Not Another Escape Room – Time Machine [Review]

Escape the 2020s

Location:  Brea, CA

Date Played: December 17, 2021

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

Duration: 75 minutes

Price: $40-45 per player

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Not Another Escape Room’s Time Machine was something special. It embodied the sort of fantastical whimsy one can concoct with a fairly low-budget set, boundless creativity, and some wonderfully impractical ideas brought to life. This game lived up to the company’s namesake and was indeed not just another escape room.

I’ll admit, my confidence in the experience wavered at the start. The time machine felt like what some children might build while playing make-believe as time travelers — a sort of tin foil-coated-cardboard-box-meets-conspiracy theorist’s lair — and it was initially unclear whether this aesthetic was an intentional choice or not.

Yet this ultimately provided effective contrast for what was to come. I was soon met with moment after moment of childlike wonder as the room continuously unfolded in unexpected ways.

Overall, I found Time Machine to be charming, clever, and quite memorable. If you’re looking for a Hollywood-level set, this may not be the game for you. But if you’re open to a unique and lovingly homemade adventure, Not Another Escape Room’s Time Machine was a delight.

An old living room with a small packman arcade machine.
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The Best Horror Escape Rooms to Visit near Los Angeles this Halloween Season

Los Angeles offers many varieties of horror experiences. If you’re looking for horror in escape rooms this Halloween season, these are our recommendations.

A glowing, smoking, menacing jack-o-lantern.

Classic Serial Killer

At THE BASEMENT, Serial Killer Edward Tandy is out to get you. Even if you escape one of his rooms, there’s always another death trap to thwart.

The Elevator Shaft, THE BASEMENT – Our unconscious bodies had been tossed into the body-disposing, Death-Star-trash-compactor elevator shaft. We needed to trigger the override sequence. This dark, detailed, and badass set felt alive. It always doing something different… whether we wanted it to or not.

Close up of the wall, "Are you listening?" is painted in blood.

The Study, THE BASEMENT – As we explored our captor’s home, we stepped into a set that looked great in a dingy, “this is the worst place on earth to die” sort of way. Our escape included a superb solo moment that triggered fight or flight.

Image of the Study. A bookcase with a few books on it, a taxidermied buck, and a boarded up window.

The Courtyard, THE BASEMENT – Next we played Tandy’s murderous game in his fenced-in courtyard, an incredible environment, combining nature with decrepit structures to deliver a sense of continual discovery tinged with foreboding. An actor-driven midgame puzzle sequence was unforgettable.

In-game: an aged porch with a rocking chair.

Truly Terrifying

This is the scariest escape room that we’ve found thus far. It’s worth a drive to Anaheim for this absolutely terrifying game… but only if you’re honestly ready for it.

Zoe, Escapades This was a haunted house with escape room mechanics as gates. We were mind-controlled and at the mercy of Zoe as she paralyzed us with fear… then made us solve puzzles.

In-game: Closeup of heavily damaged piano keys in a dim room.

Poking Fun at Horror

Also in Anaheim, you’ll find a cheeky take on high school drama horror.

Hex Room, Cross Roads Escape GamesThe Hex Room cast six players as different horror film archetypes. Costumed and locked into separate places, we became these high school drama queens. The set, ambiance, and isolation built fear through anticipation more than any in-game frights.

In-game, a hallway with a coatrack holding a fedora, and trenchcoat. Clearly the detective's room.
Image via Cross Roads Escape Games

Christmas Horror

Krampus, 60 Out – We were investigating the festive yet morbid apartment of the Krampus killer, who murders naughty children on Christmas Eve. It was intense and creepy… and heart-poundingly scary.

In-game image of a dramatically lit Christmas tree in a dark and creepy home.

Horror of Old

Bloody Elbow, QUEST ROOM – Back in the 14th century, we awaited slow, gory, and creative deaths at the hand of a sadistic executioner by the name of “Bloody Elbow.” His torture devices alone instilled an urgency to puzzle out our escape.

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

Happy Halloween 🎃

Anaheim, CA: Room Escape Recommendations

Latest Update: March 24, 2018

Some of our favorite escape rooms in the United States are in Anaheim, California.

It’s worth the trip from Los Angeles, even if you get stuck in traffic and don’t have time to eat before the next game. (This might have happened to us.)

We’ve broken them out by category below.

You might be interested in our recommendations for Los Angeles, California as well.

Anaheim, California Escape Room Guide

 

Market Standouts

  1. The Hex Room, Cross Roads Escape Games
  2. Zoe, Escapade Games
  3. Fun House, Cross Roads Escape Games
  4. Midnight on the Bayou, Red Lantern Escape Rooms

The Set & Scenery-Driven Adventures

The Puzzle-Centric

The Story-Driven

The Newbie-Friendly

The Scary & Intense

Mild frights:

Major frights:

Games with Actors

You are always welcome to contact us if this recommendation list doesn’t answer your specific questions.

Red Lantern Escape Rooms – Midnight on the Bayou [Review]

Midnight on the Bayou is one of the best games in Anaheim, CA. Here are our other recommendations for great escape rooms in the Anaheim area.

Strange stuff happens at high school reunions.

