“The generous Critic fann’d the Poet’s fire, And taught the world with reason to admire.”
Location: Alexandria, VA
Date played: May 28, 2016
Team size: 8; we recommend 5-6
Duration: 45 minutes
Price: $28 per ticket
Story & setting
We were the team of paranormal investigators called in when a historian vanished while searching Edgar Allen Poe’s old chambers for a lost manuscript. The game started just after the our investigative team had split up (because that’s always a good idea when searching a spooky location) and been locked in separate rooms by the building’s ghosts.
The story worked.
The set was well constructed, beautifully designed, and immersive. It captured the aura and symbolism associated with Poe.
The early puzzles required communication between our two groups, separated by a locked door. The split was balanced and the puzzles were expertly intertwined.
Poe’s work inspired the puzzles in Poe-ranomal. Not surprisingly, this escape room leaned heavily on word-related puzzles. While clues in the game provided us with all the necessary information to solve the room’s puzzles, a bit of familiarity with Poe’s work proved advantageous.
Poe-ranomal was no exception to the immersive design we’ve come to expect from Escape Room Live Alexandria. In this instance, they built a relatively mundane stage that delivered dramatic interactions through hidden magic.
The ghost tracking device added to both the game mechanics and the ambiance.
Late in the game, dramatic practical effects truly enhanced the climax of this escape room.
The attention to detail in the theming demonstrated that the game designer had, in fact, read the works of Edgar Allen Poe… which, tragically, is not always the case in escape rooms themed on authors.
When our two teams reunited part way through the game, we now inhabited all together the same game space we had thoroughly explored independently. We spent significant time explaining to each other which items had already been solved, or what their unsolved status was. Throughout the game, we had to be particularly mindful of teammates starting in on already-solved components.
Some of the technological interactions lacked clear feedback in the form of obvious new information. In multiple instances, we were positive that our actions had triggered something, but couldn’t quickly figure out what was now available to us. This solution confirmation delay briefly stifled momentum.
We experienced a mechanism failure with the final interaction of the game. It was disappointing not to see this game’s dramatic conclusion. Escape Room Live Alexandria refunded our tickets to make good on this shortcoming, as they would for any customer in this situation, and for that we salute them… not enough companies follow this practice after significant failures.
Should I play Escape Room Live Alexandria’s Poe-ranormal?
Poe-ranomal was a beautifully simple stage that revealed complex design mechanics as the game unfolded. It expertly wove the paranormal into a story flow. The theming and story demonstrated subject matter expertise in a way that many literary-themed escape rooms do not.
Even with the ghost tracking, this game was not scary. There were dramatic moments, but this was still a family-friendly experience.
Escape Room Live Alexandria is a company that minds the details of their experiences: from their magnificent waiting room, to their humorously delivered rules and setups, to the staging, and puzzles. Even when things go wrong, they are on top of it. It’s a fun operation to visit.
Book your hour with Escape Room Live Alexandria’s Poe-ranormal, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.
Thanks again for the write up! We wanted to let you know that we value your feedback greatly and have addressed a few of the things you mentioned in the review. We added mechanisms and sound effects to some of the puzzles to indicate to guests that they were definitively successful in solving that puzzle.
We can’t wait for you to try our new location in Georgetown, D.C. where we have partnered with Paramount Studios, Sony Films and Lionsgate to bring Hollywood-style set design and themes like Ghostbusters, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Friday the 13th and Titanic! It will be a whole new level of immersion.
We are really glad that we were able to provide valuable feedback on your game and we are thrilled that you’ve made those updates. It sounds like you’ve expertly addressed our concerns.
We are really excited to visit your new location and experience your new immersive games. Awesome themes!