ESCAPE ROOM REVIEW – THE QUICK AND DIRTY
Play if… you’re good enough friends with someone that you don’t mind being locked up with them for up to an hour.
Avoid if… you’re claustrophobic. Or don’t have anyone you consider that good a friend.
Room Escape DC:
Address: 3949A University Drive, Fairfax, VA 22030 (click address for Google Map)
Contact and Website: 703-865-4178
The Room – Escape from Venus: RETIRED (Room is now Escape from Venus II: Collision Course)
Description (from the company website): You and your partner are astronauts exploring the awesome enormity of outer space. You’ve been dazzled by stars, and dodged black holes, and watched as celestial storms raged over the surface of foreign worlds.
Then: in the distance, a fast growing light. You have inadvertently flown into alien territory, and one of their defensive vessels has open-fired on your ship. Your ship has been vitally damaged. In a last-ditch effort to save yourselves, you land on the nearest planet: Venus.
Luckily, you have lost the alien trackers: for now… You only have one hour to repair your ship, and restore power, before the aliens hunt you down. The only way to tackle this captivating challenge is together.
Two brains. One hour. Zero time to waste. Can you and your partner crack this cosmic conundrum?
Difficulty (1-10): 1 of 3
Time Limit: 60 minutes
Cost: $75 for both people ($37.75 each person)
Party Size: 2 people only
Staging Area: Room Escape DC has a lobby with multiple tables, couches/chairs, vending machines, a sign-in station and two restrooms.
Metro Access/Parking: No metro access, so you’ll have to drive or Lyft/Uber. But there’s plenty of parking in adjacent garages.
Description of the room: The room is small, but it’s only for 2, so adequate for the people. Sparsely decorated, it’s believable enough to be in a space craft. There’s writing on the floor, lights all over, and a computer on a desk next to a large locker with multiple cabinets.
Understanding of the Mission: You are locked on a space craft that has crash landed, and you need to repair it within 60 minutes.
Did We Escape: Yes, details to come
Time Remaining: We’ll get into this later; Final Thoughts at the very bottom.
Our Suggested Party Size: Well, it’s a 2 person room, so 2.
Did the room challenge the entire team? Yes (thankfully hahaha)
Members of our team (other than the ERG): Dalia, Tara, Eric, Mark, & Katheryn
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.
|Overall Expectation (Summary)
|This one was a bit of a surprise. I expected a little more in there, maybe something Star Trek looking. It was kinda bare, but still somewhat believable. Ok, no not really. I’m mean, a laptop? Eh. And the lockers? Come on now. Little more thought into props could go a long way here.
|So, I was really intrigued about doing a 2-person room (all of our experiences with rooms to date had been at least 4 and up to 10), so we decided that we’d do this room in groups and see how we all did for time.
The space theme sounded pretty cool, so I was hopeful that it would be a challenge.
|You’re on a space ship (I’M ON A SHIP MUTHA F’ER!) and things have gone horribly wrong.
You and your astronaut partner (part-stronaut?) need to repair your ship and get out before you are mercilessly destroyed by a martian enemy (because, honestly, no one else is gonna save your ass; mainly because there’s no one else there).
Ok, so I sensationalized it a little bit, but you get the idea.
|So, we’re astronauts and we’ve been attacked by aliens and have crash landed on Venus. Now, I’m all for suspension of disbelief when doing these rooms (do I really think that we’ve gone back in time to Victorian England to do the Sherlock or Moriarty rooms, been dropped in the middle of Libya, or are exploring a temple in South America?), but crash landing on Venus would essentially cook us as we’d be sitting in our ship which would essentially become a steel pressure cooker (the surface of Venus is 848 degrees). The time limit is to repair your ship before the aliens find you.
I would suggest altering the story to needing to repair your ship in 60 minutes before your shield/life support fails and you get vaporized by the atmosphere and temperature of Venus’ surface.
On the surface (*cough, cough*), the story seems like a good one, but it could be made more consistent, and add to the urgency.
|Sigh. I always end up writing up the mission when I write up the story. Copy/paste time.
OMG, we’re all gonna die! And by all I mean both of us! Repair the ship and GTFO in 60 minutes before you are murdered. Piece of cake, amirite?
|The mission is simple: repair your ship and escape the surface of Venus before the aliens find you…
What they don’t tell you is that the aliens have giant probes *shudders* which should give you all the incentive you need to get the hell out (I made this last part up, but it seemed appropriate).
Now, you know that I like multi-objective missions, so I don’t know if those aren’t part of this experience because there are only two people in the room (and they feel that one objective is fine), but I think that they could have worked in a “send a radio transmission to your home base” as part of the mission and not have it be too difficult.
|Puzzle Diversity (Rating)
|All things considered about this room, the puzzles weren’t all that bad. There were certainly a few different ideas put through in this one. All but 2 puzzles were lock(er) based (you’ll get that when you go in there) but unique from everything else I’ve encountered in this facility. My one complaint was that one of the locks was hard as hell to manipulate because of its physical position.
|I actually enjoyed the diversity of the puzzles in this room, but the solutions all led to locks (not my favorite thing). However, what you had to do once the locks were opened was kinda cool.
|Puzzle Complexity (Rating)
|Nothing terribly complex. Had a mechanical issue with one of the puzzles that slowed us down and the GM tried to help us out by telling us stuff we already did. Wasn’t *our* issue dude!
|We flew through the room after hitting an initial stumble, and some of the puzzles did require a lot of thinking and deductive reasoning.
Hope you didn’t fall asleep during Astronomy during high school!
|The puzzles were well put together, but the linearity of this room killed it for me. And that’s not a knock on Escape Room DC, that’s my own preference. However, I think it was the best course for this room, being only 2 people and in close quarters.
The puzzles, though, fit well for the theme, which, for some reason, was a pleasant surprise.
I do think, though, that instead of the laptop there could have been some sort of coded system (on paper or something dry-erasable) that could be implemented so problems like Mike’s don’t arise.
|So, let’s start with the decoration/set up of the room: for a small space, it was surprisingly well done and would be expected if you were traveling the solar system in a spaceship (not a lot of clutter, and everything locked in cabinets… you know, in case your anti-gravity system fails).
Now, I usually HATE linear rooms (ones where you have to solve on clue to get to the next one), but for this room, it actually worked pretty well; kinda like having to follow a set procedure to re-boot a computer system.
There were also some things that we got to use in this room that we hadn’t seen before, such as using the laptop for something more than watching a video. I will say, however, that there needs to be a failsafe on it (hahaha) because our system re-set and we lost all of our notes, which cost us some time.
|This was a pretty cool room. Other than the fact that it was deliberately linear, which – really – what else can you do for 2 people (CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!)?
There need to be more 2-person rooms out there. Just saying.
|It was a lot of fun, and it really does make the two of you work together, so choose your partner wisely!
That being said, my team escaped with plenty of time remaining.
|Game Master (Summary)
|GMs here, as we always say, are more eye-in-the-sky than anything else. I’d like to see some supplemental story info given by them prior to entering the room and after the intro video. Have to actually suggest that to them.
|Our GM was fine. Not much else to say. He was available when we needed help and when we encountered a technical issue.
|How Helpful Were Any Clues Given, if any (Summary)
|We didn’t really ask for the first one, but he saw is struggling with something. This was the mechanical issue we had. The “second” one was because we were stupidly stuck on something. Yes, it helped. Le sigh.
|We asked for one clue and a clarification on the solution for another since we lost our data, so… yes, both were helpful.
|Anger Level Score
|ERG (pronounced URG, as in “we should have known better”) Score
|My biggest complaint was the positioning of that one lock. It took me literally a freaking minute just to get code entered and the lock opened because I couldn’t move the lock around. RAWR!!!
Other than that, just the other stuff I mentioned.
Rating: 1.5/5 Fists
|I didn’t really feel stupid at any point. There was a frustration factor when our computer reset and we lost our notes. However, that’s more Anger and is not my item to rate.
Rating: FacePalms – 0/5
ESCAPE ROOM GUYS’ OVERALL SCORING: 6.5/10
Final Thought: We always try and rate these categories as if we are in the room, but specifically the puzzle-related ratings always come out as being hindsight. That said, we try to be generous/nice with those. But sometimes it just is what it is.
Secondly, we did not do this room together. Jason and Mike went on separate teams to engage in a bit of rare and spirited competition. I bet you’re dying to know which team was better…
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