Omescape Sunnyvale – Midnight in Hong Kong [Review]

Mob mentality

Location:  Sunnyvale, CA

Date Played: November 12, 2021

Team Size: 6-12; we recommend 8-10

Duration: 90 minutes

Price: $50 per player for 6 players to $45 per player for 12 players

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Midnight in Hong Kong was an epic beast of an escape room.

With 90 minutes of head-to-head puzzle combat and a stunning, expansive set, Midnight in Hong Kong contained around 3 times as much content as a standard 60-minute escape room. With this level of complexity and depth, it was all the more impressive that the entire game felt polished, engaging, and balanced from start to finish.

Many escape room companies pack a dozen players into a room best designed for maybe 4. In sharp contrast, Midnight in Hong Kong was actually designed for large teams — and genuinely only playable by groups of 6 players or more. Innovative gameplay mechanics provided direction and purpose to each individual player, which in turn incentivized an almost constant flow of players throughout the space. There was so much to explore and discover, with many layers of reveals.

A bar in Hong Kong bar lit in neon red .

If you are looking for a large-group escape room in the Bay Area, Omescape Sunnyvale’s Midnight in Hong Kong and Chaos in the Galleria are both stupendous choices. Midnight in Hong Kong was edgy and competitive, while Chaos in the Galleria was lighthearted and whimsical. Having played both rooms with teams of 8-10 enthusiasts, I can attest that either option will keep even the most experienced teams engaged and delighted.

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Eastern Pennsylvania (Outside of Philadelphia): Escape Room Recommendations

Latest update: January 1, 2022

Home to the likes of Crayola, Hershey, and Utz, the region of Eastern Pennsylvania outside of Philadelphia — including the Lehigh Valley (Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton) and Reading — also has some stellar escape room companies.

The top experiences in this region balance quality puzzle design, modestly-sized immersive sets, and a rapidly rising level of tech.

This guide features our favorite rooms in the region, broken out by category.

If you’re in the area, also check out our guide to Philadelphia.

Image: A roadway with a welcome to Pennsylvania sign. Text: Eastern Pennsylvania Escape Room Guide

Market Standouts

  1. Galactic War – Encrypted Escape Room West Reading
  2. The Haunted Theater, Captured LV Bethlehem
  3. The Last Vampire – Encrypted Escape Room West Reading
  4. The Soul Collector – Captured LV Allentown
  5. Site 117 – escape.exe
  6. The Island – Captured LV Allentown

Set & Scenery Driven

Puzzle Centric

Tech Heavy

Newbie Friendly

Cubicescape – Memento [Review]

I can’t remember…

Location:  San Jose, CA

Date Played: November 5, 2021

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

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: from $40 per player for 2 players down to $30 per player for 6 players

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Cubicescape’s Memento was an intimate, narrative-centric escape room which made me feel things.

I volunteered to represent the main character, and my teammates became my subconscious. While this distinction only affected a few small moments of the game, these moments had a strong framing effect on the rest of the experience. As the game progressed, I was impressed by how Memento told a vivid story through a first-person perspective — somewhat of a rarity amongst escape rooms.

A room with walls covered in newspaper, in big red letters are the words, "Save him!" painted on the walls.

As the room progressed, fragments of my forgotten memories pieced together into something bigger, ending with a sense of nostalgic — yet somewhat hopeful — gloom. Whereas most escape rooms end in jubilant victory, I actually found it refreshing to end feeling something I hadn’t fully expected when the room started. While I found some narrative details of this ending didn’t fully culturally translate, the underlying emotions still came through strongly.

Memento is not for everyone. If you’re allergic to reading in escape rooms, you might want to skip this one. But for those looking for an escape room strong on narrative, strong on emotions, and which will lead to an interesting, educational, and potentially polarizing post-game debrief, I recommend giving Memento a play.

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Omescape Sunnyvale – Undercooked [Review]

A cryptic café

Location:  Sunnyvale, CA

Date Played: November 12, 2021

Team Size: 2-6; we recommend 3-5

Duration: 75 minutes

Price: $50 per player for 2 players to $40 per player for 6 players

Ticketing: Private

Accessibility Consideration: Crawling (for at least 1 player)

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Omescape Sunnyvale’s Undercooked served up a veritable feast of scrumptious puzzling. If I could award Michelin stars for escape rooms, Undercooked would earn three.

Undercooked was innovative in many areas. Set in a spacious restaurant kitchen, I was delighted by the commitment to this unconventional escape room theme. With just a few exceptions, everything felt like it belonged in a kitchen: a bounty of food items, culinary implements, and restaurant decor. Furthermore, the majority of puzzle interactions were cleverly based around how one would actually engage in a kitchen.

The gameplay was structured around earning points, not escaping. With a wide range of puzzle types and more content than most teams (including mine) could fully complete in the given time, this felt more like a live-action video game than a traditional escape room. This formula also made Undercooked adaptable to any team size or experience level.

A wood burning over in a pizzeria.

Omescape Sunnyvale has firmly established themselves as a mega-destination for premium escape rooms. With Undercooked, they now have 6 rooms available, with more on their way soon. All but one of the rooms are over 60 minutes long, and the sets are especially large and of high production value for the Northern CA escape room scene. They also run the virtual-only Pursuit of the Assassin Artist out of this location!

A team could easily play a full day of consistently stellar escape experiences at Omescape Sunnyvale, and this venue should be on the list of any escape room enthusiasts visiting the Bay Area. It’s well worth the trek.

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Trapped! Escape Room Las Vegas – How The Puzzlemaster Stole Christmas [Review]

Presents of mind

Location:  Las Vegas, NV

Date Played: November 28, 2021

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

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $45 per player for 2 players to $35 per player for 10 players

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

How The Puzzlemaster Stole Christmas provided a bit of holiday cheer, delivered through a healthy dose of puzzling.

This game was a seasonal version of Trapped’s The Lair of The Puzzlemaster. It used the same set, dressed up with some Christmas decorations. A few puzzles were slightly modified from the original, though the two versions of the game were similar enough that you probably wouldn’t go back to play the both.

In How The Puzzlemaster Stole Christmas, our objective was to retrieve the pilfered presents from The Puzzlemaster, who’d stolen them from Santa. The transformation from the original story — a sort of art heist — to this Christmas present recovery mission was clever. With the addition of just a few low-budget Christmas decorations, the set felt reminiscent of a festive office holiday party (if everything at the office holiday party were blatantly a puzzle.)

If you’re visiting Vegas in November or December, How The Puzzlemaster Stole Christmas was a sweet Christmas-y puzzle party. During the rest of the year, The Lair of The Puzzlemaster seems like an equally fun low-tech, puzzle-forward experience.

A Christmas tree decorated, with presents under it
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