Dr. Whack’s knick-knack shack.
Location: Washington, DC
Date Played: October 10, 2022
Team Size: 1-10; we recommend 3-5
Duration: 60 minutes
Price: $36.99 per player
Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock
Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints
While creating our itinerary for a road trip to the Washington, DC, area, we almost didn’t even consider The Escape Game (TEG). After all, we’ve played all of their classic, standout games: Prison Break, Playground, Gold Rush (my second game ever and the one that kicked off my escape room addiction!), and others. However, we were thrilled to discover they have not one but five unique games in their Georgetown location! We couldn’t resist; we had to check them out.*
Dr. Whack’s Elixir of Life takes place in a bizarre shop of sorts, filled with curiosities from her travels, weird machinery, books, and a large workspace. It was certainly interesting, but it looked less like a shop and more like an eccentric relative’s workshop in which they putter around for hours on secret projects no one understands. We were on the lookout for the elusive Elixir of Life, and we needed to find it before Dr. Whack returned.
There was a lot to do in this room, and the game flow kept us moving around from puzzle to puzzle in a smooth sequence. Puzzles were unique and fun to solve, with a few being really clever and making us smile once we figured them out. There was also a nice variety of puzzle styles, giving different players on our team a chance to shine. None were overly challenging, though, making this a good room for less experienced players or those who enjoy high puzzle volume but low complexity.
However, not all puzzles made sense in Dr. Whack’s little shop. In fact, a few prominent eye-catching items weren’t even used in the game at all, though we were drawn to them over and over again, thinking they had to be part of a puzzle. We were also surprised at the wear and tear evident on some of the props. Books were torn, props were cracked or taped over, and items fell out of their places. While it did not significantly affect gameplay, it spoke to the overall maintenance of the space.
If you are in the DC area looking for a beginner-friendly game with a nice variety of puzzles, and you’ve already played the well-known TEG games, stop in and check out Dr. Whack’s Elixir of Life.
*Editor’s Note: The Escape Game took over the former Escape Room Live location in Georgetown. They built their own games around some of the original sets and props. That is why this location has different games from all the other locations of The Escape Game. Dr. Whack’s Elixir of Life was originally Ghostbusters.
Who is this for?
- Puzzle lovers
- Players of any experience level
- Unique theme
- Fun, clever puzzles
- One-of-a-kind game under The Escape Game umbrella
Dr. Whack possessed the Elixir of Life, a powerful potion that allowed her to stay young forever; in fact, rumor had it that she was 920 years old! To keep it out of the wrong hands, she had hid the elixir somewhere in her shop. It was up to us to search through all of her weird curiosities to find it and share it with the world.
The game took place in Dr. Whack’s curiosity shop, a space filled with weird items from her travels and bizarre machinery that did who-knows-what. But the space didn’t really embody curiosity shop; instead, it looked more like an eccentric person’s workshop, with a large work table, bookshelves lining several walls and a blackboard containing mysterious notes that drew our attention, though we couldn’t make sense of any of it.
The Escape Game’s Dr. Whack’s Elixir of Life was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.
Core gameplay revolved around observing, searching, making connections, and puzzling.
➕ Although the set didn’t specifically shout “curiosity shop,” there were plenty of random items around the room that created the interesting, eclectic workspace of Dr. Whack. Many items that were not part of a puzzle were glued down or otherwise secured to avoid unnecessary searching.
➖Several prominent set pieces were not part of the game, yet they were hard to completely ignore. We couldn’t tell if they were ghost puzzles or just random decor items, since they didn’t support the story. Either way, we were disappointed in not being able to interact with them.
➕ Puzzles were clever, and solving them often gave us that “aha!” feeling of accomplishment when we’d figured out a particularly inventive solution. The volume and variety of puzzles kept us all busy and engaged the entire time.
➕ Game flow was smooth, and it was evident that the designer focused on creating a variety of puzzles that were clever and fun to solve.
➖ One mid-game puzzle seemed oddly incomplete, with quite a few empty sections remaining even after we’d correctly solved it. There was a potential to expand this puzzle beyond its current abbreviated form by adding humor and/or complexity.
➖ Wear and tear on the room was evident. Although it didn’t affect gameplay, the condition of the props and set were not up to the standards we’ve experienced in other TEG games.
❓TEG acquired this location and several of the games from a company called Escape Room Live. This particular game was created in the same space as the former Ghostbusters escape room, which I never played (but David’s review is linked). From old photos, it appears that much of the base set is from the prior game, while none of the puzzles we encountered appeared related to a Ghostbusters theme.
Tips For Visiting
- There is metered street parking.
- The Escape Game is right down the street from Georgetown Cupcake, which we didn’t get a chance to try but looked delicious!
- Our local reviewer recommends Filomena Ristorante for an amazing upscale Italian meal.
Book your hour with The Escape Game’s Dr. Whack’s Elixir of Life, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.
Disclosure: The Escape Game made our game a private booking.