[N/A] CHAPTER 1: OCCAM'S APARTMENT - Evil Genius Escape Rooms
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This is Matt's game No. 16.
Venue: [CLOSED] Evil Genius Escape Rooms
Address: 2525 W Washington Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90018
Game: [CLOSED] Chapter 1: Occam's Apartment
Here is a carbon copy of my Yelp review, posted originally on 05/05/2018:
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OCCUM'S APARTMENT // Grade: A+
NORCROSS ART GALLERY // Grade: A
"...Holy mother of God! Orgasmic-ly good!"
Needed a great birthday celebration idea, & Evil Genius really delivered. First, I would like to thank Jackie (sis of sibling team of venue owners) for giving us a great experience. For this review, I wanna try something new--borrowing from the official website, I gonna address each bullet points Evil Genius claims to offer (& ultimately succeeds).
Top quality: Yes. The set was definitely this. Most everything was custom made & built by the owners, providing players an experience as realistic as possible. We did the 2-hour special (playing chapter 1 & 2 together in 120 minutes), & both sets were impressive. Occam's Apartment in chapter 1 was movie-quality, especially when coupled with an actual building front. The props really came together to project the feel of a lone bachelor's pad. Complete with sad Chinese take-out boxes & beer cans! (One particular clue was even personalized to my group!) Norcross Art Gallery, by comparison, was less "wow", but it was still pretty darn good. It was true to a vibe of a smaller scaled, rich-gentleman-owned, personal art showroom. Imagine your everyday commercial gallery but condensed into a miniature version; that's about what you're getting. The scenic was certainly one that stood out from the rest.
Episodic: The plot behind these rooms is truly the star of the this venue! The chapters are strongly story-driven, & each game picks up where the last left off. This made the game SO AWESOME!! Sometimes, if you're just forcing puzzles into your games, things simply don't flow organically. Evil Genius manages to do the exact opposite--every puzzle fits in so well, whilst you find out more & more about what happened to our guy Occam, our trusty ally X, & Mr Evil Genius himself. & this location is the ONLY PLACE, that I know of, that allows you to play 2 rooms merged as 1 single game. As long as you can solve both rooms under 120 minutes, it doesn't matter how long you spend in each chapter. You can speed through ch. 1 to get more time in ch. 2, or vice versa. A game model that is both innovative & satisfying.
Immersive/Custom music: These kinda go together. First, the music to your game is like the score to a movie. & truly, with the sets & the story discussed above, we were immersed in a movie-like experience, & we were the stars. We were Occam's detective friends who were trying to figure out what/who truly murdered him. But can you imagine a movie without proper scores? Terrible! Furthermore, can you imagine an escape game without background music? The silence would seem out of place. To both, owner Patrick surely can't, & that's why he composed all the music you hear in the game. (Or actually, I heard that he built these rooms so he could feature his music! Either way, it all worked out perfectly.) He put his music to great use: The background music changed when the plot thickened; & there's even faint music in the background of the art gallery audio tour (see below)! Nice one, Pat.
Unique puzzles: Finally, the puzzles. Were they unique? Thinking back... it's a healthy mix. There were some that enthusiasts could see right through, & then there were ones that had us going, WHOOOOOOOOOAAAA! It's worth mentioning that they made use of our senses that were not traditionally touched on in most escape games. (Lil spoiler!) In ch. 1, we relied on more than our eyes for one puzzle. In ch. 2, audio tour of the gallery tested our listening skills. We blew through ch. 1 as the puzzles were somewhat easier; ch. 2 puzzles overall also made sense, albeit some required clues/prompts. (Clue system was also immersive.)
Secrets/Fast-paced: Yes, these were particularly true when we got to the latter parts of the games, when things started to go terribly wrong for us, & we were fighting to escape FOR OUR LIVES! Again, moments like these were really heightened by the appropriate use of urgency-theme music/score. Heart-pumping as we burst through our final door, we felt so triumphant to have beaten the Evil Genius twice with 33 minutes leftover overall.
Fun with friends: Without a doubt, we had a lot of fun! Since all games are private, you'll never share a room with strangers. With a capacity of 6 people max in each game, I'd say it's about right, since any more than 6 would feel quite cramped. I recommend a group of 3 to 4 for experienced gamers, as too many chefs in the kitchen may yield a chaotic & non-productive game, potentially leaving some with nothing to do at times. Duo players may feel overwhelmed in ch. 2, in which the puzzles required more intensive thinking.
Everything you want in a well-balanced package of escape room experience is found right here at Evil Genius. Per Jackie, Ch. 3 (The Morgue), release date TBD, has some special game changers in store for us. Can't wait to return & continue!