By the Pricking of Our Thumbs… – Room: Something Wicked – February 1, 2019

ESCAPE ROOM REVIEW – THE QUICK AND DIRTY

Play if… you enjoy the spookiness of camping out at night.

Avoid if… the smallest noise when camping overnight causes you to lie awake in terror.


THE BASICS

Rush Hour Live Escape Games:

Address: 1, Towne Centre Blvd #3100, Fredericksburg, VA 22407 (click address for Google Map)

Contact and Website: 540-684-6695
rushhourliveescapes.com

The Room – Something Wicked:

Description (from the company website): A malevolent evil radiates from the woods of Deep Creek Forest. People are disappearing without explanation, including a team of paranormal investigators who were sent in. You and your team have been called in to find the source of this supernatural power that has been inhabiting the forest. Be prepared, because all indications show that something WICKED has moved in!

You have 60 minutes!

(Website description above has been merged from two sightly different descriptions on the website.)

DifficultyDifficult

Time Limit: 60 minutes

Cost: $25 per person

Identifier: R1

Party Size: 6-8 players

Staging Area: There is a huge lobby with plenty of couches to relax before your experience. There are also lockers for your convenience to store your stuff while you are in the rooms.

Metro Access/Parking: Plenty of parking since the location is in a shopping center.


OUR EXPERIENCE

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.

Logistics:

Description of the room: You enter a forest that has a small campground surrounded by trees, a small cemetery, a wood cabin, and fenced-in garden. It’s dark and creepy.

Understanding of the Mission: Find the source of the evil that has been inhabiting the woods and if there is a way to banish it.

Did We Escape: Yes

Time Remaining: 15:30 remaining

Our Suggested Party Size: We had 7 and that seemed to work just fine

Did the room challenge the entire team? Yes

Members of our team (other than the ERG): Steph D., Brittany, Heather, Tara and EricWorth the time and money? Yes

Where to Eat/Drink Before/After: We didn’t have time to grab food or drinks, but you’re in a shopping center, so you have plenty of options.


OUR SCORING:

JASON SAYS: MIKE SAYS:
Overall Expectation (Summary)
Paul, the owner, had reached out to us back in 2018 and asked if we’d be interested in coming down to Fredericksburg to check out a room or two. You know us, who are we to say no to an invitation?

Upon reading the description of this room, I thought it would be something like Darkness Falls, which is a paranormal investigation. You know how I feel about those two words… Conversely, I love the concept of that room, with the approaching dusk. So I gave this one a pass.

We hadn’t heard of Rush Hour Live Escapes prior to this email and it always tickles us to find new rooms, especially when they find us, rather than us finding them. A quick email was sent to the team to poll them as to which room(s) they would prefer and then we scheduled the time and made our way down with some of our Disturbed Friends for a night on the “town.”

I hadn’t heard of this location, primarily because it’s a bit further south on I-95 than I normally go, but Jason had been in communication with Paul (the owner) as to having a team go down and check out one or two of their rooms.

Part of the problem in getting a team together and finding a time to get there is that traffic on I-95 is a problem at the best of times. We eventually settled on a date, polled the group as to the rooms at this location, and confirmed with Paul that we were okay to get these scheduled.

I based my selections on the website descriptions (so, hint to Escape Room owners… make sure that your website descriptions have some good detail as to what the room entails), and we were all set.

Something Wicked was the first room we did here.

Story (Rating)
We weren’t the first team of PIs (I know that means Private Investigator in real life, but in Escape Life ™ it’s Paranormal Investigator) to head into Deep Creek Forest in search of the evil that’s lurking, but we were the best (I speak from experience, obviously). People are disappearing from these woods and it was up to us to figure out what the entity is and how to stop it, or we would be it’s next victims. And you know we weren’t going to let that happen.

I think my favorite part of the story briefing was “the night is dark and the moon is full”. Not sure why, but it just hit me the right way.

