Location: Fairfax, VA
Players: 2-8 (We recommend 4-5)
Price: $27 per person
Time to Escape: 60 minutes
From the Cyber Raccoons website:
Today we step back into the 19th century gold rush and western frontier. The transcontinental railroad has spurred the settlement of the American West. It carries massive Railway Mail shipments and transports millions of dollars in gold across the country from California to the main treasury in Washington, DC.A great train robbery stunned everyone with its audacity and execution. It required extensive planning on the part of the criminals to carry it off. Over $6,000,000 dollars varnished into the rugged mountain ranges of Nevada along with the clever outlaws. It could have been a ordinary crime but the gangs used a previously unknown weapon powerful enough to turn the main cat into a mangled pile of steel.So now it’s a matter of national security and because of the secrecy involved, a famous private company called the Pinkerton National Detective Agency was engaged. They specialize in solving train robberies and were hired by the government to investigate the crime and track the wily outlaws.Now you are the part of a team of Pinkerton Detectives, deputy sheriffs and marshals heading to a Virginia City Saloon with a mission to find the perpetrators of the crime, recapture the gold and to learn the nature of the secret weapon they used.
Cyber Raccoons Escape Room has one of the most intriguing names for a business, but a fancy name isn’t everything! We were excited to hear a good many fantastic reviews pretty much across the board from other owners while we were in Northern Virginia, however, so by the time we entered the lobby, we were psyched to see if Train Robbery would live up to the hype.
Stepping into Train Robbery sets the scene perfectly. The set is beautiful, fully immersive, and densely packed with secrets from start to finish. Boasting zero basic locks, and filled to the brim with well hidden technology, the room was constantly surprising us with well planned reveals and satisfying solutions. The whole room is objective based, tasking us not with escaping, but with determining the criminals responsible for the robbery and capturing the gold they stole for the most part of the experience. The story line follows these lines of investigation well, and drops tidbits of the mystery into our laps bit by bit. It continued to unfold beautifully until the final quarter of the room, when a majorly unexpected story element appeared, throwing our expectations for a loop in the absolute best possible way. We loved how masterfully Cyber Raccoons crafted their universe and narrative, and look forward to the implications of the astoundingly good climax, as there is room for a sequel.
The game flow is marvelous, with a non-linear approach that ensured our group of five remained locked into the experience and totally immersed within the story. The space is also large enough to comfortably hold the maximum number of players, and a group of eight newbies will not have trouble finding something to do. Searching within the room is directed, and never becomes a glorified scavenger hunt, ensuring that at all times, the game remains tightly crafted. Set pieces are large, and allow for some really cool large scale puzzling, and though the game does not hold your hand, it ensures that connections remain overall intuitive. The whole mystery remains in theme, and even when it was throwing us for a complete, mind blowing loop, it makes sense within the world of the game. So many of the puzzles are beautifully tactile, introducing a physical element of the game that I always enjoy, and allowing us to have a great time manipulating the hand crafted items while we solved.
One particular puzzle requires a little more guess and check than we would prefer, as there is a small logical leap to make based on the clues provided. Another main puzzle becomes a little to complicated overall, when small details suddenly become incredibly important, and it becomes necessary to scour the room for a good while to gather all the previously overlooked items. It is an interesting idea as a meta puzzle, but takes a rather long time to complete, stalling out the game flow.
Aside from a few very small issues, Train Robbery sets off an amazing start for Cyber Raccoons! One of the best rooms we experienced during our trip, I absolutely recommend checking it out. Their next room, Space Glider, is due out soon, and I cannot wait to see what these guys come up with next, as their sets, story lines, and immersion are absolutely stunning! Book your time solving the great Train Robbery here!
Full Disclosure: Cyber Raccoons Escape Room provided comped tickets for this room.