The Villain’s Lair
The Villain's Lair
- Played October 2016
- Los Angeles
- 60 minutes
- Up to 10 players
- What People Say
E xit Game is one of the most well-advertised escape rooms around Los Angeles County. Even people who have never heard of escape rooms know something about these rooms that have been drawing people in since the dawn of the escape room trend. But does Exit Game stand strong against the test of time with the new rooms that haven been sweeping Southern California?
Parking is easy and abundant (Exit Game is located on the bottom floor of a three-story plaza, so it’s not too hard to find parking), and the waiting room is one of the largest and best of any escape room that you’ll ever see. It’s a converted tutoring place, so the place is littered with several full-sized tables and games ranging from Jenga to playing cards. Unfortunately, the staff is so overloaded with people sometimes that they neglect to pay every customer as much attention as they might like; one of our teams stood around for a good five minutes after we escaped waiting for someone to come and congratulate us, even though all the escape rooms open into the busy waiting room.
The Villain’s Lair, though old and worn through many escape attempts over the past year, has stood the test of time. Since everything seems almost indestructibly built from wood and metal, these rooms are designed to take a major beating. Most likely the creators of the game had in mind the many people that would be going through these rooms on a near-daily basis due to their marketing and their popularity, and designed the room to fit these needs.
This room had a chance at being one of the best rooms in Los Angeles. The puzzles are unique and use some interesting technology, the story is actually pretty good (supplemented by an introduction video), and it strikes a good balance between being challenging and being logical. You really do feel like you’re at the mercy of a malevolent leader in an oppressed nation. In fact, 75% of the Villain’s Lair is very good.
Unfortunately, much of the experience is marred by a single infamous puzzle dubbed by many escape room enthusiasts as simply “The Light Puzzle.” This puzzle is all at once physically exhausting (especially if you have less players), ridiculously challenging with lots of guessing and strange logic, and highly tedious without lending anything to the storyline. It is essentially the Mount Everest of escape room puzzles that will take most of your time in this escape room.
You might be asking yourself, “Why is he waxing poetic about a single puzzle?” Here’s the thing: This room has SO MUCH POTENTIAL. If this single puzzle is reworked, the Villain’s Lair might stand proud as one of the best escape rooms to visit if you’re in Los Angeles. It has all the qualities that would appeal to beginners and experts, logicians and adventure-seekers. It’s a testament to the strength of the rest of the Lair that such a massive and questionable puzzle doesn’t detract completely from the experience. But it is hard to wholeheartedly recommend a room that requires you to spend at least half an hour doing the same things over and over again.