Countdown Live Escape Rooms

Escape rooms, they’re popping up everywhere. In fact, at the time of writing this article, there are roughly more than 150 escape rooms in Southern California alone. So if you haven’t heard about escape rooms, then this is just for you.

Recently we were given the opportunity to try out the rooms at Countdown Live Escape Rooms. They are located just a few blocks from the USC campus.   Countdown Live has three different escape rooms that vary in difficulty. ‘Krampus,’ ‘The Pandorus Mission,’ and ‘The Tiki Palace.’

We arrived at Countdown with a team of six, and immediately we noticed that Countdown has listed the best teams that have escaped each of their rooms. They’ve highlighted how much time they had left when they escaped and how many hints they’ve used. Our team took this with great stride and knew what kind of goals we had to beat. We were determined to be at the top spot for each room.

Our first room was Krampus, a horror-themed escape room. The difficulty was listed as medium and had an escape rate of 20%.

The room is dark and dim and wonderfully designed. It’s drab, grubby and overall frightening. The eeriness of the room certainly gave us a sense a sense of terror. We truly thought that at any moment something would pop out and scare us. The darkness of the room made it very difficult for us to find objects that were needed to proceed in solving puzzles. There was a nice balance of difficulty to the puzzles. We would run into some puzzles that we found very easy, but then we were immediately met with a puzzle that came to be very difficult. As we continued to move forward, the room became more fearful. Inanimate objects began to make us fearful, as we did not know where or what it would lead us to. Eventually, we escaped the room with just a few minutes to spare. Our spirits and smiles were lifted high as we were thoroughly impressed with the room.

The second room we stepped into was Countdown’s hardest room, ‘The Pandorus Mission.’ This room had an escape rate of 13% and according to the wall of fame, every team that successfully escaped needed to use a hint. As a team, we set a goal, which was to escape the room as fast as we can without the use of any hints. It was a bold ambition, but with our brains running at full speed, we walked in ready.

‘The Pandorus Mission’ is a sci-fi themed room, and the set design definitely shows it. My first impression walking in was that the construction of the room was a little shoddy. It looked as if things were slapped together last minute without any real thought, but then I remembered that according to the story, we were on a derelict spaceship, and that’s when I realized that the poor quality of the build was all intentional.

Where Pandorus really shines is in the use of technology. Most escape rooms we’ve encountered rely heavily on keys and locks, but Pandorus separates itself from that by relying heavily on gadgetry. There were two instances in Pandorus that really caught my attention. Countdown Escape had created several puzzles using technology that I’ve never seen before in an escape room. In fact, it was so awe-inspiring that after solving the puzzle, we had to briefly step back and admit how cool the puzzle was.

Pandorus really challenged us as a team. There were moments where we came across extremely lost. We felt stuck; we didn’t know where to go or what to do. It’s a crushing feeling watching the time tick down knowing that you have no clue what to do next. Knowing that we do not want to call in for a hint, we begin to re-trace our steps, start to look over each nook and cranny in the room to see if we missed something and started to look at each puzzle at a different angle. We go through our checklist of escape room tactics so we can move forward.

We successfully escaped Pandorus, and as much as we would have liked to escape the room without any assistance (and the use of only our sheer intelligence, ultimately we had to use one hint. It was a goal we had set in our mind, but as a consolation, we did make it on to Countdown’s wall of fame.

Our third and final room was ‘The Tiki Palace,’ which was the easiest room Countdown Escape offers. With a 28% escape rate and successfully escaping two of their hardest rooms, we were in no doubt that we would be able to escape this room, and in record time.

Like the rooms before it, ‘The Tiki Palace’ is wonderfully designed. It does a great job of giving you the feeling that you’re on an island paradise. After a short video, our clock started and we began. We scoured the room looking for every clue we can find. Puzzles were either hidden behind other objects or cleverly hidden right in front of us.

Though Tiki Palace was rated as the easiest room at Countdown, it still came across as a very challenging room. Puzzles and clues had to be looked over numerous times before being solved. Every inch of the room had to be searched and scoured to make sure we didn’t miss anything. We did escape The Tiki Palace but not in the best time. In fact, compared to the other teams that escaped, our final time was slightly embarrassing, but I’ll chalk that up to our brains being exhausted from escaping the two previous rooms.

Countdown Escape provides three well thought out and designed rooms. If they say a room is difficult, then by all means, it’s very difficult. One thing that Countdown does that I’ve never seen in an escape room was incorporating an Easter egg puzzle. The puzzle was a separate thing from the other puzzles in the room. Finding and solving this Easter egg puzzle would not help you in escaping the room, but it instead provided the team with a chance to win a prize whether or not the team successfully escaped.

Whether this is your first or hundredth time going to an escape room. Countdown Live Escape Games provides something for every skill level.

Visit Countdown Escape at

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Arvin Santiago
Arvin Santiago 375 posts

Photo/Video Enthusiast and Escape Room "Semi-Professional"