ESCAPE ROOM REVIEW – THE QUICK AND DIRTY
Play if… you’ve ever yelled “Goonies Never Say Die!” or did the truffle shuffle.
Avoid if… you’re scared of dead bodies. Or rats. Or spiders. Or the dark. Or graves. Or tombs.
Escape Room Herndon:
Address: 404 Elden St, Herndon, VA 20170 (click address for Google Map)
Contact and Website: 571-306-2279
The Room – The Cursed Crypt: RETIRED
Description (from the company website): You’re a group of adventurers who’ve stumbled onto the tale of Chester Copperpot, a reclusive treasure hunter who’s gone missing. Your travels have brought you in front of this Cursed Crypt.
Through the darkened chamber doors, the candle shivers, casting shadows upon the entrance to the tomb. There within its cold walls, a mystery awaits in the darkness. Symbols cover the walls. Skulls litter the floor, and the graves of the dead fill the room with fiendish surprises. Here in this crypt, your team must uncover the riddle and discover the hidden treasure Copperpot never could before the devil knows you’re there.
Difficulty (1-10): 6/10
Time Limit: 60 minutes
Party Size: 4-6
Staging Area: A pretty large lobby with a few bar tables and chairs, and a lounge with couches and chairs and tables.
Metro Access/Parking: It’s in Herndon so you’re better off driving.
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 graveyard with a large stone wall, presumably the crypt. Can you find your way inside?
Understanding of the Mission: Find your way inside the Cursed Crypt, solve the puzzles, find the treasure, and secure the golden key that will allow you to escape from certain death.
Did We Escape: Yes
Time Remaining: An even 10 minutes
Our Suggested Party Size: 4 was great. 5 could work too.
Did the room challenge the entire team? Yes
Members of our team (other than the ERG): Mark and Eric
Worth the time and money? Yes, but it’s closing at the end of the February 2018.
Where to Eat/Drink Before/After:
- Not Your Average Joe’s – casual bar cuisine
|JASON SAYS:||MIKE SAYS:|
|Overall Expectation (Summary)|
|I remember putting this place on the list sometime early/mid 2017 (you know, because it’s in Herndon). We finally got around to going after reaching out to them. My only regret is not having enough time to really get this review of this room out there because it’s closing in about 2 weeks (from the date I’m writing this). Oh well. The room replacing it should be awesome, though!||We’ve been expanding our geographical search further out from DC/Alexandria for escape rooms, and we found Escape Room Herndon. This is our first room at this location, so I don’t know if I had any specific expectations. However, there were a few rooms that we could select from for this visit, but we chose The Cursed Crypt because it is being sunset at the end of February. Plus, it is loosely based on a great cult classic ’80s film, so it definitely had that going for it.|
|Famous treasure Hunter Chester Copperpot has gone silent while searching for a buried pirate treasure. You know what he was looking for, and you know where he was last “seen”, so you and your friends try to find him, the treasure, or both.
|You and your friends come across the story of Chester Copperpot, a famous treasure hunter who went missing searching for pirate treasure. Now you’re wondering if the treasure is real, and what happened to Chester. Can you determine if this story is fact or fiction?
|Chester has gone silent on his search for the treasure and you’ve decided you and your friends could do what he could not. You go to his last known location to find any clues he may have left behind, and hopefully the treasure he was searching so desperately for.
|You find yourselves at Chester’s last known location, which is a graveyard outside a stone crypt. You have to find your way inside, figure out if the treasure is real, what happened to Chester, and then escape the crypt before it seals closed, trapping you inside and making you part of the permanent decor.
|Puzzle Diversity (Rating)|
|1 – no combination locks (though 2 keys)
2 – see #1
3 – repeat the aboveSolving puzzles to open a treasure chest that has more puzzle pieces for other puzzles is just so much more fun/satisfying that opening combination locks. Don’t ask me why. (Because if you’re read any of our posts, you should already know why.) This is the way things should be done in escape rooms. Going through a room opening combo lock after combo lock becomes tedious and makes me want to MDK someone. (I’m looking at you ER LOCO!)That being said…wait for it… THINGS WE HAVEN’T SEEN OR DEALT WITH BEFORE! Oh, how I actually loathe saying that. But at least it’s honest. We’ve seen takes on similar puzzles, but none of them were actually done in the same manner. Whether a refreshing spin or new altogether, the rating I’ve given to this room speaks for itself.Rating: 10/10
|I really loved all the different types of puzzles in this room. It had a nice refreshing mix of semi-physical ones, mental challenges, and a mix between the two. Aside from locks that totally fit the theme (locked treasure chests?), there were some really, really cool puzzles that were somewhat obvious and others that almost seemed to be hidden in plain sight (so kudos on the room design itself). I was also surprised at some of the puzzles, which we haven’t seen before, in addition to others that had a spin on some puzzles we’ve seen in other locations.
