Quest Room – Cannibal’s Den [Review]

Not enough meat on those bones.

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Date Played: August 23, 2018

Team size: 2-6; we recommend 3-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: from $89.10 for teams of 2 to $179.10 for teams of 6

Ticketing: Private

REA Reaction

Play Cannibal’s Den as if you were desperate to get out of it. If you think of it as a traditional escape room as we’ve come to understand them, it’s missing a lot. If you think of it in a more literal sense, as a room you really want to escape, then it has something to offer.

I get excited when I see games that play differently or offer something new with the escape room format. With that in mind, I didn’t enjoy Cannibal’s Den. It was different, but I didn’t trust the design.

QUEST ROOM played it loose with escape room rule and safety standards, especially early in the game. This made us uncomfortable and perpetually question how far we were supposed to push the boundaries.

Additionally, once we grokked how Cannibal’s Den wanted to be played, we breezed through this game and it felt entirely too short.

I can see some players absolutely loving this game, and there were some great moments… But neither the gameplay nor the volume of content did it for me.

In-game: a bloody and damaged tile wall, a boom box, and a blood soaked table.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Horror fans
  • Survivalists
  • Any experience level (but newbies should know that this game’s approach to rules and gameplay is atypical)

Why play?

  • Detailed, intense set design.
  • Desperate, survival-based gameplay.
  • A fantastic late-game sequence (if you don’t accidentally skip it).

Story

We had been captured and locked up by a deranged serial killer. A technical malfunction with one of his favorite toys had delayed our execution while he attempted to get it fixed. We had to escape.

In-game: the bars for a cell in a concrete room.

Setting

Cannibal’s Den was staged within the torture/ murder dungeon of our captor. It was dim, dingy, and bloody.

QUEST ROOM does a fantastic job with their sets and Cannibal’s Den was no exception. Every environment we set foot in looked great, in a gruesome sort of way.

Gameplay

QUEST ROOM’s Cannibal’s Den was an atypical escape room that put an emphasis on reacting to the situation and “surviving.” Once we realized how Cannibal’s Den needed to be played, we sailed through it with ease. Figuring out the play-style was the greatest challenge.

Core gameplay revolved around observing and making connections, and dexterity.

Analysis

Cannibal’s Den opened dramatically.

– The opening was uneven. The drama wasn’t equally forceful from the different vantage points. Some players could experience and contribute much more than others.

+ The set of Cannibal’s Den was fantastic. It was disgusting in all the right ways.

Cannibal’s Den asked us to think situationally. It offered a different type of gameplay.

+ Our favorite moment refocused our goals. It added a twist that heightened our sense of urgency.

– It would be possible to escape Cannibal’s Den without triggering this fantastic sequence.

– There wasn’t a lot of content within Cannibal’s Den. 

– Cannibal’s Den was full of red herrings. 

– QUEST ROOM really loves including interactions that break the traditional rules of escape rooms. It’s their thing, it seems. Cannibal’s Den pushed this to a place where I didn’t take an action without a hint because it didn’t seem safe, correct, or respectful. This type of interaction design teaches new players the wrong lessons about escape rooms in general, especially since the interaction wasn’t properly clued.

? Cannibal’s Den asked us to come to a few specific conclusions that made sense within the context of the situation and take actions based on those conclusions. Some of the actions felt less than comfortable. Your mileage with this style of gameplay will vary.

– The ending took us by surprise. Cannibal’s Den just kind of ended. We had a lot of time left and it seemed like there must have been other challenges in the space, but there weren’t any.

Tips for Visiting

  • There is a parking lot.
  • At least one player needs to be pretty tall.
  • Players must be comfortable starting in individual gamespaces.

Book your hour with QUEST ROOM’s Cannibal’s Den, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: QUEST ROOM provided media discounted tickets for this game.

QUEST ROOM – Red Giant [Review]

It’s a ruby, not a distant star.

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Date Played: August 23, 2018

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

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: from $119 for teams of 2 to $219 for teams of 6

Ticketing: Private

REA Reaction

Red Giant was an exciting puzzle-driven adventure through a detailed Egyptian tomb set. It’s an escape room with a majestic look, filled with exciting reveals and wow moments. QUEST ROOM could transform this into a world-class escape room by refining their tech to make sure each moment hits with the power that it deserves. This was an entertaining puzzle adventure.

If you’re in Los Angeles, we strongly recommend a visit to Red Giant.

