◣ GAME'S SPECS
🕹️ In Person Experience » Escape Room
💪 Difficulty not specified.
⏲️ 90 minutes duration limit.
🔢 Accommodating 4-11 players, though 6-8 recommended, private booking.
💬 Hints system available, fully incorporated into narrative via mobile devices.
🛒 If you BOOK GAME due to this blog, please give EscapeMattster.com a shout out! ;)
◣ MATTSTER'S TAKE
💪 Difficulty: For Matt's team of 7, it felt just about right, 5/10.
🔢 Ideal Team Size: As recommended by Stash House, 6-8 is a good call. There's a ton to complete.
🤷♂️ Best Fit For: Fans of Los Angeles lifestyle, hip hop culture, and Grand Theft Auto video games series would love Stash House. Even if you just appreciate a really well told story that happens to dapple with subjects of violence and drug use, you'll have an excellent time, too. Beginners may struggle to finish in time, but difficulty shouldn't be a deterrent to play.
🍵 Boils Down To: The accurate and comprehensive version: The perfect escape game that explores the dark underbelly of crime in Los Angeles through impeccable screenwriting, felicitous set designs, and of course, an extensive pool of clever, fun, and even at times humorous puzzles. The short version: The perfect escape game. Even shorter version: Perfect!
Ⓜ️ Overall Rating: Stash House has maintained to occupy the *NUMBER ONE* spot in my heart for best narrative-driven escape room, not just in the LA market, but EVER. Till this day, I expect very few companies to be able to rival the scale of what Stash House has achieved years ahead of its curve. Going as far as claiming it a destination attraction to visit city for!
...WHOA! LOVED IT.
THIS JOINS 🏆 "MUST DO!" 🏆 RANK!
Welcome to Stash House. Your group has been invited to a seemingly-normal Koreatown apartment owned by a local entrepreneur to discuss a business opportunity. Shortly after arriving, you discover the apartment belongs to Ray Jones, notorious Los Angeles drug kingpin, and that Ray has a test in store for you: find all the drugs hidden in the space and flush them before the cops arrive or face the consequences... Does your crew have what it takes to pass the test?
This game play took place before pandemic announcement in the United States (before March 2020). This review reflects previous business standards & practice at the time. Your experience may follow new health & safety guidelines where and when applicable. Please contact business venue for operating hours, booking info, and other further inquiries.
The following is adapted from a Yelp review I've previously published.
The Detailed Read
Flushing unwanted coke down the toilet isn't something I planned on doing, but thanks to Stash House, that's another one off the bucket list.
Drug kingpin Ray Jones wants to test your quick wits--with his twisted form of hazing if you will--before he allows you join his crew. Hidden around his apartment are bags of cocaine, which would surely land you in jail unless properly disposed of. Act swiftly, because he's already alerted the po-po to bust yo arses red-handed in 90 minutes. (Excuse their slowness; they're on their donut break.)
A lone green light marks the spot ▪ Stash House
Having heard much about this venue, tonight was undeniably a night to remember, for me to finally experience the absolutely fantastic Stash House. Raved among owners, enthusiasts, and casual players, SH's infamy of being awesome isn't unfounded. It's one hell of a bright, shiny gem of an escape experience...
...which contrasts sharply with the game's setting: a nondescript, unassuming building--no address number, no signage, simply marked with one lone green light. The simplicity and the very genius of utilizing anonymity set forth the tone of this experience. (Think about it: If a drug deal's about to go down, you surely don't to attract any attention, right?) It's in-theme. It's immersive. It's so effin' exciting! Eeeek!
The interior of Ray's apartment took on a similar style, basic and functional, a couch, a kitchen area, a stripper pole. You know, the essentials. This PG-13 production borrowed heavily elements from the hip-hop communities and urban settings, showcasing the meticulous choices the owners made in shaping Ray Jones from a plot character into a more relatable, realistic figure. The careful research, mindful design, and authentic execution were all impressive.
Stash House ▪ Stash House
With the SH stage set and lit (Literally, look up! The "STASH HOUSE" lights!), puzzles were presented beautifully and logically. While the game still mostly resided in gen 1 territory (ie locks and combos), there's still virtually something for everyone. Those who know me well know I am an avid fan of old-school combo lock puzzles, if and when done right. And SH got it right, indeed.
As noted, the range of challenges varied greatly, and each riddle required you access a different skill. You might technically be looking for the similar type of solutions (eg combos), but each hurdle before your destination was ever so different. Some visual, some other... let's just say, less visual. Prepare to even get down and dirty, in more ways than one.
Secrets and plot twists, as regular room escapers came to expect, were certainly there. But DAMN (!!!), boy, was I ever so blown away and not ready for the reveal(s). I'd completed close to 80 escape rooms, and SH still gave me an off-the-chart OMG moment. Nicely done.
Where are the drugs? ▪ Stash House
A hefty amount of puzzles awaited, and with a time limit of 90 minutes, and a recommended player number of 6-8, SH was suitable and entertaining even for seasoned experts. (In fact, beginners may struggle quite a bit.)
However the experience level, I wouldn't recommend any team to have more than 8 members in this private game. (6 seems ideal.) There comes a point when too many bodies would outweigh the benefits of having more noggins. Nonetheless, there really was A LOT to do, and my team of 7 divide-and-conquered, completing branched-off objectives in small groups, while finally congregating together again in an overall linear narrative.
The overall journey was extremely rewarding, a magnitude only matched by the extreme wastefulness of ridding perfectly consumable, grade A stimulant.
But that's ok. I am still high from the game.
Mug shots ▪ Stash House
One thing that Stash House made me realize tonight was that, it reminded me heaps of the Evil Genius saga, another great escape game in the LA market. They both had 1 thing in common--a unique, memorable plot. In a business recently saturated in gimmicky high-tech implementations and movie-grade sets, a surefire way to win over an audience's heart is still the same ol', plain ol' great story.
The aforementioned game designers all had a vision of *their own* story universe; then they brainstormed, composed, edited, and eventually elegantly crafted a world where only their own branded characters live. This isn't another cannibalistic killer horror trope. We're not curing another deadly virus. This is something exclusive, remarkable, and eventful...
...And when past escape rooms start to blur with one another after my completing so many, Stash House would still stand out like a champion.
It's GTA irl. Highly, highly recommended.
Full disclosure: complimentary game access was generously provided for review or testing purposes. All media are sourced from and credited to rightful owners. No copyright infringement intended. In certain cases, media materials are made available under fair use doctrine of copyright law. SHStash.