This was my 3rd attempt at a solo escape, and I may have taken on more than I could handle. I was able to escape in time, thanks to some well-timed hints, and a flexible clock that may have gone two minutes over. This was a fun room and I was busy running around the entire 60 minutes. However, it really made me appreciate having a second set of hands, eyes, and another brain. See below for the full review.
“You are FBI Agent Alex Vargas, a fresh face in the Cyber Crime Unit. Fueled by optimism and a need for success, you determine that taking down Nitr0 would be the best way climb the ladder to the top. You’ve received an anonymous lead, apparently Nitr0 has been tracked to an apartment in Cambridge. It’s a long shot, but it’s the only thing you’ve got.“
I contacted a few escape rooms in San Diego to attempt another solo escape. My record was 1-1 with the two rooms at Escapism, and I wanted to improve my stats. Escapology was the first to get back to me and they were also very easy to work with. The manager, Augustus, helped me to make my 1-person booking since their online system didn’t allow it. He also said that Th3 Cod3 was probably the only room that could be done by one person. The next day I drove down to Belmont Park in Mission Beach for my morning escape.
Augustus was there to greet me and would serve as the game master. Escapology provided a bottle of water while I watched the intro video. Then I was ready to go. I knew time was tight, and I was pretty busy running around. This room was pretty linear, and the hints were based on progress. They would come across the monitor if you were taking a little too long. This room does involve some searching, which is always better with two people. That caused me a little trouble as I missed some things that really slowed me down.
I started out well but got hung up on a couple things. Usually, a hint was enough to put me back on track. With so much going on, I did lose track of things a couple of times. This is where having another person really would have helped. I was busy trying to input a code into the wrong keypad that I forgot about another keypad that turned out to be the right one. As time wore down, I was getting worried I would not get out.
The final task required plugging in multiple numbers in sequence. I looked at the clock, showing less than a minute and went to keep working until I was out of time. After thinking the sequence was random, I finally saw the clue that put the numbers in order. After that, it was just a matter of entering the rest of the numbers. When I went back out, I saw that the clock still had 20 seconds left, so I was pretty sure I gained a couple of magic minutes in there.
There was a variety of puzzles in this room, with everything from number locks to more high-tech locks and features. I thought the decoration fit the theme and the story was pretty good. The videos that were part of the experience were well done and helped set the mood.
I had one issue with the instructions saying I didn’t need to do anything above about head-height. This is a pretty standard escape room instruction. However, in this case, there may have been something higher than that which figured into the puzzle. I may have taken the instruction too literally, and in the end, it wasn’t totally necessary. I also don’t think it really fit in with the rest of the theme.
Afterwards, I talked to the manager about their other rooms. I’m looking forward to trying Budapest Express when I’m back in town next month and will be joined by another enthusiast. Th3 Cod3 ranks on their website as an 8.2 difficulty and Budapest Express is an 8.8. We’ll see how fast our two-person team can do.
Cost: $35 per person for 2 to 6 people. You may get combined with other people. I’d recommend 2-4.
Check their website for available time slots.
Have you escaped Th3 Cod3?
According to their website, Escapology is a franchise, with locations in Orlando, Florida; Las Vegas, Nevada; Cincinnati, Ohio; Austin, Texas; Portage, Michigan; and Guayaquil, with new locations opening in Louisiana, Memphis, and Denver.