Don’t lift the manhole cover!
After a fun day of hiking in the woods you and your friends find that you have become lost. A search for shelter leads to an abandoned cabin and the much sought after warmth you were looking for. But the cabin might not be as deserted as you thought. Can you escape a lonely old miner before he makes you a permanent house guest?
As you’ll see from our review of the other room ‘Escape the Cabin’, we were in town and thought this would most likely be our only chance to do these rooms so we’d give them a try.
This is at their ‘village’ location in downtown Big Bear, a truly beautiful location and I can’t imagine there are too many escape rooms in more picturesque locations. Parking was easy enough (out of season) and we parked right behind the venue. It’s in what can best be described as a mini-mall but with a very alpine feel.
Once you get into the venue that ‘Alpine feel’ is cranked all the way up to 11 and it is quite odd/impressive inside. There is a large waiting area and toilets in the mall that you can use, you just need the key from reception.
The premise behind this game is that you are stuck in a cabin and you need to get out before the lonely miner comes home and you become a piece of the furniture. You enter the room in what feels like a very simply living room, but again it has nice little items that make it work. We did the room with torches and the main lights off but the GM informed us that for less experienced teams/families he would turn the lights on to make it a bit easier. The nice thing was that for once, the torches were actually decent.
It’s obvious when you get in that there is more than one room, so that doesn’t give away anything, but we particularly enjoyed the second room and the theming of it. It was also really warm which was great in winter!
There was plenty for both of us to do and everything felt like it was steering us in one direction. I feel they really upped their game with this second room and it was much more immersive and fun than the first room we did of theirs. There was one thing that you do near the end of the game that is really so simple but felt strangely satisfying and suddenly made it apparent why something was in the room.
You don’t get the production value that you may get in LA, but there is still so much enthusiasm in this place. Our GM was a friend of the owners and he was so passionate about everything it was great to see, and we spent a long time chatting with him about their plans for expansion. They are already making their third room and he gave us a sneak peak, it looks like it is going to be pretty good with some pretty good visuals.
If you’re in the area then I’d recommend this room, yes it is perhaps on the easier side but it is still a lot of fun and it’s nice to keep these smaller businesses going, as they are really trying hard to do something that people will love. This room was harder than their other room but strangely we did better at it.
A lot of the puzzles were straight-forward and arguably on the easier side, but that didn’t detract from their fun. Padlocks were a big feature in this room, but if you’re stuck in a miner’s cabin what would you expect?
There was one very small puzzle that we struggled on few a while, one they also had in their other room, it’s the type of thing you’d find in a Christmas cracker and to some people (children) they’re probably easy, but not us!
We particularly enjoyed the last puzzle and how the room ended. A really fun touch and actually something we haven’t seen before.
They have made this room very much with the story in mind and it works. Ok one or two things were a little worn down and things were rough around the edges, but we didn’t care and if anything it all added to the experience. The GM told us that they were planning on refreshing the worn down bits soon anyway, so that should be resolved.
We didn’t require any clues but if we did we assume they would have been delivered over a speaker system like in their other room. I’m sure the GM would have been attentive, he was certainly enthusiastic! After the room he recommended a place to eat and where to go for a walk, he’s a guy that loves where he lives and loves what he does, it’s nice to see.
If you’re in Big Bear you should probably get out in nature, but if the weather is bad then this is a great room to do. Other than the slightly odd booking system everything was good and they can hold their heads up high with the experiences they are giving to the escape room world.
Due to where the room is located there is a manhole cover under the carpet, despite the noise it makes when you walk over it, ignore it, it’s is not part of the game. They are constantly trying to repair the carpet from people ripping it up to try and get in there.