Stash House A Los Angeles Crime Story

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Location: Los Angeles, CA

Date Played: August 25, 2018

Team size: 4-11; we recommend 5-7

Duration: 90 minutes

Price: from $40 per ticket for teams of 4 to $30 per ticket for teams of 11

Ticketing: Private

REA Reaction

Stash House told an exciting, humorous, and memorable crime story through experiential design and puzzles. From the moment we arrived, we entered a fully realized world that almost entirely nailed the details.

When we started tackling the gameplay, we found a traditional escape room presented on a grand scale and filled with layers of puzzling that fit with the narrative and were justified through internal logic.

If you’re anywhere near Los Angeles and are fine with the adult themes of drug use and drug distribution and some light sexual themes, Stash House is a must play.

In-game: the Stash House apartment.

Who is this for?

  • Story seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Any experience level
  • Players who don’t need to be a part of every puzzle
  • People who think that Stringer Bell is one of TV’s greatest characters

Why play?

  • Immersive storytelling and cohesive world from start to finish
  • Strong puzzles
  • Fantastic small-group puzzling moments
  • Memorable ending

Story

Our meeting with local entrepreneur Ray Jones had taken a turn for the shady when Jones revealed to us that he was conscripting us into his organization. He had turned a seemingly normal Los Angeles apartment into a test to prove our smarts and knowledge of his products. With each challenge we would earn a baggie of coke. If we could finish his test and flush all of the drugs down the toilet before the police arrived, we’d have a place in his operation. If we failed, we were the police’s problem.

In-game: a large Parental Advisory Explicit Lyrics poster hanging on the wall.
Accurate.

Setting

Stash House was built as a nice, functional, and large apartment. It looked and felt like a place where a human with an identifiable personality lived. It was larger than our actual apartment. If they installed a shower, I’d live there.

There were secrets, of course, but spoiling them would do a disservice to the player experience.

In-game: the lobby/ lounge of Stash House.

Gameplay

Stash House A Los Angeles Crime Story was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around searching, puzzling, and interacting with an amusing character via text message.

In-game: a dining table in an apartment.

Analysis

+ The introduction to the escape room was so smart. It was entertaining and justified the game, established stakes, and made it clear why we needed to succeed.

+ Stash House established clear goals and provided a means of tracking progress that never felt like a scoreboard or some other artificial game construct.

+ Stash House felt like a fully realized world. It maintained its internal logic throughout the entire experience. As a result, we bought into some story elements that weren’t grounded in reality, but absolutely worked within this fiction.

+ The puzzles were great. Many were layered and structured such that we built mastery over the course of completion.

+ Even Stash House’s process puzzles were engaging. They used either satisfying mechanisms or humor to counterbalance the repetition.

– One puzzle dragged and didn’t lend itself to group solving. Another late game puzzle obscured critical information and slowed momentum at the wrong time.

+ The humor in Stash House served the narrative.

– Some of the humor required a lot of reading in dim light.

+ The hint system worked as a game-balancing tool. It could provide puzzle assistance, story, nuance, and humor all at once. It could be easily adjusted to any given team’s needs and it never felt overbearing.

? Some of Stash House’s finest moments happened in confined spaces for small groups. This meant that seeing one segment meant missing other great puzzles and interactions. I could see some players choosing to play Stash House again, at least in part.

– The “grill” in Stash House wasn’t even close to looking like a grill. I’m no expert on the subject… but my brother is.

+ We don’t often get excited to play in an apartment setting; it usually feels like a copout. That was not the case with Stash House. There was depth to this environment. It was large and interesting. It had secrets.

– One segment of the gamespace felt underdeveloped.

+ Stash House was a 90-minute escape room that filled the entire 90 minutes with intrigue. It never dragged.

+ The conclusion was brilliant.

In-game: a glowing set of lights that read "STASHHOUSE"

Tips for Visiting

  • There is street parking.
  • You need to be able to climb stairs to fully enjoy this game.
  • For decadent desserts, we recommend Milk Tavern.

Book your hour with Stash House A Los Angeles Crime Story, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Stash House A Los Angeles Crime Story comped our tickets for this game.

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