ESCAPE ROOM REVIEW – THE QUICK AND DIRTY
Play if… you like the Flintstones and fuzzy pelts.
Avoid if… you’ve ever been worried about being eaten first in a situation where cannibalism is in play.
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 – Prehistoric Room:
Description (from the company website): You and your buddies are prehistoric cavemen in 6,000 BC. Your group encountered a hostile tribe of cannibal cavemen. They’ve taken you back to their lair where you are being held captive. The tribe is out hunting but will be back before the Sun sets. You have 60 minutes to escape or become caveman chowder.
Difficulty (1-10): 3.5/5
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 video we took before we entered the room:
This is the video we took just after we completed the room:
Note: The ERG were given the opportunity to try out this room for free, with the understanding that we would continue to provide an honest review and follow the same process we’ve used on all of our other ratings.
Description of the room: You start off in a tribal campground locked in a cage.
Understanding of the Mission: Escape the cannibal tribe’s lair or become caveman chowder
Did We Escape: Yes
Time Remaining: 15:30
Our Suggested Party Size: 6 was good, but 4-5 would have probably been better
Did the room challenge the entire team? Yes, but space – at times – limited the number of people who could work on the different puzzles.
Members of our team (other than the ERG): David, Tara and Steph.
Worth the time and money? 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 – BBQ and a variety of beers w/ a full bar
- El Centro D.F. – upscale Mexican cuisine
- Clyde’s of Georgetown – right across the street
|JASON SAYS:||MIKE SAYS:|
|Overall Expectation (Summary)|
|So, the last time Tara and Eric were with us to do a room at PanIQ (which was when we did the Perfect Crime), Tara saw the fuzzy pelts on the door to this room and FREAKED OUT because she wanted to do it. We asked Ryan (our GM-title-hating GM) what that room was about and he said it was a more “hands-on room” than the other two. So, I went in with what I would say were high hopes for something…different in this room. After our utter failure in Insane Asylum II, Mike and I were especially determined to (a) successfully escape and (b) use a clue if we needed to (see Rule #9).
Of course, the assumption remained that since the other two rooms were so well done, this one would be as well. Read on…
|So, I’ll admit it. Still feeling a bit stung after failing PanIQ’s last room we tried (Insane Asylum II). However, despite the fail, it was still a great room and experience. So, I was really looking forward to this room, especially since PanIQ mentioned that a lot of the puzzles were hands-on.
Since the other rooms were so well done, I figured that we’d be in for a treat with this one too.
I wasn’t wrong.
|You’re a caveman. (Ok, not so far from the truth, amirite?? hahaha) You and your cave-friends are wandering and a rival tribe of cave dwellers, who just so happen to be cannibals, capture you and lock you up. They’ve since gone looking for other foods to put in the chowder with us (to which I asked why couldn’t they just eat that stuff?) and will be gone in about an hour.
I’ll admit, definitely unique, but keep reading.
|It’s 6,000 B.C. and we’re a group of caveman (and cavewoman) friends who are out just chilling, trying to capture some food and on the cusp of inventing the wheel. and BLAM
A rival tribe of cannibalistic cavemen capture us and haul us off to their lair where they lock us up. They go out to pick some spices and other stuff to fatten us up before turning us into caveman chowder.
(I took a bit of poetic license with the story, but it’s pretty on target for what we were told).
A little gross, but definitely gets you into the whole experience right quick.
This theme is pretty unique. In all of my research and in all the rooms we’ve done, I’ve not seen a caveman-themed room.
|Figure out how to escape the cannibals cave and get back to the rest of your tribe. Without being eaten, of course. Escaping and being eaten would be utterly stupid.
|Solve the hands-on puzzles and find the key to escape the cannibals’ lair.
Pretty straightforward, but I DO like a multi-point mission…
|Puzzle Diversity (Rating)|
|Puzzles here were definitely different, and were well suited to the theme. Of course, combo locks themselves didn’t fit the theme (they didn’t have combo locks back then, did they? *shudder at the thought*) but you know, all in a days work in an escape room.
Anyway, there was nothing we’ve seen before (well, the one puzzle in the back corner was kind of like 1 or 2 others we’ve seen, but had a twist to it (almost literally)). I think there was only 1 puzzle I’ve seen some form of before, so I was definitely pleasantly surprised in this regard.
However, none of the puzzles were of the ‘hands-on’ type insomuch as any other puzzle we’ve ever done was.
And Mike, (a) it was my hand and (b) you almost slammed it in the freaking table. (c) It was like 15, not 50 seconds.
|The puzzles were actually pretty cool. When we were told by Ryan (our Game Master) that the puzzles in the room were hands-on, we inwardly groaned a bit because that was on of the major issues we encountered for Insane Asylum.
Time to redeem ourselves!
I actually really liked all the puzzles and the different locks we had to open. Yeah, there were some combination locks that wouldn’t have existed 8,000 years ago, but there has to be a level of forgiveness. It can’t all be rope and twigs, now could it?
