International Spy Museum – Operation Spy (Review)

Location: Washington DC

Players: Up to 15 (As an interactive theatre experience, any amount will do)

Price: Depends on your ticket package, see here.

Length of Mission: 60 minutes

No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die!

Theme:

Accepting your first mission with a shadowy government spy agency, you and your team are transported to Khandar for a mission filled with intrigue and betrayal! A possible political assassination, a stolen doomsday device, and shifting alliances are only a few problems you’ll have to deal with during your mission! Based on actual CIA case files, Operation Spy is promised to be an experience unlike any other!

First Impressions:

Going in, I knew Operation Spy was more of an interactive theatre experience than an escape room, even though it was built by the highly recommended 5Wits. We enjoyed the Spy Museum before embarking on our mission, and it is top notch, containing a huge James Bond exhibit with a lot of interactive exhibits and props from a whole range of movies to marvel at! Upon our arrival at the briefing point, we were introduced to each other and the world of Khadar before meeting our contact.

High Points:

Our contact kept the high energy pace going throughout the experience, and helped lead us from point to point during this interactive adventure. There were several points throughout that felt like an “escape room lite” especially a hectic and pulse quickening bit during the middle of the game, and the puzzles that were delivered were fun and responsive. The story is well crafted, and evolved throughout the experience, with parts of the narrative branching based on the group’s actions. Throughout the many different areas we moved through, transitions were smooth and convincing, and the theatrical sets were incredible. For each puzzling interaction, there was enough for each member of the group to work together with others, leaving very little downtime.

Low Points:

On the flip side, having a large amount of strangers to work with can be difficult. In an escape room, random teammates can be good or bad, but are usually a certain type of person who has fun solving real life, large scale puzzles. The nature of the Spy Museum ensured we encountered a few teammates who were just along for the ride, and couldn’t quite pull their weight for their sections. Those going in expecting a full escape room experience will be disappointed, and most puzzling will be fairly simple for those who are enthusiasts. The show itself runs at a fast pace, and we’d hit a great part of the experience, only to have to shuttle out long before we’d exhausted the fun we could have in each segment.

Verdict:

As an interactive theatre experience, Operation Spy is a great addition to a visit to the International Spy Museum. There’s no real need to visit if you’re only interested in an escape room, but as a live, interactive show, it’s great fun! It’s also a good breather during DC escape marathons, as the puzzling is light, and allows several points where you can catch a rest. I definitely recommend checking it out! You can book your mission here!

7.5/10 (Good)

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