Encrypted Escape Room West Reading – Biker’s Revenge [Review]

Ride to live, live to ride

Location:  West Reading, PA

Date Played: August 14, 2021

Team Size: 2-10; we recommend 3-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $29.50 per player

Ticketing: Private

Accessibility Consideration: There are steps leading down to the venue.

Emergency Exit Rating: [A] Push To Exit

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Biker’s Revenge was exactly what I didn’t know I needed from an escape room built to look like a dive bar. Each and every item, from floor to ceiling, was well thought through, and many were used as unexpected puzzle elements.

The amount of tiny details jam-packed in the space kept us on our toes, enhancing the immersion and bringing the room to life. All of these features amplified the narrative, making our team truly feel like we were undercover police investigating the local biker gang. Almost every interaction was thematic, tangible, and just plain fun, with the exception of one input that was overly precise and lacked leeway.

The vast array of games at Encrypted Escape Room West Reading came as a pleasant surprise, with each experience feeling unique in both set and puzzle design. While this was their oldest game at this location, Biker’s Revenge did not feel dated in the slightest, and offered a unique take on this theme.

I’d go back and get a drink at this pub any day (but probably bring my own glass, considering the amount of hands that have touched the ones behind the bar).

The bar top and seats in an old dive bar.

Who is this for?

  • Puzzle lovers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Fans of hard rock and dive bars
  • Any experience level
Continue reading “Encrypted Escape Room West Reading – Biker’s Revenge [Review]”

River City Escape Room – Manhattan [Review]

Grandma’s pie never tasted so good

Location:  Richmond, VA

Date Played: July 10, 2021

Team Size: 2-7; we recommend 3-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $25 per player, with a minimum of $75

Ticketing: Private

Accessibility Consideration: There are many physically demanding portions of this game including crawling and climbing. Only one player has to crawl, but all players have to climb.

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction


River City Escape Room created such a beautifully intricate experience based around the Manhattan Project, taking immersion to another level. The set was breathtaking from the moment we stepped into our grandmother’s house to the moment we escaped, further driving the thematic story elements. The narrative was woven through every detail of the story, including the recipes our grandmother had left, the nuclear survival manuals, and the time-period specific set pieces.

While the puzzle elements could have been slightly more robust, the overall gameplay was implemented from the floor to the ceiling. Our team struggled a bit with late-game sequence breaking, yet we were swiftly ushered back in the right direction by our gamemaster.

Foreshadowing played an important role in the game, reflecting small details and past events during the experience. This game was unique, no doubt about it. River City Escape Room’s designer put their heart into this game, and it truly shows. The attention to detail was immaculate in every little nook and cranny, and we loved each moment of the discovery.  

A 2 story set with an old kitchen.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Story seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Best for players with at least some experience
Continue reading “River City Escape Room – Manhattan [Review]”

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
Continue reading “Escape Room RVA – Shadow of Cthulhu [Review]”

Escape Room Pittsburgh – Carnegie’$ Million$ [Review]

Use your (Carnegie) Mellon

Location:  Pittsburgh, PA

Date Played: July 4, 2021

Team Size: 2-10; we recommend 3-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $32 per player

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A] Push To Exit

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Carnegie’$ Million$ set the tone immediately with a beautiful entryway into our game space. As a fantastic soundtrack flooded the room, we were able to traverse a massive set in search of the Stone of Destiny left by Andrew Carnegie himself. Using the building to their full advantage, Escape Room Pittsburgh integrated so many thematic and complex puzzles. While we found the experience lacking a clear starting puzzle and thus slow to start, the gameplay flowed well during the second half.

In-room: a bookshelf and fireplace in a study.

I’m sure Carnegie’$ Million$ was once an absolutely gorgeous game, but the wear and tear from years of play showed. Some of the puzzles unfortunately felt like homework to our team, while some were creative yet process-heavy.

