Escape Room RVA – Shadow of Cthulhu [Review]

Cthulhu ah Fhtagn

Location: Richmond, VA

Date Played: July 10, 2021

Team Size: 3-8; we recommend 3-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $25 per player

Ticketing: Private

Accessibility Consideration: There are a few stairs, as well as a doorway you will need to duck through. The facility has stairs leading to their lobby.

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

If your Uncle was obsessed with tracking down the creatures characterized in HP Lovecraft’s universe, Shadow of Cthulhu would be the game he’d design to lead you to his whereabouts. Escape Room RVA was able to really hone in on the narrative, adventure-driven gameplay, with each set piece traversing the memories your Uncle had experienced with you. I found myself wanting more of this story to carry into the abyss, as the narrative got lost beyond the gates of the unknown.

The first set of puzzles evoked emotion and was just the right level of difficulty for an on-ramp. With subtle cluing and light guidance, both inexperienced teams and experts alike will enjoy this.

While the intro sequence, starting area, and mid-game puzzles were spot on and creative, the game slowly fell flat intermittently with misleading items and ghost puzzles that could have been easily avoided. While we think these minor tweaks will enhance the overall gameplay, Shadow of Cthulhu was an awesome dive into the realm of R’lyeh.

A sculpted head of Cthulhu dramatically lit.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Scenery snobs
  • H.P Lovecraft fans
  • Best for players with any experience level

Story

Your Uncle has written you increasingly nonsensical and worrisome letters regarding the unknown secrets of the world, seemingly spiraling into insanity. Concerned, you decide to pay him a visit, only to find many relics of the unknown.

Setting

Your adventure begins in the depths of your Uncle’s eccentric office, filled to the brim with artifacts from past journeys.

An old study environment, with critter samples in glass containers, and a typewriter.

Gameplay

Escape Room RVA’s Shadow of Cthulhu was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around searching, observing, making connections, interacting with set pieces in unusual ways, and puzzling.

Analysis

➕ The on-boarding sequence was subtle enough to be perfect for a group of any experience level. While the initial puzzles were on rails, these rails felt justified, and provided a clear starting point.

➕ Escape Room RVA included many small details and interesting doo-dads in the first space, with a unique gateway leading to the rest of the game. We wished they’d kept this high attention to detail throughout the entire experience, as one part felt underused in comparison.

➖ We encountered some major ghost puzzles and red herrings during the game, which threw us off track numerous times. These all seemed to be partially solvable while tying into other real puzzles, and could easily be removed to save future teams this frustration. 

➕ The amount of creative puzzles and surprisingly interactive set pieces added depth to the solving sequences.

➕ The ending sequence was incredibly unique. This game is worth playing for the final moment alone. This moment would have been even more memorable with some lighting or sound effects for added pizazz.

➕/➖ We absolutely loved the story in the first half of the room; yet, as the game progressed, the story got lost and had little-to-no conclusion. We weren’t sure exactly what had happened, and would have loved to see the story carry more clearly through the end.

➖ Sound effects felt under-utilized throughout, and the sounds that they did provide were poorly mixed. In later portions of the experience, it was nearly impossible to understand our game guide over the audio system.

Tips For Visiting

  • Parking: There is plenty of parking around the complex.
  • Food: We loved Kreggers at Hand for some yummy late night cocktails and bar snacks.

Book your hour with Escape Room RVA’s Shadow of Cthulhu, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

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