THE A.I. - Exit Game
This is Matt's game No. 30.
Address: 111 N Atlantic Blvd Ste 148, Monterey Park, CA 91754
Game: The A.I.
Here is a carbon copy of my Yelp review, posted originally on 08/05/2018:
Follow IG: EscapeMattster for my escape chronicles ;)
THE A.I. // Grade: A-
"...Enjoyable experience, would recommend."
Always a joy to return to Exit Game. The spectrum of theme offered here is so broad, I feel like I am Barbie, having stepped into so many career choices: secret agent, covert soldier, wizard apprentice, and today, the most important job of all--a best friend. Awww. (See my "previous reviews" for break down of other games.)
In "The Artificial Intelligence (A.I.)", tu amigo Jonathan was arrested for an alleged cyber attack on the government, but it looked like his digital assistant ADA was to blame. (Think Alexa but more advanced... and more sinister.) You have one hour to go into Jon's bachelor pad and SHUT. IT. DOWN.
AI occupies the smallest square footage compared to the other games on the roster, but still manages to pack in big fun. Production value is decent as always, with just the right amount of props and decors to successfully achieve the vibe of a studio apartment and its (gasp!) secret workshop.
At first glance, this setting really didn't look like much, and some might even dismiss it as on the plainer side. But, like always, as you do your escape-room-thang, unlocking secrets and gaining access to classified areas... NEON LIGHTS ABOUND! It looked more beautiful than I'd imagined.
But let's not waste more text limit on the set; the VIP of AI is undoubtedly its unique game play format!
AI is essentially a video game that's come to life. You enter the game at novice mode with 60 minutes to beat the boss. With 40% escape rate, you'll most likely triumph.
But here's the twist: if your team manages to escape with 15 minutes remaining, AI enters EXPERT MODE automatically. At this check point, you can declare your victory and leave, or you can select braving further challenges. Should you accept your (optional) mission, you'll continue solving bonus, HARDER puzzles, all the while risk failing to escape in time the second time around. You say you're good at escape rooms? Prove it.
A built-in competence barometer... How deliciously intriguing is that?!
Moreover, because AI is advertised as easy level game, I initially thought for sure there'll be your usual lock-and-combo puzzles. Boy, I mean ADA, was I wrong!
There's ZERO padlock, and with the exception of a few wall safe style apparatuses, everything else was tech based. In retrospect, this made perfect sense for a game that takes place in a computer genius's futuristic home. Nerdy fans (me!) all rejoice for tech-infused escape rooms!
Puzzles also varied in different styles, some of which were extremely reminiscent of actual video game, complete with computer, keyboard, and mouse involvement. These particular elements fit so well into the theme that I couldn't help appreciating the creativity and the execution from the game designers...
...which leads me to a MILD SPOILER! YOU'VE BEEN WARNED! [As mentioned, though this room is relatively small in actual *real-world space*, perhaps the decision to include and utilize *virtual space* on the PC is both budget fitting and downright genius. I personally thought it added an extra layer of "Wow, cool!" factor. See for yourself.]
Due to the aforementioned puzzles' variety, autonomic plug-and-chugging, common among enthusiasts, is not enough to win. These puzzles test all skills at your disposals--cipher decoding, reaction rate, and even mathematical logic. Unless you're an omnipotent master of all trades, it's good to have life lines in the form of your teammates.
As such, everyone on my team got to shine in their own moments. What made my experience enjoyable was partially due to no particular participant's being an expert at all riddles presented across the board. The mutual reliance within a group made everyone a winner.
My team, The Burms (Burmy based trio), struggled through this so-called easy game. (This happens more often than I'd prefer.) We needed 4 total clues to succeed, clocking at around 14:30 at completion of default NOVICE mode, narrowly missing the coveted EXPERT mode. Thus, I actually recommend a team of 4, potentially up to 6, to at least help scout out easily missed details.
Nevertheless, with much hospitality, Exit Game invited us back immediately to complete expert mode since we still have close to 15 minutes remaining. Along with a detailed walkthrough given by my gm, I was able to witness & experience the AI story in its entirety.
I sincerely thank the venue for showering its returning customers with excellent customer service, which really sets a business apart in a sea of competitors. I continue to recommend this brand to my peers for its consistent performance.
Definitely a 5-star experience, today's visit marks my 4th entry with this company. My journey with EG is slowly coming to an end. The next adventure awaiting will be the last and hardest room yet--The Villain's Lair; and I've never been so excited to be behind bars.
See you then, Kim.