Escape Room Live Alexandria – Sherlock Holmes: A Matter of Time [Review]

“There is nothing like first-hand evidence.”

-Sherlock Holmes

Location: Alexandria, Virginia

Date played: November 1, 2015

Team size: up to 8; we recommend 4-6

Price: $28 per ticket

A serious Sherlock Holmes escape room

There are many Sherlock Holmes room escape games. They are usually a generic detective mystery, and have elected to use the name “Sherlock” as a synonym for the word “detective.”

Sherlock Holmes: A Matter of Time is the first Holmes themed room I’ve encountered that suggests that the designers may have read a book by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

The story felt right.

The room looked right.

And the props were of the right era (with the notable exception of a modern mass transit map).

221B Baker St. is the address of Sherlock Holmes. It's the details that count.
221B Baker St. is the address of Sherlock Holmes. It’s the details that count.

Puzzles

Brace yourself for the greatest puzzle solution pun ever. I’ve never seen a whole team love the answer to a single puzzle the way we all loved this one.

Each segment of this game offered a unique challenge and an unexpected solution. And they were all a ton of fun, with the notable exception of one puzzle that had the two people solving it wishing that real life had a Ctrl+F function built in.

Escape Room Live does great work with sensors and electronics. Some of them didn’t feel quite at home in a Holmes game. There were moments in the game that felt a little bit too magical. This feels like a strange criticism, but this room was at its best when it was making us feel like Victorian detectives.

Escape Room Live Alexandria - Sherlock Vice

Hinting

Similar to the The Wizard’s Apothecary, Sherlock Holmes: A Matter of Time offered a hinting system that felt like it belonged in the game. It wasn’t as jaw-droppingly cool The Wizard’s Apothecary, but it worked just as well with the theme.

More mystery

In Sherlock Holmes: A Matter of Time we found ourselves trying to unravel a mystery. Escaping the room was not the goal.

To that end, I would have loved it if the final puzzle lent itself more to deductive reasoning. The puzzles themselves were great. However, the final puzzle kind of hit us in the face with the solution in a way that wasn’t anywhere near as satisfying as the steps that led us to it.

Escape Room Live Alexandria - Sherlock Desk

Facilities

Escape Room Live Alexandria offers the most elegant facilities we’ve encountered in an escape room.

Their website contains a (somewhat dizzying) 3D walkthrough that provides a look at their overall space as well as detailed glimpses into their Sherlock Holmes room and their Professor Morarity game (which we didn’t have time to play).

Should I play Escape Room Live Alexandria’s Sherlock Holmes: A Matter of Time?

This decision is elementary, my dear reader. This is a must play game.

It was beautiful, fun, and exciting.

Escape Room Live Alexandria - Sherlock Victory

At 45 minutes, it ran a little short, but it didn’t have much fat on it. There were times where the game itself felt so modern and polished that it knocked my suspension of disbelief for a loop, but these were infrequent. The errors came from too much polish where they usually come from a lack thereof.

I love the way Escape Room Live Alexandria handled the Holmes theme. I loved the creativity and passion that they poured into the puzzles. And I just love the way they minded the details.

As Sherlock Holmes himself said in The Man with the Twisted Lip, “It is, of course, a trifle, but there is nothing so important as trifles.”

Book your session with Escape Room Live Alexandria’s Sherlock Holmes: A Matter of Time, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Full disclosure: Escape Room Live Alexandria comped our tickets for this game.

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