- Played August 2016
- Los Angeles
- 50 minutes
- 2-10 players
- $30 USD weekdays, $35 USD weekends
- What People Say
One of the oldest escape room companies in LA county has been quietly adding rooms and improving the overall experience from start to finish. The Cavern is its second room, and it pulls no punches with its design and puzzling intensity.
Escape Room LA is located in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles, meaning that there is no shortage of places to shop and eat and it is worth working the Cavern into your evening plans. That being said, parking can be pricey; expect to pay about $10 for any one of the parking spots dotting the area. (Free street parking can be found about a block and a half away on Santee Alley.) The waiting room, while not the most impressive place to kill some time before you begin your game, is clean and lined with many benches, and the little metal puzzles will keep you busy while your teammates shuffle in and out of the cramped restrooms located down the hall.
I’ve never been in a real mining shaft before, but the Cavern looks exactly like what you might expect: pressure gauges, rocky walls, makeshift tables, and threadbare lighting. Everything is solidly built and custom designed for the room; you won’t find anything that you can break in this room unless it’s already broken, which is somewhat expected on an archaeological dig.
The pre-game setup for the story is fantastic, and the puzzles are all reminiscent of the theme: you are on a mission to uncover the cavern’s historical secrets before you run out of air in 50 minutes. However, this just goes to prove that a great proposed story and great puzzles do not necessarily make a memorably immersive experience. The puzzles are woven awkwardly into the story, and you ultimately end up trying to solve a bunch of ancient-civilization-themed math and word puzzles that remind you little of the fact that you’re on an expedition.
There are rooms that are designed to be easy, there are rooms that are designed to be hard, and then there’s Escape Room LA. The avalanche of puzzles leaves very little room for error and requires extremely efficient teamwork and communication, which is made more difficult by the fact that you might be working with strangers who may or may not know what they are doing. There might even be a puzzle or two that still leave you scratching your head afterward, despite the game host’s explanation.
Though there are many escape rooms that can cause some team members to idly stand by while only one or two people operate or solve something, no such waiting exists in the Cavern. The puzzles are scattered and the clues are many, and there is no doubt that puzzle fiends will be fully sated here. The environment is unique and will captivate you; it’s the closest thing you’ll get to accessing Los Angeles’s now-defunct underground tunnels. In such a high-paced room filled with the remnants of a lost city, you can’t help but get caught up in the excitement.
If you’re up for a challenge that will cause you to look at the clock nervously every thirty seconds, this is the room for you. It’s a high-energy room where you’ll put your elbow in someone’s eye if you try to scratch your head. However, if you’re looking for an immersive experience, the Cavern will impress you at first but that will get lost the moment people start running around.