Starship Desolation

8.2 Overall
Room Quality
Puzzle Design
Fun Factor
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Starship Desolation

  • Played July 2018
  • Los Angeles

  • 60 minutes
  • 2-6 players
  • $30-36 depending on number of players

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Space is the final frontier for mankind. In order to survive the rapid consumption of resources on Earth, we must expand our horizons and find new planets to colonize. In Starship Desolation, the journey to uncharted deep space proves to be a perilous one. Moments before this expedition we arrive at the Cypher Escape Experience building located in an easy to spot location off Cahuenga Blvd; if you pass the radio station you’ve gone too far. The small lobby feels somewhat minimal with a couch, a few half lockers, and a shelf containing popular nerdy science fiction mementos. No amenities such as drinks or snacks are available but at least they have their own restroom. Our Game Master could not have been more welcoming as they usher us into the briefing room.

We gather and wait in a dark metallic room when a video bursts into life on a wall-mounted monitor. A female officer appears on screen and explains why we are here and what the goal of Starship Desolation is trying to accomplish. You are tasked with exploring new environments and locating alien life. To survive the long journey through deep space we are informed that we must undergo cryogenic sleep. The impressive video and its effects also explain general escape room rules without breaking the immersion or storyline. The screen reverts to darkness and after a few seconds of silence an alarm wails while a voice asserting itself as the ship’s AI explains that we were awoken early due to some catastrophic problems. As we open the first door to the main sections of the ship, we appreciate the attention to detail applied to the rooms and props. From the dynamic lighting to the walls and puzzles, everything is built solid and aids in the futuristic space-faring theme. The story is fed to us slowly as we navigate each room and thankfully we never feel lost thanks to the ship’s AI reminding us of our current objective and relaying hints when needed. There’s a certain cinematic quality to this escape room even though we wish there could have been a few more details to really cement itself as one of the best. There is also no sense of urgency for completing the tasks other than a time reminder. The room is designed for ages 12 and up even though there are some scary elements and a lot of story to digest. We wonder if the material is too mature for the audience to understand or appreciate.

The puzzles are built with a lot of forethought and fit the science fiction spaceship theme very well. There is enough to do in a room for every team member to explore or solve puzzles without much overlap. The variety of puzzle types is equally impressive; rarely are there similarities and the associated locks are also varied. There is a good mix of physical oriented puzzles and logical ones. What makes this escape room unique though are the high production videos that not only tell the story, but relay important information for continuing the game. Thanks to the virtual Game Master, sound effects, and lighting, there is always a clear logical path for us to follow. These attributes add up to a very fun and rewarding experience through a constantly developing storyline. However, more experienced players may crave more puzzles in the long run.

We deal with the problems onboard the ship and escape successfully. Our Game Master walks us through the room while listing the procedures of our escape. Our host then explains that they are flexible for most groups and generally allow them to finish the experience even if they run over the allotted time. For beginner groups this is great, as everyone wants to enjoy the full experience especially if they are new. We take a group photo with some in-game props and go home to Earth. We are quite impressed by the quality of Cypher Escape Experience’s first room. With such a high level of detail in the props and scenery we are surprised that they did not enhance the dramatic parts of the storyline with bigger effects. This is a great room and is close to being one of the best. A new room by this company is due to open sometime this fall. If it’s anything similar to this room it will be remarkable. There is also an identical escape room at their Atlanta location which holds more experiences than this one.

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