Escape Room LA and John Hennessy’s delightful twist on escaping the tomb.
When I was a little kid, I really wanted to be on Nickelodeon’s Legends of the Hidden Temple. I was certain I would solve the Shrine of the Silver Monkey and be on my way to Space Camp, if I could only somehow become a Silver Snake or a Purple Parrot. (Later, I would realize that show was pretty problematic, much like most of the 90s and early-aughts programming I absorbed.) Luckily, there’s a new escape room where you can live out your Legends fantasies without shrieking in terror at those problematic Temple Guards: Escape Room LA’s The Pyramid.
Escape Room LA was one of the earliest companies on the scene in Los Angeles, launching their challenging Detective room in 2014. In the years since, creator John Hennessy has never disappointed me, and The Pyramid is no exception.
Thematically, ancient tombs are pretty common escape room fare. The Pyramid is not first room I’ve played where I’m in some kind of ancient temple or tomb, trying to “Indiana Jones” my way to an artifact. It’s not even the first pyramid-themed room I’ve played. However, in this particular game, I was pleased to note that we weren’t finding an artifact to steal and sell. The quest is to find it and put it back where it belongs — and that’s not in a museum.
The game is, plainly, a lot of fun. Akin to Escape Room LA’s The Cavern, your group will start out in a relatively small area that rapidly expands. I’d say there are three significant portions of the game to follow, and while much of the gameplay is linear, there’s enough to do in each segment that players should be able pair off and commit to a task. Another bonus: rather than a series of padlocks, players will find massive interactive puzzles that require multiple people to solve. It’s tricky enough that experienced players may find themselves scratching their heads, but there are enough simpler puzzles to avoid feeling like a drag. Many of the puzzles have multiple steps without feeling overly laborious. I think we were all surprised to hear we’d made it out with several minutes to spare, because it felt like we’d done so much.
The room’s capacity is eight people, and honestly, that feels about right. We’ve played many 2–6 player rooms (like the 60Out’s Dracula) where we feel like you could get out with three or four people just fine. The Pyramid, however, is quite large and groups of six to eight will probably have an easier time. Return visitors to Escape Room LA will likely find this game harder than The Theater and about on par in difficulty with The Cavern.
The theming and comes via set designer Jeff McLaughlin, industrial designer Mazin Dajani, and construction coordinator Kyle Rettinger. Many of these tomb sets are too dark, forcing players to battle over flashlights. The Pyramid is well-lit while still maintaining thematic appropriateness, and the large set pieces and secret passageways are fun to work with. And don’t let the skulls fool you; it’s no scarier than any Disney ride.