CSI: Hollywood by Puzzle Workshop

“Everyone’s favorite Hollywood star, Ruby Valentine, was last seen entering her dressing room on the set of her newest movie. Last night, the local police received an anonymous phone tip from Ruby’s alleged kidnapper. The police need your help before the tabloids get wind of the news…” (Puzzle Workshop)

The Puzzles

My team of investigators was shown a fun (and campy) video from our commanding officer explaining the disappearance of Ruby Valentine. We were ordered to start in the last place she was seen, her dressing room, and urged to find hints leading to the suspect and Ruby’s current whereabouts. With various nail polish, costumes, shoes, Ruby’s personal laptop, self-portraits and accessories, we were led into what looked like someone’s real dressing room. It wasn’t huge, but the room was dense with puzzles for my whole team to work on. We split up into smaller groups and tackled the different types of puzzles enthusiastically, and without much down time.

Using diverse types of logic, the puzzles of “CSI: Hollywood” fit the theme nicely, with clues coming together for larger puzzles. There were a few combination locks, but they all made sense in context, and it was clear which locks the combinations went to. Some tech was used on a few more elaborate puzzles, which was a welcome surprise.

Puzzle Workshop did an amazing job with the set design of “CSI: Hollywood,” the rooms within were clearly delineated by disparate motifs. The dressing room provided a lighter fare, while the second room was more thematically sinister. I especially liked the inclusion of multi-part clues and little hints that narrowed down the kidnapper’s identity. The whole of “CSI: Hollywood” felt more personal than other escape rooms I’ve done; more lived in. At times I felt as if we were really searching through someone’s personal belongings.

The Takeaway

“CSI: Hollywood” is a very well-done escape room, including just the right amount of combination-based puzzles and tech. The production design of the rooms is fantastic and fun, and my entire team was busy throughout our 60-minute game. We had some difficulty with a piece of tech that was frustrating – but not a glitch. We wasted a lot of time trying to strong-arm a code that was very specific, trying all the combinations. I’m not sure if there is a better way to handle that clue, or if it was just our oversight. However, once that was sorted, I was really impressed that the final puzzle was a group effort, which led to a bigger sense of teamwork and accomplishment.

“CSI: Hollywood” is a blast and appropriate for teens on up.

Help the Police Find Ruby Valentine!

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