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!

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RED VEIN Escape – Phobia [Review]


Location:  Ashland, VA

Date Played: October 2, 2021

Team size: 2; we recommend 2

Duration: 10 minutes

Price: $10 per player

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

We’ve played a handful of games in pure darkness, and generally like the genre in spite of the fact that it comes with a number of hurdles that are difficult to overcome.

Two of the more common issues that we see are:

  • Darkness becomes less scary over time.
  • There is a limited range of puzzle and challenge types that can be incorporated in a full-dark environment.

RED VEIN Escape’s solution to both of these problems was to make a very short experience, and it worked.

The dark and cramped space was elevated by a brilliant pre-game performance, and the gameplay itself worked with the sightless environment.

Phobia was short and small, but it got the job done. It works well as an add-on if you’re already visiting one of RED VEIN’s other escape rooms.

In-game: A completely black image with nothing visible.
Actual game photo.

If this kind of play appeals to you, it’s a fun implementation of the dark-game concept.

If it isn’t your thing, or you’re on a budget, skip this one. It isn’t an expensive game, but it is expensive for what it is: $10 per person for 10 minutes in a closet without any aesthetic design. It might be the most expensive escape room per square foot that I’ve ever played.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Fear fans
  • Any experience level
  • Best for players with at least some experience

Why play?

  • Perfect game length for this style of game
  • Brilliant use of a small space
  • Game introduction that enhances anticipation


Paranormal researchers investigating the effect of fear on the human mind and body had enrolled us in a short study. All we had to do was enter a chamber and figure out how to exit it within 10 minutes.

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