Location: Brea, CA

Date played: December 3, 2017

Team size: 4-12; we recommend 4-7

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $32 per ticket weekdays, $35 per ticket weekends

REA Reaction

The majestic and whimsical set surprised and captivated us.

Red Lantern Escape Rooms created a challenging multithreaded puzzle through an intimate story in a region where we haven’t seen many non-linear, puzzle-centric escape rooms.

Who is this for?

  • Puzzle lovers
  • Story seekers
  • People who skipped their high school reunion due to a lack of puzzles
  • Players who don’t need to be a part of every puzzle
  • Any experience level

Why play?

  • A surprisingly expansive open set that felt festive
  • A well-told story
  • Non-linear gameplay

Story

We arrived at our high school reunion (Go Possums!). The reunion committee strangely decided to host the carnival-themed event swamp-side on the Boudreau’s property, the site of a barn fire that had claimed the lives of five of our classmates. What could possibly go wrong?

In-game: A duck hunt and ring toss carnival game on a boardwalk lit festively at night.

Setting

Red Lantern Escape Rooms built a sprawling party space and boardwalk for Midnight on the Bayou. Upon walking in, the large open space caught us all off guard with its high ceilings and cohesive yet varied design. The space felt just a bit majestic.

Gameplay

In keeping with its large-scale design, Midnight on the Bayou was a non-linear escape room with multiple paths of puzzles to solve. There was a lot to discover about this game.

The event’s bartender, the in-room gamemaster, facilitated the festivities. He largely stayed out of our way and let us enjoy the reunion, only stepping in when he recognized a need.

Standouts

We were immediately struck by the expansive set of Midnight on the Bayou. It was whimsical and beautiful.

Our reunion bartender introduced the staging elegantly. He directed our attention to specific details. He delivered a backstory that was serious, but playful.

In Midnight on the Bayou, we puzzled through the stories of our high school classmates. Their characters developed through the puzzling and the puzzles supported their characters. This mechanic of separate puzzle paths worked well.

We enjoyed the culmination of one character’s puzzle, which really captured high school memories.

The hint system made sense in the setting. The excellent voice acting provided fun nudges, while further developing the various characters.

Shortcomings

Red Lantern Escape Room created puzzling paths where elements connected one to the next and searching was directed. In one instance, we found the searching too vaguely clued. We never would have found – or, given the play structure, even have searched for – that important item without heavy-handed hinting.

One puzzle really bugged us. None of our teammates was able to decode the solution even though we determined the exact solve method immediately. We eventually hacked it with puzzling experience.

We misinterpreted one clue as implying that certain puzzle components would be solved in a specific order, which tripped us up for a while. It turned out that we went through a whole song and dance for nothing. Minor rewording could smooth this over.

Given the parallel puzzle structure of Midnight on the Bayou, it would be possible to achieve a terribly anticlimactic ending… which would be a bummer.

Midnight on the Bayou contained one large set piece that was just a set piece. While Red Lantern Escape Room does have future plans for this construction, in its current form it’s a large and disappointing red herring.

Tips for Visiting

  • They have ample free parking.
  • For a sweet reward, check out the lobby puzzle.

Book your hour with Red Lantern Escape Rooms’ Midnight on the Bayou, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Red Lantern Escape Rooms provided comped tickets for this game.

Exodus Escape Room – Sherlock’s Study [Review]

“The world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes.”

-Sherlock Holmes, The Hound of the Baskervilles

Location: Anaheim, California

Date played: June 4, 2017

Team size: 2-8; we recommend 3-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $30 per ticket

Story & setting

Sherlock Holmes was kidnapped in the midst of an investigation and it was up to us to find him.

We played in a study/office setting that resembled many other escape rooms with similar themes. The room wasn’t the most exciting, but it was well constructed and hid a surprise or two.

In-game: A large wooden bookcase beside a red wall.

Puzzles

Sherlock’s Study included typical room escape-style puzzles, executed at varying degrees of difficulty but geared toward a beginner audience. Observation and searching skills were key. Puzzle flow was basic but solid, with some notable areas in need of refinement.

Standouts

There was one puzzle sequence that made excellent use of the set, leading to an unexpected reveal.

Another puzzle featured a small, easily-overlooked clue that those with keen eyes will find satisfying to solve.

Shortcomings

The puzzles in Sherlock’s Study relied heavily on paper props with lots of “whodunit” information printed on them. We became frustrated with multiple team members crowded around all these documents.

The study was predictably filled with books, which necessitated a lot of divide-and- conquer scavenging. One tedious puzzle could have benefited from clearer cluing.

One visually appealing clue lacked a clear connection to anything else. By the time we made the connection, we had already solved the puzzle, which negated the cool factor.

At one point, the use of space was a letdown after a grand reveal.

Should I play Exodus Escape Room’s Sherlock’s Study?

Sherlock’s Study was unapologetically a room for a beginner’s market; the folks at Exodus Escape Rooms were clear on this point.

Beginner players will encounter a solid experience with good puzzle flow that accurately represents room escapes. Experienced players will find exciting moments, but shouldn’t expect to be blown away at any point; Sherlock’s Study was decidedly for newer players.

Book your hour with Exodus Escape Room’s Sherlock’s Study, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.