Escaping the maze rooms in Santa Monica

by Veronika Znam

Ever been locked in a room with a group of people while the clock is ticking and your only hope to get out is to solve puzzles? For those of us who like to watch James Bond’s wild goose chases from the comfort of our queen-sized, fluffy-pillow beds, escape rooms are as close as we’ll ever get to being adrenaline junkies.

My family got into escape rooms about 10 years ago, and since then, we have completed about 40 rooms in many different cities. In college, I knew I wanted to continue my hobby. So, I recently loaded my best friend and boyfriend into an Uber and headed to Maze Rooms on Santa Monica Boulevard. We completed the “Whatever Happened to the Garretts” room that day and the “Tombstone” room a few weeks later. Both rooms were great, although they were very different.

“Whatever Happened to the Garretts” was action-packed and involved solving interactive puzzles. Frequently, escape rooms will just have you put numbers into four-digit locks, which can get boring quickly. This room got creative with the puzzles and had us running in all directions trying to find clues. The ending was also very climactic and left us adrenaline-filled when the door opened. This escape room is great for intermediate escape-roomers or beginners who think out of the box.

The other room, “Tombstone,” was Wild West-themed and decorated so perfectly that we had to resist the urge to speak in Western accents. There were lots of surprise twists and turns throughout this room that kept us on our toes. The details in this room were amazing and the puzzles were creative. The “Tombstone” room was slightly easier than “Whatever Happened to the Garretts”, making it the perfect first room for beginners.

The staff were also really friendly, gave us clues when we requested them and laughed along with us after we made it out of each room. If you’re looking to start your escape rooming career, Maze Rooms is a great place to go. Here are some tips for how to make it out of your first escape room:

  1. Spend the first two to three minutes in the room just looking around and have everyone point out interesting things they see, as they might be puzzles. It’s usually up to you to find the first clue in the room, but you also need to be familiar with its contents to connect the dots and continue solving the puzzles. Taking some time to observe your surroundings will help you find the first clue and flow through the room faster later on.

  2. Don’t stress so much about time! You’re there to have fun, and once you lock in the zone, thinking excessively about how much time is left can get you distracted and out of the flow.

  3. Go with at least three people. I’d say the ideal number is three to four for more intermediate groups and about five for beginners. Many escape rooms allow up to eight players, but going in with this many people can be overwhelming and stressful as everyone is yelling over each other trying to solve the clues. It also means you get to solve less of the escape room!

  4. If you can’t crack a puzzle, you’re likely missing a part that you need to solve it. Retrace your steps and look around to see if there’s anything you might not have noticed.

Besides being super fun, escape rooms are a great icebreaker for new friends and a bonding experience for old ones. Maze Rooms also has plenty of other locations and a third room in the Santa Monica Boulevard location called “Something’s Out There.” The staff told us it’s pretty scary, but we’re excited to check it out soon. We’ll let you know how it goes!

Featured image via Adobe Stock

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