The Laboratory

7.7 Overall
Room Quality
Puzzle Design
Fun Factor
Users (0 votes) 0

The Laboratory

  • Played August 2017
  • Los Angeles, CA

  • 60 minutes
  • 2012
  • $24/person Monday-Thursday
    $29/person Friday-Sunday
    $5 off Promo Code: GRANDOPEN

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If you are a hardcore puzzle enthusiast then “Escape The Laboratory” will challenge and satisfy. We must preface this review by remarking that our scoring system does not take into account special and unique rooms such as this one. The Laboratory is designated as a “Puzzle Room”. The story is very simple and there are no locked doors; In fact you may enter and exit as you please. A geneticist by the name of Dr. Crowl has discovered a way to get rid of imperfect genes that cause disease and sickness. He needs test subjects to perfect the solution and disguises his method of getting people by having an escape room (joke’s on you). A bomb filled with gas lies in the center of the room and your goal is to disarm it or become Dr. Crowl’s next experiment.

We enter a pleasant lobby reminiscent to a dentist’s office. Everything is clean and tidy with a few scientific instruments lying around. A man in a lab coat sits behind a receptions desk opposite some modern art hanging on the walls. The waiting area is spacious with plenty of seats but alas only has one locker for storage. Our host in the lab coat greets us and briefly explains the aforementioned story. This will be the only time you are engaged in a plot line. He then guides us to a door and lets us in. Indeed an impressive looking bomb is sitting in the middle of the room on a large table. Surrounded by this bomb is an equally impressive amount of props, puzzle devices, containers, and locks. Then the timer begins to count down…

What may shock you is the number of puzzles crammed into this escape room. Over 30 unique puzzles have been engineered to test your mettle! Some of these are simple, but most are very elaborate and exciting. There is also a good balance between hands-on puzzle devices and the more logic driven ones. The continuity and flow of the puzzles also begin to reveal hidden themes that reward the whole experience. The variety and multitude of puzzles were quite refreshing despite the lack of story and overall immersion. In fact one forgets entirely about the bomb in the room due to the vast number of puzzles spanning the area.

There were, however, a few issues we experienced during our escape. Two puzzles were not functioning as designed and did not realize until some time passed. Our host graciously helped us past these hiccups, but apparently the timer was not stopped during this ordeal, in fact the timer cannot be stopped at all unless you complete the room. In regards to this timer it can only be found on the bomb device itself. This means that there is no easy means to see how much time you have left while working around the rooms. And while the puzzles are varied, the solutions are not. Most of the time you will be dealing with combination or keyed locks, and with over 30 puzzles this will present an obvious pattern. The number of puzzles presents another problem not generally observed in normal escape rooms, a way to track your progress for a large group to visualize and strategize.

Once we completed the room we had the ability to walk through and discuss the many puzzles with our Host. At the time of writing this review there was no post game experience such as taking pictures or leader boards, but we believe this is under consideration. Parking is typical for downtown LA, meaning we do not enjoy the associated fees for a lot or meter. The room is slated to cater 2-12 people. Currently management is balancing the number of puzzles to the number of people attending the escape room. If you want to experience every puzzle available and intend to escape, we recommend 10-12 people.

The masterminds behind “Escape The Laboratory” have created a fun and expansive ‘Puzzle Room.’ While still new to the market, The Laboratory already succeeds in fulfilling that desire for a rewarding puzzle session. The lack of story does not detract from the quality of these puzzles and the intricacy of its design. I hope they succeed in their business endeavor so we can continue to see more elaborate and exciting ‘puzzle rooms’ in the future.

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