ESCAPE ROOM REVIEW – THE QUICK AND DIRTY
Play if… you’ve ever wanted to explore an ancient Maya/Aztec/Incan ruin.
Avoid if… you truly believed that the world was going to end on December 21, 2012 (the end of the 5,125 year Maya calendar).
One Way Out Escape Rooms:
Address: 2264 Lakeside Drive, Lynchburg, VA 24501 (click address for Google Map)
Contact and Website: 434-329-7329
Room – Search for the Lost Professor:
Description (from the company website): World renowned archaeologist, Professor Wayne Marshall, went missing in the 50s and you have just come across his old research notes hidden in the old Archaeology building on campus. Rumors have circulated around the college since his disappearance.
Reading through the Professor’s notes you find evidence of a major discovery deep in a South American jungle. With this information, you’ve packed your bags, plotted a course for a long-lost temple. If you can find it and what happened to Professor Marshall you will add your names to the pages of history, but only if you make it out alive.
Time Limit: 60 minutes
Cost: $18 per person
Party Size: 2-10
Staging Area: A very large lobby with a reception desk, small fridge with bottled water (free to players) and some seating along the walls.
Metro Access/Parking: This is in Lynchburg, so you’ll have to drive or figure out the public transit system.
This is the video we took before we entered the room:
This is the video we took just after we completed the room:
Note: The ERG were given the opportunity to try out this room for free, with the understanding that we would continue to provide an honest review and follow the same process we’ve used on all of our other ratings.
Description of the room: You enter a very dimly lit stone-walled tomb with artifacts all around. The website tells you that the room will be very dark, so if you wear glasses make sure and bring them.
Understanding of the Mission: Find out what happened to Professor Marshall and escape within 60 minutes to make names for yourselves as renowned archaeologists, or be trapped in the tomb forever.
Did We Escape: Yes
Time Remaining: 19:40
Our Suggested Party Size: We had 3, which may be too few based on the number and complexity of the puzzles. 5-6 would be a good fit.
Did the room challenge the entire team? Yes
Members of our team (other than the ERG): Rohan
Worth the time and money? Yes
Where to Eat/Drink Before/After:
- The Neighbors Place – had a great meal here in-between rooms
- Braüburgers Craft Burgers & Beers – delicious burgers and awesome selection of beer
|Overall Expectation (Summary)
|Not only was this escape room location a new location, I’d never been to Lynchburg at all. Only reason we were there was because our friend lives there. And you know the drill: go to a new location do a new escape room.
Rohan had attempted this room once before with some friends (some very inexperienced friends apparently?) and never made it past basically the beginning of the room, so we asked if he wanted to give it a second shot. He did, so off we went!
|We were going down to Lynchburg for the weekend to see a friend who lives there, and what better way to rekindle a good friendship than to be locked into a room together for an hour?! LOL
Rohan had been to this location before a long time ago, so Jason and I were initially going to do the room on our own. However, once we found out that Rohan’s previous experience didn’t get them even through 20% of the room, he decided to join us (and worked on puzzles his previous team didn’t get to solve before).
Now, we chose this room because of its Indiana Jones feel. I’m always up for a good archaeological adventure.
|The story for this room was very Indiana Jones-esque. A world-renowned archaeologist went missing years ago and you’ve just stumbled upon his old notes put away in the building his office was in. You found something exciting in said notes so you gather a team, pack your bags, and head to the jungles of South America.
Now, we weren’t 100% sure what we were looking for when we started the room, but you find it in the first half of the escape. Then you spend the rest of the time trying to escape the temple you’re in. It was pretty cool. There are some really nice touches in the latter half of the experience that I will say no more about so as to not spoil anything.
The warning at the end of the description on their side is true: It was damn dark in there and that definitely makes one of the puzzles a bit harder to accomplish.
|You and your team of archaeologists are trying to figure out what happened to a world-renowned professor who disappeared when researching a lost temple hidden in the jungles of South America. Now, you’ve stumbled on his research notes, so you figure that you have a good chance at solving this mystery by finding out what happened to the good professor… and if you make a name for yourselves by finding the hidden temple as well, well… that’s just icing on the cake.
The story was pretty cool and had a slightly different spin on the theme which is usually “you find yourselves trapped in a lost temple and have 60 minutes to escape.”
|Find the temple described in the journal, figure out what happened to the Professor, and escape within the hour. This would prove easier said than done, so I understand why Rohan hadn’t been able to escape (without help from the ERG).
Additionally, the fact that it’s listed as a temple is hammered home when you enter the room. I don’t want to give too much away but it is… well created.
|Find your way through the temple, figure out what happened to the professor, and then escape the temple within an hour because you will otherwise be trapped and die a slow, lingering death.
Pretty clear as to what we had to do, and you know how I like it when there are multiple objectives.
|Puzzle Diversity (Rating)
|One of the things I loved about this room was not only into lack of combination locks but the fact that there are things in the room that seem to be reminiscent of what you would see in TV and movies. Think sliding doors or counterweights. There is even a straight-up puzzle (as in putting pieces together to form an image).
There’s a good mixture of what I can only assume were magnetic locks or RFID enabled locks. I generally enjoy puzzles that have those in them.
Even though finding the combination for a lock and opening said lock to reveal your next step is sometimes exciting, it’s more exciting to complete a puzzle and have part of the wall creep open and provide the entryway a second room. Not that that’s what happened here, I’m just using it as an example.
There were also several puzzles that required actual teamwork, as in made easier by having 2 people working in tandem.
|There was a lot to do in this room, and lots of nooks and crannies in which to search for stuff. The room looks small and not all that cluttered, but that’s deceptive. I really like how they used a lot of old school-type puzzles in order to make you work the room… including some actual piece it together puzzles, in addition to some REALLY cool logic puzzles and things that will test your observation skills and how well you apply that knowledge to the lock at hand.
There is even a puzzle that you need to figure out on how to NOT do the entire room in the dark with only a few flashlights and lanterns (Note: the room tells you that the room starts in the dark, so make sure you bring your glasses with you if you wear them).
|Puzzle Complexity (Rating)
|The puzzles in this room were tricky, not going to lie. There are one or two that we had essentially seen before, but had small adjustments to make them unique. There were also a few that were absolutely unique to this experience, including one that I just had to step away from and let Mike and Rohan handle because I don’t have the mental capacity (or the patience, honestly) to complete it.
Probably my favorite one was in the first half of the experience, something that uses your surroundings to determine the proper way to open it. All I can say is that I was not observant enough to realize what I was doing wrong, however, Mike was able to finish the puzzle.
After escaping, we spoke with our GM and she showed me what I had been doing wrong. All I can say is facepalm.
That all being said, there was nothing overly easy and I would rate the difficulty of the individual puzzles in this room somewhere between 4 and 8. I’d say that’s a pretty damn good range.
|So, I really loved the challenge of the different puzzles in this room. A few we solved pretty quickly because we had seen something of their like before, but more than a few we had to spend some real mental power and TIME to get them figured out.
With only three of us, we were working our asses off solving one thing and another. When one of us got stumped, we cycled out for another person pretty quickly because we knew that we didn’t have time to dick around.
The one puzzle that Rohan and I worked on really needed at least two people to do. I was thinking of a way to solve it without doing the whole thing (in the end, I was correct in that you could figure out the solution without having to solve every aspect of it. I don’t know if it was my urge to see things fully completed (just a little bit OCD) or if I truly wanted to see how the whole thing matched with the room, but we stuck to it to get it done.
I loved the logic puzzle in the room which was harder than I thought it would be and required a lot of back and forth and moving pieces.
When rooms integrate the things you find into future puzzles that require drawing a connection between them all, I think that’s a great way to keep people immersed in the experience.
Finally, there was one puzzle that I got to work on all my own. I figured it out after a few minutes but it was really… puzzling HAHAHAHAHA
|Like I said earlier, this room was very reminiscent of movies like Indiana Jones or National Treasure. Things you’d expect to find in an escape room were there as well things you’d typically expect from an ancient civilization (runes, carvings, that type of stuff). Really well done.
The fact that everything actually revolved around the professor really helped keep the room going, too.
While, yes, there was some good tech in the room, I wouldn’t necessarily say it made the room lose something for being out of place. The tech that was there fit pretty well and the later, hands-on puzzles more than made up for that fact.
And yes, I felt like I was in an ancient temple. (Now, maybe, I know what it felt like to be on Legends of the Hidden Temple… Always wanted to get on that show.)
|The decoration of the room was EXTREMELY well done. I felt that I was in a lost Maya temple (or is it Incan or Aztec… I don’t think that was ever fully explained). There was cool stuff on the walls, and you almost find yourselves in an episode of The Librarians.
The puzzles and their solutions are all tied to the theme or the story, and I don’t think there was one instance of things not fitting in (and believe me, I looked).
Lots of really cool, unique stuff here… some of them spins on things we’ve seen before, but a few brand new things to solve, look at, or experience.
The flow of the room was well done too. With the complexity and multiple things to work on, the experience both sped up as we solved things quickly and then slowed us down when we had to invest a lot of time on a few of the puzzles. One puzzle really seems to try and force you to take your time before you can find the solution, which works really well with a group of 5+… we had 3 so we really were jumping from puzzle to puzzle, which added to the urgency to figure out how to leave the room.
There was some cool tech in the room, but it fit the theme and wasn’t too tekkie… think more old world science and that should explain it.
|Aside from the puzzle I didn’t want anything to do with, I absolutely has fun in this room. I’m glad Rohan wanted to try it again (usually you wouldn’t) and this was a good way to start the double header of rooms we had planned.
|LOVED this room. I’m also glad that it was just the three of us because it gave us each a lot to do, and we really had to work together to make sure we got out (and Rohan didn’t get trapped and die a second time).
|Game Master (Summary)
|She was helpful and didn’t make me feel stupid. (Have I ever mentioned that I’ve been talked down to by a GM before? I’m going to have to write a post about that.)
|She was great. She did a great briefing and was pretty much radio silent while we rocked this room.
|How Helpful Were Any Clues Given, if any (Summary)
|The one or two (nudges) we got were concise and not blatant answers, so I would say they were well done.
|We didn’t need any, so I can’t say they were helpful. However, we did get to talk with her about how they came up with some of the puzzles and locks, and that was pretty insightful.
|ERG (pronounced URG, as in “we should have known better”) Score
|Nothing to report.
|Nope, nada, zilch.
ESCAPE ROOM GUYS’ OVERALL SCORING: 8.7/10
Final Thought: This room was just a lot of fun to play, and I think that it’s because there were only three of us, and we were challenged a bit more than we thought we’d be. But, it was well designed and mixed a good story into the theme of the room, so it’s something you should definitely try out.