There’s something new in entertainment, not just in Los Angeles, but around the country and the world. Maze rooms (also called escape rooms), are a new hour-long adventure phenomenon that send you and fellow gamers into a locked room where you must assemble clues and use your brain to get out again. Can your team can solve the riddle before the hour is up? Success calls on cleverness and the ability to work together – though admittedly, the added pressure of being eaten by a Zombie might factor in, too!
These maze room games are a lot of fun, and not all of them rely on scare tactics. Suddenly, they are catching on like wildfire – in LA there are now twelve different companies operating maze rooms and many are suitable for families and older kids. Age restrictions vary: twelve years and up is the general rule of thumb, but there are a number of maze rooms that won’t take anyone under sixteen. You may have to do a little research to determine which style of game, and which establishment’s age limits match your crew.
According to Room Escape Adventures this novel concept is born out the reality television world. The adventure allows people to get a taste of what it would be like to be on a reality shows like Minute to Win It or The Amazing Race. Getting out of a room isn’t about breaking down walls – it’s about puzzle solving, teamwork, creative thinking, and being able to find and understand clues. It’s fun to match your wits against the system.
One of the best one for kids seems to be “Trapped in a room with a Zombie” which is operated in LA by Room Escape Adventures. The game can be played by kids 8 to 14 years old, provided there is one adult per six kids with a limit of twelve players. While that doesn’t make a birthday party for the whole class it could be a really unique celebration for a smaller group There is a crawling Zombie locked in the room with players chained to a wall, and the chain is released bit at a time so players have to be quick in putting the clues together. If the Zombie touches them they have to be still. They can still participate verbally, but can’t move. The Zombie adds an exciting ticking clock to the game.
Another maze room that is suitable for kids twelve an older is called The Castle and is operated by Maze Rooms on La Brea. This company is the largest provider in LA and gets great reviews on YELP. Maze Rooms in other LA locations have different themes, The Spy Safe House, Prison, FBI, and Jungle Game to name a few.
A company in Hollywood called Enigma Escape rooms has two offerings: The Secret Temple and Apartment 205. Enigma Escapes allows kids 12 and up if accompanied by adults, and 14 and up on their own. Twenty- year old Michael Aaronson and a group of friends, (who’d never heard of maze rooms recently as a month ago), stumbled on the Enigma Rooms and described it as “very family friendly”. “I think doing this with my family in particular would be hilarious, we’d get into arguments over stupid things. It would be fun.” Michale was also surprised the age limit was twelve because he thought the game would be fun for kids as young as ten. “It had a medieval mythical feel with black light decoders and riddles” that Michael thinks kids would love.
Michael and his friends were all so head strong, each trying to be the one that solved the puzzles, that in the end they didn’t solve the puzzle. Not solving the puzzle is something we’ve heard a few times but it is really more proof that this project is about teamwork. Even with the clues that are offered you by ”in-room hosts,” not everyone solves the riddle. Of course, they get out of the locked room, but without having triumphed, it’s only natural to want to come back for more!
Prices for this new sort of adventure vary, but on average if you have a group of four to six it will cost about twenty to thirty dollars per person. Each game take about sixty minutes. Some companies that are more oriented towards team building and leadership skills spend another half hour after the game evaluating the players work what they did well and ways in which they could have improved their game.