Even More L.A. Escape Rooms For You To Solve
We thought after our second roundup of this immersive gaming experience, we'd be done. But, nope: they just keep popping up. And since you seem to like them as much as we do, we decided to once again test them out and tell you how to get locked in—the breaking out part is up to you. If you're new to escape rooms, they're fun, interactive games that rely on teamwork and smarts to win. If you're a fan of "Myst," or mobile games like "Forever Lost" or "The Room," you'll find these games up your alley. Essentially, you and your team will be "locked" in a room, which will typically have some kind of theme—a lab, a prison, a tomb, a serial killer's basement, a bunker, etc.—and you'll have to search for and solve clues and puzzles to get back out or complete a goal. (Don't worry: You'll never be truly locked in, as that's against fire code.)
Most games are about an hour long, and fit anywhere between 6 and 12 people. Ticket prices vary depending on the room, the time or the day of the week, though most will run you between $20 to $35 per person. Some rooms may require you to book an entire room, so bring your friends, while others allow you to purchase single tickets and play with strangers. Our list below is divided into two categories, with new rooms from new companies and expanded rooms from existing companies. You can read our previous escape room round-ups here and here.
NEW ROOMS FROM NEW COMPANIES
EscapeKey may be a newcomer to this exploding scene, but their first two rooms were two of our favorites: Senator Payne's Office and The Casino. Senator Payne's Office may not be the most compelling title, but don't let the name fool you. In this game, you've been hired by a politician to steal a bill being introduced by Senator Payne from his office. Someone else tried to do this before you and was never heard from again, so your point of contact warns you to get in and get out within an hour. You will start out in an office, with only vague hints as to the horror that's to come. This is a largely gadget-based room with some really cool props that should cause you to marvel at their cleverness a few times. The Casino room puts you and your team in the midst of a heist, but that's not all: you're not the only team robbing the joint. You'll begin on the casino floor where you must solve three separate lines of puzzles to get to the meat of the game. While I preferred the theme of Senator Payne, I had a great time in both rooms. These are not games for the under-18 crowd, and be aware that you may have to use multiple senses to get out. This is a very smart operation, and we can't wait to see their upcoming Wizard and Bank rooms.
EscapeKey is located at 1560 Corinth Ave., West L.A., 310-478-4444.
Escapedom is a fun newcomer that combines lock-and-key puzzles with a number of interesting tricks. Their first room, The Lair, takes you into the secret headquarters of the Dollmaker, a vicious drug lord that you and your fellow FBI agents have been tracking for quite some time. You've found him, but unfortunately, your informant is dead and all you know is that there's a weapon of mass destruction hidden somewhere inside that you must deactivate, saving both your own lives and those in an unclear, but presumably large radius. This room requires you to find a lot of objects, so an eye for detail is key, and you'll also need to pay attention to your surroundings and how they change. Expect to decode many puzzles, as well as partake in some physical clues that require you to move things around and figure out proper sequences. This game encourages you to immerse yourself by offering you an extra hint if you manage to use only your FBI code names with each other throughout the entire game. They'll be opening up a second room, The Den of the Occult, later this month.
Escapedom is located at 1373 Westwood Blvd. in Westwood, (424) 256-5093
The 13th Room
It's a bit of a drive from L.A. to Pomona, but this game encourages you to stick around for a while. The 13th Room is actually in a historic hotel called the Mayfair. Next door, in what was formerly the pool room of the hotel, is an Irish pub called O'Donovan's. Guests of the 13th Room will receive coupons for half-off appetizers and $3 wells, so you could make a whole day out of it. Also, the hotel is rumored to be haunted. The owners of the bar may tell you about a man who hanged himself in the hotel in what is now the bar's storage closet, and some may tell you about spooky occurrences people claim to have experienced. The 13th Room is largely a lock-and-key situation, though the theatrics create a great mood. Before you even get into the escape room, you'll be told the tale of a man and his likely possessed ventriloquist dummy, which you must find. You'll also find that whomever stayed in the room before you is expecting you and knows your name. Once inside, you may find hints that are delivered by a mysterious person who calls the lobby and leaves a message for you. While walkie-talkie hints are fine, this delivery system is fun and doesn't take you out of the game. The 13th Door also has a soundtrack of classic horror themes to keep you in an apprehensive mood, and there are minimal jump scares. This room is heavy on finding things, so if you feel stuck, just keep looking in every crevice. Be prepared to crawl and feel around until you have the things you need. The second half of the game is creepier than the first, but only atmospherically, so don't be scared! There are plans for a room inspired by Jack the Ripper in the future.
The 13th Room is located at 109 E. Third St. in Pomona, (909) 907-9252.
