Encrypted Escape Room West Reading – Galactic War [Review]

Stellar kerfuffles.

Location:  West Reading, PA

Date Played: August 14, 2021

Team Size: 2-5; we recommend 2-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $29.50 per player

Ticketing: Private

Accessibility Consideration: flashing lights, loud noises, low lighting

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Galactic War is a slick, visually alluring take on an alien spaceship theme. Taking place in a fairly small but efficiently utilized space, this room concealed many layers and reveals. There was a moderate amount of puzzle content, though since much of it was parallelizable, more experienced players would get the fullest experience on a lean 2-3 person team.

Encrypted Escape Room West Reading hit it out of the park with Galactic War, and I’m excited to return for whatever they create next.

All 4 rooms currently available at Encrypted Escape Room West Reading demonstrated a steady commitment to growth and experimentation, and Galactic War — their newest room — was an impressive display of just how far the creators have developed their tech skills.

During our marathon run of all 4 rooms, I observed how this standard of excellence is an equal partnership among owner, designer, general manager, and game hosts. Not only were the rooms well designed, but they were also meticulously maintained and reset. It’s clear that everybody involved genuinely cares about what they’ve created, their players’ experience, and the escape room industry more broadly.

A control and radar panel within a space ship.

Who is this for?

  • Puzzle lovers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Sci fi fans
  • Any experience level
  • Smaller teams
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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
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Encrypted Escape Room West Reading – The Last Vampire [Review]

Make no mi-stake!

Location:  West Reading, PA

Date Played: August 14, 2021

Team Size: 2-10; we recommend 4-6

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $29.50 per player

Ticketing: Private

Accessibility Consideration: flashing lights and loud noises

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

If you like vampires, you’ll love The Last Vampire. If you’re meh on vampires, you’ll likely still love it. If you are a vampire, well, this might not be the game for you if you want to make it out alive.

The Last Vampire was the most challenging of the current offerings at Encrypted Escape Room West Reading, and with a large quantity of parallel puzzling, it’s a solid choice for medium to large teams.

In addition to having a beautifully eerie set, The Last Vampire was also full of clever interaction design choices. A room full of puzzles has the potential to be overwhelming, but this problem was largely avoided by having spotlights illuminate which puzzle elements were in play at any given point. A tactile meta element helped us track our progress in the game. Light religious overtones provided diegetic justification for looking at things from a different perspective. And as the final nail in the coffin, an exhilarating finale made us, the players, an integral part of the story.

An alter surrounded by gothic arches.

Who is this for?

  • Puzzle lovers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Supernatural fans
  • Players with some experience
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Encrypted Escape Room West Reading – Viking Raid [Review]

Bjorn to escape.

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: Brief moment of flashing lights

Emergency Exit Rating: [A] Push To Exit

Physical Restraints: [B] Mechanical Release (just for one player)

REA Reaction

Usually it’s the little things that make me happy, but in the case of Viking Raid, wielding large fake swords while sitting on an even heftier wooden throne really did the trick.

Viking Raid was thoroughly Viking-themed in its set and props as well as the ways in which we interacted with them. The distinctively Norse mythological objective of collecting amulets representing the Nine Worlds of Yggdrasil was solid structural framing for the game, though the amulets themselves — printed stickers on flat discs — could have been better crafted given their prominence in the story.

While this room didn’t have as much of the outwardly fancy tech or flashy reveals that characterized some of Encrypted Escape Room West Reading’s other rooms, it was still quite smooth in its own right, notably eschewing standard combination locks in favor of object placement.

If you’re visiting Encrypted Escape Room West Reading, Viking Raid is well worth a play, though I’d recommend playing it before The Last Vampire and Galactic War for the optimal progression of difficulty and immersion.

A wooden throne in a hall.

Who is this for?

  • Puzzle lovers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Any experience level
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Captured LV Allentown – Devil’s Den [Review]

Damned if we do…

Location:  Allentown, PA

Date Played: July 25, 2021

Team Size: 5-8; we recommend 4-6

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $28.50 per player

Ticketing: Private

Accessibility Consideration: Brief moments of flashing lights and loud sounds

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

I’ll readily admit that I’m quite tired of cliche serial killer narratives, both in escape rooms and the entertainment industry more generally. That said, Devil’s Den had the potential to be an excellent escape room that happened to be serial killer-themed. With just a few small exceptions, its puzzle design was highly creative and smooth — among the best of the rooms at Captured LV’s two locations.

A fake severed hand bound to a chainlink fence in a morgue.

Where Devil’s Den fell short, however, was in the glaring inconsistency of its set design. Though it nailed the serial killer lair vibe overall, with blood-splattered walls and creepy morgue doors, a number of elements in the room felt out of place. Unless our psychopathic serial killer-kidnapper was also a novice scrapbooker, these elements felt both cheap and immersion-breaking.

We played Devil’s Den right as it was opening to the public, and I truly hope Captured LV will go the extra mile to patch these issues. Having played Captured LV’s The Island, The Haunted Theatre, and The Mayan Temple, I know the company is fully capable of building awesome sets, and with some extra attention to detail, Devil’s Den could quickly become a regional standout.

Who is this for?

  • Puzzle lovers
  • Horror fans
  • Any experience level
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