ESCAPE ROOM REVIEW – THE QUICK AND DIRTY
Play if… you love caves.
Avoid if… nuclear war is one of your paralyzing phobias.
Address: 1127 King Street, Ste. 200, Alexandria, VA 22314 (click address for Google Map)
Contact and Website: 703-574-8175
The Room – The Bunker:
Description (from the company website): You and your team of elite soldiers are given a mission to infiltrate a top-secret military bunker and to stop a nuclear missile about to be launched . You have 60 minutes to stop the launch and escape the bunker before time runs out!
Difficulty (1-10): 7/10
Time Limit: 60 minutes
Cost: $28 + tax per person
Party Size: Up to 8
Staging Area: Lobby has a lot of space to sit on couches and chairs, and the tables have a few puzzles to work on and get your mind revved up before starting your room. The front desk attendant will also offer a small bottle of water. Restrooms are right next to the lobby.
Metro Access/Parking: King Street metro w/ a .4 mile walk (or take the free King Street Trolley to N. Payne St.); street/garage parking.
Description of the room: You enter an underground bunker that looks like it was built during WWII. Lots of military equipment around.
Understanding of the Mission: Rescue a comrade, find a way to stop the launch of a nuclear weapon, and escape the bunker.
Did We Escape: yes
Time Remaining: This one was close. Single digit minutes remaining.
Our Suggested Party Size: We thought 6 was perfect.
Did the room challenge the entire team? Yes.
Members of our team (other than the ERG): Tammy, Bill and Stephanie.
Worth the time and money? yes
Where to Eat/Drink Before/After:
- Eamonn’s A Dublin Chipper – a great place to stop for some fish ‘n chips, and a nice cold beer.
- Vermillion – stop in for a drink and some appetizers.
|Overall Expectation (Summary)
|I don’t usually go into these things with any sort of expectation (generally so I’m not disappointed). What I ended up getting with this room was a fallout shelter with old military equipment and a makeshift brig.
|This was the last of the rooms at Escape Quest, so we figured that we’d finish this location and start focusing on other spots.
However, this one was supposed to be harder than The Lost Tomb and Black Widow, so that was intriguing in itself.
|If it were anything worth remembering, I’d probably remember it. Right?
[I reserve the right to change this when I get back there for another room so I can have them retell me the story!]
|I actually don’t remember getting much of a backstory on this, but that we’re a militarized unit being sent into an underground bunker to achieve the mission (below).
|Figure out how to stop a nuclear strike, get our friend, and get out. Easy peasy.
|We are spies who have to infiltrate an underground bunker, save a comrade, stop the launch of a nuclear weapon and escape the bunker… all under 60 minutes.
Is that all?
|Puzzle Diversity (Rating)
|This one had quite a bit of slick puzzles. Even had to open handcuffs if I recall correctly.
Damn, I almost forgot about my eyes going crazy! (But not about that puzzle.) I thoroughly enjoyed that puzzle. But damn was it time consuming.
One small hint: Something you need is hanging out in plain sight.
Rating: 9/10 (includes a +1 for almost making me go blind and another +1 because the blindness made me miss what I’m hinting at!)
|Aside from a few repeated locks to open to get to the next clues, the puzzles themselves were pretty cool. There was one, I believe, that Jason was so intently focused on one so much that he almost went blind.
I, myself, got off to a slow start in the room trying to find something to work on, but it picked up after 5 minutes.
|Puzzle Complexity (Rating)
|Tammy found something on the wall that really kick started our progress in this room. Language barrier my ass! Once we got going, though, momentum carried us forward and we were able to break through and keep a good rhythm going.
Rating: 8/10 (again, includes a +1 for almost blinding me)
|Despite a few last steps (opening some locks), we did have a good variety of challenges in this room, which was good because we had two newbies with us. However, Tammy figured out the one puzzle without finding the clue to its solution.
The puzzle mentioned in the section above is the one that challenged us the most and probably took us about 15 minutes.
|When we first entered the room, my initial thought was well, shit, there’s practically nothing in here. (As one of my closest friends would say, another case of foot-in-mouth disease for Jason.)
When we started sleuthing, we couldn’t really find anything to grasp onto, but as we mozied around the room a bit and people started working on puzzles, everything fell into place (alarmingly) quickly, and we started banging out puzzles left and right.
|I. LOVE. IT. when rooms aren’t set up to follow one specific progression, and people can work on different puzzles at the same time. This was one of those rooms.
All the clues and puzzles definitely related to the military theme of the room, and actually forced us into thinking like a military unit (beyond just teamwork).
The decor and setup of the room was pretty perfect. Even though we were on the second floor of a building, it really felt like we were in an underground bunker. That was very well done.
|As Mike said, I don’t think I would have had as much fun as I did if we had 8 people in the room. What initially looked like hardly anything going on did, indeed, challenge the 6 of us, but I think 6 was a perfect size. Come to think of it, I might have even had some PTSD after that room…
[I kid, though; PTSD is no laughing matter. If you or a loved one are suffering from it, please go get help.]
|I did. I think it was because we had only 6 people that there was a lot of work to be done by all of us, the fact that we had new people with us (which is always fun to see how new people adjust to working in the room), and some of the puzzles were challenging.
|Game Master (Summary)
|I remember the following being said by our GM:
“You know they know what they’re doing when they immediately start writing stuff on the white board.”
Indeed, good sir. Indeed.
|The GM was pretty good. I remember that he was enthusiastic about getting us psyched up for the mission (again, I don’t remember the backstory for it).
I believe he also said “Oh, SNAP” at one point when he found out how many rooms we’ve done.
Then he gave us a 20% off coupon for our next room there (sadly, it’s gone unused for the last 6 months since we have done all the rooms; however, The King’s Ransom opens up on March 1).
|How Helpful Were Any Clues Given, if any (Summary)
|I don’t recall getting any, to be honest, but I feel like, in retrospect, we had to have had one.
|I believe that we only really got stuck once, but it turned out to be a red herring. It was probably the best red herring we encountered, and it almost prevented us from escaping the room!
|Anger Level Score
|ERG (pronounced URG, as in “we should have known better”) Score
|Nothing really got to me in this room, actually. After having my epiphany after succumbing to partial vision loss, I was quite happy with my performance in this room.
Rating: 0/5 Fists
|We followed a red herring almost to our detriment. Always, ALWAYS remember the mission objectives!
Rating: ?♂️?♂️?♂️?♂️ FacePalms – 4/5
ESCAPE ROOM GUYS’ OVERALL SCORING: 7.6/10
Final Thoughts: This room was deceptively challenging due to the aforementioned red herring. The puzzles were clever and devious (which is how we would make them if we could fund a room of our own).