If you’re in Pittsburgh and want to play a game with roots tied to the city, Carnegie’$ Million$ is the game for you. I’d also recommend playing Escape Room Pittsburgh’s other offering, Tomb Explorer, if you’re stopping in.

Who is this for?

  • Puzzle lovers
  • Best for players with at least some experience
  • Players who don’t need to be a part of every puzzle
Continue reading “Escape Room Pittsburgh – Carnegie’$ Million$ [Review]”

Playing “Dead” Flash Escape Games with Flashpoint

Flash Player is Dead! (Or is it?)

If you haven’t heard yet, Adobe’s Flash Player plugin has been permanently sunset. That brings down every Flash game on the Internet. While Flash developers had plenty of notice before their games became unplayable, many didn’t have the time, resources, or interest to transport their 10+ year old games to a new platform. To save the utmost amount of games from getting lost in the void, Flashpoint and a handful of similar projects were created.

Many different teams are attempting to archive the vast array of Flash Player games. Newgrounds has developed a way to play their collection of Flash games from over the years, including a smaller yet substantial repository of ~20,000 titles.

While other smaller projects exist, Flashpoint is by far the leading platform in game preservation efforts.

BlueMaxima's Flashpoint website.

What is Flashpoint?

A reader tipped us off recently about this project aiming to preserve tens of thousands of games that used Flash Player and other deprecated web software. Flashpoint is a non-profit, open source project with over 70,000 web-based games included in its extensive database.

The developers of Flashpoint are constantly adding new webgames from various websites and plugins requested by users. If there is a game you loved and cannot play anymore due the death of Flash Player, you can submit a request to revive your cherished Flash game memories.

Flashpoint's launcher, loaded with point & click escape rooms.

The database alone has more than 9,150 games that include the word “escape” in the title, so you’re bound to find almost every escape and puzzle game made in Flash that your heart desires.

How to Get Going

Flashpoint has two options for downloading: Ultimate (download the entire repository of games off the bat) and Infinity (download games individually, as you please).

Compared to playing the games in-browser back in the day, Flashpoint offers an impeccable gameplay experience. Every game feels flawless, and setup is incredibly easy. While running the games, you can even be directed to external links, i.e. clicking on the walkthrough button in-game will open your web browser and show the walkthrough (cue terrible early 2000s web designs).

Every game I’ve played so far has run identically to the old web-based versions. Flashpoint is guaranteed to work on Windows 7 and up, and has experimental versions for MacOS and Linux. The FAQ goes over these requirements in more detail.

Not Sure Where to Start?

The launcher includes a Hall of Fame with the most popular games, as well as a “choose a random game” button that displays 5 choices. They also have a handful of categorized game lists including Flash Food, Puzzling Pursuits, and Escaper’s Encyclopedia.

Some of my most memorable non-puzzle favorites include the original Thing Thing Arena, Super Crazy Guitar Maniac Deluxe, Stick RPG, Bowman, and Amateur Surgeon. (I’m not sure if these games are actually good or I’m just nostalgic.)

An escape game running in Flashpoint.

In the realm of escape rooms, some notable classics include Crimson Room, Cube Escape (from the Rusty Lake team!), and the AN Escape Series.

Flash Player’s History with Escape Rooms

While escape room predecessors include adventure puzzle video games (Myst), text adventures, and UK game shows (The Adventure Game, The Crystal Maze), the escape room genre really took off with Flash-based ‘Escape the Room’ video games. Crimson Room was one of the best known escape the room games, and truly paved the way for the industry as we know it. Check out David’s 2017 article A Quick History of Escape Rooms for more on this history.

Thank You, Flashpoint

Flashpoint is an incredible effort to preserve many fantastic games that otherwise would have been just a lost memory. Thank you, from escape room fans to the folks behind this amazing journey and accomplishment. Without Flashpoint, an important part of our history could have been forgotten.

If you have any fond memories of Flash-based games, please share them in the comments for all to play!

Thank you to the REA reader Andrew Nicholson, who let us know about Flashpoint.