THE LAB (AKA LAB 51) - Exit Game
This is Matt's game No. 15.
Address: 111 N Atlantic Blvd Ste 148, Monterey Park, CA 91754
Game: The Lab (aka Lab 51)
Here is a carbon copy of my Yelp review, posted originally on 04/28/2018:
THE LAB 51 // Grade: A
"...Holy mother of God! Orgasmic-ly good!"
My previous mission as a British spy went so well at Exit Game (see my "previous review" for "An Hour To Kill") that, tonight, I enlisted as an army soldier to infiltrate "The Lab 51" to find out what exactly happened to the rumored alien life form. Breaking and entering into the highly covert Lab 51 with me are my 3 friends, who are all newbies at escaping under the pressure of 60-minute time limit. (I myself am at room #15!)
Briefed by Exit Game as one of their easiest missions, (only preceded by "The A.I." in terms of easy difficulty,) Lab 51 was in no way a push-over challenge. In fact, I found it somewhat more difficult than advertised, forcing my team to call backup support 3 times (i.e. 3 hints) in order to successfully flee in time. But more on that later.
Upon being led to the entrance of the titular location, we were given guns (flashlights in diguise) for defense and lighting, and optional helmet for skull protection...
Well, enough with the in-character writing, let's get down to this review business!
Exit Game, hands down, is one of the best at immersing their patrons in their story line. This is my 2nd room with them, & each time I play with them, I really felt like I was a character in an action movie--and tonight, Mulder & Scully, move aside. The pros are at work here.
My mission was to b&e my way into the lab, gather info, & get out before self-destruction of the building. So appropriately, beside the well lit entrance room, every other inch of this space was essentially covered in darkness. (We were penetrating after hours, I suppose!) Lighting was sparse throughout the game, and we relied heavily on our "guns" for illumination. Sounds exciting yet? There's more!
Because we were to sneak into this highly secured, classified location, we couldn't exactly just walk through the front door. We had to worm our way in by crawling through air vent like spaces. (Thus, the optional helmets for protecting your noggins.) And crawling was just the beginning of a potentially hour-long of intense physical labor. Lab 51 is filled to the brim with physicality-based tasks. (I really don't wanna spoil more!) Much like a real-life investigation, you may have to go back and forth through different rooms. A lot. And I loved every minute of it.
Different rooms, you say? Why yes! Lab 51 is actually the largest room Exit Game has to offer, if not one of the biggest space available in all of So Cal. I am a fiend for escape rooms that include trap doors, secret passageways, and hidden rooms, and this game offered all that & more! There was absolutely no dull moment during my mission, only intense, sweaty exhilaration punctuated by occasional pauses of confusion due to...
...The puzzles of this game. Being one of Exit Game's earlier creations, this room does not feature a lot of tech, but the layout as described above will more than enough make up for it. The puzzles themselves will lead you to solutions to open padlocks and keypads, and are by themselves not terribly difficult, nor are they innovative enough to be labeled "never-before-seen". But the plot is so immersive and fun that, when you solve the puzzles, they just fit in so beautifully into the story line and provide immense amount of enjoyment.
The puzzles were *extremely linear*, meaning that if you get stuck on a step, you're locked out from the rest of the game for quite a while. So don't be shy about asking for clues. (The clue system involves communication via walkie-talkie, and your game master will guide you in character. Much improved from before, the clue system no longer breaks the 4th wall.) In fact, some clues and steps were physically so far from each other, my team struggled to figure out what's next.
Furthermore, there were some red herrings that threw us off as well. A couple of clues were not clear enough also, and imo, could use some tweaking. The final puzzle also took a huge leap in logic, so really, kudos to those who could solve it without hint. Otherwise, it wasn't necessarily unfair, but just required a vast amount of imagination.
To offer you a helpful advice for games at Exit Game: pay attention to all the clues that you see now, but may not get to use right away. Keep it in your memory bank, and withdraw it back out at the correct moment. A good general escape room tip for all future rooms, really.
After 55 minutes of muscling (yes, literally, due to all the physicality involvement) through layers and layers of lab security, we triumphantly broke out with huge smiles on our faces, narrowly avoiding the imminent explosion about to destroy Lab 51.
What a night. What a great game. A huge win for everyone through and through. Well, (Spoiler!) maybe except for the disemboweled alien. Aw well.
Side note: for those who are physically handicapped, sadly, this game may not be right for you. Otherwise, Exit Game offers some of the most unique games out there!