The Queen at Escape Long Beach – Full Review
The Queen at Escape Long Beach is a Escape Room located in , .
3922 East Broadway, Long Beach, CA 90803View All Details
Free Parking, Restrooms/Porta Potties On-Site, Handicap Accessible, “Old-School” (Low Tech), “Hi-Tech” Attraction, You will NOT be touched, Original Characters, All-Indoor Attraction, Family Friendly
This attraction was reviewed on December 15, 2019 by Team Yes and Escape.
Final Score: 9.35
In the waters around Long Beach, California, a historic and supposedly haunted ship sits tied up, beckoning visitors from far and wide. A short distance away, a new and theatrical escape room based on the haunted vessel waits, beckoning players to attempt to solve its mysteries. Team Yes and Escape was beckoned all the way from San Diego to come and potentially join the ghostly crew of the Queen Mary. Thusly, we made the journey to Escape Long Beach for an adventure that touched our very souls.
Advertised as a paranormal investigation of the famous ship, Escape Long Beach’s game ‘The Queen’ consists of a wonderful melding of first-generation (simple locks and puzzles) and second-generation (advanced puzzles involving electronics) components that will capture your attention.
We had the opportunity to speak with the company’s manager/room designer ahead of time and he let us know that this room has three different levels of difficulty that can be requested when booking. We also found out that the room had only been open since October of 2019, so we were an early group to give it a try.
Atmosphere & Customer Service: 9.4
Escape Long Beach is located directly on East Broadway and has very easy-to-spot signs for both of their games. There are also three parking spots directly in front of the building, along with ample street parking. Before we even made it to the front door, we were greeted by our host who took us to the lounge where we could fill out waivers and wait until our briefing started. Everyone we encountered from the staff was very polite, thorough, and helpful. You could tell that they had an immense sense of pride in their games and were eager to share them with all of their customers.
Another unique customer service feature was that, after we completed the game, our host was kind enough to give us a full recap of all the puzzles we just encountered. This was a nice touch as throughout the normal course of play, as you are focused on a puzzle, your teammates might discover something fun that you didn’t get to see. With this full recap, we were able to relive all of the accomplishments of our crewmates and send congratulations to one another. Our host even demonstrated some entertaining easter eggs in the room that are highly interactive, but not required to solve. We were just so enamored with how excited the staff was to show the detail each game contained.
The quality of immersion for ‘The Queen’ was otherworldly. When our briefing started, we were welcomed as a team of paranormal investigators that had been brought on to help locate a researcher that went missing on the ship. The missing person managed to leave a voicemail before disappearing and, through that message, we received the details of our mission. Additionally, we were informed that the spirit of the actual Queen Mary, for whom the ship was named, wanted the vessel to set sail again and, to do so, she needed to collect souls to press into eternal servitude as the ship’s crew. Our host then told us he had devised a plan to sneak us on to the ship in a way that might convince the Queen we already were part of the crew and, in so doing, she might leave us alone. With that, we were off on our adventure.
I’m going to take a brief pause here to make the following disclosure: this is the 20th escape room I have personally taken part in. There are many parts of ‘The Queen’ that are so revolutionary, I feel it unfair to talk about them in any degree of specifics in order not to spoil the incredible experience. Trust me, however, when I say that the moment you walk into the room you will be in awe. Just about every single physical object in the room looks like it came off of the real Queen Mary, even down to the floorboards. There’s a small portal that the spirit of the Queen uses to taunt guests. Everything we did and, in some cases, even the things guests say can cause something to happen; that’s how interactive the experience can be. Our whole team remarked that, as we completed each piece of the overall puzzle, we were constantly greeted by delightful surprises… some of which were highly personalized.
Perhaps one of the more captivating highlights is that, once your game is over (win or lose), the story continues in an innovative way. If you do lose, there’s actually something of a consequence. Unlike in other escape rooms where if you’re told, ‘You have one hour to escape before the police arrive,’ only to never see as much as a flashing red light, a loss during ‘The Queen’ might require you to make a fun little contribution to the ship.
There were two minor areas we noticed that detracted from the immersion ever so slightly. The first is that one of the puzzles utilizes a very visibly modern device to convey a clue. The effect it creates is pretty cool, but they are some of the first objects we encountered and were noticeably the only part of the chamber that looked modern. Secondly, early on, a member of your group may be identified as having a certain set of abilities that will aid you in defeating the Queen. Though those abilities may come in handy in the initial portion of the game and fit well with the theme, they do kind of become irrelevant (at least in our playthrough) for the majority of the experience. However, we learned afterward that the game can play very differently depending on how your team chooses to interact with the room, so it is possible we just didn’t focus on that part of the story. All in all, everyone on our team did agree that these were both very minor and in no way lessened our overall enjoyment.
As alluded to earlier, there were such unique and nuanced facets of the gameplay for ‘The Queen’ that we were entranced from start to finish. Some puzzles we’d never seen before and were happy to engage with something new. There were very few actual locks, which encouraged us to interact more with everything in the room itself. The game also does a great job of taking some familiar escape room tropes and using them in refreshingly creative ways. A few times, we were shocked (in a good way) by how we were surprised by something we’ve seen before, but because of the ingenuity of the implementation, it took us off guard. This really ramped up the tension and had us questioning our past experiences, which helped highlight the urgency of the story. It honestly felt like in some of those moments, we were having the same reactions we did when we tried our first escape games.
‘The Queen’ can be played with group sizes ranging from two to seven. We had four teammates with us and felt that was the perfect size for this particular game. The pacing was spot on, and we escaped, with much elation, at the 46-minute mark, on the game’s ‘expert’ difficulty. That was another fascinating element of the gameplay: the room could be adjusted between three sets of difficulty. Also, at certain difficulty levels, before the game even starts, we were asked to make a choice. Whatever we decided would alter an entire clue stream for the game, so there’s actually some replayability here, which is usually unheard of for escape games.
A few quick special notes: The ghostly portal will keep track of your time, and it is recommended that you have someone on your team comfortable with crawling. Very clear hints are delivered by your host via a walkie talkie and did not negatively impact your time.
There was only one minuscule area that was somewhat confusing and unintuitive. One puzzle requires the use of colors. The way in which you discern the colors you need is actually very neat and inventive. But, while you’re doing that, other objects in the room are changing colors on their own, and we had a hard time telling if that was due to our actions or was unrelated. We spent a lot of time trying to figure out exactly what we needed to do in that scenario before radioing our host to ask for a clue. Again, this was minor and shouldn’t prevent you from visiting ‘The Queen.’
Entertainment & Value: 10
For a 60-minute escape game, you will pay $32 per person to embark aboard ‘The Queen,’ and your booking will be private. Even with the two-hour ride from San Diego, we firmly believe this was well worth the investment. We had such a good time, we’re considering going back up with members of Team Yes and Escape who couldn’t make this excursion so we can see it again. Escape Long Beach has put together something truly special and, if you win, you get to take home a little souvenir. You also receive two coupons for neighboring restaurants. Regardless of whether you win or lose, you really need to experience this room for yourself. When you do, you’ll find yourself leaving, like we did, shouting YAS QUEEN!
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