ESCAPE ROOM REVIEW – THE QUICK AND DIRTY
Play if… you like a good mystery, groping around in the dark, or you’re just plain weird.
Avoid if… you are claustrophobic or are prone to getting seizures. This room is NOT for kids.
Immersion Escape Rooms:
Address: 2125 Ivy Road, Charlottesville, VA 22903 (click address for Google Map)
Contact and Website: 434-249-8797
The Room – A Nightly Reminder:
Description (from the company website): For months, Dave has been haunted by a tragic memory. Every time he closes his eyes he is forced to re-live devastation and loss. This room, a specially made experience for two people, is a dark and intense exploration into the mind of our main character, and it is up to you to save him from himself. Enter the dream and help Dave recover, because in 30 minutes he will wake to the greatest adventure of his life. (see House Arrest).
Note: This experience may be intense for individuals who are sensitive to low light situations, confined spaces, and eerie audio/video effects. All minors must be accompanied by an adult.
Difficulty (1-10): N/A, no record or success rate listed
Time Limit: 30 minutes
Party Size: 2 (you CANNOT do this with one person)
Staging Area: The location is downstairs in the strip mall and does not have an outside door to the parking lot (you have to go in through the building and down the stairs). Waiting area is clean, several chairs; place looks nice and cozy.
Metro Access/Parking: There’s no metro or anything nearby, but there is plenty of parking.
This is the video we took before we entered the room:
Description of the room: You are in a mostly-dark room that’s about 3′ x 12’… we can’t describe anymore without spoilers, but even that small space seems… smaller for some reason.
Understanding of the Mission: We set out to learn what’s keeping Dave up at night and how he became a conspiracy theorist.
Did We Escape: Yes
Time Remaining: About 3 minutes (we had some technical difficulties at one point, so we lost about 3 additional minutes).
Our Suggested Party Size: Must be 2 people. It’s physically impossible to do this on your own.
Did the room challenge the entire team? Yes
Members of our team (other than the ERG): None
Worth the time and money? YES
Where to Eat/Drink Before/After:
- We had already been to the BBQ joint nearby (less than 100 yards away), Moe’s Original BBQ
|JASON SAYS:||MIKE SAYS:|
|Overall Expectation (Summary)|
|We were intrigued by the overall story line from the first 2 rooms, so we HAD to go through and see what this room was all about, being a prequel and all. And after doing the other 2 at Immersion, I figured we were in for a treat…
I’m totally into 2-person rooms and this is only the second one we’ve encountered (and the only one the ERG have done together). Definitely going to think on designing one.
And Mike, they didn’t offer, we demanded they get donuts…
|So, we had just done the two group rooms that follow the same storyline (House Arrest and The Lion’s Den), so when Mark (our GM) asked us if we were doing the third room as well, we hesitated. We REALLY wanted to do the third room, and loved the experience of the first two…
… but we had a group of friends with us, and we were all hungry, so we decided that we were going to get dinner first and then see what type of time we had remaining in the evening. When we asked where the BBQ place was that he had recommended, Mark told us “just down the street.” We google-mapped Moe’s, and saw that it was literally only 100 yards away.
On the walk over, Jason and I pretty much decided that it would be stupid NOT to do the room because we weren’t going away from the area.
I was pumped. This was the first two-person room that the ERG were going to do on our own and this would complete the trifecta of rooms at Immersion.
|You’re in a small, fully enclosed room (and even the entrance to it is cool). It represents Dave’s fucked subconscious quite well and fills in a lot of the gaps from the other rooms about your protagonist.
As the description from the website says, Dave has been haunted by a tragic memory and we’ve entered his mind to help him escape the dream again. (If you’ve ever played Psychonauts (and if you have NOT, you fucking better…), you’ll understand why this room is so cool.)* Not only is it creepy, but it’s dark, in more ways than one. I would not recommend going in there under any sort of influence, if you know what I mean.
*Note: I am a bit of a video game buff (ok, ‘bit’ is an understatement), and that is one of the most underrated games of all time. Really, go pay the $10 and play it. Then you can find out the backstory to the Milkman.
|You enter the door to the room, which is really well done and immediately sets the tone for the experience, and find yourself in a dark room with minimal lighting. It’s actually pretty fucking creepy, which is so completely awesome because I love scary and creepy shit.
Essentially, you’ve entered Dave’s subconsciousness… a recurring nightmare that he can’t get out of… wherein begins your mission.
|Part of what made this room so dark is the fact that when you know what’s happened to Dave you begin to sympathize with him and it actually does take a little bit of a toll on you. Towards the end of the room, I thought we weren’t going to make it out and, not only was I getting pissed, I just started to feel bad that we couldn’t help him. Yes, the darkness helps, but the imagery in the room (in multiple facets of the game) adds to the mental picture you get (would that be considered Picture-in-Picture?) and, if you’re not strong willed like us, will fuck with your head.
Seriously, this room is not for kids. Well, I mean I guess they won’t get it so it won’t matter, but it’s definitely meant for adults at least.
I would totally recommend doing this room last in sequence, as we did it, because (1) I don’t think the story will have the same effect if you haven’t already done the other 2 rooms and (2) wondering wtf happened to Dave during the first too rooms just make you want to do this one more.
|As you find yourself in Dave’s recurring nightmare, you have 30 minutes to resolve why the nightmare keeps occurring before he is woken up (this room is a prequel to House Arrest). I can’t reveal what you have to find out because it’s a major spoiler that provides a huge clue as to the basis of the storyline for all three rooms.
It’s totally worth it, so if you don’t do this room after doing the other two, you are missing out on that final piece of the puzzle which essentially ties everything together. I’m really glad that we did this room last because it was like a huge reveal that had been building from the two other rooms.
