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We’re hosting the Reality Escape Convention live in Boston on August 21 – 22, 2022.

We’re inviting escape room and immersive game players, creators, and owners. Tickets are limited and selling quickly. Get yours while you can.

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ESCAPE:chandler – Kate’s Motel [Review]

The cheerful staff are always eager to lend a hand

Location:  Chandler, AZ

Date Played: March 12, 2022

Team size: 3-9; we recommend 4-6

Duration: 90 minutes

Price: from $46 per player for teams of 3 to $37 per player for teams of 9

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Kate’s Motel was a traditional escape room executed really well.

The set looked like a convincing motel, the horror was playful (not terrifying), and the puzzles were mostly strong.

Information pamphlet for "Kate's Motel, Kate Bates, Manager" held up in the middle of the lobby of Kate's Motel.

There were a couple of puzzles that left us thinking, “there might be a better way to clue that,” but overall, this was a cleanly executed game.

If you’re in Phoenix, and seeking a traditional escape room, for us, this was the strongest of the batch we played. I’m glad we checked into Kate’s Motel; we could feel that a lot of love went into it.

Who is this for?

  • Puzzle lovers
  • Any experience level

Why play?

  • A lot of puzzle content
  • Playful horror atmosphere
  • Solid execution


Kate’s Motel had been the last known sighting of many missing persons. The ominously named Kate Bates was suspected of murdering her patrons. Our team of private detectives had been hired to investigate.

A large, wooden check-in desk in Kate's Motel lobby.
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Top Tier Escape Rooms – Outside In [Review]


Location: Oceanside, CA

Date Played: March 7, 2022

Team Size: 2-8; we recommend 2-3

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $38 per player

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A] Push To Exit

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Top Tier Escape Rooms’ Outside In was bursting with personality. From the creative Inside Out-inspired theming, to tongue-in-cheek audio cues, to adorable photos from the game’s creator, it was abundantly evident that this escape room was designed by someone who truly cared. Four primary emotions — anger, trust, love, and fear — were developed through nicely designed sets, thematic puzzles, and some special effects. Most importantly, I was reminded of times I’d experienced these emotions myself.

The gameplay in Outside In was fun and flowed smoothly. Puzzles were presented sequentially, though most were best for just a few players and some spaces in the room were quite small, so larger teams may feel bottlenecked at times. One puzzle solved this by providing materials that could be worked on concurrently in the main space, and this approach might have helped make other points throughout the game feel less crowded.

The ending of Outside In was especially effective in conveying many different types of fears, all in a humorous and not actually fear-invoking manner. We enjoyed inspecting all the details and references in the finale, even after we’d solved the puzzles there.

Outside In was a whimsical and unique escape room from passionate creators who are experimenting and leveling up their skills in exciting ways. If you are near Oceanside, I recommend checking it out.

A tree made of books connected by strands of lights to a representation of a brain.
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Scenario Escape Room – The Mad Rapper [Review]

I got my mind on my puzzles and my puzzles on my mind.

Location:  Brea, CA

Date Played: March 5, 2022

Team size: 2-8; we recommend 3-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $35 per player

Ticketing: Private

Accessibility Consideration: There are toy guns in this game.

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Peih-Gee Law, my lovely podcast co-host, regularly says how much she wishes that there were more escape rooms with an urban appeal. The risk that’s associated with that is that someone does it poorly… or in a way that feels disconnected or dishonest. That was not the case in The Mad Rapper.

Scenario Escape Room made a hip hop themed escape room that felt authentic and uniquely Los Angeles.

A recording studio featuring a massive mixing board, a large speaker, a guitar, and a bass.

The Mad Rapper was a classic-style escape room done right. What stood out most to me in the gameplay was the variety of challenge types. There was a lot to take in and do, but it was all approachable and creatively produced.

It’s exciting to find an escape game that has a unique story and feels like it was crafted with love. There wasn’t anything mind-blowing in the The Mad Rapper, but it all felt great. I wholeheartedly recommend checking out The Mad Rapper if you’re in the area and seeking a classic game built around a different concept. I truly enjoyed it.

On a more personal note, it was a rare pleasure for me to find a grill in an escape room…

Closeup of a gold grill.

My brother designs 🤯 grillz for a living (and to clarify, no part of this a joke)… and seeing a grill in an escape room made me smile.

Who is this for?

  • Old school hip hop fans
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Any experience level

Why play?

  • Unusual and compelling theme/ story
  • Strong and varied puzzles and challenges


The artist known only as “The Mad Rapper” had become the biggest name in the game. He’d opened auditions looking for new talent, but dealings with The Mad Rapper carried risk and consequences.

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Red Door Escape Room – Fort Worth – Fair Game [Review]

The circus is in town!

Location: Fort Worth, TX

Date Played: March 29, 2022

Team Size: 2-6; we recommend 2-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $30.95 – $37.95, depending on the number of players

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Fair Game brilliantly captured the essence of circuses with its bright colors, caricatured set pieces, and realistic activities. The room focused on all the right details to bring a circus to life. The set begged us to frolic and play while delivering everything it promised; we got to play with every prop the way we hoped we would. Delight abounded from start to finish.

Porte Rouge carnival ticket booth.

Even though the soul of this room was alive and well, there were a few aspects that felt well-worn from use. Red Door Escape Room had recently freshened some parts of the room; we hope this continues for more set pieces so that they can fully reflect the vivacity of the experience.

The combination of a moderately low difficulty level and a rewardingly interactive environment make this room especially appropriate for anyone visiting Dallas with family or as a mixed-experience group.

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Steal and Escape – The Neighbor [Review]

I’m watching you… 👀

Location: San Diego, CA

Date Played: March 6, 2022

Team Size: 3-6; we recommend 3-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $36 per player

Ticketing: Private

Accessibility Consideration: some narrow passageways

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Steal and Escape showcased their build skills and technical chops through every surface of The Neighbor. It was a delight seeing the work ethic and creativity demonstrated in Steal and Escape’s owner Jason Richard’s 2020 RECON talk put into practice in this room to great effect.

The Neighbor contained one of my all-time favorite tech moments of any escape room I’ve played. It was subtle in such an insidiously sneaky way… and it had me viewing my real-world surroundings a bit differently for weeks after playing.

Throughout The Neighbor, the puzzles and set design were consistently stellar, though with a noticeable increase in puzzle-narrative integration as the game progressed. We also appreciated a well-designed home AI system that served as an in-world delivery mechanism for both story and hints.

The front door to a house, above it are storm clouds.

If you are choosing amongst Steal and Escape’s rooms, you can’t go wrong — they are all strong standouts within the San Diego escape room scene. The Neighbor included even more memorable moments and was generally more sequential, while The Lost Expedition was a consistently innovative and smoothly honed experience that had a split-team start and parallel puzzling. We also got a peek into The Missing Season, which opened shortly after our visit, and the set looked gorgeous.

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