ESCAPE ROOM REVIEW – THE QUICK AND DIRTY
Play if… you loved playing Clue while growing up.
Avoid if… crime scenes make you uneasy.
PanIQ Escape Room Washington DC:
Address: 3283 M St NW, Washington, DC 20007 (click address for Google Map)
Contact and Website: (202) 735-0485
The Room – Perfect Crime:
Description (from the company website): An aristocratic family member has been murdered. Some are calling it the “Perfect Crime”. You and your group of brilliant investigators made a new discovery that has led to a hot pursuit which might shed new light on the truth. Maybe it wasn’t the perfect crime after all?
Difficulty (1-10): 4 of 5
Time Limit: 60 minutes
Cost: $24-36 (+ tax per person) (varies based on number of players)
Party Size: 2-7
Staging Area: First, ring doorbell to gain entry. Rooms are on the 3rd floor of the building. Small waiting area with couches and water cooler. Enough space for 1 team to hang out while they wait, but additional seating in stairwell area.
Metro Access/Parking: Rosslyn metro and then a .9 mile walk across the Key Bridge. It’s Georgetown, so parking can be difficult (so definitely carpool and use the parking garage for Georgetown Mall (at Wisconsin and M, head down the hill towards K Street). We suggest Uber or Lyft.
This is the Facebook Live video before we entered the room:
This is the Facebook Live video just after we completed the room:
Description of the room: You start off in a small room that is wallpapered with newspaper clippings and advertisements.
Understanding of the Mission: Solve the murder mystery by finding the murderer, the date the murder occurred, where the murder occurred, and the murder weapon, and then get the key to escape the room.
Did We Escape: Yes
Time Remaining: 17:10 remaining;
Our Suggested Party Size: We had 7, which was pretty perfect.
Did the room challenge the entire team? Yes
Members of our team (other than the ERG): Tara, Eric, Dalia, Mark, and Katheryn
Worth the time and money? Hell yes
Where to Eat/Drink Before/After: It’s Georgetown, so there are tons of places to have dinner or grab a drink.
- Old Glory BBQ – we had dinner and drinks here before doing the room.
|JASON SAYS:||MIKE SAYS:|
|Overall Expectation (Summary)|
|The description on the PanIQ site didn’t give much background, and I still don’t know why it’s called the ‘perfect crime’ other than that’s part of the story. More on that later.
It took us some time to find the place initially, as well. It’s not a storefront; it’s more a gated alleyway. Which kind of added to the intrigue. Ryan, our GM (who doesn’t like being called that), met us outside and walked us up.
|This was a new location for us, so I really had no major expectations. However, I will say that I hadn’t heard of this company before and only found them after seeing a Groupon deal, which we purchased.
Finding the location took a few minutes. It’s behind a wrought-iron gate that has a buzzer, so that was initially our first challenge (how to actually get into the location!).
The theme itself sounded interesting, but nothing that made me want to choose this room over another. We’ve done a number of detective-themed rooms, so it was a “meh, it’s another room to do.”
Again, I’ll recall the adage to never judge a book by its cover… I was pleasantly surprised.
|Some high-falutin so and so has been murdered. Allegedly, the plot was so well crafted that it’s the ‘perfect crime’.
We know it’s the 1900s. We know we didn’t do it but we’re there to figure out who did. And all I have is this pencil…
|You are a team of detectives called to a aristocratic family estate sometime in the 1900s (this was stressed multiple times by our GM before we entered the room) to investigate a murder! Man, can’t these rich people settle their arguments over polo, 25-year old single malt scotch, and cigars like normal, civilized people?
Anyhoo, murder rarely pays, unless you don’t get caught… and unfortunately for the murderer, Team Disturbed Friends was called in based on our excellent track record.
|Holy multiple objectives Batman! We were tasked with the following:
Once we figured those things out, we just had to make our way out of the room (my favorite, a key to unlock a door!). And I mean that, just having to find a key to unlock the point of egress is literally my favorite objective.
|Your mission – should you choose to accept it – encompasses multiple objectives (oh,yeah, baby!!) where you have to find out:
Once you determine these items, you will find a key that will allow you to escape the room.
Hmmm… we’re in an isolated estate and have to find out who the murderer is, where it happened and with what weapon. This seems familiar?
If you are a faithful reader of this blog (*cough, cough* become a follower *cough, cough*), then you know that a room with multiple objectives is like crack to me * and I LOVED how many things we had to figure out here.
* DISCLAIMER: Mike absolutely denies ever having tried crack, and is only drawing a parallel to say that multiple objectives in an escape room releases endorphins in his brain mimicking a natural high (kinda like a runner’s high, which he’s also never experienced because he’s not a runner… unless someone is chasing him… with a weapon).
|Puzzle Diversity (Rating)|
|*Wipes tears from eyes*
The only thing missing from this room was a secret freaking passage.
Seriously though, this room had so many things that we hadn’t encountered before in ANY other escape rooms. There was chess, maps, mazes. Hell, even a freaking stress test (that’s what I’m calling it; you’ll understand when you do this room). I think I was still giddy when we got out of there.
Why doesn’t this rating to go 11…? Oh right, this isn’t Spinal Tap.
|Um, wow. I was initially unimpressed, but then something happened and all was right with the world. It was like Christmas, my birthday, St. Patrick’s Day and Oktoberfest all rolled into one. I think I actually gasped.