There is one puzzle that took me back to my childhood. I may have pushed someone’s hand away as I was solving it, but it’s only because I already had the solution mapped out in my mind. Sorry to whichever team member that was! (In my defense, I did solve it in about 50 seconds though). Amended: I apparently solved it in 15, so good for me.
|Puzzle Complexity (Rating)|
|The very first puzzle we encountered was a textbook case of Rule #s 3 and 8. I couldn’t get it to work so rather than sit there for 5 minutes and mess with it, I just made someone else try it and it was opened up.
The remainder of the puzzles were good; only one thing stumped us for a good bit, but we learn from our mistakes and followed Rule #9. Then we were off to the races again.
One minor thing to note: Some of the…um…start points? for puzzles are kind of hidden, and that threw us for a loop too. Ryan noticed we were like, wtf do we do with this, and chimed in on the walkie.
|We didn’t have any ERVs in the room (Escape Room Virgins), so we went bowled through a few of the puzzles pretty quickly. Surprisingly, there were three that stalled us and we had to ask for clues.
There was a good mix of complexity to them, both in solving the clues and opening the locks/finding solutions. After losing the last room, we were much better at jumping out when we were stuck on a puzzle, and someone else stepping in. That seemed to work well with most of the puzzles in the room.
And Tara found more fuzzy pelts to pet. LOL
|Looking back on this room, I now find it to be pretty linear. There was only really one point in the room that we were able to look at multiple puzzles at a time (i.e., breaking into groups), so that’s a little disappointing, but when you also factor in the theme and the size of the room, it basically evens out.
The room itself was cool; there were things you notice in the beginning that you wonder what they’re for and finally, right before you escape, you have that epiphany. Such a good feeling.
Additionally, the size of the room really didn’t warrant 6 people. This might be a better room done in 2-4 people, but hey, you’ve been warned. Unfortunately, you all couldn’t physically be looking at a puzzle together because of this, so that took a little bit away from the overall experience. (Remember, you’re supposed to be fighting for your lives here!)
No clue what the red herring Mike refers to is; I must have been doing something else at the time.
|Like the theme, there were a ton of unique puzzles in this room, and I tip my hat to the designers because trying to get enough puzzles, clues and locks that relate to a theme where you didn’t have electricity or modern tech must have been a real bitch.
Aside from the combo locks I mentioned, the room was extremely well done and the puzzles really made you use different parts of your brain throughout the experience. And everything really did pull back to a prehistoric atmosphere.
The props were also well suited, but one gave us a problem at the end (one of the three clues we asked for). Had we not asked for the clue, we would have been stuck, failed and then consumed with primitive crackers to go with the ERG-chowder they would have made from us.
One little critique, however, the room size may need to be adjusted because there was definitely not enough space for the entire team to work on some of the puzzles (and some could only be operated by one person at a time), so that left some of us standing around since we completed the other ones. This lead to the creation of Rule #8.
And well done with adding a red herring or two to this room. The one definitely threw me for a loop and had me thinking back to high school science and dreading what I thought I had to remember).
The decor was really well done and everything fit the theme of what we’d expect in a prehistoric caveman camp.
|I would say I had the most fun at the beginning and at the end. I tend to take control in the beginning of the room (as I believe I’ve mentioned before in another review) and in this room there was a little bit of right place/right time toward the end for solving 2 of the last 3 puzzles to escape. I definitely think I had more fun than some of the others, though. (Note that this is not necessarily a reflection of my scores on this review.)||Definitely amused. I was looking forward to this one (I think Tara was initially entranced by the soft, fuzzy pelts on the main door), and was also pretty stoked that we escaped this one and didn’t fail a second room at the same location.|
|Game Master (Summary)|
|Ryan, Ryan, Ryan. While I continually poke fun at the fact that he refuses to respond to GAME MASTER when I say something to that effect, when we got there he said something to the effect of “You Escape Room Guys should have no problem with this room” which is, essentially, an automatic JINX. Right after he said that, I knew we weren’t going to beat the best time. Dammit Ryan!
But, as Mike said, yes, he’s good at his job.
|Ryan is great. Always amusing and tries to get he entire team psyched about the room. If he sees you struggling more than a few minutes, he’ll radio in and ask if you need a clue. If you say no, he’ll leave you alone until you radio back.|
|How Helpful Were Any Clues Given, if any (Summary)|
|I echo Mike’s remarks.||Yeah, the three were helpful. We should have known better on the first one (having seen something similar in another room), but we legitimately needed the shove for the 2nd and 3rd puzzles we were stalled on.|
|Anger Level Score||ERG (pronounced URG, as in “we should have known better”) Score|
|I was kinda pissed at the puzzle with the stuck key. I spent less than the 5 minutes allowed by Rule #9, but still was pissed when someone else got it.
Rating: ? Fists – 1/5
|Twice I felt like I had the oversized, underdeveloped brain of a caveman, so I’ll give this a
Rating: ?♂️ ?♂️ ?♂️ FacePalms – 3/5
ESCAPE ROOM GUYS’ OVERALL SCORING: 8/10
Final Thought: Little disappointed by the set expectation of this theme being ‘hands on’ (though as Escape Room Regular Mark remarked after telling him about it “You didn’t have to gut a pig or anything?”), but overall another solid outing at PanIQ. Thankfully, we were able to escape with our lives; two failures in a row at the same location would have been devastating for our egos…