“The Nest” describes itself as “narrative video games meet escape rooms meet immersive theater.” But I would personally add one other thing: “The Nest” is a work of art. It taps into your emotions and gives you a sense of childlike discovery as you unlock secrets and explore with a sense of adventure in this immersive experience.
The story goes that a woman has recently passed away, leaving behind a storage room filled with decades of collected memories and cryptic secrets. Remnants of her entire life are all there in one place — left for you to discover.
As a young girl growing up in the 1960’s, Josie was gifted a tape recorder and began documenting every part of her life. But in her old age, she has become almost unrecognizable, warped by the tragic events of her past.
The tone is set immediately upon arrival. As you enter this storage unit (in a Los Angeles location kept secret until your reservation date approaches) you will ride up a freight elevator. The elevator ride sets the mood, and then as soon as you step off, you’ll enter a dimly lit, fog-filled hallway with many storage unit doors. Once you find Josie’s, you’re left inside with no further instruction. It’s time to explore.
You are equipped with a single flashlight and cassette player, as you’ve been previously told to keep an eye out for Josie’s cassette tapes to play and help unravel the narrative. One of the things I loved most about “The Nest,” is that although it has escape room elements, it is not an escape room. There are puzzles to solve and clues to find, but no clock counting down your time in a situation that would normally drudge up a feeling of stress to finish. Instead, “The Nest” allows you to make discoveries on your own time. If you get stuck, you may just get a phone call from someone within the world of the story to help lead you in the right direction. But your experience isn’t over until you’ve unraveled the full story. There are no losers in “The Nest.”
Another unique element to “The Nest” is the fact that when you book your reservation, you are told that you can arrive alone or with one other guest. There’s no need to let them know in advance which option you choose, so take some time to decide, as you only get to experience “The Nest” for the first time, once. I personally went with a guest and loved the experience, but I can see how the solitude of going through it alone could make for an equally rewarding, yet different, adventure.
I certainly don’t want to ruin any of the secrets waiting for you to discover, but I’ll tease the fact that there are many rooms to explore once you enter Josie’s storage unit. Many more than you realize after first entering. Unlocking clues and gaining new information opens entrances often hidden (extremely well) in plain sight. I can’t remember how many times I audibly shouted “Wow!” during the experience, but it was a lot.
Enough can’t be said about the mood created with lighting, haze and music. It is all very subtle but done in a way that makes you feel like you’re living inside of a movie. A world is created that allows you to lose your sense of time and simply live in the moment.
When you’ve finished unfolding Josie’s story and exit the storage unit, there is one other special moment of reflection waiting for you. It allows you to take a step back and really think about what you’ve been through, while also connecting you with others who have witnessed Josie’s story before you.
Overall, I had a wonderful time digging through Josie’s storage unit while discovering the surprises she had in store and learning about her life story. I’ll certainly be keeping my eyes out to see what the folks at Scout Expedition Co. come up with next.
If you’d like to experience “The Nest” for yourself, head over to TheNestShow.com. Be aware that tickets are sold in blocks and do sell out. If you don’t have luck immediately making your reservation, keep trying. Josie’s story is waiting for you to discover.
Jeff DePaoli is a producer and voiceover artist living in Los Angeles. He can be heard as the host of “That Halloween Podcast” at DePodcastNetwork.com