Rating: 8/10

There is a great evil that has manifested in the darkness of Deep Creek Forest, and people have started disappearing without a trace. A team of paranormal investigators was sent in, but they – too – have vanished. We’ve been asked to figure out the mystery and the nature of the malevolence. 

So, we’ve done rooms where we’ve been paranormal investigators before, so this theme isn’t entirely original. However, Rush Hour’s spin is that we’re investigating the issues within a forest vs. a house or specific location (like a bedroom, or a parlor, or a basement, etc.).

The story has just enough of a creep factor to entice those who like those types of rooms (well, me being one of those people). And the name of the room “Something Wicked” references one of my favorite Shakespeare plays, so that was a nice addition.

There isn’t any build up to getting immersed in this room… it happens as soon as you open the door.

Rating: 8/10

Mission (Rating)
There were technically 2 objectives: discover what the actual entity was and figure out how to neutralize it.

Neutralizing is the priority. However, while discovery is secondary, it falls into the flow of the game, so you’ll do it anyway. There’s no specific thing to do to find out what it is that I can recall, though; you just find out as you progress.

You do, however, have to find out what you need for said neutralization during the course and you’ll need vocalization (unless you’re too few people in which case there will be a touch of running around) to do so.

Rating: 7/10

It’s pretty clear what you have to do once you enter the room… find the nature of the disturbance and eliminate it, if possible. Having two mission parameters is a nice touch because you CAN complete one without doing the other, but they are interwoven into the design of the room itself.

As I mentioned before… the paranormal theme isn’t new, but they put a nice spin on things. I can’t say much more because a lot of one of the parameters you figure out are revealed as you progress through the experience.

Rating: 7/10

Puzzle Diversity (Rating)
I will certainly give it to RHLE: there was a lot of cool stuff in this room that makes me feel that it’s home grown. I say that in a good way; the best of ways, actually.

There were a few things I hadn’t seen before, and one thing that made me actually jump, as I wasn’t expecting it from an escape room (though, honestly, I should have). But regardless, there were a few pad locks, several combination locks, maglocks; pretty standard fare.

The puzzles themselves…another story. When was the last time you used a signpost (like this) to solve a puzzle? Yeah, me neither. But that’s the point, isn’t it? There were a good amount of subtle clues, the ones that make you go “huh?” then scratch your head before having an epiphany. I think that’s the best part of this room IMO.

Rating: 8/10

The room is well done. As soon as you enter, it’s game on and a mad scramble to search a large location for the subtle things that are hidden here.

I loved the puzzle you find just inside the room (by about 10 feet on the right). It wasn’t the first time we’ve seen something like this but discovering how it worked was a lot of fun. You MAY think that you can solve it early… that’s a big ole NOPE.

Some of the other puzzles made me laugh and had some subtle dark humor worked in.

There is a huge mix of puzzles in this room… lots of observational, but a few actual puzzle-types to put together, and one that will challenge your sense of direction. I solved one pretty quickly because I had seen one like that in a previous location (hey, I like putting things together!).

For the locks, most of them fit the scene and had a large amount of combo locks and a few padlocks, but they used the magnetic locks and other types where it was fully appropriate and fit well into the story.

Rating: 8.5/10

Puzzle Complexity (Rating)
I can’t recall anything being terribly complicated, just some things that we overthought, but not to the point that we lost great amounts of time to them.

This room is cleverly put together, and I believe the ladies gave our GM a scare when they solved a puzzle super early, way before finding the clue on how to solve it, as they used the things in the vicinity of the lock to piece the solution together. Well done to them but we ended up wondering if the room had been reset properly after (and yes, it had been lol).

Difficulty range I would say was somewhere in the range of 2-7. Like I said, more clever than hard but well put together.

Rating: 6.5/10

This room had some good complexity in it. Lots of different things to search, which takes time, and some things that can be easily overlooked. If you aren’t persistent in your search, then you may miss something that will really help you solve that one puzzle everyone is working on.

