Location: Richmond, VA
Players: 2-10 (We recommend 4-6)
Price: $25 per person
Time to Escape: 60 minutes
I dream of Genie
During your travels, you’ve come across a lamp similar to that described in the 1001 Arabian Nights, and on a lark you rub it to see what will happen. Much to your surprise, the lamp begins to emit a smoke, coalescing into the form of a wish djinn! Unfortunately for you, the tricksy djinni has had millennia to devise a way to twist your wishes, and he’s trapped you inside his lamp so that he can go free. The magic is unstable, though, and if you can determine a way out within the hour, you can reverse the curse! If not, you’d better get comfortable.
Genie’s lamp is the newest room at Escape RVA, and is yet another in a string of highly original ideas coming from the folks that brought us Unicorns vs. Vampires, one of my favorite theme ideas of all time! In fact, this is the room that replaced those, so upon entering the genie’s lounge, there was a slight bit of nostalgic familiarity to the room. The colors were bright and the set design was alluring, so we immediately got to escaping!
Though Genie’s Lamp felt familiar to us because of our adventures as Unicorns and Vampires last year, Escape Room RVA ensured that the experience felt fresh by flipping the script in several places. We enjoyed reminiscing about spots we remembered, while still being served up a fresh set of puzzles and loads of new surprises that wowed us. One particular interaction was highly unexpected, and had me grinning while I completed the task. Another highly interesting part involved a door I had loads of fun unlocking, becoming a puzzle in itself, which is an idea I’ve only seen a couple times before and think is a wonderful, outside the box way of presenting this sort of enigma. The bright and beautiful atmosphere is a welcome respite from the usual run of dark and dreary horror themed games, and though we love those, its always nice to have something a bit more light hearted and colorful. The climax was appropriately engaging and was an excellent way to end the escape, with a few tactile puzzles and one that played with perspective in a fun way.
On the whole, Genie’s Lamp felt disjointed. There were a lot of puzzles to complete, but they mostly felt disconnected from the theme, feeling somewhat less like the home of a powerful djinn, and more like the lounge of a Hollywood actress with some slightly Arabian Nights inspired decorative tastes. One puzzle along those lines felt weirdly out of place, shoehorned in randomly, and feeling more like filler than an engaging interaction. Another contained a superfluous interaction that we never quite understood, despite figuring out the code. The connective tissue during the game flow never quite took hold, and rather than feeling as though we were playing through a tightly knit adventure, the experience was more like floating from point to point without a real story or goal beyond get out of the room. While that usually isn’t that bad of a thing, we’ve come to really enjoy Escape Room RVA’s objective based games that involve a little more story.
There are some really great ideas within Genie’s Lamp and the basic premise is ripe for an inspired experience, possibly because the game is still fairly new, it doesn’t quite hold us to the usual standard of excellence that Escape RVA has set for Richmond. However, having escaped 5 other fantastic rooms at this company, I know that they can iterate this one to make it truly shine. That said, it isn’t a bad game in any respect, just not as amazing as their others. Newer players and those who care less for theme and story will have a lot of fun in this more puzzle focused room, but enthusiasts will probably enjoy their other offerings, Cake or Death and Vanity, much more. You can book your time escaping the lamp here!
Full Disclosure: Escape Room RVA provided comped tickets for this room.