EscapeIQ is a new addition to the Arts District. Their first room, Alcatraz, splits your group into two parties, each trapped in a different cell. As the story goes, the guards are busy attending to a disturbance in another wing, so you've got about an hour to finally orchestrate that masterful escape you've been plotting. While you don't have to get off the island, just out of your cell block, you will have to do a lot of verbal puzzle solving without being able to see one another, as well as a little crawling around. This room also incorporates technology nicely, with lots of hidden spaces as well as the surprise use of a popular children's toy in the final moments. They also have a second room, The Vault. This has been a popular escape room for celebrities to try, including Sia and Kristen Bell. We hear Sia's team escaped with no hints!
Escape IQ is located at 1135 E. 5th St. in the Arts District, (213) 221-7749.
Ace Escape Game
This company started with a single-room escape decked out like an Egyptian tomb with some very obvious nods to Indiana Jones. You begin by walking down a dark hallway and taking a torch from the wall. This dim lighting will make things difficult at first, but pay attention to the clues on the walls and you'll soon find yourself in a more comfortable space. There is a good combination of gadgetry and lock-and-key stuff in here. It's not a room that spell itself out for you, so some leaps of logic are required. I'd recommend asking the game master to let you play on "easy" mode. It's a single hint, but one that will make the gameplay a lot more enjoyable for you, while still retaining the puzzles. If you get stuck, a visitor that tried to explore the team before you is able to give you hints from the grave. Since opening their first room, they've launched two more: The Psycho Room and The Rebel's Target.
Ace Escape Game is located at 1612 Staunton Ave. in the Arts District, 323-740-6555.
SCRAP Entertainment's Real Escape Game LA
SCRAP was an early entry into the burgeoning escape room market in the United States, opening in San Francisco in 2012. Since then, they've occasionally dropped by L.A. for a pop-up game. We checked out Escape from the Cursed Forest on Halloween, and found their format interesting: several teams of 6 or so met in a large, open space. Each team received several pencil-and-paper puzzles, with clues to those puzzles scattered about the room. Now, however, SCRAP has a permanent L.A. space located in a galleria in Little Tokyo. They have one room up and running right now: Escape from the Time Travel Lab. This game has a sense of humor and a unique format, as the time travel narrative allows for some creative machinations inside the game once your team really gets going. The beginning of the game does rely heavily once again on challenging pencil-and-paper puzzles, which is good for larger teams—the room can fit 11—because everyone will have something do while working towards the larger goal. It isn't all busy work, though, and you can expect to be moving around a lot as the game progresses. Though fun and whimsical, the room manages to be particularly challenging throughout. Also, keep an eye out for their stadium-style pop-up games, as some have pretty fun themes. They did an Attack on Titan game last year.
SCRAP's Real Escape Game L.A. is located at 123 Astronaut E S Onizuka St, #200 in Little Tokyo.
Countdown Live Escape
Countdown Live Escape, a Vegas-based company, has taken over the space formerly occupied by CAPTVT. The Vegas rooms are under new management and different from what they were this time last year, and while Countdown has revamped CAPTVT's spaceship room, they've completely changed one existing room and built an entirely new one. Through the end of January, you can take on their Krampus room. This is a lightly horror-themed room with some atmospheric spookiness and one jump scare, but it's not too scary. The room was built at the behest of Universal for the upcoming Krampus film. There is minimal gadgetry here and some dark elements to accompany the very logical puzzles. Countdown also has a brand new Tiki Palace room that's perfect for larger groups as it accommodates up to 10.
Countdown Live Escape is located at 2284 S Figueroa St. in University Park, (747) 333-8886.
Amazing Escape Room Challenge
Amazing Escape Room in Northridge isn't as immersive as some of the games, but they have plenty of options to choose from. We tried their Desert Storm room and their 1920s room. These were both single-room games with minimal gadgetry. Unlike The Basement or 13th Room, there isn't much of a narrative—the immersion is entirely within the decor of the room. Hints are delivered clearly via an intercom when you need them, and the rooms are well-lit, for those of you who get frustrated in the dark. There are some cool tricks in these rooms involving magnets and other technology, but they're more straight-forward than Maze Room. These are great games for beginners, as well as large groups. Some of the puzzles require pretty big leaps of logic, but most are quite clever.
Amazing Escape Room is located at 16933 Parthenia St. in Northridge, 818-893-6666.
