ESCAPE ROOM REVIEW – THE QUICK AND DIRTY
Play if… you have good health insurance.
Avoid if… you are even just a wee bit mentally unstable.
Room Escape DC
Address: 3949A University Drive, Fairfax, VA 22030 (click address for Google Map)
The Room – Dr. Panic’s Asylum: RETIRED
Description (from the company website): You and your fellow patients have been wrongfully detained in this disturbing asylum. No matter how desperately you plead, there’s been no hope for release. Suddenly, in a stroke of luck, the supervising doctor has been called away for a single hour. Finally: a chance to escape. Except, you are not alone…
To claw your way to freedom, you must conquer the frightening Professor’s Room, the menacing Doctor’s Room, and the treacherous Mudroom. Wit and sense alone will save you now. Can you make it out without losing your sanity? Or will this sinister asylum claim you forever?
Difficulty (1-10): 2 of 3
Time Limit: 60 minutes
Cost: $27 + tax per person
Party Size: 2-8 people
Staging Area: Decently sized lobby with plenty of seating and a sign-in station. Two separate restrooms located off the main lobby.
Metro Access/Parking: Parking garage around the corner, but no metro.
Description of the room: You start off in a small, sparsely decorated office in an insane asylum; you then move into two additional rooms.
Understanding of the Mission: Solve the puzzles as you progress through three rooms and find your way to escape the asylum before the Dr. comes back!
Did We Escape: Yes
Time Remaining: 13 minutes?
Our Suggested Party Size: 4-6
Did the room challenge the entire team? Unfortunately, no. See our scoring below.
Members of our team (other than the ERG): Eric, Mark, Katheryn, Sibel, and Cat.
Worth the time and money? Yes
Where to Eat/Drink Before/After:
- The Green Turtle – sports bar w/ standard bar food.
- The Wine House – stop in for a glass of wine and dessert.
|JASON SAYS:||MIKE SAYS:|
|Overall Expectation (Summary)|
|I’m already partially insane, so I figured why not see if I have what it takes to escape being committed…
The room itself was fitting of the theme, so I was cool with it.
|I will admit that I didn’t have any major expectations for this room, but for the fact that we really liked doing the Joker’s Trap, and this was the next room we decided to do.
That being said, trying to escape an insane asylum sounded pretty cool, which is why we booked this one first.
|Who said anything about being PC? I’m from NY! Anyway, we’re locked in a room and have to figure out a way out before this crazy doctor comes back to, presumably, drug us up and strap us down. Pretty fun theme, if you ask me. But I’m insane, so what do I know…
|You were wrongly committed to an insane asylum (or psychiatric hospital, if we’re being politically correct), and you find a small window of opportunity where your doctor steps away, your drugs have worn off, and you have to find a way to escape before the doctor returns.
This was a new theme for us, which is always great to have a new experience.
|Solve some interesting puzzles, search the rooms for more clues, find a key to GTFO.
|Solve a series of puzzles to get out of the professor’s office, then search the doctor’s office and the final mudroom for the door to the outside to escape the asylum.
|Puzzle Diversity (Rating)|
|The puzzles in this room weren’t the most diverse; there were a couple of repeat offenders here (namely those damn combo locks). Like Mike said, they were rather linear and having 6 people in the room left 1 or 2 people twiddling their thumbs at times.
|The puzzles themselves were okay and were not repeated, but we didn’t see something that we hadn’t seen before.
I was disappointed that they all led to the same next step that had to be resolved to move on to the next clue.
|Puzzle Complexity (Rating)|
|Again, nothing too crazy here. The only thing that really surprised me here was that this was the first room that we actually had to use Rule #5 in (and this was, ironically, the first room we did after creating said rule).
|None of the puzzles were overly complex. We moved through the rooms pretty quickly.
The nature of some of them took longer to solve than others.
|As Mike said, puzzles were a good fit for the theme. That’s about where, I feel, the cohesiveness ends. There were only 1 or 2 things that required backtracking, which generally I enjoy (leave something in room 1 that needs help from room 2, etc). It’s a good feeling when you can get back in there and be like, yeah, we got this.
However, as stated earlier, there were plenty of times where at least one person was just standing around pouting because they couldn’t do anything (either already too many people looking at a puzzle or just not enough room to actually get a good look at it). With 8 people in our party, perhaps 2 larger rooms instead of 3 small ones (or you know, 3 large rooms) would have been fine, but that was obviously not the case. Or rate the room smaller, for 6. Also, the linearity of some of the puzzles just doesn’t warrant a larger party size.
|So, the puzzles did fit the theme and mission, so that was a great tie-in to the experience.
However, I was really disappointed that the whole room was a linear experience (meaning that you had to solve one to get to the next and so forth), which means that the entire team couldn’t be engaged during the whole period of time.
Additionally, some of the puzzles were only designed for 1-3 people working on them, so the rest of us felt like we were just standing around at points.
My suggestion would be to vary the final steps to each clue, and to spread them out so teams could work in smaller groups at the same time so everyone could be utilized.
|Literally what Mike said.||When I was engaged and had something to do, I was enjoying the room. Other than that, it was a lot of standing around.|
|Game Master (Summary)|
|We generally don’t have an issue with the GMs at this location, as they are usually on top of the game and will radio in if we seem stuck.||As with other rooms in this location, you watch a video prior to entering the room that gives your background and mission.
Otherwise, the GM left us to work the room and was available if we needed him.
|How Helpful Were Any Clues Given, if any (Summary)|
|We definitely overlooked something in the main room that we needed to be clued in on. I don’t want to say it was really our fault, but I can’t explain why without giving it away.||I think we only needed some help for one clue in one room and we resolved the puzzle soon afterwards.|
|Anger Level Score||ERG (pronounced URG, as in “we should have known better”) Score|
|Nothing angered me so about this room, so…
Rating: 0/5 Fists
|No moments of feeling stupid, so…
Rating: FacePalms – 0/5
ESCAPE ROOM GUYS’ OVERALL SCORING: 6.2/10
Final Thoughts: After completing our ratings on this one, we feel like 6.2 is a little low. However, after looking back at our numbers, we stand by our ratings and realize that the flow/cohesiveness of this room is really what brought down the final score. Whether it was because there were too many cooks in the kitchen or the general lack of anything truly exciting to do in this room (which is in opposition of what we’ve come to expect from this location based on their other rooms), we can’t decide. We can think of a few things that could have been done better and would have added to the experience, but there was really only one thing about this room that was particularly memorable, so we don’t feel too terrible with its low rating.