MAGIC KINGDOM - Maze Rooms LA
This is Matt's game No. 19.
Venue: Maze Rooms LA (Koreatown/Vermont Branch)
Address: 132 S Vermont Ave Ste 204, Los Angeles, CA 90004
Game: Magic Kingdom
Here is a carbon copy of my Yelp review, posted originally on 05/10/2018:
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MAGIC KINGDOM // Grade: A
"...Enthusiast's treasure, book it soon!"
2 days after I narrowly (kinda) escaped imprisonment 200 leagues below the sea at "The Abyss" (see previous review), I'd come to find out that "Magic Kingdom" at Maze Rooms LA was quickly dying. The Tree of Life was withering, and it's up to willing wizards to restore the disappearing magic and bring the fantasy world back to life. No worries, Maze, we're at it!
Donning the wonderful Harry Potter-esque costumes provided at the lobby, we ventured into a world of whimsical magic through the entrance door. Among the wizard robe, the dim but colorful lighting of the enchanted forest, to the nearby modest cottage, the level of immersion achieved was simply incredible.
Maze really went all in for this "escape" room. (To call this game an "escape" would be a misnomer, because you never really had to escape anything. You could leave at any point. But the fate of the Kingdom was in our hands, and we must prevent its demise in 1 hour before we could depart!)
First, the set looked AB-SO-LUTE-LY A-MA-ZING!!! I couldn't believe my eyes when we first walked through the door. It was like a portal, transporting us from the real world to a fairy tale story land. The scenery stimulated multiple senses--so much to see, hear, and touch. (If Maze could add in some pine wood smell to the forest, or the likes, that'd be awesome! And though the sense of taste wasn't part of the game, understandably, your mouth might be needed at some point still!)
The entire space felt very Disney-quality, and was a lot bigger than I initially anticipated. They definitely did not want to spoil too much for you on the website. There's so much more than advertised.
The first minute inside the room was purely exploration, strolling around, and across the board admiration of such beautifully and intricately designed creation. Just wow. Of course, as the game progressed, we unlocked additional access to more areas. And even though you thought you could survey the entire room at first glance, Maze managed to pack in some surprises around the corners still. I loved it.
The "puzzles" themselves all made sense. Much like Abyss, no puzzle felt like a puzzle; instead, every step we took was a part of the storytelling. Little bits and pieces of the plot unfolded as we performed our magic throughout the Kingdom. (Under the pressure of time limit, I wasn't able to fully absorb the story as it was happening. But post-game, I reflected back, and everything made so much more sense. I appreciated it on a different level.)
Unlike Abyss, these steps we took were much more intuitive, yet challenging at the same time. While we did get stuck at certain point, upon getting some hints (see below), we were put back on track easily, because the puzzles *made sense*. I can't possibly emphasize more of how important and magnificent this is for an escape game when it's done right with style. The bulk of the satisfaction derived from this alone. Coupled with amazing visuals and sound effects, Kingdom was close to perfection.
"Transitions" between each "spell" you cast were rewarding, and major plot points in the game were stunning to see. You'll see! Literally!
And did other reviews "warn" you about a "very physical" task you'd have to do? One of the best moments!
When we got stuck, we used walkie-talkie to get clues from our game master. There used to be an immersive clue system employed, but since it wasn't functioning too well as of recent, it was abandoned. It sadly became more of a red herring, along with a few other unused prop pieces that confused me a tiny bit.
While we struggled initially, we flew through the latter part of the game so quickly, when the game ended, I felt like, "That's it?! Nooo!!! I want more!"
We had about 18 minutes leftover, signifying that the room was indeed easy to medium in diffculty, and great for beginners. I recommend no more than 4 players, or else there might not be enough for everyone to perform magic on.
The ending, strangely, was somewhat anti-climatic. Maze could really consider putting some extra oomph at the finale to make it truly magical.
Overall, all the positive reviews and hypes around this room turned out to be extremely true. And thankfully, Kingdom's theme and puzzles were much more in tune to my liking, so my friends and I had a great time today. Again, no offense to you, Abyss--you're great in your own right, just not my cup of tea. But let me sip on Kingdom tea any time, any day!
Thanks much to game master Katie for providing a pleasant trip to Magic Kingdom. Our experience today far exceeded that of Abyss from 2 days ago, and the rating for this venue quickly bounced up from 4 to 5 full stars!
Kingdom is a must-try for escape room fanatics of all ages, as long as you are 4 feet tall or above, and accompanied by an adult if you're under 16 ;)
The magic lives on for another day!