- Played May 2018
- North Hollywood, CA
- 60 minutes
- 1-6 players
- $35-$30/person (price drops if you book the maximum number of participants)
- Great for families
- What People Say
There are “escapades” to be had in North Hollywood! Escapades of the escape room variety, of course. The exact escapades which I am referring to are offered up by a relatively new player in the escape room community: the conveniently titled ESCapades LA. We at ERA got a chance to drop in and try out their premiere room, Disrupted Decades, and we made it our duty to return to decades past and correct the errors threatening to destroy the space time continuum. Fortunately we succeeded (you’re welcome) and we had a good time doing it, to boot!
Located in the heart of the NoHo (North Hollywood) arts district, about a half mile south of the NoHo Metro station, ESCapades LA is easy to find because of its primo spot right on Lankershim Boulevard. As of this writing ESCapades LA seems to be missing a sign, but the bright blue building and prominently displayed address does the trick. The location is also blessed with many nearby restaurants, bars, activities, and an abundance of parking. Unfortunately, there is no dedicated parking lot but there is plenty of street and metered parking in the area.
When entering the building you will discover that it’s a rather plain and empty-feeling office space. However, after a brief stroll through the main hallway you will discover a fairly comfortable and inviting lobby. There isn’t much offered as far as amenities go, but there are bathrooms and lockers for personal effects. They do also provide cell phone charging cables. However, what is an especially nice touch are the great offering of classic puzzles and brain teasers for guests to engross themselves with. These were a great way to help pass the time while waiting for our full party to arrive and sign our waivers, but also a fantastic way to help set the mood for the experience that awaited us.
Once the full group arrived and waivered up, it came time to prep us for our trip back in time. The kind and pleasant operators walked us through the rules, most of which were standard escape room regulation; don’t destroy the room, don’t urinate in the room (yes, this happens), etc., but what does set ESCapades LA apart from other rooms, is their game rules philosophy, which in a nutshell states: “it’s your hour, you decide how to spend it!” This means that the players are given autonomy to set their own game rules, like the number of hints and when to receive them, for instance. It also means that you’re free to exit the room at any time without facing a penalty in the game. This is a smart policy designed to tailor the experience to the customer’s play preference.
With rules explained, we then listened intently to our mission: a tear has formed in the space-time continuum. Anachronisms are appearing in the timeline and affecting the 1970s, 80s, and 90s. It’s up to us time travelers to correct the errors and restore the timelines back to working order. Bravely, we accept this mission. Hearts pounding, adrenaline flowing, the first door was opened and we saw our portal in time before us: a doorway with strings of beads marking the threshold between now and the 1970s. Determined, we stepped through.
On the other side of the beads we entered the first room to find a groovy pad with some shag carpeting and and a great selection of 1970’s era tracks to set the mood. The room was also filled with some great decade appropriate decor. From the pictures on the walls to the games, books and magazines on the shelves and tables, it was clear that a good effort was put into decorating with vintage, period appropriate props and dressings. That said, it was tough to shake the feeling that we were standing in a thinly disguised office space. The good news here is that the feeling was not totally detrimental to the overall room; however, it did take away from a sense of immersion that would have definitely enhanced the experience. As we progressed through the other rooms, which served as the other two decades, we saw that the same level of effort was put into finding great props and decor, but there was a similar feeling of being in a “disguised office.”
Fortunately, the meat of Disrupted Decades is the puzzles. While we found that the game relied far too much on standard door key locks, we were pleased to discover a wonderful offering of room puzzles with a reasonable level of difficulty. Puzzles were tough but solvable, clever, and varied. It is worth noting that there were at least two instances where we found puzzles that could be easily guessed or disregarded altogether. Despite that, the puzzles were quite enjoyable and served as the stars of the experience.
When at last we completed the puzzles, repaired the timelines, and escaped back to the future, we were able to celebrate and commemorate the occasion with pictures of our team. The room was equipped with many great, period-appropriate props and fun vintage clothing from across the decades that served us well for our victory photos.
All in all, Disrupted Decades turned out to be a fun room with a cool concept. Though we at ERA feel it could benefit from some set dressing improvements, we did enjoy this family-friendly room and the lovely team behind ESCapades LA nonetheless. We recommend this room for those beginning or at the early stages of their escape room addiction as well as families looking for a fun group activity.