Location: Fairfax, VA
Date Played: October 11, 2022
Team Size: 3-7; we recommend 3-4
Duration: 60 minutes
Price: $30 per player
Emergency Exit Rating: [A] Push To Exit
Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints
Bond’s Escape Room’s 2233: Evil A.I. centered around A.L.I.S.O.N., a highly-advanced artificial intelligence system that gained power over time and eventually went haywire, causing mass chaos and destruction across civilization as we know it. Our mission was to go back in time and shut her down before this could happen. Based on this setup, I fully expected to walk into some sort of dystopian setting, but instead we found ourselves in the sterile, uncluttered environment of Inspire Labs, creator of the soon-to-be-rogue A.I. The set was nuanced with patterns and designs that aptly conveyed a futuristic environment, while subtle lighting guided our focus to key areas and props.
The puzzles were creative and clever. We enjoyed one interaction so much that we purposefully made mistakes in solving it to see the humorous results. But while some puzzles clicked right away, others were quite the opposite, and we struggled at several points throughout the game.
Several times we were challenged to make connections that were logical but lacked strong cluing. While this ramped up the difficulty of gameplay, it also created some frustration within our team. Additional signposting could be added to make these connections more obvious. Even so, we still enjoyed a pretty nice sense of accomplishment when we finally achieved that aha moment.
Bond’s Escape Room offers quite a few experiences for a variety of players. Newbies may want to choose an easier game. However, if you are experienced players near the Fairfax area, stop in and play 2233: Evil A.I. – A.L.I.S.O.N. is waiting for you!
Who is this for?
- Story Seekers
- Puzzle Lovers
- Sci-fi fans
- Best for players with at least some experience
- Stylized, futuristic theme
- Puzzles that really make you think
In the year 2233, an A.I. nicknamed A.L.I.S.O.N (Artificial Lifeform and Intelligence System for Optimization of Nations) became self-aware and took control of arsenals owned by the top three global superpowers. The result was civilization in ruins. We were a team of time-traveling resistance fighters who had been sent back to this exact date to try to stop A.L.I.S.O.N. and save the world from its dystopian future.
The game took place in the headquarters of Inspire Labs, creator of the artificial intelligence system. Computer terminals and other technical equipment, a bank of security monitors, and a basic employee locker room made up the sterile and uncluttered game space. Though minimal in furnishings, the set design was sleek, with sharp angles and subtle lighting that effectively captured the vibe of a futuristic lab.
Bond’s Escape Room’s 2233: Evil A.I. was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.
Core gameplay revolved around light searching, observing, making connections, and puzzling.
➕ The narrative was both compelling and integral to the game, as several puzzles required understanding of key characters, activities, and timelines. As a result, the overall experience felt well-developed and thought out from start to end.
➕ It is not always easy to create a futuristic set that does not give off that home-made vibe. But Bond’s Escape Room effectively created a clean, uncluttered space with design choices, lighting, and a few major set pieces. While personally I would have liked to see a few warm, personal, human touches, especially in the earlier section of the game, it was still appropriate to a computer-driven lab environment. As the story progressed, we really felt like we were in the A.I.’s space.
➕ We enjoyed the variety of thematic puzzles, which integrated well with story. Several were multi-layered and had us trying multiple approaches before finally coming up with the right solution. While we were frustrated at times; Bond’s Escape Room really challenged us to look at puzzles from different angles. It was also highly satisfying to figure out the right answer.
➖ Puzzles had varying levels of difficulty, with some straightforward and easily solvable and others offering less direction and cluing, making them much more difficult to figure out. Sometimes there were several valid ways to solve a puzzle, and we spent time trying these different solutions, only to have to rethink our approach. While some players may relish this challenge, others could get easily discouraged. Adding stronger signposting to a few key puzzles would help players make important connections and improve overall game flow and player experience.
➕ We were impressed with one clever puzzle encountered early in the game. It was so subtle in its execution that we didn’t see it at first. But once discovered, it just clicked. It was fun to solve and gave us a confidence boost going forward.
➖ Our team encountered both audio and visual elements at different times in the game which could have been relevant to several puzzles. We wasted time trying to use them in a solution, only to find out they were irrelevant to the gameplay. Changing them to clearly link them to a particular puzzle – or even removing them altogether – would eliminate this confusion.
Tips For Visiting
- There is a parking lot
- A second escape room at Bond’s Escape Room, 1960: History of the Future, has players going back in time to the 1960s, before the A.I. was built, in an attempt to thwart plans to build A.L.I.S.O.N. and prevent worldwide chaos. Even though this game takes place in the same universe as 2233: Evil A.I., they are each standalone games, and you do not need to play one before the other.
- We recommend Chubby Squirrel Brewing Company for beer and munchies.
Book your hour with Bond’s Escape Room’s 2233: Evil A.I., and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.
Disclosure: Bond’s Escape Room comped our tickets for this game.