So, this review is based on Box 2 of a series that explores the continuing saga of your childhood friend, James, who is on the run after being accused of the murder of his wife, the heiress of a powerful family, during their honeymoon. James has been reaching out to you through a series of boxes sent to your address, which evolves the mystery. This is a pretty cool premise because while this isn’t an actual escape room, the mere method of tying in the delivery of the boxes to you starts the immersive experience.
We liked the second box as much as the first one. It required a lot of reading (like the first) and solving a lot of different clues using items in the box as well as your phones.
This one took us about 35-40 minutes, and was done by the same group of us (Mike, Jason, and our Escaptern Mark)
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Description (from the company website):As well-known detectives, you are accustomed to solving mysteries. However, this one may have you a little stumped until you can unearth the clues.
A valuable painting has been stolen from the art gallery, right under the noses of daytime guards. It is up to you to crack the case and bring the culprits to justice. To make matters worse – the gallery manager, lackadaisical in his duties, does not check every room in the expansive gallery and locks you in. No worries, though. Your way out is simple: You just must find the missing artwork and figure out who stole it.
Feeling a bit dismayed? Just look around you. All the aesthetically appealing artwork is there to view. It is also there to tell a story. In fact, if you want to win your way out, the answers you need are embedded in the artworks themselves. Now get started: You are running against a clock!
Difficulty (1-10): N/A
Time Limit: 45 minutes
Cost: $20 (for adults; $16 with Student ID)
Party Size: 3-10
Staging Area: Decent sized waiting area with plenty of things to keep you occupied while you wait. FYI, to access the site you’ll have to go up half a flight of stairs. Then, to get to the actual escape rooms, another flight of stairs.
Metro Access/Parking: Eastern Market is a few blocks away. We recommend that or Lyft/Uber unless you want to roll the dice on driving and finding street parking.
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 enter what appears to be a small art gallery that has a trunk in the center of the room.
Understanding of the Mission: Search the gallery for the clues to find the missing painting and the culprit who stole it.
Did We Escape: Yes
Time Remaining: 6:40
Our Suggested Party Size: We were 3 people and didn’t have a hard time with this. We’d say 4-6 (at the higher end if you’re inexperienced).
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.
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:
Find out who the murderer was
Find out when the murder occurred
Find the murder weapon
Determine the location of the murder
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:
who the murderer is
the exact date of the murder
the location where the murder occurred
and the murder weapon
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.
Mike’s Hobbies: Genealogy & Travel
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).
Description (from the company website): You and your teammates are a group of Private Investigators back in the 1920’s. There have been a series of murders recently all with a mysterious calling card left at the scene. All clues point to the fact that the next murder will occur in 60 minutes. Try to solve the case and catch the murderer before time runs out!
Difficulty (1-10): 8/10
Time Limit: 60 minutes
Cost: $29 per person
Party Size: 2-6
Staging Area: a very simple lobby with a few chairs and a coat rack. This place has a sample of each lock for you to practice on before entering the room.
Metro Access/Parking: it’s in Leesburg, so you gotta drive, but there is plenty of parking.
Here is the Facebook Live video before we entered the room:
And here is the video after we escaped the room:
Description of the room: a small Private Investigator’s office, set in the 1920s… and a whole hell of a lot of padlocks.
Understanding of the Mission: Investigate a series of murders and find the serial killer before he/she kills again.
Did We Escape: Yes
Time Remaining: 4:22
Our Suggested Party Size: 4-6
Did the room challenge the entire team? Yes and no. More on that later.
Members of our team (other than the ERG): Steph, Dalia, Alphonzo
Worth the time and money? yes
Where to Eat/Drink Before/After:
Dog Money Brewery – stop in for pub food and a flight their brews. Home-made pretzels and dipping sauces are awesome.
Description (from the company website): As Sherlock, you have broken into Professor James Moriarty’s office… and he isn’t happy. What does he have planned and can you prevent it from happening?
The clock is ticking… Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.
Difficulty (1-10): 6/10
Time Limit: 45 minutes
Cost: $28 + tax per person but use ERGUYS15 when booking to save 15% off per ticket.
Party Size: 6-8 (7 or 8 only if you book the entire 6 first)
Staging Area: Escape Room Live Alexandria has a large, open space complete with cow skin rugs and couches with ample seating located in the middle of all the rooms, so there is plenty of space to hang out if you get there early. The requisite restrooms are in the back and the decor includes extremely wacky artwork.
Metro Access/Parking: King Street metro w/ a .7 mile walk (or take the free King Street Trolley to Columbus Street); street/garage parking.
Description of the room: Professor Moriarity’s office is smaller than Sherlock’s, but it’s not the size that counts here. (HA!) It’s packed with cool stuff, hidden items, and maps.
Understanding of the Mission: Professor Moriarty has planned a nefarious attack and the authorities need Sherlock’s (our) help to sleuth the what, the where, and the how (because we already knew the who, the when, and the why).
Did We Escape: Yes
Time Remaining: 17:40
Our Suggested Party Size: We wouldn’t recommend booking the extra 2 seats, as the room is physically small. 6 is good, 5 would probably be perfect.
Did the room challenge the entire team? Yes
Members of our team (other than the ERG): Steph, Dalia, and Rohan
Worth the time and money? Yes
Where to Eat/Drink Before/After: It’s Old Town, but we recommend: