ESCAPE ROOM REVIEW – THE QUICK AND DIRTY
Play if… you think blindfolds are a great way to get the, um, adrenaline pumping.
Avoid if… the sight of even your own blood makes you faint.
Breakout Games Falls Church:
Address: 1073 W Broad St. #201, Falls Church, VA 22046 (click address for Google Map)
Contact and Website: 571-297-1510
The Room – The Kidnapping:
Description (from the company website): The kidnapping begins with you and your fellow captives waking up handcuffed and blindfolded in a strange room. With nothing but collective brainpower, hidden clues and 60 minutes on your side, you have to free yourselves before the kidnapper returns. A heart-pumping thriller from start to finish, you can expect a rush of non-stop fun.
Difficulty (1-10): unlisted
Time Limit: 60 minutes
Cost: $26 per person
Party Size: Up to 7
Staging Area: a large lobby with couches and chairs, a water cooler, and a camera kiosk.
Metro Access/Parking: West Falls Church Metro, then a .7 mile walk (about 17 minutes). Location has ample parking out front.
This is the video we took before we entered the room:
This is the video we took just after we completed the room:
Description of the room: A dark room with a cot and a number of pieces of furniture. It looks like a lot of people spent a short amount of time here.
Understanding of the Mission: Escape the blindfolds and handcuffs, and then solve the murders to find the key to escape the room.
Did We Escape: Yup
Time Remaining: 5:30
Our Suggested Party Size: Okay, so we actually had 8 because we bought a Groupon, but their suggested size of 7 will work if you have a few newbies in the room. If all of your team has done a few rooms, then 5-6 should suffice.
Did the room challenge the entire team? Yes
Members of our team (other than the ERG): Wayne, Corey, Brittany, Heather, Mark and Katheryn.
Worth the time and money? Yes
Where to Eat/Drink Before/After: It was later at night, so we didn’t go out. There are a number of places in Falls Church, so use Google.
|JASON SAYS:||MIKE SAYS:|
|Overall Expectation (Summary)|
|Of all the rooms we’ve entered, this was only the second one where we were cuffed or blindfolded or chained. Or a combination thereof. I wasn’t sure what this would entail for this room, but it started off pretty cool. Good way to set the tone of the room, kidnapping and all.
However, that’s pretty much were the “fun” stopped (and by fun I’m only being partially sarcastic). I was really hoping it would have been a little more difficult to get out of the cuffs, but oh well.
As Mike said, handcuffs and blindfolds.
|This was a new location and company for us, so we didn’t know what to expect in terms of the quality of the rooms. A bit of research showed that Breakout Games has locations in many major cities, but a lot of them have the same room themes at each location.
We picked this theme because, well… handcuffs and blindfolds.
Seriously though, the room description was intriguing and seemed like a good theme for a game.
(Nah, it was really was the handcuffs and blindfolds.)
We also added two new players to our group of Disturbed Friends… an Escape Room Virgin (ERV) and an Escape Room Novice/Newbie (ERN). However, the rest of the group (besides the ERGs) are all experienced Escape Room Players (ERPs).
|You’ve been kidnapped (I think that’s obvious at this point) and your kidnapper has been nice enough to give you 60 minutes to figure out how to escape. How nice of him, that son of a gun…
|You have been kidnapped and you wake up in a dark room blindfolded (how can you tell the room is dark if you’re blindfolded) and handcuffed to a cot. While you are coming to, you hear the kidnapper taunting you, and telling you he’ll be back in 60 minutes.
|What Mike said.
|Escape the blindfolds and handcuffs, solve the murders and other kidnappings, and escape the room.
|Puzzle Diversity (Rating)|
|There are always a few things that we’ve either never seen before (because these puzzles are only limited by your imagination and technical know-how) or things used in a different way than we’ve already seen. Of course, the ones that were new are always fun to figure out (specifically the physical locks and such) and I’m always curious in what fashion we’re going to see some combo locks or other stuff that we’ve seen before. So, in this respect, this room was no different.
The things we’ve *not* seen in this room before, however, really made a difference for me. Whether it was a clever way to use black light (ok, so we’ve used that before, but still) or where some of the keys were hidden, these things made a difference and helped add something to the enjoyment factor.
|There were a number of different locks to open, and a good mix of easy and challenging puzzles to solve (which fit well with our newer players and experienced team members). I don’t think one type of puzzle was duplicated, but there were a number of combo locks (meh, the combo locks fit though… a serial kidnapper and murderer is going to go with what’s easiest to secure).
