Last week, we ventured into downtown LA to get locked inside a room with a couple of friends and a couple of strangers. Yes, another escape room. With so many popping up, it’s almost hard to keep track of them. Whenever we find a new deal on places like Groupon or Goldstar, we usually hop on it and try it out. Sometimes we’re disappointed, sometimes we’re not. With the Detective Room at Escape Room LA, we were not disappointed at all!
MIKE: The Detective Room is exactly what you’re picturing it to be. You’re locked in a 1940’s detective office. He’s not there, but he left instructions for you. The instructions are 1) to figure out who the jewel thief was, 2) put the jewels in a safe spot, and 3) get out of the room. Sounds easy enough right? WRONG! All of the clues and puzzles deal with time period type things. My favorite was looking through old mug shots and crime scene photos. It’s a bare bones approach. No flashlights, no electronic keypads, etc. It was refreshing.
RUSSELL: Also, the room was filled with items that reflected the period the story was set in – and was very successful at incorporating those items into the solutions of the various puzzles. Period advertisements, posters, post cards, maps, photographs and books all were used during the game. Truly, that’s part of the success of this particular room.
MIKE: This one was tough. It might be the most difficult one we’ve tried so far. There were the usual puzzles one might find in other escape rooms such as locks you need to find the combination for, clues/objects hidden in and under other objects, etc, but what I liked about this one, was there were more “thinking type puzzles” than other escape rooms I’ve done. For example, Jake and I were working on one Sudoku type puzzle for about 10-15 minutes. It needed to be done in order to get the answer to solve another code. While it took a long amount of time (to be focused on one puzzle), it was a great experience to go through. Escape rooms are always evolving and thinking up new ways to make you think and “earn” that next clue, and this was a prime example of that.
RUSSELL: There were several puzzles within this room that required some investment of time and effort, for sure. One involving a map took several of us to figure out and multiple attempts before the solution became apparent. It should also be mentioned that mixed in with the more complicated challenges were some pretty nifty and relatively basic alphabet-based clues and picture clues. For me, part of the charm of this whole adventure is the wide variety of styles of the challenges. Among our team members, we were constantly trading off puzzles in an attempt to solve them. At one point I held a book in my hand involving a code, then someone on the other side of the room discovered something related to the book – we spent a few minutes working together to figure out a four word phrase that opened another lock… that mix of clues that connected around the room, involving different areas and props, kept all of us communicating and working together. It added to the fun.
MIKE: Before we knew it, the clock reached an hour. With 2 minutes left we figured out a big clue, but at that point, time was not on our side. We almost made it. When your time is up, they explain how you did and how many steps were left and then explained how to do them. I like when places do this, but at the same time, I don’t. I feel that if they wanted repeat customers, they wouldn’t let out what they needed to do. This was one I probably wouldn’t return to do as they currently have another room open currently and are opening 2 more in the next few months, which sound really fun!
RUSSELL: I have wondered if a team could refuse to hear the answers? If you like a room enough, I bet you could simply say “Don’t tell us the answers… we may be back to try again.” The success of this room does have me intrigued by this company’s other offering called “The Cavern.” We may have to go back for that!
MIKE: This was one of the best experiences I’ve had with strangers in the group. It’s really hit or miss when it comes to that. We went with 4 people total and all of us have done many escape rooms. We’re comfortable with each other and know what to look for. The 5 strangers we had in our room were all newbies and it was their first room ever! They sure didn’t act like it. They all jumped in and helped everyone else out and searched the room like pros. I would have never guessed it was their first time doing an escape room based on that. I hope they had fun. I definitely did!
RUSSELL: Absolutely, the reason we got as far as we did inside this escape room was because of the teamwork. Twice, working with the people I did not know clearly led to successfully deciphering a clue because we did not think alike, at all. Sometimes figuring out a clue is a matter of two people looking at something from different points of view. That clearly aided us in this room. Overall, I really enjoyed this room. Also, it was refreshing to work in an escape environment that was one brightly lit room completely focused on the puzzles, a chance for my brain to be tested.
If you are looking for a brain-twisting escape room filled with engaging, and sometimes very challenging, puzzles and clues, I definitely recommend The Detective Room! For more information, check out Escape Room LA’s website HERE
For a sneak peek into this room, you can check out this video of Conan O’Brien and his producer, Jordan Schlansky, trying to escape. It’s great!