WIZARDS WORKSHOP - 60Out Escape Rooms
This is Escape Mattster's game No. 47.
Address: 13336 Beach Ave, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292
Game: Wizards Workshop
Here is a carbon copy of my Yelp review, posted originally on 10/27/2018:
Escape with me! Follow IG: EscapeMattster ;)
Current room count: 46 & 47
OUTBREAK // Grade: A-
WIZARDS WORKSHOP // Grade: B+
"...Enjoyable experience, would recommend."
I was here to complete the 2 remaining rooms at this location and I was really hoping these rooms would impress me so much that I could upgrade the rating from 4 to 5 stars. (I did "Zen Room" and "Titanic" months ago, see my "Previous Review".)
Ordinary Saturday morning, disaster struck, and now we're all infected with a deadly virus. With no readily available treatment, we must then venture into an armored bunker to synthesize our own cure. We had 60 minutes before all organs would suffer total failure. Aw sh*t.
"Outbreak", by far, was the most sci-fi action flick vibe room I have played from 60Out. And I actually found myself loving this room, due to the subject matter, even more than I initially expected. There were many surprising elements revealed, and they're all right up my alley, hence this instantly stole Titanic's spot as my favorite MDR escape room. The set had such a clean and slick design... it's dark, it's grimy, it's suspenseful--it's perfect!
Sharp-eyed visitors would notice roaches crawling all over. The entrance "door" was a large, circular metal bunker cover with a huge bio-hazard sign, and all infected patients needed to crouch down to even enter. From that point forth, the immersion was never interrupted, until the very last victory moment. Along the way, the set looked good consistently. (Think Resident Evil. That's what Outbreak was.)
The puzzles were creative, with many employing either tech or key items in ways I had not, or had rarely, encountered. Many solutions put you in the shoes of an action movie hero, literally destroying opponents whom might stand between you and your antidote. Though enjoyable, there's either insufficient number of steps, or these puzzles were too easy, because we succeeded with 0 hint in about 35 minutes. (The only challenging puzzle was near the end, and that one had slight tech issue.) Game felt short. Hmph.
Next, we were transformed magically into wizard apprentices that must rescue our mentor's lost soul from another dimension, and restore him back in a tangible new body. "Wizards Workshop", here we came.
At some point, I noticed the set, though nothing wrong really, looked more plain and bland compared to the promo media. They overdid their photoshop for this room, hence setting up a bit of a false expectation. It's still a good 60Out level quality, nevertheless. I will say this, however: as implied by the theme, there're plenty of magical moments when transitioning from room to room, one of which required an able body--at least one player needed to be mobile.
The rest of the room felt somewhat... above average. To say there's something wrong with this room would be inaccurate, but I just didn't find it particularly challenging (for a hard room) or felt especially rewarding. It's a weird feeling because there were many little moments that I felt, "Wow, that's kinda neat!", but as a whole, I left feeling somewhat unsatiated.
The last room, strangely in particular, felt more sci fi than Harry Potter, especially when a machine with buttons was involved? Immersion was actually quite completely intact up to that very last stop, therefore also contributing to the slight disappointment.
I guess I just wanted this room to be stunningly beautiful and mentally stimulating, but it kinda fell short on both grounds. Sadly, even less thinking was needed for this room. We were almost robotic, and there lacked that ah-ha! satisfaction after a brief struggle when solving a puzzle. We got out even faster without hint in about 30 minutes, and that's including a malfunction time-waste midway.
Come to think of it, I disagree with the difficulty system found on official website for all 4 rooms: First, none of the rooms is hard. (I am looking right at you, Wizards!) All of them are easy to medium. If you excel in more abstract thinking, Zen and Outbreak would come easy to you. If you're more used to escape room types of puzzles, you'd most likely fly through Titanic and Wizards.
No good game could be possible without a great game master, and today, Jacob was the man. He's definitely a pro, so much in fact, I thought he was a little speedy/pushy. That soon became obvious why, because he was the ONLY DUDE running the place during the morning shifts. It takes a master of multitasking to ensure multiple games can progress smoothly with just one body, and Jacob, you did very well while still being polite. High 5.
Alas, my experience with Zen was so bad in my last visit, and these 2 rooms today were somewhat underwhelming, the overall averaged rating for the MDR location never quite reached a 5 star level--so it's staying at 4 stars. My general sentiment is that this branch offers some interesting rooms, though not ranked best or hardest in the entire 60Out roster, but certainly not shabby, either.