We had a team of 7 strong players, and a few of them ended up solving one of the puzzles without the instructions that we were to find later… just by applying logic and previous playing experience to something they thought they’d try. I wouldn’t say this was brute-forcing the puzzle because it wasn’t random guessing…

I solved a few puzzles quickly on my own because I had seen something similar in other rooms. However, the one puzzle that we THINK we were all ready to solve required a spin that we hadn’t anticipated or fully zeroed in on, despite some clues as to how to do so.

Rating: 7/10

Flow/Cohesiveness/Uniqueness (Rating)
This is the rating where this room really shined.

You’re led down a very well defined path as you progress through the room. Everything in it’s place and a place for every thing kind of deal.

There is a good amount of searching to be done as this escape room is quite large as escape rooms go, but it’s supposed to be a forest and cabin so take that as you may.

There’s some fun to be had as well, and ample opportunity to scare the bejeezus out of your friends, so please do so with my best wishes. Hahaha (sorry, MUAHAHAHAHA)

Everything you solve has some connection to the story-line, so pay attention as you progress. You’re also given the option to take 1 bonus item into the room with you. Pay attention to what they are and choose wisely (or, IMO, obviously).

Btw, you’ll definitely feel like you’re at a campsite. It’s really well done. And pay no attention to the spiders. Any of them. At all. You’ve been warned.

Rating: 10/10

Remember that you’re investigating Deep Creek Forest, so that should immediately give you an idea as to the type of scene you’ll be thrust into. It’s a deceptively large space with a lot of things to search through, so small groups may find this a challenge.

However, everything regarding the decoration was very well done in this room. Part of the room (that you work with later into the game) was also fun, a bit creepy, and totally fit the overall theme. Larger groups, however, may find it difficult to all work together as you get towards the end.

The final reveal was pretty cool and I was fully entertained. I did have to ask the GM if there was a way to solve a combination lock without trying different sequences… he said “no” but we found out later that there was some design behind the combo… just a very, very subtle application of what you find and how you apply it. I would say it was almost too subtle.

The room flowed well… lots to do in the beginning and then coming together later on to get to the ultimate reveal. It was well done and fun to work through its progression.

One of our team members had the right idea a few minutes earlier in the game as to how to approach it, but we were all busy and we didn’t try her solution. We should have, so it goes to show that following Rule 6 (the speak up and try it out yourself rule) would have helped us here.

And, a room that has something that can make Jason jump should always get a brownie point LOL

Rating: 9/10

Fun/Amusement (Summary)
This room was one of the most fun rooms I’ve done in a while. There’s just little touches here and there, little things you’ll catch our of the corner of your eye, that will make you stop and go huh, cool.

If you don’t have fun in this room, blame your friends. Then get new ones.

Loved this room for the pure factor that it forced us to really search for things and then apply that info. Not a lot of “in your face” puzzles that were easily solved.
Game Master (Summary)
Very hands off until we needed clarifications. He knew who we were and what we were all about so it worked out well for us. Our GM was pretty hands off until we asked for clarification on two areas. I would have to say that we needed two hints from the GM.
How Helpful Were Any Clues Given, if any (Summary)
I will have to defer to Mike or check the video because I have a case of CRS right now. One hint we got from the GM was pretty useful… the second left us scratching our heads, and I was still puzzled once we finished the room and then had to ask the owner if there was something that hinted at the solution. Once I found that out, I did feel a bit stupid.
RAGE Meter ERG (pronounced URG, as in “we should have known better”) Score
Whole lotta NADA.

Fists – 0/5

This one got the “aw, that sucks” rating because my observation skills for that second clue weren’t running at full capacity.

Rating:  FacePalms – 2/5

ESCAPE ROOM GUYS’ OVERALL SCORING: 7.9/10

Final Thought: To be invited to a new location that we had not heard of before to check out some rooms is always a treat. When those rooms are well done, then it’s pretty awesome. Something Wicked offers a good creepiness factor, while also a great escape room experience that touches on the best things that you hope to find in a good one. We’re looking forward to going back and check out their other rooms.

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