Trapped! Escape Room presents...
Company: Trapped! Escape Room (San Dimas Branch)
Address: 173 Village Ct Ste 105, San Dimas, CA 91773
Game Name: Grandma's Surprise
Game Website: Click Here
Time Limit: 60 Minutes
Capacity: 3-7 Players
Room Type: Private
"Today is your Grandmother’s 100th birthday! The whole family is getting together to pay her a surprise visit and throw her a party. However, Grandma doesn’t appear to be home. You and the others may just be the ones getting a surprise today!" (via official website)
Escape with me! Follow IG: EscapeMattster ;)
Isn't weird when all you want to do is to celebrate your grandma's 100th birthday, but instead, she's made the big day into some kind of surprise tell-all? Seriously, gramps, just take our present and serve us some of your famous pies!
"Grandma's Surprise" is one of Trapped's latest efforts, and I for one had been eagerly waiting to attend this birthday party for months. And finally it's happened!
First, part of the appeal was the mystery shrouded around the aforementioned plot. Usually, Trapped's website would lay out the basic premise and give you a sample pic or two, but this game's given NEITHER. It kept me guessing till the game started.
Very early on in the game, you're clued in on what's actually going on if you have observant, keen eyes, and a fast noggin to put 2 and 2 together. And doh, my pre-game guess was wrong--Grandma was not dead this wholeeee timeeee. Darnit. No ghost.
What did reveal in the actual game was fairly surprising (and title appropriate) in its own right, however, and it delighted me to see the story take such an unusual turn. Simple, light, fun and a lil bit comedic, it didn't require much serious processing to fully absorb the narrative.
Grandma's agenda was brought alive by a 100% custom-made, original set designed and built by the staff themselves. This is one of the things that made me a fan of this company: they're very creative and hands on. You're getting a very unique product, entirely imagined, written, and produced by the company and nobody else. Moreover, production value was great. It isn't high-budget extravaganza like other big chains, but believe me, the look was still very strong.
Without spoiling much, the first room you'd enter, grandma's studio style apartment, screamed "old people" vibe in the most endearing sense. You got your senior-favorite choice of wallpaper, both in design & color. You got these old-fashioned appliances straight from the, what, 40s. And a rocking chair for gramps to pass the hours. It looked cozy and cute, and it worked so well visually.
All there really missing was the scent of grandma's cooking, which I humbly suggest to incorporate for both atmospheric immersion, and perhaps as a potential puzzle integration as well. ;)
Game play was smooth, well structured, and offered both linear & non-linear moments. Once you get past the initial hurdles, your group could split up, go crazy, and tear the room apart (metaphorically only) since multiple objectives can be achieved at the same time. In case you're wondering, this room's a gen 1-gen 2 mixed style game, with countless tech moments to be unleashed! (Puzzles were very well themed; clue system was also lovely, baked right into the story line.)
Tech may malfunction once in a blue moon; for my group, only 1 minor "issue", if even, occurred, and can be overlooked.
Difficulty was low (well, for us anyway), though purposely designed as such to provide beginners and family groups a satisfying experience. And I should note, communication is key. For the love of Granny, please loudly share any found info, clues, or props with your entire team. It'd most likely get you a better time record!
My experienced group technically blew through the room in 37 minutes, though ultimately clocked out at ~57, due to the game's embedded adjustable difficulty level: advanced players're offered with extra, optional, "final bosses" puzzles to solve if time permits, and these challenges are high level, mega evolved monstrosities. We needed close guidance to reach 100% completion achievement.
Everything above just spelled out an excellent time for audience of all background, yes?
One thing that I'd also wanna emphasize is Trapped's insistence to keep their games heavily puzzle based, and I wholeheartedly love them for it.
While escape rooms as of late are moving, as a whole, in a more immersive and experience-based direction, some companies are sacrificing puzzle quality for big, showy production. New rooms are now sometimes over-reliant on task-based actions to solve the games, and little thinking is needed to advance. "Grandma's Surprise" kept it classy and nostalgic, and provided actual puzzles to solve. So tyvm.
And no, that isn't to say this game wasn't immersive; it just managed to find the perfect balance to please me so.
Post game, we had a semi-lengthy discussion with the staff on the room design, execution, and just awesome things Trapped has in store for us now and in the future. I'd like to extend my gratitude to my gm Kyle, a female trainee, and also one of the bosses Roland. They took care of us well.
I was also very happy to hear from Roland that my reviews for Trapped had sparked discussions and improvements for the business, and I'm grateful that they're always taking positive and constructive criticisms with open minds.
...One Eyed Jack in Vegas next! ;X
POST GAME PHOTO
Ain't no body was ready for "Grandma's Surprise", and also mine. Open that box ;) | Trapped! Escape Room (San Dimas)