So. Many. Types. Of. Puzzles!!!
We’ve seen some of these used in other rooms, but there was not one puzzle type that was repeated, and some of them were brand new experiences for the ERG.
The puzzles also hit two of my hobbies (spoiler below in white text, so highlight if you want to see it), so it was pretty awesome. Kind of like it was tailored to my own interests.
Also, you need to make sure you have someone with a steady hand with you, and that’s all I’m saying. You’ll know what I’m talking about when you do the room. What a nice nostalgic touch!
The puzzle solutions themselves led to a number of key locks and combination locks. I think there were 7(?), but maybe only 5 – I had trouble counting (one plus two, plus one, plus one – HAHAHAHA).
|Puzzle Complexity (Rating)|
|This room had a great range of puzzles, difficulty-wise. There were one or two that were easy, yet time consuming; others required all hands on deck (both time-consuming and not). That’s the way it should be and they really took it and ran.
I was so impressed with how well thought out they all were that I was just shocked for a few seconds. Walking in and seeing some of them was a giant WTF moment (in a good way) and also made me go MINEMINEMINE on 2 of the puzzles.
|So, we had no newbies with us this time, and we still needed time to get through some of these clues. They had a few easier ones in the beginning to whet your appetite and we did have about a 3-4 minute delay when we didn’t follow our Rule #3 again, so we spent time looking for a combination that we already had. Great job, Mark for double-checking!
Then they brought in the big guns. I think that Jason and I may have accidentally run over a few of our teammates on the way to one of the puzzles (hey, they all signed liability waivers and knew what they were getting into… hmmm… DID they sign liability waivers for us? Note to self: get them to sign liability waivers), and I stubbornly went back to one of the puzzles because I couldn’t just let it beat me. SUCK IT, UNNAMED PUZZLE!!
One puzzle was so difficult that we ended up solving it, but we reverse-engineered it to get the solution. I think we actually surprised our GM that we didn’t solve it in the conventional way. Another thing to remember is that certain items are put in the room for a reason. If you get stuck, try and use a prop. I can’t believe that we missed this, but it worked out in the end anyway.
|The room was broken into 2 rooms (we were told this at the beginning, so I don’t feel bad telling you here). The bulk of the work is in the second room, but getting there was pretty fun. We had a small Rule #3 snafu (which I blame on everyone but the person that tried that particular combination, including myself), but we got in, regardless.
The second room was extremely well thought out. The bulk of the puzzles all led into other puzzles that funneled their solutions to the final puzzle to find the 4 pieces of information listed in the Mission rating above. Absolutely loved it. Brilliantly put together.
|I don’t think we’ve done a room where everything JUST FIT together as well as this one did. Everything fit the theme, and it was worked so well into the storyline that I am still nodding my head in satisfaction.
The decor, at first, seems confusing, but that all changes about 10 minutes into the experience. Then, you feel like you’ve been transported to this estate and are investigating a crime scene (the outline of a body is a very nice touch).
Lots of unique stuff to the room that also fit well with the theme, and all the puzzles and clues just flowed into a final climax… which can give you delayed satisfaction if you’re not 100% correct (giggity).
I have no critiques here. Absolutely stunning in how it was put together.
|Nope. Thought it was just terrible. (I’m kidding, obviously.)||BEST. TIME. EVER!!|
|Game Master (Summary)|
|As I mentioned before, Ryan prefers not to be called a ‘game master’; he preferred to be called ‘Ryan’. So we went with that.
He was a little rushed through the background story. But he was on top of his game while we were in the room, asking if we needed help here and there (no, we didn’t) and was responsive on the walkie-talkie.
|Ryan was our GM and he added to the enthusiasm with the story outline and mission briefing. When we asked a few questions, he raised his eyebrow (which is one of my habits) and said that it was a great question that no one had ever asked before, which he followed up with “how many rooms have you done?”
He seemed a bit rushed in the beginning, but that could be because he was trying to get two groups into two different rooms (and was the GM for both of us at the same time). I’ve not seen this before (we always seemed to have our own GM specifically for our time block) but I can’t say this for sure..
We also asked what the leaderboard (the best time) and he said it was 18:00 minutes remaining. As we were tearing through the room, he would make comments every now and then about how fast we were moving.
|How Helpful Were Any Clues Given, if any (Summary)|
|No clues needed!||None were needed. Ryan actually radioed in and asked if we wanted help when we were trudging through one of the puzzles, and Jason (who had the walkie talkie) said “nope… we’ll radio you if we need you”
And note: he’s not allowed to give you any clues for the first 10 minutes, so keep at it if you get stuck initially.
|Anger Level Score||ERG (pronounced URG, as in “we should have known better”) Score|
|The only thing I can even say negative about this room is that I wish the story were a little better/more involved. That said…
Rating: 0/5 Fists
|Just a small facepalm when we realized that we were searching for something we had already found.
We need to start remembering to follow that damn rule so we don’t keep making the same mistakes that keep us off the leaderboards.
Rating: 🤦♂️🤦♂️ FacePalms – 2/5
ESCAPE ROOM GUYS’ OVERALL SCORING: 9.4/10
Final Thought: Can’t say anything more than we already have. The best we’ve seen so far. Good job, PanIQ Escape Room DC. We look forward to returning to do Insane Asylum (which the GM said was harder than Perfect Crime).