EXPANDED ROOMS FROM EXISTING COMPANIES
Maze Rooms has really been expanding since we first encountered them with their Castle room back in December. They now have numerous rooms in three separate locations. We're fans of their Spy House room and their Prison room. The Spy House has a great mod design and a lot of fun puzzles and Cold War symbolism (the room operators are from Moscow), while the Prison room has a number of gadgets. Similar to EscapeIQ, your team will be split among cells and you'll have to solve your way out together using lots of communication and a little hand-eye coordination. This one requires you to be observant and if all parties jam up in one room, you'll never find your way out. And if you're looking for something totally unique, try the Jungle Room. This Jumanji-inspired room is a game with a game that's all about following a precise order of operations. It's probably their most technologically advanced room and a unique challenge.
They have plans for other new rooms in the future, including Lunar Station, Demon Hunter, Recording Studio and Portal at least two new locations, too.
Maze Rooms is located at 1182 S La Brea Ave in Los Angeles, (323) 745-7142; 1147 S Robertson Blvd. in Pico-Robinson; and 132 S Vermont Ave in Koreatown.
Captured LA in downtown Los Angeles has a new room, The Starlet Killer, that takes its inspiration from old Hollywood noir and the Black Dahlia murder. They've scrapped their old location and have moved from a warehouse into an office building, but once you enter the lair of their twisted killer, you'll feel immersed in an eerie world, decades upon decades ago. With authentic props and more than a few clever gadgets, this room manages to create an dark ambiance without any jump scares. The puzzles here are fewer than other games, but have multiple parts that will require you to look and listen for clues from all over the space. And if you're a true crime buff, you'll find a number of creepy historical easter eggs scattered throughout the decor.
Captured is located at 1125 W. 6th Street, Suite 300, in downtown Los Angeles, 213-986-5421.
The Basement in Sylmar has expanded twice since opening last October. Their Boiler Room scenario is a small room for four people playing on claustrophobia. The Study is fantastic, and very much different from the Basement. This room is almost all gadgets. In the Basement, you've been taken hostage by a deranged serial killer who gives you the choice of solving his puzzles or being eaten. The Boiler Room is where those who aren't immediately eaten go. The Study is a room you've managed to get into all on your own, and it's not part of the killer's game—so he's pretty irritated you're snooping around. This creepy room contains one live actor who is one of the best parts of the game, and despite the spooky theme, there are no real jump scares. At least two team members will find themselves in a small space. It's an imaginative, well-done room that really follows the previous two nicely.
The Basement is located at 12909 Foothill Blvd. in Sylmar, 866-993-7227
Since Enigma Room launched with their Secret Temple room—which was the first room we encountered that incorporated virtual reality—they’ve expanded to include two more. In Apartment 205, the U.S. Department of Cyber Security has traced the purchase of a bio-chemical bomb to a hollywood apartment. Break in, disarm the bomb or else. In the Will, you must solve the mysterious death of a wealthy industrialist. They have a crime scene room and a seance room in the works, too.
Enigma Room is located at 7805 Sunset Blvd. in West Hollywood, 323-770-3101
Escape Room LA
Escape Room LA just opened the Haunted Theatre, which joins their Detective and Cavern rooms. This inventive room takes place backstage of an old theater, which is, unfortunately, haunted. The ghost here is a friendly one, however, and she will help you figure out how to escape if you can free her spirit. You'll need to gather objects to complete the ritual, as well as solve a number of clues that will appeal to numerous types of brains. Their next room, opening Dec. 16, is called The Alchemist.
Escape Room LA is located at 120 E 8th St, Los Angeles in downtown Los Angeles, 213-689-3229
Room Escape Live
Room Escape Live on the Sunset Strip was one of our favorites when the games first started popping up and they have two rooms: the Prison and the Zombie Lab. Those who enjoyed their first two rooms will perhaps find the Zombie Lab slightly harder, with a bonus creep factor (but no jump scares). These rooms all have a number of fun, well-done gadgets and secret areas. You may find yourself having to use a few hints, as these rooms can be significantly challenging, especially for new players. Unlike the other rooms, you're not always trying to escape, but complete a goal in a specific amount of time, whether that goal is an epic jewel heist, mix up a cure for a zombie virus or stop the world from ending.
Room Escape Live is located at 8255 Sunset Blvd. in West Hollywood, 310-869-7167
Exit Game is one of the largest escape rooms, occupying a large space in Monterey Park. For quite some time, they've been operating three rooms of varying difficulty. Recently, however, they've opened the Villain's Lair. Similar in story to other military-themed rooms, you're a group of operatives trying to disarm a bomb and save the world. The Chamber remains Exit Game's hardest game, but this is a company with all sorts of tricks up its sleeve, often requiring players to twist through lasers, crawl and climb their way to victory.
Exit Game is located at in the Atlantic Plaza Shopping Center at 111 N Atlantic Blvd #148 in Monterey Park, 626-861-2772