Escaping the Time Machine at Codebreakers

It was my 40th birthday. I planned a low-key celebration since we were leaving on vacation the next day. My husband’s friend was in town for a short amount of time and I had planned for all of us to go to Codebreakers Escape Room.

I have always wanted to go to an escape room since I fancy puzzles and mind games. The problem was that no one wanted to go with me. When the opportunity came to try Codebreakers, I couldn’t pass it up. Add my birthday to the mix — how could my family say “no?”

I didn’t know what to expect when we arrived to the El Camino North Plaza. In my mind, an escape room was a big warehouse-type place but to my surprise, Codebreakers was an unassuming “storefront” tucked between some restaurants and other stores.  Inside, it was nothing more than white walls, a desk, fish tank, some lockers, chairs and a table of merchandise. We were greeted by Meghan, our game host, who shared that it was her birthday, too. She gave us waivers to fill out and we all locked our phones in the locker to prevent any cheating or sharing (hence the lack of photos here).

The room I chose was Escape the Time Machine. I thought we’d be up for a “challenging” game and the photos online of a 1950’s diner won me over. After a few instructions and rules, Megan opened a plain, white door and locked us in the escape room. We had one hour to escape, two clues, plus a bonus clue for my birthday.

We were locked in a “small diner” — if you can imagine fitting everything a diner would have in a 20×20 room, that’s what it looked like. There was a jukebox, a bar, table seating, cash register, soda bottles and some music memorabilia hanging about. In the corner was a British-style phone booth which we assumed would be the door we’d escape out of.

It was in this room where our personalities really showed. We all broke out and looked for any clues. Once they started coming, we worked on different tasks, trying to figure out locks, searching for more clues and looking more meticulously at what we had. The clues were not always the same which made it interesting.

My 9 year old was the hunter. She looked for items and tried to see if she could find anything that we were missing.

My husband was the task-master. He had us split up duties once the clues came.

Our friend, Rusty was the detail guy. He really looked into the clues we had to see if there was anything else that we needed to solve.

My 13 year old was the no-nonsense problem-solver. She took what little she had from the clues and went at solving problems.

I was the connector. Once clues were found, I figured out what they were related to.

We all had our jobs and did them well. It was not our intention to do it that way but it all just came naturally. We got through the first part of the puzzle within a reasonable amount of time. The second part was a little more challenging and we needed a clue… then finally some physical intervention since something wasn’t working right.

So needless to say, we didn’t escape. But we were in the 80th percentile, I believe. I still say had that ONE thing worked properly, we would have been out of there!

Good times… good times…

All in all, it was a fun experience and my kids wanted to do another one with their friends in the future. On the way home, Rusty said he thought it was nice how we worked well together. It was a great team-building exercise even though we were just a rag-tag bunch, just wanting to see what the buzz on escape rooms was all about.

Codebreakers Escape Room is located in Oceanside, CA in the El Camino North shopping center. They offer two rooms – Escape the Time Machine and Atlantis Treasure hunt (a medium-level game). They recommend ages 13 and up to participate although my almost-10 year old was able to help us (albeit a little too excited at times). The “Time Machine” room could accommodate up to 10 players, though with the five of us, it felt like a good size. Games are $30/player or $200 for a private game (up to 8 or 10 players, depending on the room).

Visit their website at:

If you like puzzles and are up for a challenge, I’d highly suggest an escape room. If you’re in the North County of San Diego, make sure you visit Code Breakers at 2401 Vista Way Suite F, Oceanside, 92054.

Disclosure: I was given a private game at Codebreakers in exchange for a review and social posts. All opinions are my own.

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