The Room – Escape the Cabin and Space Ship
The Room in North Hollywood currently offers two escape rooms – The Space Ship and The Cabin – with a third on the way. Fully immersing the participants, The Room excels in story and production design.
The Space Ship
In 2013, NASA lost contact with the galaxy-exploring Conquest after they transmitted the message that they had found alien life. Now (in 2023), my team of astronauts and I are sent into orbit and tasked with finding out what happened to the missing crew, and to make contact with the aliens if they indeed exist.
Released into the room, we were transported into what looked like a real space ship (like I would know), complete with a cryosleep chamber (look closely), main switchboard, monitors, lockers and airlocks. Thankfully, there was a ship manual for us to refer to throughout the game, but it was still tricky to find what we were looking for at times. Most of the puzzles were combination/key locks, which was okay in this context, but I enjoyed the non-lock puzzles in the room better. As much as there was to do in the first room, the second portion was a bit sparser but has a lot of potential. The climax, unfortunately, was over before we could really process what happened, but it was a very cool, interactive idea – one I haven’t seen used thus far.
The Space Ship, what I believe is The Room’s first outing, is excellent for beginners as the tasks are spelled out in the correct order. Since there’s a lot of technology on the Space Ship, newbies might get overwhelmed, but the manual pages found throughout the game narrow the playing field to be more manageable. As veteran escapees, we found the extremely linear game play frustrating. We figured out a puzzle before we were supposed to and had to go back to solve the prior puzzles before moving forward. My team and I also thought that the sets and props (which were fantastic) could have been better incorporated to be more engaging. While it definitely had a few good puzzles and riddles, the Space Ship was mostly a seek-and-find mission – great for families and newcomers.
Dwight Carpenter, the son of a twisted hunter and the woman he abducted, has trapped me and my friends in his cabin. Biding his time, he toys with us until he gets bored enough to kill and have us for dinner. Can we find his clues and escape before we become Dwight’s next meal?
Finding ourselves in Dwight’s gruesome shed/kill room, we had to think outside of the box to set ourselves free. This first big mystery was the hardest and had the most opportunity for failure. While a good idea, we had an unfortunate mishap, rendering the first clue-retrieval impossible, so we used guesswork to proceed. Things went smoothly after that, even with a few red herrings. The puzzles, using a variety of types of logic, were good and fit the creepy theme well. While the locks were all bike locks or used keys, the combinations were well thought-out and rooted in the story.
The Cabin, the second and much better of The Room’s two offerings, was bigger and incorporated many more puzzles. Without a step-by-step guide, we were on our own to search, manipulate, and solve the puzzles hidden among the animal pelts and bloody body parts. Clues, some more obvious than others, were scattered about the cabin and surrounding areas, and kept most everyone engaged at all times. With such a good lead-up, though, the ending was a little anti-climactic. There were several confusing riddles that we had apparently solved without realizing it, and we ended up making the last puzzle harder than it needed to be. The concept of the final puzzle was great, but it could have required more effort than it ultimately did.
The Room’s Cabin and Space Ship are immersive treasures, transporting the participants to a madman’s lair and a broken-down aircraft. While the puzzles may not have been the most complicated (especially in the Space Ship), I felt like I was actively involved in both rooms, with a sense of urgency (yet fun) nipping at my heels. Seeing the progression and advancements made between the two rooms, The Room’s offerings are only going to get even better.