ESCAPE ROOM REVIEW – THE QUICK AND DIRTY
Play if… you enjoyed the first Matrix movie and aren’t turned off by stark white rooms.
Avoid if… you get anxious being in a stark white room that doesn’t have a lot to look at.
Escape Room Arlington:
Address: 2301 Columbia Pike, Suite C, Arlington, VA 22204 (click address for Google Map)
Contact and Website: 703-232-2546
Description (from the company website): Have you ever had a dream, that you were stuck in an escape room, that you were so sure was real? What if you were unable to wake from that dream and unable to escape? How would you know the difference between the dream world and the escape room you’re trapped in? Jump down the rabbit hole and find out.
Difficulty: Not rated
Time Limit: 60 minutes
Party Size: Up to 8 players
Staging Area: There is a large lobby with very comfy couches and the check-in desk. There are also tables with chairs along the hallway. Sodas and waters are complimentary.
Metro Access/Parking: Pentagon City Metro is 1.6 miles away, so we suggest you take the bus, Uber, or Lyft. However, there is a parking garage and some on-street parking if you decide to drive.
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: The room you enter is stark white, has a number of panels along the walls, and some framed artwork. There is also a table in the center. Very minimalist.
Understanding of the Mission: You are trapped in a computer program and have to figure out how to crash it so you can escape back to “reality”.
Did We Escape: Yes
Time Remaining: 15 minutes
Our Suggested Party Size: We had a full contingent for the room (party size of 8) and that actually worked pretty well. There is a lot more to this room than meets the eye.
Did the room challenge the entire team? Yes, and we had a mixture of veterans and Escape Room Newbies (ERNs)
Members of our team (other than the ERG): Lisa and her team
Worth the time and money? Yes
Where to Eat/Drink Before/After: You’re on the main strip of Columbia Pike, so there are a lot of restaurant and bar options to choose from.
|JASON SAYS:||MIKE SAYS:|
|Overall Expectation (Summary)|
|We had been hearing about this location for quite a while and just never had a chance to actually get to it to try any of the rooms. Finally, we had an opportunity to try out Glitch as we had sponsored a scavenger hunt race in DC, and this is the room the contest winners said they wanted to do.
After some issues with scheduling, we finally settled on a date, met the team there, and had a pretty damn good time. The manager of the place, Bobby, did a great interview with us after the room and we are looking forward to our next Escape there.
|Back in August 2018, we sponsored a prize for the Where to Next Race that gave the winner the opportunity for him/her and 5 friends to do a room with us. Lisa was the prize winner, and is also an avid escape room enthusiast, so we had some coordination to do to figure out what rooms she hadn’t done (but wanted to check out) as well as our shrinking list of places in the DC area that we hadn’t done yet.
We settled on Glitch at Escape Room Arlington, and also had the opportunity to interview Bobby, the manager.
As fans of Ravenchase Adventures’ location out in Herndon, VA, we’d been hearing about another of their locations opening up in Arlington, VA for about 6 months, so Escape Room Arlington was on our list of places to check out. We really wanted to do their Supervillians room in Herndon, but when we heard it was getting an overhaul and moving to Arlington, we decided to hold off and do Glitch (which also sounded really cool) so we could do the former with our team of Disturbed Friends.
|The quick and dirty version (because let’s face it, that’s the one we got) is this: You’re stuck in a computer program and have to create a glitch (hence the name) to enable yourself to escape and get back to “reality”.
The story is only slightly reminiscent of The Matrix (there wasn’t much in way of other detail on this front), but other than the way the room looked (more on that later in the review) we just went and got started. We did get a little throwback to the movie in the form of a choice of red pill or blue pill, though, which was a nice touch.
|You become aware that you are trapped in a computer program, and have to figure out how to disrupt or manipulate the code (creating a glitch) in order to escape back to the real world. If this sounds slightly familiar, it may be a loose take on the original Matrix movie (where your consciousness is trapped in a computer system that mimics the real world).
There wasn’t a whole lot of detail going into it, and the story isn’t fully original, but it’s pretty unique when compared to other escape rooms we’ve done. The immersive factor was pretty awesome, however, and hinted at different scenes in the movie (the stark white while they loaded the program, and the scene with the Architect).
|The mission of this room, our only task, was to glitch the program and escape back to reality.
Why do these 1-goal rooms always sound so damn easy but end up being so mindfully destructive…?
I would have liked to see some more direct movie references turned into puzzles, but there are multiple reasons this may have been easier to say than do. What they did have, however, was very sleek and representative of the Architects room.
|Our mission was pretty simple and clear… find a way to interrupt the program and cause a glitch that will allow you to escape the program back into the real world.
While this is really your only mission, it works well with this room because – well – you need to escape the clutches of the machines controlling humanity. My normal gripe of having only one mission parameter is because it’s often not as challenging. However, in this case, completing your only mission is pretty involved so it doesn’t seem like this is the only thing you have to accomplish in the room. It’s also a spin on the normal “Escape the Room” missions we’ve seen by having it truly be “Escape the Computer World.”
|Puzzle Diversity (Rating)|
|We had to use more than just our brains to figure out what we had to do to glitch this system. A bunch of the puzzles were actually pretty cool. The room started out kind of slow but quickly picked up once we found the first few items.
This room had a good smattering of objects we’ve not seen in other rooms. Lots of stuff that is also completely useless too! (And not in the red herring kind of way, though they will act as such.) But it’s laid out and configured/space in such a way that everything seems like they lead together and nowhere at the same time.
Glitch looks like it’s going to be tech heavy but it really isn’t. It’s quite deceptive in that regard. There were several different types of combination locks, but what wasn’t a physical lock was a cool piece of tech.
There’s also some out of the box thinking required. That was probably the most difficult part of the escape.
|A room that is well designed will vary the types of puzzles and locks you find in the room, and Glitch falls right into that category.
We started off in a room that is pretty sparsely decorated, and we needed to find the starting point, which was really well done. There are LOTS of observational puzzles here which I feel hearkens back to the story because you have to really observe your current reality and figure out how to manipulate it to escape. How well you are able to observe things will also help you shave off some time from the running clock.
Additionally, there are some cool tech puzzles and lock types in the room that you’d expect in something that is loosely based on the Matrix (in the movie, having the ability to be trained in kung fu or how to fly a helicopter downloaded directly to your brain in seconds screams of hi-tech) and some of the puzzles used that to their advantage.
|Puzzle Complexity (Rating)|
|I don’t want to come right out and say that this room was hard. I said earlier it was deceptive, in another capacity, but it is a fitting word. I also said out of the box thinking was required, and it is.
There was at least 1 puzzle that stumped us all (hell, we asked for a clue for it), so there was a good degree of difficulty with at least one puzzle, but nothing screamed EASY to anyone.
I’d say the range was 4-8. I don’t feel there were any quick wins, per se, but there were a few that felt like they were strung together, so we had that going for us.
|I liked how the room was designed to be a challenge… from finding your starting point to trying to figure out how different facets of puzzles (or their solutions) later worked together in the room. There were some easier puzzles here to whet your appetite and move you forward, while others were mind-scratchers.
There was a point where we just got stuck, and our mix of experience among our team couldn’t get us beyond that hurdle (it’s sometimes helpful to have some newbies in the room because enthusiasts sometimes tend to overthink certain puzzles).
|As I said, the escape started out in an all white room, something reminiscent of a scene from the movie, and it wasn’t immediately clear what we had to do, but we did have a hint to start with. No more on that, though.
Everything we had to handle, with maybe 3 exceptions, felt like it was from the movie, or could have been, so I definitely felt like I was there in those moments.
There was one thing in particular that I thought was perfectly used. Another thing I don’t want to give away, unfortunately.
In comparison to other rooms, though, this one is easy to say felt the most appropriate to the overall theme of the room, or the thing that theme represented. There were little snippets here and there that made you feel “at home”, so to speak. Cleverly done.
|Overall, I keep finding myself thinking about this room and finding out small items that I overlooked at first, but later realized were nice little reminders of points of the movie. What I thought was frustrating on one puzzle was FULLY related to how the computer reality in the movie operated, so they get bonus points for that.
Additionally, I was a bit disappointed at first in the final lock for this room, until I later realized that it TOTALLY fit a part of the movie… and that subtle reference blew my mind.
So, SUBTLE reminders is something I’d call your attention to. You don’t need to have seen the movie to do this room, but if you have – and you’ve seen it recently or have a really good memory – you’ll find yourself chuckling at points when you make the connections.
The decoration of the room is well done… not a lot to look at and makes you figure out how to start the mission. However, everything has a way of unveiling itself as you move through the experience, and the tech adds some nice and pleasant surprises.
I also thought that providing us with the option of taking a red pill or blue pill (for reasons that will remain unmentioned in this review) was pretty cool.
Overall, I didn’t find anything in this room that didn’t fit the mission or the theme, so I’d have to say “well done.”
|I enjoyed this room for the most part. There was a lot of back and forth between the rooms, which I enjoy for whatever reason, and the team we were escaping with knew their stuff.||This was a great room because it caused me moments of pure joy, as well as some anxiety when we had trouble solving some of the puzzles (one in particular). It also helped that we had a great team. That’s not always the case when you do a room with a bunch of people you meet 5 minutes before entering the room.|
|Game Master (Summary)|
|Bobby, the manager from our interview, was also our GM for this. He knew who we were, and that the team we were playing with were enthusiasts, so he pretty much kept himself out of the game until we called on him.||Bobby was great and knew not to really interfere until we asked for help. I consider him our Tank of the experience. Although, it would be cool if he answered our inquires as “Operator” to add that little mix back to the movies when the characters called their counterparts in the real world.|
|How Helpful Were Any Clues Given, if any (Summary)|
|I always hate asking for clues, because I know it’s always going to be something stupid that we overlooked. And it was. Dammit!!!||We asked for two clues in this room, and they were definitely helpful because we started on that overthinking downward spiral vs. looking at one of the things as it truly existed.|
|RAGE Meter||ERG (pronounced URG, as in “we should have known better”) Score|
|Nothing to really get annoyed about here, other than my own lack of visual acquity.
Fists – 0/5
|I think I’m going to have to give myself a rating on this one because I started down the path for one of the puzzles where we asked for a clue, and I got distracted and didn’t go back to that line of thinking until we got the clue from Bobby.
ESCAPE ROOM GUYS’ OVERALL SCORING: 8.15/10
Final Thought: As our first room in this location, we had a great time completing the room. The fact that it worked so seamlessly even though we were doing this with a group of strangers shows that some basic skills (like communication and keen observation and LISTENING) will help you complete the missions for most rooms. We’re looking forward to trying out the other rooms at Escape Room Arlington, which is solidly holding up the reputation and expectations we’ve come to have of Ravenchase Adventure locations.