Locked Adventures – Dystopia [Review]

🎵 Twinkie, twinkie, little star 🎵

Location: San Marcos, CA

Date Played: March 6, 2022

Team Size: 4-10; we recommend 3-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $37 per player

Ticketing: Private

Accessibility Consideration: at least some players need to navigate a dark space with an actor and mild jump scares

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

In Locked Adventures’ Dystopia, we emerged from our fallout shelters in search for supplies that would aid us in our post-apocalyptic times, all while avoiding a certain demise at the hands (and mouth) of a roaming zombie.

Dystopia was not for the faint of heart. The environment was generally dark and scary, and you never knew when you’d encounter a zombie. But the starting fallout shelters served as reliable safe zones, and while there were definitely a few jump scares, nothing was too intense.

The gameplay in Dystopia was generally nonlinear, centered around collecting a smattering of useful items… and a Twinkie. Most of the puzzles felt fair, and their difficulty stemmed more from the environment than the puzzle mechanics. In the latter half of the game, though, we experienced a drop-off in intensity, and the game lacked a real finale.

A room filled with green glowing haze. Spray painted on the wall are the words, "Keep Out."

Dystopia was an exhilarating, novel take on a zombie theme. While Locked Adventures’ newer room V will appeal more to puzzle and scenery lovers, Dystopia is a great choice for thrill seekers and aspiring preppers.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Horror fans
  • Any experience level

Why play?

  • Moderately scary, actor-driven interactions
  • A rugged apocalyptic compound

Story

With the zombie apocalypse upon us, we had to exit our bunkers and make our way to a nearby compound to gather supplies. But there’d been reports of zombie walkers in the area…

Interior of a fallout shelter with a zombie warning sign, assorted technology, locked boxes, and puzzles.

Setting

Dystopia was set in an apocalyptic compound with multiple fallout shelters and other makeshift structures.

Gameplay

Locked Adventures’ Dystopia was a standard escape room with a low level of difficulty and a moderate scare factor. The game began with our team split up between two different bunkers.

Core gameplay revolved around searching, puzzling, and interacting with a zombie.

Analysis

➕ Dystopia began before we entered the room with a high-energy actor intro. We loved the creativity our game hosts put into their characters for each of the rooms we played at Locked Adventures.

➕ A thematic split-team start involved a quick communication warm-up and didn’t overstay its welcome.

➕ Our starting fallout shelters served as “safe zones” within the game where the zombie couldn’t get to us. A smattering of accessible puzzles located in these shelters gave less adventurous players, or those just wanting a break, something to work on.

➖ We had a hard time telling where a cycling sequence began and ended.

➕ The gameplay was structured around collecting various items that would be essential for our post-apocalyptic survival. Gathering various supplies, tools, and nonperishable food items felt strongly thematic and served as a sort of visual progress indicator. This wasn’t a puzzle-centric game, but the balance of light puzzles and interactions to zombie avoidance and general fear factor felt appropriate.

➖ The implementation of an inventory-based meta-puzzle felt clunky. With booklets that enumerated a superset of our eventual inventory but a subset of the available puzzle inputs, we questioned the intended interpretation of what should have been a straightforward puzzle. A single line of flavor text could have clarified this ambiguity.

➕/➖ Our undead companion was energetically in-character without being too annoyingly aggressive. However, we wished there had been some game mechanics guiding how we interacted with the zombie.

❓ A short-ish yet unclued anagram may not be a word that all players will recognize (though this didn’t prove to be an issue for our team.)

➖ The ending somewhat fizzled out with unfulfilled anticipation, lacking any sort of boss battle.

Tips For Visiting

Book your hour with Locked Adventures’ Dystopia, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Locked Adventures comped our tickets for this game.

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