OPERATION: X-13 - Trapped! Escape Room
This is Escape Mattster's game No. 34.
Address: 173 Village Ct Ste 105, San Dimas, CA 91773
Game: Operation: X-13
Here is a carbon copy of my Yelp review, posted originally on 09/08/2018:
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OPERATION: X-13 // Grade: A
"...Enthusiast's treasure, book it soon!"
Birthday escape room tour, location 2 of 5, we find ourselves at Trapped! Escape's new location in San Dimas, and...
"ATTENTIONNN!!! REPORT TO DUTY, NEW RECRUITS!"
...Wait what. I'm just here to celebrate...
"LISTEN, RECRUITS. YOU HAVE 60 MINUTES. GO INTO CYBORTEK'S PRESIDENT'S OFFICE. GAIN ACCESS TO HIS SAFE WHERE HE KEEPS FORMULA X-13. THEN GET OUT. NOW MOVE, MOVE, MOVE!!!"
I guess today we need to save humanity by stopping an evil coporation from selling a deadly formula that turns everyday citizens into droid-like deadly assassins. OK :)
For fans of this company, especially for those who have already done "Sector 13" at Upland location, "Operation X-13" is a magnificent room to play as it's the prequel to this overarching narrative. Having conquered Sector months ago & left with some unanswered questions, I found completing X-13 elucidated some of the more confusing plot points from my previous encounter. That is not to say you cannot play these rooms without playing the other. However, you'll get more bang from your buck from doing both, since you would appreciate your 1-hour experience on a different level. (And props to the staff for bringing the story to life via a performance-based entrance. Loved it.)
To review X-13 as its own entity presents no problem though, as it is a very well done room. The overall size of the gaming area is about what you'd expect from an office based story line. You would still have to work your brains out, quite extensively in fact, to infiltrate into all the secured areas, but you'd pretty much get a clear idea of the game flow within the first few minutes. (The heart-pumping moments, which this game definitely offers, do not rely on secret trapdoors & such, but rather, heavily on the situation at hand, & the tech. More on that later.) Production value was on par with Sector, but a level below Disney's quality Rabbit Hole (another Trapped! room). It still looked great for the most part, & provided a solid & decent playground for all the actions unfolding.
And man, oh man, I am not at all kidding about all the actions. While Sector went for a creepy, thrilling vibe, X-13 straight up aligned itself with the likes of a secret agent action film. (Sharp-eyed players may even find subtle reference to a certain famous English spy.) As much as I would love to include specific details, spoiling them is deplorable, so I won't. However, just know that, the room starts out strong, holds you under stress with its unrelenting challenges, & finishes with a bang. ;) This game's got a lot of sweats, heart, & soul, and I applaud the game designers for bringing something special to San Dimas.
And all of the above won't be possible without the key cast, the puzzles & all their supporting tech gadgets. As warned by our gm, the puzzles in this room were hard--and they absolutely were! These are not puzzles that get recycled through all the companies out there. They are actually quite original & fantastic for being so... but that also means that they had us stumbled and fallen off track numerous times. Thanks for unlimited hints, we were able to accomplish our objectives. Although this game isn't linear per se, critical info is only available in the form of 1 or 2 key items. So, do your team a solid, and share this info by reading everything out loud.
...My team didn't coordinate well tonight, and did not follow the above advice, and it really hindered our progress. Definitely partially our fault, I also felt that this particular game design unintentionally but firmly limited the number of players suitable for this game. Since my group of 4 had problem sharing info, I don't recommend bigger group size since each additional player would make communication exponentially more difficult. Retrospectively thinking, had we organized our thinking caps better, and calmly followed prompts given, it's all so much more doable.
But that's always the case, lol.
As mentioned, the tech used in this room were fantastic. There were still a small number of traditional locks, but they were found in places that made good sense. The rest of the puzzles all came in forms of tech gadget based challenges. One particular puzzle even demanded your inner best hacker. Without a doubt, X-13 made being a recruit an authentic experience, and had this game been larger, more expansive, game area wise, it'd rival one of my all-time favorites, a 007 based escape game at another venue.
Last comments: I'd love for Trapped! to attempt to board up the ceilings of each room, or somehow isolate sounds from other areas of the building, as I could hear people talking during my game. That effectively broke the 4th wall, and could potentially ruin an immersive experience. But all the love, enthusiasm, & professionalism from Daphne and Roland made the 2nd stop of my escape room tour a great success.