Published May 5th, 2017 @ 1:50 am EDT by Paul

REVIEW: Haunted Recording Studio by Escape Room Gamez (Los Angeles, CA)

2/5 Claws

Challenge: 4
Awe: 2
Care: 3.5
Theme: 5.5
Team: 3.5
Signature Color: Grey


“What a disgusting excuse for an escape room!  Some years ago, I assume several decades by how dated the equipment seemed, there was a recording studio in Los Angeles that went out of business and left all the equipment behind; now someone tried to turn it into an escape room.

It almost sounds like the setup to a great experience.  But, sadly, it is only the literal truth of how Haunted Recording Studio came to be.  This clear cash-grab highlights some of the absolute worst practices in the escape room industry.  The story makes absolutely no sense.  The puzzles led one to another in a strictly linear path meaning that only one person at a time could do anything while the rest of the team stands around watching uselessly.  One memorable puzzle was to assemble a broken record, the only difficult part of which was sifting through the piles and piles of abandoned wires left behind from somewhere in the 80’s.

Despite the change in ownership, the facility is still neglected and depressing, not in an artful and deliberately crafted way, but created with actual neglect!  The locks didn’t work, even with the right codes, cabinets were ready to fall off their hinges and, oh yeah, piles of literal junk strewn around not as thoughtful distractions but just because no one felt like cleaning up the mess.”

Everyone had such a miserable time that I was embarrassed to have dragged everyone there to celebrate my birthday.  Heck, I even paid for the whole thing and still, all anyone can say was that at least we had suffered through this nonsense together.  And yet, the utterly indifferent staff member did offer to sell us a tape of our run-through… for SEVENTY DOLLARS.

The only positive I can find is that at least they let us take our victory photo in the recording booth; normally photos aren’t allowed inside escape rooms, but there’s just nothing to see here.  Anywhere.  At all.”

Oh look… more wires.  Great…”


“I really don’t understand why so many people like this place. But they do, so everything I say is probably quite wrong. Before we entered, we were told a long and irrelevant story about a dead person who liked to sing. Her ghost turned up. She seemed as confused as we were. There’s a fair amount of video. In fact, it’s all visual or frustratingly tactile, there’s very little use of, or even mention of, sonic phenomena. Shouldn’t this room be all about sound? When music actually does become a part of the team challenge, the whole ghost story falls away, and we had to do something that was honestly just really stupid.

The puzzles aren’t all bad, and some of them look pretty expensive, but they’re incongruous. I often felt they were distracting me from the game–then I’d remember that there wasn’t much of a game here. This maddening sense of being dragged away from puzzles by cheap puzzlement just wouldn’t go away. The challenges seemed less like enigmas and more like “issues” or “temporary setbacks.” The end was so anti-climactic, I doubled over laughing.The haunted recording studio feels less haunted than new track homes, airport terminals, or Nordstrom’s.

If this had been a sincere mom-and-pop effort, it would have had some charm. But this place wasn’t built from scratch. I honestly felt like if anybody else had that space, they would have worked to meet the space halfway, instead of expecting it to just look cool and do all the work for them. The designers as much as tell you, “This is a recording studio, and those are cool. You like wires, right? And plugging stuff in so that lights come on? Oh yeah, I almost forgot: Boo.” To mention a 19th century singing ghost is to tease us with the hope of something both vintage and innovative, or even something beloved and tropic, like the crooners echoing down the halls of the Overlook Hotel in The Shining.In the Kubrick movie, that was the sound the place made when it haunted the man, who in turn haunted it back. The owners of the Haunted Recording Studio are not disquieted by anything sonorous, and they’re not inspired by the idea of working with sound. They don’t see the point. Their recording studio isn’t haunting them, they’re infesting it.”

3611 Cahuenga Blvd. West
LA, CA 32792

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