FLIGHT OF THE PANDORUS* - 60Out Escape Rooms
This is Matt's game No. 28.
Address: 2284 S Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA 90007
Game: Flight Of The Pandorus* (*Now Named "Galaxy Quest")
Here is a carbon copy of my Yelp review, posted originally on 07/21/2018:
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FLIGHT OF THE PANDORUS // Grade: B+ "...Enjoyable experience, would recommend."
Last I was here at this location, I escaped being slaughtered by the Krampus killer (see "previous review") in Christmas week, when the Krampus apartment was the only featured room. Today, the previously defunct game Pandorus has been revamped, updated, & now once again open--so how did I fare in "Flight of the Pandorus"?
Well first, the setting: Time, years & years from now. Location, in a galaxy far far away. My crew has been hired to retrieve a weapon device aboard the abandoned Pandorus by... you know, I forgot his name. Let's call him Mr. Space Mafia Head. If mission accomplished, we'd be handsomely rewarded, but the choices we make may very well decide the fate of many people's lives.
Instantly after being briefed by the Game Master (GM) of our motivations, I felt so Han Solo, & super pumped to step aboard. Once inside, greeted by flashing lights, moving noises from your very own mini robot assistant Cosmo, & a transmission video from Mr. Space Mafia Head himself, I knew today, I was going to part of something special. It felt as if we were cast as the protagonists of a space odyssey motion picture. For the next hour, we were no longer on Earth. We were on a futuristic space craft, encountering various outer space creatures, & performing all kinds of out-of-this-world tasks.
Immersion? Incredible! It should come as no surprise that 60Out would engineer a movie quality set that aims to get its players lost in a fantasy world. But just having a nice looking set is not enough to fully drown out reality that is our mundane lives (haha, I jest), there also needs to be a compelling tale to complement the experience. Pandorus achieved on both ends exceedingly. In fact, the back story was crafted with just the right amount of details to excite players to spring into action, & more information was revealed as the game & story unfolded. Through interaction of prop pieces, we as the players were in full control of the direction of our aforementioned movie; & as we made our pivotal decision mid-game, urgency was further created for us to get off the spaceship before time ran out.
Not only was this a great escape game, it was one that was backed by one of the most intriguing & strongest story lines I have the pleasure to experience from 60Out. WOW.
60Out has eliminated all padlocks from Pandorus, because why would a spaceship employ ancient technology like a combo lock? As such, all puzzles in game were task based, & yet Pandorus managed to maintain the very signature flavor of an escape room. To strike such a balanced note was an incredible feat for me, especially because in the past, I have found other task-based rooms to be hard to comprehend, & steps required to exit a room were less intuitive, & more like guesswork. It was not the case here.
There was a healthy mix of variety among the puzzles, & a few puzzles were constructed to be so immersively decorated as part of the cabin, our group had a difficult time locating & identifying them as puzzles even though they were just sitting there in plain sight!
If players needed help, an in-game hint system was embedded into Cosmo, your very own assistant mini robot. He'd from time to time scream mercilessly at you when you "silly" minds derail, & try to get you back on track. The responses from Cosmo seemed to be pre-recorded, but I'm not 100% sure. & if Cosmo's sarcastic personality wasn't your cup of tea, you could still signal for more specific hints by breaking the 4th wall via a walkie-talkie. I first saw this type of two-layered clue system in Maze Room (another company), & I was happy to see it utilized elsewhere successfully.
Though this is rated as "hard" on the official website, our 4-people team burned through the room & escaped in roughly 45 minutes with only 2 hints. I think a 3-member group would still be able to squeeze by just fine if they're experienced, but don't play with more than 5. Even with 4 players today, it still felt crowded at times when only 2 people could reasonably work on certain steps. & since the total amount of puzzles was actually on the lower end, the game felt *SHORT* & I definitely wanted more.
Alas, this game was not without its flaws: One that stood out painfully obvious was when we completed the final puzzle correctly, the escape hatch door seemed to have malfunctioned & did not open. The timer still continued to count down, & we stood around puzzled. Our GM finally opened the exit door for us manually after a while, congratulating us that we won. A total buzzkill & an anti-climatic ending, this was enough for me to downgrade the room from A- to B+. (Well, that, plus I found out post-game that certain props and puzzles no longer functioned as they once did. I now feel like we got the short end of the stick here.)
Overall, though, not a bad trip. We saved many lives, after all.