There were a few really cool puzzles, however, and some of them required teamwork, so make sure you have people with you that you can work well with.
|Puzzle Complexity (Rating)|
|There were some really good puzzles in this room. There were some really annoying ones, too, but the good outweighed the annoying I’d say.
There were a few that were obvious to me based on experience, so I was able to get those done really quickly. Pretty sure there were at least 2 that I didn’t get to look at, so those even out. There were some plays on other puzzles we’ve solved at other locations, so more often that not I was able to be useful. There was still a puzzle or two that I didn’t have any chance to work on, like I said, but overall I’d say pretty good.
|As I said, there was a good mix of the complexity and two puzzles were really challenging which forced us to ask for clues *GASP* (we learned to ask for a clue after a certain period of time being stumped after our loss due to being anti-clue in doing Insane Asylum 2, which spawned our new Rule #9 – better to ask for a clue than fail the room).
Actually, now that I think about it, I think that we employed all of our original rules to date (#1-7) in this room, so that’s pretty freakin’ cool.
I really did like a few of the puzzles here, two of which took a spin on some of the other ones we’ve encountered in other rooms.
However, some of the puzzles were solved so quickly that I can’t say that I can rate the overall room on them since I missed out on some of them, so I’m rating this based on the ones that I worked on.
After doing the number of rooms we have, we get an idea as to what things to look out for so we solved some not-so-obvious puzzles right away, but we were still stumped on two of them.
|I think my favorite part of this room was the setup. Of course, I won’t ruin that. (No, it wasn’t *entirely* something we’ve seen before, but mostly.). Puzzles flowed together to one culminating item, which is how I generally like it. There was one spot where we got a little stuck and ended up asking for clarification.
A few of the puzzles definitely lent themselves to the theme very well. That was pretty great. But it might have been my lack of opportunity to work on (or even find) some of the items/puzzles that distracted from the entire flow of the room.
|The start of the experience was pretty cool and while it’s something we’ve seen before in a few other rooms, it was still a good way to place you right into the atmosphere and get you pumped up to escape the clutches of the kidnapper. The room was decorated in a way that you would feel if you were kidnapped and held by a serial killer (or if you visited a 40-something video-game nerd who lived in his parents’ basement – Note to readers: I live in my very own condo, thank you very much).
This room actually used their props really well, and I did like some of the unique puzzles we saw.
The blindfolds and handcuffs added to the initial experience, but were too easy to escape in my opinion (and that’s exactly what you get here… this column is titled “Mike Says”).
We did encounter a malfunctioning puzzle, which is disappointing, but the game master jumped right in when we asked for clarification.
|Again, my favorite part was the setup before we got into the room. I was cracking jokes and generally being a goof, but it was fun. Definitely overbooked the room, though. We generally like to book 1-2 less than the room is rated for, but then you run the risk of getting randoms in the room with you. 6 of one, half dozen of the other.||I had a good time doing the room, but I think we overbooked it again by two people.
Finding a balance between doing the room with a few less than the room is rated for makes it more challenging, but also more expensive so we’ll have to figure out that process moving forward. We can always move towards getting on the leaderboards as the primary goal for the ERGs vs. just solving the room.
|Game Master (Summary)|
|One thing that sticks out is the fact that our GM didn’t know whether or not the electronic lock-box would lock us out and for how long. Turns out, it did; we we realized after we had already asked him to come in and open it (since we had the correct combo anyway).||The game master was good. He gave us the backstory and rules for the room (due to the ERV and ERN), but he was pretty hands off until we asked for some clues, which is how we prefer it.|
|How Helpful Were Any Clues Given, if any (Summary)|
|Clues were helpful, while we unfortunately had to use them. Nothing that was blatant answer giving, though, which is the way we like it.||We asked for three clues and they are helpful… and he provided hints only versus giving us too much information that would have made the solution obvious.|
|Anger Level Score||ERG (pronounced URG, as in “we should have known better”) Score|
|Nothing to really complain about here. Shocked, are we???
Rating: Fists – 0/5
|Don’t remember feeling stupid in this room, but I did spend a little too much time on one of the final puzzles, so I’ll give this a
Rating: ?♂️ ?♂️ FacePalms – 2/5
ESCAPE ROOM GUYS’ OVERALL SCORING: 7.1/10
Final Thought: Great concept and good execution of the room in terms of the theme and puzzles. We’d recommend replacing just a couple of the combo locks with some other types. Also, the description of the room on the website lends you to believe that the blindfolds and handcuffs are really integral to the story, when we escaped them rather quickly. Maybe we knew what to look for, but we’ve encountered these before and they were a bit more challenging to escape and added to the element of “holy crap… it’s taking a long time to get everyone free.”