SECTOR 13 - Trapped! Escape Room
This is Escape Mattster's game No. 21.
Address: 600 N Mountain Ave Ste B204, Upland, CA 91786
Game: Sector 13
Here is a carbon copy of my Yelp review, posted originally on 05/26/2018:
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SECTOR 13 // Grade: A+
"...Holy mother of God! Orgasmic-ly good!"
I might've found my pupper that keeps running away into the "Rabbit Hole" (see "previous"), but I still got a cousin who's been poisoned by the lab corp Cybortek from inhumane human testing. (Kids, get a job at a reputable company, k?) Well, it's too late now, so let's sneak into the controversial corp and synthesize an antidote for the cous. In an hour. Before he dies. You know the drill.
Advertised as containing a more mature theme and featuring some elements of horror, "Sector 13" was still somewhat a family friendly game, though more geared towards teenagers and up. There was no haunt-style jump scare and live actor, so it's actually still suitable for a wide range of audience. Though I haven't experienced the 3rd room Upland location has to offer, I have a feeling that this would be my favorite one!
After viewing a short but to-the-point intro video, which narrated one of the more exciting stories I have taken part in thus far, we thrust into the world of perilous chemical experiments!
The general scenic was on point. While I couldn't say this was Disney-esque, quality was still quite excellent, and sets and props were convincing. Though the game, in reality, took place on the 2nd floor of a business complex, once you stepped through the entrance door, you're transported into the heart of the story. The starting location of this game was the selling point of many reviews I'd read. While I won't be the one to spoil this for you, it definitely would get your adrenaline pumping right from the beginning with very convincing special effects.
As the story progressed, all subsequent sets and props felt natural, appropriate, and highly believable. Trapped! does not believe in sparing any expanses, does it? I am glad that there are owners out there who believe in good investments yield good returns, because this company provides very excellent production value. This game had a very strong lab related component. Umm, hello, antidote synthesis? So there's myriad examples of high tech embedded in the game. Prepare to play with gadgets! But even with all that flashing visuals, Trapped! again found the balance of giving the players just enough to immerse themselves in the plot line, without implanting unnecessary red herring. In fact, escape room regulars would be able to pick up which were key items, and which were not, for better or worse. (I personally vote for better.)
On a related note, not only did the technology of the sets and props impress in terms of setting, their charm found its way into a handful of puzzles, too. So let's talk a bit about that. Sector 13 employed both gen 1 (padlocks) and gen 2 (tech or interaction with sets) elements. You may be thinking, well, wouldn't it make more sense if majority of the puzzles were tech based since this is Cybortek, a million dollar corporation after all? Well, of the puzzles that did use padlocks, IT ACTUALLY MADE SENSE. Those locks were placed so organically into the story line, I wouldn't have it any other way. On the flip side, when things should make use of tech, they certainly did. Such seamless corporation, I must praise!
The puzzles and clues themselves were also satisfying to play. Though the logic behind several puzzles might feel recycled from other games that enthusiasts could've encountered before, there were still moments that made me go "wow!" And of the puzzles with recognizable formats, they were implemented beautifully with the goals of the plot in mind. All this combined into a very, very satisfying gaming experience.
Hints, again, were unlimited. Hint system was embedded into the story, and it worked well. I always appreciate the game designers' taking an extra step to ensure all parts of game play are immersive. So job well done! Sector 13 was not a terribly difficult room. We used perhaps 3 hints, but we successfully conjured up the antidote and escaped with almost 15 minutes remaining. We're great scientists!
Lastly, word of advice: When they brief you the rules, they'll tell you some locks in the room are purely for game play setting purpose, and not part of any puzzle. Don't waste time trying to open 'em. (Guess who made this mistake repeatedly? *Points 2 thumbs at self* THIS GUY.)
Special thanks to our game master (Larina? I forgot your name, sorry, dear.) for taking good care of us, and showing such enthusiasm and passion for being our guide, and for your affinity to our themed costumes. The mutual excitement shared between the game host and the players was part of what made today's visit such a wonderful joy.
Well, Upland location, 2 rooms down, 1 to go. San Dimas location is also set to open in June, and rumor has it, it's got a room themed to the prequel of the events in Sector 13. (Gasp! Dun dun dun!) I can't wait to go on more Trapped! adventures! Hopefully next time will be a less bloody mess! ;)