RED VEIN Escape – Escape from 20,000 Leagues [Review]

We all live in a steampunk submarine

Location:  Ashland, VA

Date Played:  October 2, 2021

Team Size: 4-8; we recommend 2-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $25 per player, with a 4-player minimum

Ticketing: Private

Accessibility Consideration: Uneven ground to get into the game.

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

RED VEIN’s Escape from 20,000 Leagues was a beautifully designed submarine game with fun interactions and flawless tech. With their background in haunt design, RED VEIN took the fabrication of their set to the next level, creating a remarkable stage for Escape from 20,000 Leagues. The room was bursting its seams with character, including weathering on every inch of the ceiling tiles.

While the puzzles were well integrated with the set and made sense on a submarine, the game could have used a few more puzzles and interactions to truly be a 60-minute experience. Our team of three left the room in a record time of 19 minutes, surprised to be greeted by our gamemaster instead of another area of the submarine. Although short, we still truly enjoyed the time we spent exploring the depths and meeting some of our deep-sea neighbors.

Wide view of a steampunk submarine interior. The walls are heavily weathered.

RED VEIN was able to pull off what felt like a much larger set by using interesting spatial mapping to their advantage. The game was fairly non-linear to begin, lacking any on-ramping or obvious starting puzzle.

If you’re driving through Ashland and looking for a fun room to share with new players, RED VEIN’s Escape from 20,000 Leagues is a great choice!

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Nautical fans
  • Newbies

Story

As adventurers sent to investigate the vast creatures of the lost city of Atlantis, we set sail aboard the Nautilus to uncover the secrets that this ancient civilization had been hiding for centuries.

Setting

Greeted by an in-character host, we began our journey outside the legendary Nautilus on a stormy shore. After the introduction, we entered the steampunk submarine’s main cabin filled with artifacts of journeys past.

Illustrations of a tall ship beside a museum display with assorted steampunk gadgets.

Gameplay

RED VEIN’s Escape from 20,000 Leagues was a standard escape room with a low level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around puzzling, making connections, observing, and communication.

Close up of a ships wheel in a steampunk submarine beside a dive lever.

Analysis

➕ The set of the Nautilus was stellar. Each piece of the room was appropriately weathered and well thought through, including the lighting, sound, and visual effects which further enhanced the experience.

➕ The technology driving the room was well hidden and worked seamlessly. Every puzzle gave appropriate feedback and felt satisfying to input, including some really cool interactions.

➖ There were multiple 4-digit locks accessible at the same time without cluing as to which puzzle answer should be inputted to which lock. This obstructed game flow.

➕ An in-character host greeted us in an incredibly designed entryway. We wished this area had contained some gameplay, but it was still a fantastic place to set the tone of the experience.

➖ Escape from 20,000 Leagues could have used another few puzzles. While we were a very experienced team, we took our time enjoying our surroundings, sharing our solves, and playing with the input mechanisms even after solving the puzzles… and still escaped too quickly.

➖ Some puzzles fell short on delivering a smooth solve. While on-theme, these puzzles felt lazy and were visually similar to other puzzles we found later in the game. These puzzles could have used more variety in their visual cues.

A red lit steampunk submarine exterior beside a wooden dock.

➕/➖ There was a jaw-dropping, explosive moment in the middle of the game, but this placement caused the ending to feel lackluster in comparison.

➕ RED VEIN was very aware of the overall vibe of this location. Everything in their lobby was appropriately decorated with curiosities and oddities. Their logo is ALSO an eyeball in a triangle. Who doesn’t love eyeballs in triangles!? (shameless RECON plug)

Tips For Visiting

  • There is a parking lot
  • During the month of October, RED VEIN has a haunted attraction a few miles down the road at Hanover Farm. The theme rotates each year, but 2021’s Metamorphosis was fantastic, with 4 different attractions including a haunted corn maze and an asylum.

Book your hour with RED VEIN’s Escape from 20,000 Leagues, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

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