Gnome & Raven – Wizard’s Castle [Review]

Organic artisanal good time

Location:  Richmond, VA

Date Played: October 2, 2021

Team size: up to 10; we recommend 3-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $25 per player, 4 player minimum

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Wizard’s Castle was witty and engaging. The interactions were well designed to sing to Harry Potter fans, and fans of fantasy in general… which really worked for me.

A stone wall with glowing cubbies inside of it within a magical study.

In the scheme of Gnome & Raven, Wizard’s Castle was a little smaller, and slightly less epic than their other offerings. While I strongly recommend it for fans of wand- and potion-based fiction… I’d suggest that everyone else check out Magic Lamp or Shipwrecked first. This is a very worthy wizard game.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Wizarding school fans
  • Any experience level
  • Players who don’t need to be a part of every puzzle

Why play?

  • That party room
  • Large and magical set that captured the theme

Story

The renowned Wizbin the Wonderful, wizard to kings and queens, was searching for an apprentice. To prove our worth, we needed to craft the Midas Potion, which would turn anything to gold.

A wall of paintings of wizards, with lanterns and candles.
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Gnome & Raven – Shipwrecked [Review]

Pirates of the round table

Location:  Richmond, VA

Date Played: October 2, 2021

Team size: up to 12; we recommend 3-6

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $25 per player, 4 player minimum

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Playing Shipwrecked felt like taking a journey. We traversed a number of interesting environments, each with its own opportunities for exploration. All of this was accentuated by the scale of the gamespace. Gnome & Raven likes building big and beautiful things.

A cave wall with little compartments, each containing a candle. Wax drippings run down the wall.

Shipwrecked played like a traditional escape room, but because of its scale and style, it felt fresh and unique.

Gnome & Raven could improve Shipwrecked by removing the remains of a ghost puzzle, and potentially balancing the use of the impressive space a little more… but overall, this was a stellar experience.

The final room of Shipwrecked was a party room, with an impressive table. One day I hope to throw a party in this room. It seems like it would be fun.

If you’re anywhere near Richmond, I strongly urge you to pay Gnome & Raven a visit and get Shipwrecked.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Pirate fans
  • Any experience level
  • Players who don’t need to be a part of every puzzle

Why play?

  • That party room
  • The right big interactions captured the theme

Story

While exploring the libations in an old pub, we happened upon a note that suggested that Davy Jones shipwrecked in a nearby cove. We set off in search of his ship, seeking adventure and riches.

Continue reading “Gnome & Raven – Shipwrecked [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
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Escape Room RVA – The Sacred Temple of Fluffy Sprinkles [Review]

Donโ€™t press paws.

Location:  Richmond, VA

Date Played: July 10, 2021

Team Size: 1-8; we recommend 2-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $25 per player, $80 minimum

Ticketing: Private

Accessibility Consideration: Stairs and crouching

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

(Reaction updated 9/8/21 for clarification)

The Sacred Temple of Fluffy Sprinkles took place in a stunning, sprawling Greek temple. As we explored the many chambers of this temple, we came across evidence of Medusa’s mythical cat companion, Fluffy Sprinkles.

Overall, The Sacred Temple of Fluffy Sprinkles felt somewhat thematically disjointed, and we left the room feeling both in awe of the set and confused by the narrative. The Fluffy Sprinkles title and cutesy cat-themed signage above doors in the temple suggested this would be a whimsical and humorous cat theme, yet the set and gameplay itself felt intense and mysterious. A number of chambers contained amusing cat-themed props, including a giant litter box, yarn balls, and a cat jungle gym, but the room was lacking in actual cats. The ending interaction focused just on Medusa and her snakes, reinforcing the feeling that this room perhaps was designed as a Medusa/Greek theme with a layer of cat tacked on later. Was this a temple dedicated to Fluffy Sprinkles or somewhere Fluffy Sprinkles actually went to play? Did other cats live here as well? Perhaps there was an intended plot at play, but it didn’t come across clearly enough through the gameplay to tie everything together for us.

Golden statue of Medusa.

This room included a number of enjoyable puzzles and interactions, all within a beautifully designed immersive environment, but it didnโ€™t quite coalesce into the cohesive experience this unique hybrid theme has the potential to be.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Any experience level
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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
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