I think this is one of the few rooms that didn’t depend on combination locks to guide you through the room, so that was also refreshing.
|Puzzle Complexity (Rating)|
|As I mentioned, we got stumped on one puzzle, but it wasn’t the end of the world. Probably was the hardest part of the room. What we did not do was follow through on enough of our ideas. That’s what got us this time.
The puzzles themselves were pretty logical (but not in a ‘logic puzzle’ kind of way). I think we were just “on” when we started so things happened quickly and I had to be brought up to speed at least once because I was too busy exploring/searching when the guys we’re solving.
|We had a team that is pretty experienced in doing the rooms with us, so there were parts of the room that we blew right through. The “bad” part about doing a room with experienced team members is that sometimes things are solved so quickly that you don’t get a full feel for the room. While we followed Rule #1 and moved everything that was completed to one area, we had to stop a few times and ask each other how things were solved so we knew not to keep looking at items that we couldn’t put away.
I don’t think that the puzzles were overly complex, but we did get stumped on a really cool puzzle. We did 90% of what we needed to do to solve it, but then got distracted by something else and didn’t finish that last 10%, requiring us to request a clue at one point when everything was solved and we were stuck.
|The room starts off in a graveyard and escalates very quickly. You immediately feel like you’re actually in a cursed crypt, as ERHerndon did a helluva job with the decor. This was one of the few rooms I can honestly say that everything (with 1 minor exception) fit the room perfectly. (And that’s not to say it wouldn’t have fit if it was a different animal…)
Anyway, the clues/props all fit with the theme of the room (and the unofficial back story) and there was only one thing that stumped us. Thankfully, though, it was not something entirely stupid (as I noted to Eric I would be pissed if it was), but more something we overlooked. Though if you check out our pre-room video, there’s a little bit of a hint in there for you (if you can do the room before it is retired).
|While Escape Room Herndon may not have the uber-resources of Escape Room Live, they did a phenomenal job of making you actually feel as if you were in a dark, creepy crypt. They prove that some well though out decorations and some creative thinking can go a long way in really putting you in the middle of the experience.
While this room is somewhat linear, we only had 4 people so it worked pretty well. It was also large enough to keep us all busy exploring.
Finally, the theme was followed in every aspect… from the decorations to the puzzles to the clues themselves, and the room was a hell of a lot of fun to play. And they get some bonus points for some unique puzzles too.
|As I expressed to Omer (one of the owners) after we escaped, this was probably the most fun I’ve had in an escape room in months. I particularly enjoyed the use of shitty flashlights, to “simulate” being in the 80s.||I loved playing this room… both for the sheer fun of how it was designed, for the nostalgia of the ’80s, and for the types of locks and puzzles that we had to figure out. I came out of it energized and not mentally exhausted, which is a nice change after some of the rooms we’ve done. I think the last room we did of this caliber was Evolution of Games in New Orleans, and I’ll remember this one fondly.|
|Game Master (Summary)|
|I don’t actually know which of the guys (if not both) was GMing, but they had a monitor mounted to the wall that acted as a clue board as well as a timer. Cameras allowed them to see/hear us and they provided hints (and nudges) if we asked.||This room was pretty unique in that you didn’t know who was actually game mastering. Omer or Aaron did a good job in providing the nudge we needed to get over the one puzzle we were stumped on, and the clue was delivered quickly and was exactly what we needed (we’ve been to other rooms that seemed to have a set script of clues, which are given in succession, so we’d have to keep saying “we did that already” before we got to the nudge we needed).|
|How Helpful Were Any Clues Given, if any (Summary)|
|Knowing who we were, they agreed to only provide hints upon requests (same for nudges). We took one of each and I didn’t feel terribly stupid that we used both on the same puzzle. (Ok, maybe just a little…)||They provided both a clue and a nudge, and they got us over the hurdle.|
|Anger Level Score||ERG (pronounced URG, as in “we should have known better”) Score|
|No real frustration here. (You know, I’m starting to think 0 and 1 in this rating are just the mark of a good room…)
Rating: Fists – 0/5
|Once we got the clue, I didn’t feel all that stupid because we had exhausted MOST of the ways to solve that particular puzzle.
Rating: FacePalms – 2/5
ESCAPE ROOM GUYS’ OVERALL SCORING: 7.75/10
Final Thought: This was just a really fun room to play and we’re glad that we decided to do this one before it closed. We hope that Room Escape Herndon actually sells the design of this room to another location because we think that it’s a great room to play for large groups of novices or small groups of experienced teams.