Room Escape Williamsburg – Time Siege – The Battle of Yorktown [Review]

Time turned upside down

Location:  Williamsburg, VA

Date Played: October 1, 2021

Team size: 2-8; we recommend 2-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $27.50 per player

Ticketing: Public

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

We have a huge soft spot for locally-themed escape games, and Time Siege – The Battle of Yorktown was just that. Williamsburg is a tourist town built on history, and Room Escape Williamsburg set their story in an especially intriguing – and the most influential – moment of the region’s history.

This time travel game focused heavily on its story, creating a sort of Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego narrative. A time heist occurred that would spell disaster for the American Revolution. We had to use our time machine to traverse time, find the stolen items, and return them to their rightful time and place.

Metal door to a time machine, there is caution tape along the edges and an assortment of danger notices.

Aesthetically, Time Siege – The Battle of Yorktown vacillated between deliberate and haphazard craftsmanship, with lots of exposed wires and loose components. It was always clear that things were there for a reason; it wasn’t clear that they had been built with intention.

From a gameplay standpoint, the puzzles were pretty straight forward. Experienced players will likely move through this game pretty quickly. This is one you enjoy for the local flavor rather than the challenge. If engaging with that local history sounds like your type of adventure, and you’re in the area, then this one is worth checking out.

Who is this for?

  • Puzzle lovers
  • History buffs
  • Any experience level

Why play?

  • Local theme
  • Did a lot with the time travel mechanic

Story

As agents of the Bureau of Time Justice, we had been dispatched to traverse time in pursuit of Valerie VonBuren, codename Magpie. Magpie had stolen key items from General George Washington at the Battle of Yorktown.

We needed to find the items, correct the timeline, and if possible, apprehend Magpie.

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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.

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Rush Hour Live Escape Games – Exit Protocol [Review]

License to plan trips

Location:  Fredericksburg, VA

Date Played: October 2, 2021

Team size: 4-6; we recommend 4-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $28 per player

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Exit Protocol was a traditional escape room with an emphasis on challenge, wrapped in references to Hollywood spy thrillers.

A desk in a travel agency, there are clocks on the wall for different timezones.

The high points for Exit Protocol were clever interaction design, especially in the mid and late game. The struggle of Exit Protocol, however, was a difficulty curve seemed erratic and difficulty spikes that sometimes felt under-clued.

I’ll add that we got a glimpse into what Rush Hour Live Escape Games is working on, and we are genuinely excited to see what they have in the pipeline. This is a company that knows how to build cool moments and the more that they lean on that skillset, the stronger their products will be.

As far as Exit Protocol is concerned, if you’re an experienced escape room player looking for something a little more challenging, check this one out. Newer players or players looking for something less focused on difficulty, should consider checking out some of Rush Hour Live Escape Games’ other offerings.

Who is this for?

  • Puzzle lovers
  • Best for players with at least some experience

Why play?

  • You’re looking for a more challenging, puzzle-y escape room
  • For self-aware spy thriller tropes and references

Story

Our CIA team was on assignment when something went wrong. Since the agent in charge was unreachable, we had to step in and secure our facilities and shut down the operations.

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Escape Room Herndon – 8-Bit Escape [Review]

❤️❤️❤️

Location:  Herndon, VA

Date Played: October 2, 2021

Team size: 2-6; we recommend 2-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: scaled pricing from $39 per player for teams of 2 to $28 per player for teams of 5+

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

I’m about to gush… a lot. The creators of 8-Bit Escape who watched me play know that I’m about to gush… a lot. They saw me play their game, and they witnessed me transform into a giddy child for the duration of my stay in their experience.

In a very personal way, 8-Bit Escape was one of my favorite escape room experiences ever. That doesn’t mean that this game was fancy or mind-blowing… it wasn’t. It was a fairly traditional escape room, executed well – and – the execution of the 80s gamer theme was so dead-on that I nearly ODed on nostalgia.

Typically 80s escape rooms feel like a pastiche of the 80s; 8-Bit Escape felt more like a time machine to a very particular late 80s experience that closely mimicked my own. The toys, music, video games, magazines… everything in this space felt like something that I owned (or more likely, played with at my friend Danny’s house. His parents bought him everything).

An old CRT television in a room with wood panel walls and shag carpet.
Image via Escape Room Herndon

There was a moment in 8-Bit Escape where I picked up an old copy of Nintendo Power Magazine, flipped to a random page, and found a map/ walkthrough of the infamously difficult dam level in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and I just sat on the floor between the couch and television looking it over. I legitimately felt like I was 4 again. I found dozens of other items throughout this space that resonated with me in the same way. Furthermore, there was an authentic way that these moments all came together into a cohesive experience.

Whether you’re playing 8-Bit Escape to remember, or to get a glimpse into a world that wasn’t yours, the love and care that went into this experience is something to behold. It’s not the greatest escape room in the world, but it’s a really good one… and for me, it’s a special one.

Who is this for?

  • 80s kids
  • Retro video game fans
  • David Spira
  • Scenery snobs
  • Any experience level

Why play?

  • Nostalgia… to relive your youth (or someone else’s)
  • The loving representation of a video game nerd’s life in the late 80s
  • Authentic props and music

Story

It was the late 80s and our friends had all come over to play a new video game… but our mom had locked our games up until we’d finished our stupid homework.

We had about an hour to get our hands on the game before everyone got bored and went to Wade’s house to play. We couldn’t have that. Wade sucks.

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Colonial Escape Room – The Chesapeake Bay Butcher [Review]

Thrills and Kills

Location:  Williamsburg, VA

Date Played: October 1, 2021

Team size: 3-10; we recommend 3-6

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $33 per player, 3 person minimum

Ticketing: Private

Accessibility Consideration: uneven floors, low lighting

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

The Chesapeake Bay Butcher was a legitimately terrifying escape room. This was one of the scariest games that we’ve found on the East Coast of the United States.

As is the case with most horror games, the puzzles and gameplay would be unimpressive in a vacuum. It’s the way Colonial Escape Room blended these with fear and the environment that made this game special.

A gross toilet locked shut, the floor below is covered in torn up paper.

The decision to play this one is really simple. If you want to be scared, and you’re near Williamsburg, go play it. It’s rare to find escape room-based horror of this caliber on this coast.

If you’re not looking for horror, then you should go play literally anything else.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Horror fans
  • Best for players with at least some experience

Why play?

  • Legit terrifying
  • Compelling scary set that incorporates regional theming
  • Outstanding active gamemastering

Story

As proper true crime fans, we thought we had figured out the identity of the Chesapeake Bay Butcher. The hard work has paid off, and now it’s time for the easy part… sneak into his house and confirm our suspicions.

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