It’s so well done even though the mission is really simple (not something I normally rate very high), but it gets a high score for how it ties this mission to the entire storyline.
|Puzzle Diversity (Rating)|
|Considering the tiny amount of space there was to work with here, they did a great job with it. Working in such a limited space, you have to get creative with what you do and how you do it, and I can honestly say that they did exactly that. Using the space (and I do mean using) was key here. (Have I drilled that point home yet?)
Puzzles used the “surroundings”, we had to find things basically in the dark, and we had to go back and forth between sides of the room (both of which were gated off at the beginning). There *is* a flashlight in there to help, so I guess we can rename Rule #5 in this instance to ‘find the flashlight’.
There was some weird shit in this room, too, but it fit in well. I don’t want to spoil it for you.
|We saw a few combo locks in the room, but I think they worked kinda well because it reminded me of having a mental block. Have you ever been trying to remember something and just felt that it was locked away in part of your brain? Well, that’s the experience I got here.
There were some great variations on some things we’ve seen before, so even knowing how the lock would be opened still didn’t give us any advantage because we still had to solve the puzzle.
And, I loved the final puzzle that – once solving it – allows you to resolve the room and escape. It’s pretty fucking awesome and I want to steal this idea for when we develop one of the rooms we design sometime in the future.
|Puzzle Complexity (Rating)|
|We got off to a pretty slow start, not that anything was terribly difficult, but just took us some time to get going. Only 1 puzzle really got us stumped, and it happens to be the one that we had technical difficulties with. But it was reset and fixed and took us a helluva long time to figure out regardless.
|This wasn’t the first room that we started in the dark (see our reviews on The Joker’s Trap, and The Kidnapping and our upcoming review on The Haunt), but this is the first room where it was almost completely pitch-black dark, and where we really had to work against the environment for the ENTIRE FREAKING time. Puzzles and locks are sometimes difficult enough when you can see them. When you have limited light, it raises the difficulty level immensely.
We asked about using our phone lights before entering the room, and Mark said that we could, but he would recommend against it if we wanted to experience the full flavor of the experience. Trusting his expertise on this (he has a cinema/movie background), we kept to using only what was in the room and I’m really glad we did. It was a really great experience.
Overall, the puzzles weren’t overly complex, but having only two people to puzzle things out (versus a team) leaves you with limited perspective, so there were points were we got stalled for a few and it did take us a little bit to get started (again, searching through a dark room makes it much easier to overlook something), but we got into a pretty good rhythm after we found a key item, and were solving the puzzles pretty regularly from then.
I LOVED the final two puzzles and locks in this room. Definitely two things we haven’t seen before, and Jason figured out how to solve the last lock really quickly. I figured out the puzzle prior to that once we resolved a technical difficulty. I really did like that there were some puzzles that you absolutely HAD to work on together.
|At least twice in this half hour were were like, WTF, when things happened. There were a few holy shit moments, and right at the end, there was a mad scramble to solve the final puzzle and get out. I figured it out pretty quickly, but it was such an intense moment when we had the clock ticking on us that it’s worth mentioning.
|Yeah, everything worked well in this creepy, dark room. Some of the items in the room are a bit disturbing, which definitely adds to the experience.
However, the way they tie everything together for this room, but then ALSO provided you with a major reveal as to the entire storyline really, really brought everything for the entire evening (minus the BBQ) together.
I also loved how they used such a small space to create another room. The design of how everything operated was surprising at times, and the darkness and small space really contributed to being trapped in a nightmare. Because, it’s really not the size that matters, but how you use it? Right, ladies?
*taps microphone” Anyone there?
Ahem… so, I was worried that we wouldn’t get out of the room when we hit a 30-second delay at the very end, but then we solved that and everything went into a fast-forward kind of motion until we found ourselves out of the nightmare and in possession of a key bit of information as to Dave’s story.
|Damn. Yes, I had fun in this room, but not the same way I’ve had fun in other rooms. Just re-read the above if you don’t get it by now. 🙂||I really, really, really liked this room. The factors of it being for only two people, having it completely dark, and then only a 30 minute timeframe were key components to making it challenging, rushed, and providing a true sense that we have to complete this mission so that Dave can be in good shape to taking on Locus Industries and stopping the Silver Lining virus.|
|Game Master (Summary)|
|This room was 100% hands off, but we did have to ask Mark for help with that one technical hiccup.||This is the first room where we didn’t have the tablet and Leonard’s help (see other two reviews), so figuring out Dave’s dream/nightmare was completely up to us.
Good thing we’ve done this type of thing a few times before. LOL
|How Helpful Were Any Clues Given, if any (Summary)|
|No hints available in this one.||No hints were available.|
|Anger Level Score||ERG (pronounced URG, as in “we should have known better”) Score|
|No qualms with this room. In fact, this room is going to make me rethink my top 5 I think. 1 fist for the technical glitch, though.
Rating: ? Fists – 1/5
|I didn’t feel stupid or think we had any “URG” moments, unless you count not finding the flashlight right away (to use in a completely dark room)… okay, yeah that was pretty stupid. I’ll give this a
Rating: FacePalms – 4/5
ESCAPE ROOM GUYS’ OVERALL SCORING: 9.1/10
Final Thought: This was the first two-person room that we’ve done together just as the ERG (we have done a two-person room before, but with different team members), and it was really well designed for it being such a small space. The guys from Immersion used the environment against those going through the experience, and that is really just freaking great. We got to chat with Mark afterwards, where we found out that he has a cinema/movie background, which explained that whole setup. We do love that we ended with this room, versus doing it in sequence (Nightly Reminder, House Arrest, and Lion’s Den) because we had a really good sense of accomplishment at the end.