment, and for Mattster's own personal bittersweet trip down memory lane. Please inquire with company if this will become available again in the future, or what other exciting options are currently available. Thank you.
Here is a carbon copy of my Yelp review, posted originally on 06/03/2019:
Ahh, Level Games. Previously Escapades LA, now under new ownership and management, LG helped save 2 escape games from their untimely demise. Even as Escapades LA, this venue's "Doggy Dog World" maintained quite a steady reputation as one of the cutest rooms on the market today. When in need for some undeniable adorability, just add doggos! I, too, bought into the hype. Sadly, however, I outgrew their target demographic by a decade or two--it's more of a kids game, and not for moi.
That's not to say Doggy didn't have its strengths. Taking place in the unique perspective of man's best friends, players would transform into furry, 4-legged creatures for the hour, in hopes of finding their favorite toy. Everything in game was distorted through the lens of canine eyes. Kitchen cabinets, humongous. Human writing, illegible. Mailman, the most evilest of all. I'm grateful for this creative vision.
Production was adequate: intentionally cartoonish, colorful, and children-friendly.
Puzzles embedded, however, left more to be desired. For a game intended for 60 minutes of game play, there wasn't a whole lot to do. One may argue, well, it's designed for kids, so you can't possibly make it too difficult by overstuffing the contents. Well, then, I ask: why did the entire first half of the game heavily focused on a logic puzzle? Without giving the solutions away, I highly doubt critical reasoning and deduction is a young tween or teen's idea of a good time. Would most children even fully grasp the rationale behind the problem solving process?
(I shrug. Or rather, a confused doggy head tilt.)
Thankfully, there were at least 2 stand-out moments that really captured the pure, innocent joy of childhood fun that were both organic and parallel to a dog's innate tendency to be happy and positive--and I much appreciated those instances. (The grand finale was great!)
Nonetheless, it was exactly this "identity crisis" that alienated this potentially wonderful game from my liking. Are you for kids? For puzzle lovers? I want Doggy to commit, rather than to waver awkwardly between the juxtaposition of two very different worlds. It made more sense to have more action based tasks, rather than mental puzzles, for an experience supposedly inspired by, well, animals, (even considering however smart they may be.)
"Disrupted Decades", on the other hand, felt much more well thought out and overall more polished, and is my preferred game of the 2. Regrettably, I forgot what objective players had in this game, but you're basically travelling through the 70s, 80s, and 90s via a time machine. A whimsical, wacky adventure with loads of throwbacks. Just like its Doggy neighbor, it's got personality and obviously intended for older audience who'd recognize and appreciate the chronology Easter eggs.
The puzzles were of gen 1 era, mostly locks and combos. But fret not, the variety thrown in was more than sufficient to keep us constantly thinking and fully entertained. I am a sucker for good locked-based challenges!
I do, however, think the rating of "hard" was overstated since my team of 4 completed all the objectives in about 45 minutes out of 75. To have an entire 30 minutes left over is a pretty good indication to dial up that difficulty setting, even just a notch.
Kudos for clear effort in tying every puzzle to fond memories of each decade. Some were as silly as they came, but definitely silly good fun. Production value was okay--decent enough, sufficient, and supported game play smoothly without a hitch.
Ultimately, what gravitated me towards Decades was its aim to provide the customers an actual story and journey, rather than overly dependent on singular cuteness. The wise decision to include the game master as a semi-actor-semi-guide really tied all the elements together. Post game, I truly felt like I got what I paid for, a full package fitting within my expectation. I walked out feeling satisfied, as opposed to Doggy, which left me somewhat incomplete and unsure.
Finally, a touchy subject--the price. Yes, Level Games does charge a bit more than its usual competitors, and after playing both games, I do recommend teams of at least 4, or be on the look out for a discount, mainly to keep your hobby economical. Probably some pretty pennies went into re-branding, re-vamping the store, and general expensive rent on the nice side of North Hollywood. The new website looks *gorgeous*, and tbh, that's investment well spent.
I've been entirely ambivalent of whether LG is worthy of 4 or 5 stars, and judging from Doggy alone, it's a 4. With Decades in the mix, it's heading in a better direction. For the time being, there's room for improvements, and may my upcoming visit for "The Menagerie" be the boost that it needs to become a 5-star recommendation.
POST GAME PHOTOS
How many decades reference can you find in this pic? | Level Games
Fun to note: Life Magazine & Polaroid are still going strong these days | Level Games