In-game: a large torch-lit stature of Anubis with glowing green eyes.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Any experience level

Why play?

  • Exciting interactions
  • Fun puzzles

Story

We’d always wanted to find The Red Giant, a valuable ruby hidden deep within an ancient tomb. We believed our team of archaeologists could succeed where previous teams had failed, never to return from the depths of the tomb. With limited oxygen, we had only 60 minutes to retrieve this gem.

In-game: the torch-lit walls of an Egyptian tomb with carvings and hieroglyphics.

Setting

A dim tunnel leading to the tomb’s entrance gave way to a majestic Pharaoh’s burial chamber with high ceilings and Egyptian wall art.

In-game: a small sphinx.

Gameplay

QUEST ROOM’s Red Giant was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around searching, observing, making connections, and puzzling.

In-game: a wall of sandstone hieroglyphics tiles.

Analysis

+ The Egyptian tomb set looked great. The high ceilings gave it a majestic feel. It was an exciting space to explore.

+ The opening interaction started Red Giant with a bang.

+ We enjoyed the puzzles in the later sections of Red Giant. QUEST ROOM integrated these well with the set pieces in the tomb. They were tangible, interesting solves.

– One substantial early puzzle felt like filler.

– The tech-driven interactions needed additional in-game feedback. Without this feedback, our gamemaster was continually coming through the walky-talky to tell us we had released something. It would have been far cooler if this was self-evident.

+/- Red Giant had an unorthodox late-game interaction. This was a fun concept and could have been a truly wow moment. However, this was not clued forcefully enough. With more clear in-game cluing… and maybe some infrastructure to facilitate the moment, this interaction would be more powerful and exciting.

+ Our gamemaster’s introduction set the tone for an exciting, high-stakes exploration. This, combined with the exploration gear, upped our energy level before we even entered the gamespace.

Red Giant was at its best during its impressive tech-driven events. There were some incredible moments in this escape room.

Tips for Visiting

  • QUEST ROOM has two locations. Red Giant is at the 5517 Santa Monica Blvd location.
  • There is a parking lot.
  • At least one player needs to be pretty tall.

Book your hour with QUEST ROOM’s Red Giant, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: QUEST ROOM provided media discounted tickets for this game.

QUEST ROOM – Bloody Elbow [Review]

“It’s the Inquisition, what a show!”

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Date played: December 1, 2017

Team size: 2-6; we recommend 2-4 (see below)

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $99 for 2 players, $129 for 3, $159 for 4, $179 for 5, $199 for 6

REA Reaction

Bloody Elbow was a fun adventure. We recommend it for experienced players.

It looked fantastic. However, a communicative audio track combined with a set lean on feedback made portions of the game difficult to follow. QUEST ROOM played a little looser with force and safety than we’d prefer… but through this Bloody Elbow instilled an urgency of escape.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Best for players with at least some experience

Why play?

  • Immersive set design
  • Thematic interactions
  • Intensity

Story

Locked up as a heretic in the 14th century, we awaited slow, gory, and creative deaths at the hand of a sadistic executioner who went by the name “Bloody Elbow.”

In-game: A dark dungeon environment with a bloody torture table.

Setting

We began our game isolated and restrained in the inquisitor’s dungeon. This was not a happy place. It was dark, bloody, and filled with torture devices. QUEST ROOM built a fairly detailed set.

Gameplay

Bloody Elbow was driven by set interaction and player resourcefulness.

Isolation and restraint played a critical role in the early game.

The puzzling was built around manipulating the objects that we found, in one instance by exerting a lot more force than one would typically expect in an escape room. Our gamemaster did warn us in advance, but the required action still surprised us.

Standouts

QUEST ROOM constructed a medieval torture chamber as the set for Bloody Elbow. It was intense, interactive, and exciting to explore.

Bloody Elbow felt like an adventure. As the escape room progressed and we discovered new interactions, we had to act resourcefully. This was especially satisfying and felt realistic.

QUEST ROOM integrated the hinting system with the experience. It felt clandestine and contributed to the adventure vibe.

In order to escape Bloody Elbow we had to manipulate the set and props in some unexpected ways. One invigorating interaction required force.

Shortcomings

This one more forceful interaction had a few drawbacks: It appeared so early that it could teach players to disrespect QUEST ROOM’s beautiful set. We were hung up on it for quite a while because we didn’t believe we should apply the level of force that it required. Additionally, the prop involved could cause serious injury to a player who mishandles it. This could be improved by having an interaction that “eats” the prop after it’s used.

