• Escape Mattster

ZEN ROOM - 60Out Escape Rooms

This is Matt's game No. 7.


Venue: 60Out Escape Rooms (Marina Del Rey Branch)

Address: 13336 Beach Ave, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292

Game: Zen Room


Here is a carbon copy of my Yelp review, posted originally on 02/03/2018:


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ZEN ROOM // Grade: C+
TITANIC // Grade: A-
"...Put on to-do list, try it out when free... or not."
Having heard so many great stories about the 2 rooms I am doing today (Zen Room & Titanic), I was super hyped up to finally come play. Alas, my own experience did not live up to my expectations.
First, in Zen, we played as slightly crazed patients stuck in an all-white dream world, and we had 60 minutes to bring back happiness and colors into our lives. Think psych patients mixed with unicorns.
This game was non-linear, and had really creative puzzles that required the players to do pretty wacky things. It's genuinely an outside-the-box kinda experience. A lot less plug-and-chug with combo locks, and a lot more hands-on action-based sequences. That's Zen's pro.
However, bad execution would make any innovative idea fall flat.
A handful of puzzles worked exactly as they were intended to, and those are all good fun.
THEN, there were some that didn't quite work because it took a leap in logic that even when players got the right idea, and were in the right direction, it won't quite work because they didn't do it just quite right. For such instances, I could shrug them off as my team's being stupid, or just incidentally incompetent today. Not 60Out's fault; fair enough.
THENNNNN, there were gadgets that just simply did not work. They just flat out. DID. NOT. WORK. Period.
There were sensors that had to be placed/aimed/aligned EXACTLY on point, and that's a little too excessive and demanding. Without the game master's gentle nudge, we wouldn't have known that we did the right thing, just that the sensitivity of the tech is low. That to me, it's faulty design.
Even more so painfully, there was a key that couldn't enter the key hole because the hole was jammed. Now... for an escape game, a genre based on unlocking things... C'mon. We spent a great deal of time wondering why we couldn't unlock a door with a simple metal key. And our gm couldn't believe it, either. She came in to confirm that the key hole was jammed, & our game was completed without actual completion.
Understandably, that ruined both our game feel and finishing time, and we didn't get a dramatic/climatic finish to our game as I'd hoped. If I recall correctly, this happened to some other Yelper(s) also... So, with all due respect, PLEASE. FIX. THIS.
After Zen, my friend told me, for the first time ever, "I did not enjoy myself in that room." Sure, we "escaped", but the thrill was missing.
Titanic was next, since we booked 2 rooms back-to-back, and it was a much better improvement!
Story: You have 60 minutes to save Titanic from sinking, duh. This linear room supposedly won many awards, and I understood why.
Visuals, pretty on point. Things were relatively clean and well-maintained, and the puzzles were again, creative. Given, they were not difficult, but it's always refreshing to see puzzles that didn't require unlocking padlocks. I enjoyed myself a lot more in this game. The feeling of great gaming is back.
I've read from another review that, Titanic's puzzles/solutions felt in tune with the backstory, and each step fit quite nicely into the theme of fixing the ship and saving the passengers on board. I totally agree. This level of immersion helped create and maintain a more complete game play, and you would have a sense of purpose and urgency during a make-believe tale. For this, applause.
Sadly, since we were conditioned by Zen to think this room could've been reset with errors too, we asked our gm for a confirmation if a certain prop was missing. It wasn't. But it felt that way. Looking back, it was intentional and was justified within the story line.
I just wanted to point this out because of a bad game prior, there is lingering doubt in our minds if this room was fully functional or not. In fact, there was maybe 1 tech hiccup (involving metal sensors) in Titanic also, but it wasn't as big of a deal.
Actually, the rest of the game went so smoothly, we busted outta there in 27 minutes. The game actually felt short. We were like, "That's it? It can't be! We want more!" Either we were getting really good at escape rooms, or maybe this room could benefit from an additional 3-4 puzzles, perhaps. Even 1-2 would be welcome!
For both games, if you want a clue, you would talk to your gm via an intercom system. This worked well for Zen, since doctors would potentially communicate with locked-up patients the same way. But for Titanic, which took place in 1910s, it felt out of place?
All above factors considered, both rooms combined deserved 3.5 to 3.75 stars. Rounded up to 4 for Yelp. Had the rooms been perfectly functional they way they should, and if you judge them just by designs, theoretically, they are great family fun.
Basing on today's actual experience though, I am more like "eh". It's far from terrible, but I know 60Out shoots for excellence, and it just missed the mark.

This was my first of several (or even many?) more to come of "costumed" play. All white.

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