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.

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Locked Adventures – The Curse of KV62 [Review]

Fine tombing

Location:  San Marcos, CA

Date Played: March 6, 2022

Team Size: 2-8; we recommend 2-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $37 per player

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

The Curse of KV62 checked all the boxes I look for in a newbie-friendly Egyptian tomb-themed escape room.

The set was attractive, with some nice reveals along the way. The puzzles were fun and approachable, full of large, chunky interactions. A light immersive introduction and an in-character hint system added bits of story.

If this were one of your first escape rooms, I think it would be quite likely that you’d be excited to play another.

An Egyptian tomb with a sarcophagus bearing a glowing blue ankh.

The Curse of KV62 also marked a turning point for Locked Adventures, a step up from their previous rooms with more tech, zero traditional padlocks, and a more robust set.

For enthusiasts, V (review) was undoubtedly the standout at Locked Adventures. But if you have some extra time, are newer to escape rooms, or aren’t too tired of Egyptian themes, The Curse of KV62 would be a solid addition to your itinerary.

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Boss-Play Escape Rooms – Neutrino 42 [Review]

Cryo currency

Location:  Oceanside, CA

Date Played: March 7, 2022

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

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $45 per player for 2 players, $35 per player for 3 or more players

Ticketing: Private

Game Breakage: a few key props were broken at the time of playing

Accessibility Consideration: stairs (all players), crawling (at least 1 player)

Emergency Exit Rating: [A] Push To Exit

Physical Restraints: [A] Push To Release

REA Reaction

Neutrino 42 had the potential to be a sci-fi epic. The room’s multi-level scrap-metal set felt reminiscent of a Burning Man art installation, and a unique outer facade made our entrance into the space feel ruggedly immersive.

The game started fairly strong. Players were placed in individual cryochambers that dominated the first space of the set and were well utilized for a sequence of intro puzzles. However, we encountered some rough edges from the start, and I was mildly concerned find some minor safety concerns, including the sharp tip of a nail protruding into my pod.

As we descended into later areas of the room, Neutrino 42 increasingly lost momentum. Due to some choppy sections of gameplay and inconsistent room maintenance, the game fizzled to a frustrating finish. Interspersed with a handful of satisfyingly tactile and diegetic interactions, much of the gameplay felt like a low-energy version of Space Team, leading us to press buttons and turn dials without any real sense of urgency. With a sharper increase in intensity and pace, a crescendo in audiovisual effects, and a clearer progress indicator, these same interactions could have been chaotically exhilarating.

A blue lit room filled with glass and metal containers.

I loved many of the individual interactions in Neutrino 42, and the set provided a fun space to spend an hour. With more meticulous upkeep and greater attention to detail paid to puzzle flow, these individual highlights could have come together into something great.

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Locked Adventures – Hunting Dracula [Review]

Hunting Dracula is one of the best escape rooms in San Diego. Here are our recommendations for other great escape rooms in San Diego.

[At the time of this review, Hunting Dracula was called V.]

V is for 🧛

Location: San Marcos, CA

Date Played: March 6, 2022

Team Size: 4-8; we recommend 4-5

Duration: 90 minutes

Price: $42 per player

Ticketing: Private

Accessibility Consideration: at least one player needs to crawl and stand in a dark, enclosed space

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

V may be the first escape room I’ve seen with a single-letter name. But don’t let the short moniker fool you — this 90-minute vampire-themed room had an alluring Gothic set and was densely packed with moderately challenging puzzles.

Locked Adventures stepped up their game in designing V, especially when it came to scenery. We started off in an ornately decorated cemetery, adjacent to a courtyard and the entrance to a crypt. The set offered layers of exploration, and the puzzles were cleverly integrated into large set pieces.

The puzzles were also a step up in complexity from Locked Adventures’ previous rooms. They were generally well presented and enjoyable to solve, though some could have benefited from clearer signposting or more precise alignment indicators.

An unusual environment that looks like a cemetary crossed with a mad science lab. A skeleton, a crossed headstone, and a glowing pyramid can be viewed.

One of the most delightful elements in the room was Roko, a talking demonic skull, and I’d love to have seen more of this type of quirky character also reflected in the gameplay.

For escape room enthusiasts, V is one of the top rooms in the San Diego area. If you’re newer to escape rooms, Locked Adventures’ The Curse of KV62 is a great pick.

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MindFox Escape – Black & White Cafe [Review]

Black and White Cafe is one of the best escape rooms in San Diego. Here are our recommendations for other great escape rooms in San Diego.

A monochromatic mystery

Location: San Diego, CA

Date Played: March 6, 2022

Team Size: 2-5; we recommend 2-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $30 per player

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Black & White Cafe was adorable. The set, theming, and puzzles were sweet, joyous, and full of character.

This room did a lot with a little. It was a small room with almost no tech, yet it was aesthetically pleasing and filled with a feast of fun puzzles.

In standard mode, Black & White Cafe would be a delightful introduction to escape rooms for newer players. In advanced mode, this was still not a difficult room, but some of the puzzles were presented with more steps and less handholding.

There’s a particular type of immersion when you step into a space that looks absolutely nothing like our everyday reality, like this colorless cafe. Black & White Cafe was a break from real life, a land where solving puzzles can help restore color to the world.

A cafe where literally everything is painted black & white. The wall reads, "Black & White Cafe."

While MindFox Escape’s second room, Moriarty’s Manor, was a major step up in set design and size, exploration, and puzzle refinement, Black & White Cafe still had its own unique charm. This was especially impressive as the debut room from new creators who were learning everything as they went, and it was clear that a lot of love went into every detail. I highly recommend a visit to MindFox Escape Rooms when you’re looking for a dose of lighthearted fun.

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