Cyber Raccoon – Train Robbery [Review]

Train Robbery is one of the best games in the Metro DC area. Here are our other recommendations for great escape rooms around Washington DC.

Wild Wild West Saloon

Location:  Falls Church, VA

Date Played: October 3, 2021

Team size: 2-8; we recommend 3-6

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: scaled pricing from $50 per player for teams of 2 to $26 per player for groups of 10

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

For a few years we’ve heard from DC-area locals something along the lines of, “Next time you’re in DC, you should check out Cyber Raccoon… they’re good.” At the risk of overhyping this company, our DC-area friends were seriously underselling the Train Robbery.

We had a blast in Train Robbery. The set was joyous, the puzzles were challenging yet fair, the interactions were well crafted, and the story came to a remarkably satisfying conclusion.

The puzzle difficulty was elegantly leveled out by a delightful hint system. (I only wish we had engaged it during the game, instead of finding out about it after we had finished.)

View from the saloon's bar of a beer keg, a golden cash register, and a stage with a piano beside it.

On top of it all, Train Robbery had one of the best subtle bits of game design/ narrative foreshadowing that I’ve ever seen. It’s easy to miss, and even if you catch it, it might not register, but if we meet in person, ask us about it. I’ll probably be talking about it until the end of time.

Suburban Washington, DC has a handful of great companies, but if you’re only playing one game in the region (though you should play more), it has to be Train Robbery. This game needs a bigger reputation than it has.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Story seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Any experience level
  • Players who don’t need to be a part of every puzzle

Why play?

  • Integrated story, set, and puzzles
  • Amazing hint system
  • Plot twist… and so well executed within the gameplay.

Story

$6 million dollars had been robbed from a train in the mountains of Nevada. The heist had been well organized and it appeared that the robbers had used a powerful weapon of unknown origin.

To get to the bottom of this, Pinkerton National Detective Agency had been hired to solve the crime, and they’d sent us to find and follow the clues. The trail led to a saloon in Virginia City, and that is where our game began.

Setting

Stepping into Train Robbery felt like wandering into an old west saloon. The bar, games, and stage brought the right feel. If we could throw a party with our friends and crack open a bottle of whiskey in this place, we would.

Wide angle view of a western saloon with a bar and gaming tables.

Gameplay

Cyber Raccoon’s Train Robbery was a story-driven escape room with a higher level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around searching, observing, making connections, puzzling, and paying attention to the story and characters.

Closeup of a roulette table.

Analysis

➕ The saloon set of Train Robbery was gorgeous. It was created with care. Puzzles or not, we wanted to spend time in this place. Furthermore, it was historically appropriate with no plastic combination locks, or other out of place technology. Sure, there were tech-driven reveals, but these belonged.

➕ The music added to the atmosphere. I do believe we stopped to swing dance at one point. It felt right.

➕ The gameplay had a gentle onramp, and then continued into more challenging, non-linear play that used the full gamespace.

➕ It’s rare to see novel puzzle design within casino games like cards and roulette. Cyber Raccoon succeeded at approachable but unusual gameplay within these props.

➖ We didn’t internalize the characters well enough through play. In fact, we encountered a bit of necessary pixel hunting to find them.

➕ Train Robbery delivered some stellar reveals within seemingly ordinary props.

➕ The narrative twist was brilliant. While in retrospect it was foreshadowed, we didn’t see it coming. The game changed almost entirely through gameplay with little exposition.

➖ The pre-game intro video set the wrong expectations. This wasn’t the type of room you try to set a record in. Sure, you have to play hard to complete all the puzzles (especially if you’re a small team), but you’ll have the most fun if you go into Train Robbery for the experience rather than for a fast time. (Otherwise, the intro video was stellar.)

➕ The hint system was so much fun. It was entertaining on its own.

A buck taxidermy mounted above a piano beside a stage in a western saloon.

➕ One prop was just so slick. That one interaction did so much for this game, and gave us a good laugh. Brilliant.

➕ The finale gave us agency in this narrative. It didn’t imply morality. It was simply our adventure to conclude.

Tips For Visiting

  • Parking: There is a parking lot.

Book your hour with Cyber Raccoon’s Train Robbery, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Cyber Raccoon comped our tickets for this game.

2 thoughts on “Cyber Raccoon – Train Robbery [Review]

  1. As someone who lives just down the street from this place and has gone there at least FOUR times (to bring others and help them with income and stuff!), I wholeheartedly agree with this review 1000%. 🙂 They said they’re working on making at least one more room, too (I think two more, but I’ll be content with just one more at this rate!). So I’m super excited to see what they make. I only wish they would upgrade the outside of the building a bit more, as it seems rather common and doesn’t display the awesomeness that’s inside! Thanks for the great review of my truly favorite escape room ever! — Marc

    1. Yeah, we are excited to play their next game too.

      And I agree, the building’s exterior doesn’t project the greatness held within.

      I’m glad to hear they have customers like you. The escape room world needs more people like you Marc 🙂

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