The Mummy Escape Game
I haven’t reviewed an escape room in over a year. Lucky for me, they are still popular, and I still love them. This latest is a bit different from others–it’s an officially licensed room themed to Universal Studios’ “The Mummy” film that opened June 9th. The room was created by a company called SCRAP Entertainment, a veteran of the Escape Room industry. They have launched such innovative experiences as touring escapes, outdoor/stadium puzzle events, and pop-up experiences for conventions. The Mummy Escape Game is a long-term (but still temporary) room at the Hollywood & Highland shopping center; it will end sometime next year, so there is a bit of urgency if you are interested in checking this one out!
The story of the room is a relatively simple one: Stop the Ultimate Evil. No big deal, right? From the website:
“You and your teammates are hired as Security Guards for Prodigium. This prestigious underground organization studies occult matters, supernatural happenings and uncanny creatures. Earlier in the week, a new arrival entered the lab – Ahmanet, former princess of Egypt, turned prisoner as The Mummy. Suddenly, while receiving an orientation about the facility, the alarm rings! Now Ahmanet calls upon her ancient powers to break away from her confinement as she sets off the sensors and attempts to break the seal that keeps her from reeking havoc. The Mummy is said to bring calamity upon humanity and her release could be the beginning of the end.”
Knowing that this was officially licensed by the movie studio, I was expecting high production values, and the room did not disappoint. First, since we are newly-hired Security agents for Prodigium, we donned official Prodigium vests to wear throughout the experience. This was a fun touch; although I’ve experienced costume pieces in a few other rooms, it’s rare and usually an afterthought. My photographer and I teamed up with two new recruits that had limited experience escaping (or being security guards for that matter). Shortly into our orientation, the facility was put on lockdown, and we only had an hour before the Mummy’s sedative would wear off!
The rookies were a boon to our efforts. Having four more eyes and hands helped enormously in gathering the needed information. The full complement of 10 that can be accommodated by the room would likely crowd it beyond enjoyment. With four, we were able to look everywhere without wasting too much time on duplicate work and everyone always had something to work on. As veterans escapers know, this is maybe the most important thing to get right in a room–making sure everyone has something to do.
Without spoiling anything, the way we progressed through the Prodigium facility was surprising and enjoyable. Working around and with the Mummy’s sarcophagus immersed us in a high-quality set. Honestly, this prop may have been from the actual movie; it was that good. Some physicality was required, always a favorite of mine (but I’m still waiting for my Escape Room/Ninja Warrior hybrid). Keeping true to the Mummy’s horror roots, there were also some scares to be had. To be clear, this was not a scary room. It’s very well-lit, and there is nothing gross. Families would certainly be able to participate in this–if a child is old enough to contribute to the puzzle-solving, they’re old enough for the slightly creepy atmosphere within.
As with all but the very best rooms, there were a couple areas I felt could be improved. I thought those aforementioned vests would have played an actual role. They were fun to wear but didn’t serve any function, and with pockets galore, there was ample opportunity to use them creatively. Additionally, this was an “in-room helper” game, which is not inherently bad, but the level of assistance given is a tricky situation. Our staffer was very friendly and helpful, but perhaps a tiny bit too free-wheeling with the information for my liking. I am not faulting her; it’s her job to make sure people are having a good time, and she never told us answers; just helpful hints, many of them in response to direct questions. It’s more that the access to such information makes it easy to ask questions (I know I was guilty), and a lesser level of assistance would have made the escape that much sweeter.
At $40 for the full experience, the price is on the high end of the Los Angeles market. Perhaps it is geared towards tourists visiting Hollywood, which might be a good strategy. There is also a separate VR experience at the site, called “The Mummy Prodigium Strike,” that is essentially a first person shooter type of game. One neat feature of the pricing that I haven’t seen before is the offer of an easier, shorter version for half price–so, $20 for a 25-minute game. I can see that being more likely to attract walk-in traffic, and I hope it’s done well for them, to give a wider audience a taste of what escape rooms are all about. The easy version is available Tuesday to Thursday, and the full version is Friday through Sunday. The Mummy Escape Game has tickets available through July 30. More information, and ticket reservations, can be found here.