Hatch Escapes’ Lab Rat Escape Room Review

Every escape room we’ve played always has a story. These are usually short ones that are just enough to set up the room that we’re about to enter into. And once we’re inside, we completely forget what the story is about as we have shifted our focus to solving puzzles and getting out. But then there’s Hatch Escapes, an escape room that blends storytelling and escapes room seamlessly together.

Hatch Escapes is the new kid on the block in the Los Angeles area, having only been opened for less than a year. The “Lab Rat” escape room brings players into the world of scientific testing. You and your team enter a room, only to discover that you’re in a world where there are giant humanoid rats doing experiments on humans. Your team is at the mercy of a doctoral student name Ratkenstein, who’s eager to see if his human subjects can pass a series of tests. If you do so, you can escape, if not, Ratkenstein will turn you and your team into a liquefied mess.

Lab Rat is brilliantly designed. When you first walk in, you’ll realize that the room makes you feel small as if you were a rat. There’s a giant projected image against one wall that you’ll need to pay attention to, guiding you through the room’s story. The room also plays with the idea that you’re in the world of the rats, so throughout the room, you’ll see popular things being renamed with a “rodent” twist. Famous movie characters will have a rodent look to them, and companies such as Amazon will instead be called “Amouzon.”

One key design that really caught my eye inside Lab Rat was the backhanded compliments that were laid out around the room. When you see them, you’ll get a slight chuckle, but then you come to the realization that they really fit the theme of the room. These make sense when you realize what kind of personality that Ratkenstein has. In one hand he wants you to succeed because it helps him write his dissertation on human intelligence, but on the other hand, he wants you to fail because it will give him so much pleasure to see you blended up in his little human-chipper.

Puzzles inside Lab Rat show that Hatch Escapes really know how to stick to a theme. Personally, I’ve never experimented or ran tests on rats or mice before, but Hatch Escapes gives you that feeling that if you did, this is probably how you would do it. Difficulty wise the puzzles weren’t overly difficult. They were slightly challenging at times, but they don’t require a whole lot of brain power to solve them. What they do rely on is a very keen sense of observation and communication.

We went into the room with a team of four people. In some ways that might seem small for a team going into an escape room, but we felt that with four people, it was just enough to properly work together to solve puzzles without having to get into each other’s way or arguing about how to solve a puzzle. Out of all the puzzles in the room, there was one that really stood out for me, as it relied heavily on communication and teamwork without the use of sound. It’s the type of puzzle that can either make or break a team, because if your communication isn’t on its best, there’s going to be a lot of frustration that’s going to happen.

Hatch Escape Room Lab Rat

Final Reaction

Hatch Escapes’ Lab Rat is built by a very talented team, all who lent a hand in creating specific aspects of the room. The room is molded by a story that you truly want to pay attention to, making you really feel like you’re in the world. Even though you have 60 minutes to escape, there will be times where certain cutscenes happen. When it does, your time stops, so you can just sit back, relax, and enjoy the show. Hatch Escapes makes sure that everyone that enters Lab Rat successfully escapes. For them, it’s not really about testing how smart you are, but it’s about presenting an immersive story that shows that escape rooms can go beyond just escaping. There’s no doubt in my mind that future escape rooms will take a page out of Hatch Escapes’ playbook and create more story driven rooms. So while we wait for that to happen, Hatch Escape Lab Rat is a room that you’ll definitely need to put on your list of “The most essential escape rooms in Los Angeles.”

Book your room today at hatchescapes.com

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