Exit Game – 13th Basement [Review]

13th Basementย is one of the best games in Anaheim, CA. Here are our other recommendations forย great escape rooms in the Anaheim area.

The killing joke

Location:  Anaheim, CA

Date Played: March 6, 2022

Team size: 2-8; we recommend 4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $35 per player ($105 for teams of 2 on Friday-Sunday)

Ticketing: Private

Accessibility Consideration: wheelchair-friendly game

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

13th Basement marks an interesting milestone for escape rooms. It’s the second satirical escape room that we’ve encountered (following The Experiment from Get the F Out). As the name implies, it was having a bit of fun with horror escape rooms, which are abundant in Southern California.

This all begs a few questions:

  • Is it good? Yes
  • Is it funny? Yup
  • Is it scary? A tiny bit…more goofing on horror than being horror
  • How much do I have to know about escape rooms to enjoy this game? It’s enjoyable in a vacuum, but overwhelmingly more entertaining if you’ve experienced horror escape room tropes enough to roll your eyes at the common ones.

This is the first game made by longtime escape room blogger/ vlogger Christine Barger and her partner. Throughout 13th Basement their experience and awareness truly shine. This was most evident in some of the unusual structural decisions that they made to both the flow of the game (which I shall not spoil)… and the way that they treat players.

They allow players to freely take selfies and shoot video, simply asking that we don’t spoil puzzles (which would be a legitimately hard to do without really trying to):

Peih-Gee Law with her head in an elaborate metal torture device. The wall behind her is blood spattered.

A satirical escape room only works if enough players “get it.” I don’t know how many regions throughout the US have a density of quality escape rooms as well as a large enough repeat player audience to pull this off, but Southern California is the most logical location for satirical escape rooms to emerge. It’s a sign of maturity that anyone can even dream about pulling this off. And while The Experiment isn’t around anymore, I like 13th Basement’s chances.

Beyond the meta analysis, 13th Basement was a really strong escape game. It had a great assortment of puzzles, and its creators leaned heavily into their strengths, using video brilliantly… while using tech more sparingly. It’s a classic example of leaning into what you’re good at to create an excellent experience.

Southern California has an abundance of fantastic escape rooms, and 13th Basement comfortably joins that list. If you’re an escape room fan in the region, check it out… and take a few selfies.

Who is this for?

  • Escape room fans
  • Dark comedy fans
  • Adventure seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Best for players with at least some experience

Why play?

  • Legitimately funny, especially if you get escape room humor
  • Innovative gameplay and structure
  • The video content is fantastic
  • You’re free to take selfies in the game, and there are some great places to do so

Story

Abducted by a serial killer and hobbyist escape room designer, we had 60 minutes to solve his puzzles or die brutal deaths.

SAW-like escape room with dingy tiles and a toilet.
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