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Central Coast Living: Solving escape rooms in downtown SLO

Central Coast Living is full of hidden treasures and different perspectives. The same is true at a new business in downtown San Luis Obispo where visitors aim to make a great escape.

The Puzzle Effect store manager Kristyn Lorentzen says the escape room business has been growing in popularity since it opened nine months ago.

“You don’t need to be a mathematician. You don’t need to be a doctor to solve these puzzles,” Lorentzen said. “It’s all based on your perspective.”

There are three different escape rooms at The Puzzle Effect: Grim Stacks, Curse of the Emerald Seas, Pipe Works Red and Pipe Works Blue.

“You have 60 minutes in order to reach an objective and it’s a team-building experience in itself,” Lorentzen said. “Basically, you have to communicate and work together to solve these different puzzles, hints, riddles, clues along the way to reach that objective.”

Each room is elaborately decorated and full of clues the players must find and figure out.

The game masters say when you think you’re done searching, search some more.

Camille Schwaegerle and her marketing team from Lindamood-Bell put their communication skills to the test at the Puzzle Effect with KSBY cameras watching as the clocked ticked down.

“One of the hardest parts was being patient with trying all these new ideas,” Schwaegerle said. “We were a group of six people so we all have six different opinions, six different ideas and choosing which one we need to listen to first.”

The term “escape room” comes with a common misconception that players are stuck in there until you solve all the puzzles. Lorentzen assures that’s not true.

“It is a very open space. We also do not lock our doors so you guys are never ‘trapped’ in the room,” Lorentzen said.

Emergency bathroom breaks are allowed.

If you’re stumped, the game masters will send you a message to help you get back on track.

Whether doing an escape room is for a kid’s birthday party or for a corporate team building exercise, solving the sequence of puzzles is nothing short of satisfying.

“We were just so excited! The lights changed, we all did a happy dance,” Schwaegerle said. “It was awesome. This was definitely a highlight of our week.”

You can book escape rooms at The Puzzle Effect online.

There’s also The Locked Inn escape room in Grover Beach which opened in 2015.

Christina Favuzzi

Christina Favuzzi

Christina Favuzzi anchors KSBY's weekday morning newscast, "Daybreak," as well as reporting on investigative, human interest and political stories. Have a story idea? Email her at cfavuzzi@ksby.com.
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