Omescape Sunnyvale – Kingdom of Cat-tastrophe [Review]

Meow-velous mayhem

Location:  Sunnyvale, CA

Date Played: November 12, 2021

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

Duration: 90 minutes

Price: $50 per player for 2 players to $45 per player for 6 players

Ticketing: Private

Accessibility Consideration: Crawling and climbing (some players)

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [B] Mechanical Release

REA Reaction

Kingdom of Cat-tastrophe told an utterly absurd story about warring factions of a cat kingdom. This game wholeheartedly committed to its bizarre, cat-filled weirdness, and it really worked.

Kingdom of Cat-tastrophe was more of a standard escape room compared to some of the more experimental offerings at Omescape Sunnyvale. Whereas Undercooked, Midnight in Hong Kong, or Chaos in the Galleria each offered innovative gameplay elements and were best suited for players with at least some experience, Kingdom of Cat-tastrophe was an excellent more accessible choice for beginners — while still showcasing the large, beautiful sets and distinctive narrative flavor that characterizes all Omescape Sunnyvale experiences.

For new escape room players, Kingdom of Cat-tastrophe would be a stellar introduction to the joy of escape rooms. For enthusiasts, it would be a fun warmup before playing Undercooked, Midnight in Hong Kong, or Chaos in the Galleria, but if you’re short on time and looking to play Omescape Sunnyvale’s most unique offerings, I’d recommend skipping straight to those rooms.

Castle interior with a large wooden door and stone walls.
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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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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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Cubicescape – Room 2217 [Review]

(Escape) Room Service

Location:  San Jose, CA

Date Played: November 5, 2021

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

Duration: 75 minutes

Price: from $50 per player for 2 players to $37 per player for 6 players

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Cubicescape writes on their website that their rooms “take pride in crafting intense and immersive storyline[s] to create a compelling experience that is beyond simple puzzle solving.”

This intention was abundantly apparent in Room 2217. Each interaction and each puzzle directly furthered the plot or justified our involvement in it. Compared to Cubicescape’s Project Delta (reviewed in London), Room 2217 felt more tightly edited and a notch more accessible.

A room that looks remarkably like a hotel room.

But while the story was clearly communicated, there were some opportunities for improvement. I wished there had been a better attempt at gating or at least obfuscating information which came into play later on. We noticed too many details early on and it significantly dampened the effect of the ending.

If you’re looking for a room where the puzzles embody, rather than just accompany, the story and theme, this is it. Room 2217 wasn’t perfect, but it absolutely was engaging, exciting, and thought-provoking.

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