- Played March 2016
- Los Angeles
- 60 minutes
- 2-6 players
- What People Say
“The Lair.” That name could stand for anything, but doesn’t it sounds foreboding? Escapedom knows how to build anticipation before you even know anything else about the room. Let’s see if their room lives up to the hype.
Located in a college town five minutes outside of UCLA, parking is a nightmare and the location can be hard to find (down a shady-looking hallway and up the stairs), but that all changes the moment you walk in. “Professionalism” is the immediate vibe. The small room is immaculately clean, with leather rolling chairs, dimmed lamps, and theatre curtains all around the room. There are metal puzzles on a compartmentalized table off to the side if you need to kill some time, but you probably won’t need them; the staff moves you along quickly, first giving a slide-show presentation on the background of the Dollmaker before ushering you into the room. Oh, and a tip: PAY ATTENTION TO THE PRESENTATION.
The Lair, contrary to what its name may imply, is spotlessly clean and incredibly well-kept. It looks, feels, and smells like someone spot-cleans the room between every run. However, the room is… a little too clean. You might not notice it while you’re running around solving puzzles, but there’s almost no decor in the room and the walls, floor, and ceiling are completely blank except for the puzzles.
The aforementioned bareness of the Lair unfortunately does not bode well for the immersiveness of the experience. Though the puzzles are strong and many will remind you of the theme of the Lair (trying to crack a drug dealer named the Dollmaker), they do not save the room’s merely passable story. There is a very pleasant host in the room with you to make sure you’re on track and you’re not breaking their stuff, but this takes you out of the story rather than engross you in it.
The strongest aspect of Escapedom by far is their puzzle set. The Lair will thrill you with the variety and uniqueness in their puzzles, and boast a very strong and beautiful puzzle set. There are puzzles that require math, physical movement, and everything in between. Everything is custom-made for the room; you will not see the puzzles in this room anywhere else. What holds back the puzzles is that, once again, they do not do much to advance the storyline.
The puzzles are so unique, captivating, and well-made that you’ll almost forget that the story is as average as it is. Every puzzle is thrilling, and there’s a true sense of accomplishment as many puzzles reward you not just with progress but also with a surprise. There’s so much to do, and everyone will be kept busy doing something.
Though the puzzles better than almost anything else you’ll see in Los Angeles County, the story leaves quite a lot to be desired. However, the puzzles alone are worth the trip, and their beautiful waiting room should be the standard for every escape room across the country.