ESCAPE ROOM REVIEW – THE QUICK AND DIRTY
Play if… you’re a cat person more than a dog person.
Avoid if… cats acting like humans freaks you the hell out. Where is Cartman with a big box of catnip when you need him?
Omescape DC: LOCATION CLOSED
Address: 2406 18th Street NW, 2nd Floor, Washington, DC 20009 (click address for Google Map)
The Room – Kingdom of Cats: RETIRED
Description (from the company website but cleaned up a bit to make it readable): Welcome to the Cat Kingdom. The ruler, Austin Schrodinger, holds annual championship tournaments to select the wisest cat in the kingdom. Unexpectedly, you, as a human, accidentally set foot on their championship battlefield. According to the kingdom’s law, those in the battlefield must compete in the tournament or otherwise be imprisoned here forever. You have no choice but to accept the challenge and solve puzzles and riddles in the tournament.
Difficulty: 3 of 5
Time Limit: 60 minutes
Cost: $28 per person
Party Size: up to 8 people
Staging Area: The lobby is up a flight of stairs and has a small number of couches and tables. Also note that it’s above a restaurant, so be prepared for some…interesting…smells in the warmer weather.
Metro Access/Parking: Woodley Park / National Zoo and then walk .7 miles across the Calvert Street bridge into Adams Morgan. It’s Adams Morgan, so parking at night and on weekends can be really tricky. We suggest Uber or Lyft if that’s an option.
Description of the room: You start off in a parlor that is heavily decorated with cat art.
Understanding of the Mission: You are being forced to participate in the annual tournament to find the wisest cat and solve the riddles and puzzles to win the tournament… as humans… or be locked up in prison forever.
Did We Escape: Yes
Time Remaining: about 26 minutes
Our Suggested Party Size: 4
Did the room challenge the entire team? No
Members of our team (other than the ERG): Valerie, Heather, Mark, and Shannon
Worth the time and money? Maybe? If you have kids.
Where to Eat/Drink Before/After:
|JASON SAYS:||MIKE SAYS:|
|Overall Expectation (Summary)|
|As we’ve been saying about Omescape, after the first room none of us really wanted to come back here. Call us gluttons for punishment I suppose, but the only thing I left with was a feeling of sorrow for dragging my sister here for her birthday.||Honestly, I wasn’t expecting much. I just wanted to complete all the rooms at this location.
However, I am a cat person and the initial description seemed interesting enough, although really strange and weird.
|If I recall correctly, you are basically Harry Potter in the Tri-Wizard Cup. Except all the contestants in this one are feline. Your task was to be the smartest human… er, feline in the tournament and win to get out. It was a fun take on an escape room concept, but it was only ‘meh-ly’ done. (Yes, I said ‘meh-ly.) I mean, seriously, though, this was probably the weirdest room/story I’ve had to escape from.
|So, somehow we entered some alternate feline universe and ended up at a Cat Kingdom during its annual tournament to find the wisest cat, and accidentally stepped on the tournament field. According to feline law, all those who are on the field must participate in the tournament (are humans subject to feline law?). Now, to avoid being locked up in cat prison forever, we have to solve the puzzles and riddles of the tournament.
Interesting general idea, but like the other rooms here, there are holes in the storyline. How did we end up in this kingdom? Is this a battlefield or a tournament (the description says both)? Would regular partaking of catnip appear on a drug test (asking for a friend)? Does the tournament only operate for 4 hours a day to allow for regular catnaps?
|Solve the King’s riddles to become the smartest in the Kingdom. Ok…don’t we normally do that anyway? I’m confused. Why am I doing this again?
|Solve the riddles and puzzles of the tournament.
Okay, so we solve riddles and puzzles… isn’t that the entire purpose of an escape room? There are many other missions that could have been accomplished here. Seems like a bit of a cop out to me.
|Puzzle Diversity (Rating)|
|There wasn’t anything in this room we hadn’t already seen somewhere else, however, the internal diversity (puzzles in *this* room) were very divergent. Nothing was repeated, which is good, I don’t recall there being any combo locks (also good), and there were some actual riddles (somewhat like the ones in Save the White House).
|Again, like the other rooms at this location, there is a good diversity of the types of puzzles that you’ll find in the rooms and not too many of the same kind.
I’m not a particular fan of one of the types of puzzles (they seem to be biased against a specific part of the population), but it was good to see that the room required people to use all their types of skills and senses.
|Puzzle Complexity (Rating)|
|Nothing here really struck me as terribly difficult. I barely recall the GM telling us this was more a kids room before we started, and I can see that. I could see a family of 4 getting out of this room with little to no issue.
One thing that did bother me was the fact that you didn’t even have to solve all the puzzles. Know how some rooms have multiple solutions to a puzzle? Well, this room let you skip entire puzzles…entirely. There are multiple rooms in this room (is that a spoiler? no, that’s not a spoiler) and there’s 2 puzzles (1 in each of 2 of the rooms) that relate to each other, but (and going off memory here) you don’t need to solve either of these (or at least the 2nd of the 2). I don’t understand why it’s in there then. Just don’t bother.
Another of the puzzles we solved accidentally as we walked into the room and when we realized later, after solving a later puzzle, that that puzzle told us to do what we’d already done, I was pretty annoyed.
Rating: 5/10 (includes -1 for lack of having to solve ALL puzzles)
|Overall, the puzzles really weren’t that complex. We solved a few of them out of what appeared to be the room order (before we found clues to help us solve those puzzles), so they weren’t too difficult. There was nothing too memorable that makes me think “damn, that was a really tough puzzle” and sticks out amongst all the rooms I’ve done since.
This is supposed to be their easiest room, so I guess that the puzzles are well-rated.
|The first room really set the stage for the subsequent rooms you enter on your journey around the Kingdom. Everything in this specific room worked well. Everything flowed right from the King’s decrees to get you started. After that, however… pffffffffffffffffffffft. It felt like this (just watch until about the 1:40 mark). But hey, everything was cat-related, so there’s that.
|The room was just a bit weird. The storyline and mission are a bit disjointed, so the puzzles and clues that we found in the room, while all relating to something feline, were simply puzzles to be solved. I guess that they related to the overall mission, which was to solve… puzzles.
|Um…I mean, cats? I like cats. Have 2 myself. But this room? Just no. Don’t bother. Maybe I was still reeling from the incredible amount of frustration I was feeling from the Penitentiary right before it, but still.||I approached the room simply as one that needed to be won and to potentially make the leaderboard. I can’t say that I was fully invested in it.|
|Game Master (Summary)|
|I had to read Mike’s write-up here before writing this one because all I could think was ‘oh great, we have the same GM for this room. Let’s just knock 5 minutes off our time because he won’t hear us.’ Thankfully, that wasn’t the case and we didn’t need him until we just asked him random questions after we got out.||Thankfully, after our last experience (see The Penitentiary), we didn’t need his help in the room. He’s a nice guy and got dressed up in his costume to give the briefing, but his lack of attention in the previous room gave us the added incentive to solve the room without any hints.|
|How Helpful Were Any Clues Given, if any (Summary)|
|What Mike said.||We asked for a clarification on one of the puzzles because we didn’t want to break it, and it didn’t seem to be operating properly. Our GM did confirm that we were properly doing the puzzle and we tried a few more times and got it to work.|
|Anger Level Score||ERG (pronounced URG, as in “we should have known better”) Score|
|I wasn’t annoyed with this room. It was just residual anger, so…
Rating: Fists – 0/5
|Didn’t feel stupid at all. We solved the room quickly and without help.
Rating: — FacePalms – 0/5
ESCAPE ROOM GUYS’ OVERALL SCORING: 5.3/10
Final Thought: This is Omescape DC’s easiest room, so there’s not a lot for us to say other than it’s a good room to do for people who have never done a room before and don’t have an idea of what to expect in an escape room. If you’re doing multiple rooms at Omescape, we suggest this one, then Omega and then the Penitentiary.