Review: The Fun House
Cross Roads Escape Games, Anaheim, CA
#24, Won, $32/person
Team Bluefish didn’t actually mean to play “The Fun House,” but we are so glad that we did. We drove out to Anaheim from Phoenix intending to play “The Hex Room” with some of our local friends. Long story short: “The Hex Room” needs a minimum of 5 and our friends all bailed, leaving us on the hook for an escape room that was impossible to do.
It could’ve been a terrible experience; we’d already been to four rooms in two locations on that particular day, and it was nearing midnight when we arrived at Cross Roads… so you could probably guess that we were a little tired. I think that most places would have turned us away— without a refund or offer to reschedule. However, the workers at Cross Roads were extremely helpful and sympathetic to our plight. They offered to not only let us go through “The Fun House” but they gave us a couple of vouchers to come back for “The Hex Room.” It’s amazing how little they did, but their customer service was such a breath of fresh air, compared to other places that seem uninterested in helping in any way. If you talk to Anna or I about our favorite places, even before we tell you about the rooms, we’ll be talking about Cross Roads. There’s a lesson there for other escape room owners, and a discussion topic that I’m sure we’ll post about in the future.
Thanks for bearing with me, now back to the actual room.
This review is easy to write, because I think that “The Fun House” is just about as near to perfect as you can get. Usually when you enter a room, you know you’re in an escape room. There might be plenty of nods to the theme, but it’s extremely difficult to create the sense of immersion that pervades the best escape rooms.
That said, “The Fun House” absolutely nails its theme and set pieces. There’s plenty of crazy props everywhere, but the setting is so fantastical that they don’t feel like props. Every single thing, from the moment you walk through the giant clown’s mouth to enter the room (for those afraid of clowns, don’t worry, that’s as bad as it’s going to get) just belongs there. The room behaves in completely unexpected ways, and every new puzzle is simply a delight to work through.
The Game Master role is a tricky thing to get right. Generally, Team Bluefish is pretty happy to never hear from our Game Master during a game, because hearing from them usually means that something went wrong, or we’re stuck. However, “The Fun House” has hands-down, the absolute best Game Master we’ve ever seen. All of our queries were directed to a very lifelike poster of a carnival psychic, and the painting would respond to us conversationally! I don’t know if we happened to just have a brilliant actor for our Game Master, or everyone at Cross Roads is just that good, but suffice it to say that several times we had to stop ourselves from just standing around talking to “Zoltar”. It’s that good.
There’s a lot more that I could say about this room, but it boils down to this: this experience is a must. We had an amazing time at Cross Roads, and I’m confident that almost anyone would enjoy it.
Puzzles: Excellent. They came in all sorts of different forms, and it never felt like we were just spinning locks aimlessly. Theme: Brilliant. The fantastical theme made us fully immersed in the game, and they completely nailed it. Game Master: The best. All my future GMs will be judged against Zoltar. Upkeep: Very good, but we found an exposed nail that scratched Anna enough to need to pause the game for a band-aid. We're convinced that the staff fixed it immediately. Customer Service: Perfect. They were helpful in ways that are simple, but for some reason often missed in this industry. Extras: +1 for a brilliant Game Master, +1 for the way they handled things in the front of the business.