• Escape Mattster

THE CABIN - The Room Live Escape Room LA

This is Matt's game No. 32.

Venue: The Room - Live Escape Room LA

Address: 11500 Burbank Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 91601

Game: The Cabin

Here is a carbon copy of my Yelp review, posted originally on 08/26/2018:

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THE CABIN // Grade: A-

"...Enjoyable experience, would recommend."

Aw shucks, locked in a secluded cabin in the woods again. If we don't escape within 60 minutes, we gonna be on today's dinner menu for cannibalistic killer du jour, AGAIN! *Cue trombone effect--wah wah wah*

Though the premise is overplayed, it's still one of the tried & true themes that get people pumped up & eager to break out. The Cabin from The Room still got the formula right, providing a thrilling adventure for any willing victim.

Just how scary was this room? Well, it depends on your affinity (or aversion) to horror. There's no live actor in this game, nor did I remember any jump scare, so to me, scare level was close to 0. If you are, however, like my friend, who has zero tolerance for anything remotely creepy, then brace yourself.

Incidentally, the hour started off with this very friend's discovering a severed body part at the very beginning, followed by her loud scream of horrific surprise. *Smirk*

Though lacking background music, there was always an ambient soundtrack of wind howling & other woods related sound effects, so nice touch!

As for any horror themed room, I always die for some physical action required for escape, whether it be crawling or all that jazz. Glad to report, I had my moment. ;)

Production value was decent! On top of it of all, this was a multi-room experience, meaning as you progressed through the game, you'd physically venture from one area to the next--& I loved it, as most people would! The game designers fully made use of all square footage of this relatively large game room, & the game play flowed smoothly & organically.

Puzzles in this easy-medium room was heavily scavenger-hunt based. From start to finish, almost every step required frantic searching for clues dispersed in some of the most obscure places. This may not be everyone's cup of tea.

Certain Yelper complained that one clue was so well hidden, most would not find it. The same happened with my group, which we were only able to retrieve the elusive clue at the expanse of 1 hint. (3 hints total allowed; clue system was semi-immersive.)

Most puzzle inputs ended up being gen 1, with locks & safes being mainstays, plus a small number of tech based magic thrown in. I love this format. Final puzzles involved some actual riddles solving, requring slight logic leaps and English language play. So beware. Overall, this room is great for both beginners and more experienced fans.

All this above added up to a pretty solid game, though sadly soiled by the business model adopted--the controversial public game setting. And yup, surely enough, my group of 4 was assigned to survive the night with another group of 4 (strangers), maxing out the room's capacity.

...And here's my gripe.

Let me just preface by saying the 4 people I met, they were not the problem. They were good-spirited, followed directions well, and had good time management. For a group of first timers, they were *incredibly* bright, and made significant contributions to our successful escape with almost 11 minutes to spare.

The problem was more on me. I am not super comfortable with working with strangers. When I play with my usual group of fanatics, our already existent camaraderie propels us in almost synchronization, making the process engaging, relaxing, & fun.

Working with unfamiliar teammates, however, required me to always second guess my own tone, behavior, and action, always reminding myself not to overstep (social) boundaries, thus creating this invisible layer of hindering stress.

At certain points, when everyone were trying to give forth their best guesses, things just became too chaotic. No matter where you are, kitchen or cabin, too many chefs are just too many chefs.

This quandary was compounded by the first location, which was (mild spoiler!) a tiny jail cell overstuffed with 8 adults. I know the owners' gotta make money, but when the very first puzzle was arguably the hardest one of the entire game, & we were, at the time, overcrowded in a prison with our bodies' narrowly brushing against each other's...

...it's just hard to solve anything -__-

If the venue could graciously consider making the game private, or reducing the max players allowed in a public game from 8 to 6, I think it'd do wonder.

Though, with the Groupon deal I purchased, I still felt like I got a great bargain. Had this value managed to outweigh the cons, I would be more generous with my final verdict--but it still just kinda missed the mark for me. But thumbs up for the welcoming staff and a well-maintained facility.

But! Make no mistake! The escape room product by itself, is still a strong player within today's competitive market. A-!

What ultimately led me to rate this *business* 4 stars out of 5 is the summation of weaknesses mentioned above. But hey, 4 is still plenty respectable. ;)

The Cabin was a surprise--a lot more fun than I expected.


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