While we liked the hint mechanism, it competed with the audio soundtrack. We found this frustrating.

Bloody Elbow had a light touch with interaction feedback. We didn’t always know what we’d triggered or revealed.

It’s hard to recommend a team size for Bloody Elbow. Too many players means that some folks will spend quite a bit of time waiting on their teammates without any way to contribute. Too few players will create red herrings.

Tips for Visiting

  • QUEST ROOM doesn’t have traditional signage, but they do have a massive mural on their facade. We Instagramed it. By the way, we’re on Instagram.
  • Wear comfortable shoes and clothing to this escape room.
  • QUEST ROOM’s first two games were very different from each another: while Bloody Elbow was an intense adventure with some puzzles, Da Vinci’s Challenge was a puzzle game with some adventure. Choose wisely.

Book your hour with QUEST ROOM’s Bloody Elbow, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: QUEST ROOM comped our tickets for this game.

QUEST ROOM – Da Vinci’s Challenge [Review]

A job interview for your life. 

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Date Played: December 1, 2017

Team size: 2-6; we recommend 4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: 99 for 2 players, $129 for 3, $159 for 4, $179 for 5, $199 for 6

REA Reaction

We really enjoyed this escape room.

Da Vinci’s Challenge included many different tangible, but puzzle-y challenges. QUEST ROOM’s solutions triggered exciting reveals.

In-game: Models of the planets and sun hanging from the ceiling. Saturn and the Sun look spectacular.

Who is this for?

  • Puzzler lovers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Any experience level

Why play?

  • Interactive puzzles
  • Immersive adventure

Story

It was the year 1493 and we were among the many hopeful students seeking an apprenticeship with Master Leonardo da Vinci. In order to select the right individuals to train under him, Leonardo had created a series of mental challenges to test the wits of his potential pupils.

In-game: A replica of Da Vinci's flying machine hanging from the wall.

Setting

QUEST ROOM began Da Vinci’s Challenge by splitting our group in two and putting us into separate chambers of a large Renaissance study. The space was filled with sketches, models, books, and contraptions of Leonardo’s design. The lighting was dim, but there was plenty of light to uncover.

The set felt like an amalgamation of realism and fantasy.

Gameplay

We started Da Vinci’s Challenge in two connected, but separate gamespaces.

This was a puzzle-driven escape room with an emphasis on collaboration and variety, all packaged nicely in an elegant set and nifty interactions.

In-game: Close up of some sort of ornate cage.

Standouts

The opening puzzles sequences.

Mechanical interactions and triggers permeated the various puzzles. We especially liked one more subtle visual puzzle and its mechanical trigger. A lot of nonessential details brought a coolness to Da Vinci’s Challenge that a lot of escape rooms lack.

There was a nifty bonus puzzle that provided a worthy reward.

QUEST ROOM used journals to clue many of the puzzles within Da Vinci’s Challenge. These thematically appropriate books were well designed to avoid red herrings and long blocks of arduous text. The pages clearly clued the puzzles. Additionally, there were two journals (albeit different ones), which mitigated some of the bottlenecking.

Shortcomings

While QUEST ROOM designed the journals well, I still spent much of the game with my nose in a book. I would have liked more of the clue structure woven within the room itself. Because of the journal-driven gameplay, I missed out on truly experiencing and appreciating many set details in Da Vinci’s Challenge.

With some specific mathematical knowledge, it would be easy to bypass one of the most exciting reveals of this escape room. You should resist the urge to bypass this as it will work, but it will spoil some of the best moments of Da Vinci’s Challenge.

While the bonus puzzle was quite cool and well engineered, it felt like there was an opportunity to do more with it.

Da Vinci’s Challenge petered out. The final task wasn’t really a puzzle… and the resulting win felt unearned.

Tips for Visiting

  • QUEST ROOM doesn’t have traditional signage, but they do have a massive mural on their facade. We Instagramed it. By the way, we’re on Instagram.
  • QUEST ROOM’s first two games were different from each other: While Da Vinci’s Challenge was a puzzle game with some adventure, Bloody Elbow was an adventure with some puzzles. Choose wisely.

Book your hour with QUEST ROOM’s Da Vinci’s Challenge, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Full disclosure: QUEST ROOM comped our tickets for this game.