Escape Room Arlington – Secret in the Attic (Review)

Location: Arlington, VA

Players: 2-8 (We recommend 4-5)

Price: $28 per person

Time to Escape: 60 minutes

Spill that tea!

Theme:

From the Escape Room Arlington website:

Everyone loves your Grandmother, including you. Baking cookies, knitting sweaters, and everything else on the good Grandmother checklist. But you’ve always felt that there was something off about her, she always seemed to have lived a life more adventurous than the stories told of her youth. After she retired and moved away, you took it upon yourself to find out her secret. What was your sweet old Grandma hiding in the attic? The answer may change your life forever.

First Impressions:

After escaping the harrowing, yet enormously cool Mind Trap, it was time for us to embark on a somewhat more light hearted adventure. While the theme could certainly make room for some dark revelations, (and of course after escaping a serial killer, we couldn’t help but wonder,) but Escape Room Arlington’s website assured us this was a family friendly, wholesome adventure. While we were the slightest bit disappointed grandma didn’t have literal skeletons in her closet, we were excited to see what the big revelation would be!

High Points:

Our first steps into the room was astounding, as grandma’s house truly felt like the home of a grandmother, minus the distinct scent of mothballs. Antiques, a strangely familiar late 60’s couch, and the ubiquitous touches of the home of an elderly lady were all well incorporated into the room, and it brought back memories of spending time with grandma when I was a child. The set design here is brilliant, and though we’ve done grandma themed rooms before none were quite as marvelously decorated or nostalgic as this one! The design of the room also pays off the promise of a secret attic in a literal way, leading us up some winding stairs into the titular room, which added to the excellent immersion. The room itself is completely non-linear throughout, and the open space of grandma’s house truly ensures that the maximum eight players will not only be able to spread out comfortably, but always remain engaged with the game flow as well.

Speaking of game flow, it was amazing to me just how much there was to do within the room. Though we flew through the room, it always felt like each of us were interacting with a puzzle or working through the connections from start to finish, and our engagement with the room ensured that though we were making our way through at a good clip, it did not seem like it. In fact, it was surprising to us when we were almost done with the room and saw that we still had quite a bit of time to finish, we were that lost within the game’s immersion! The solves were very satisfying, and though the room was one of Escape Room Arlington’s easier challenges, we still had to work for our escape. The connections made were intuitive, but it took a good bit of brainpower and collaboration to crack the various codes. By the time we reached the excellent climax, we were jazzed and ready for more.

Low Points:

There is one point we got hung up on due to a small, unintentional red herring that directed us away from the proper solution. It wasn’t egregious, but the inclusion was strange as it was simply there with no particular purpose. Another puzzle relies on searching a rather large area, so outside knowledge becomes very helpful, though not strictly required. The item used to derive the code for this puzzle was also a little finicky, leading us to need to guess and check at one point. Veterans are gonna bust out of this one very quickly. As noted, it didn’t feel like we escaped in under twenty minutes, but we did. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but folks looking for a challenge should bring a small team or try out one of Arlington’s more difficult rooms, like Glitch. That being said, we really enjoyed this room overall.

Verdict:

Secret in the Attic is an excellent game that mixes tactile props, clever and hugely inventive puzzles, and a light hearted and wholesome storyline that families and new players will love. This would be an awesome way to start a new players escape room obsession, and though this room is easier, a small group of enthusiasts should not miss out on the beautiful set and satisfying puzzles within. I recommend giving this one a shot, and savoring your time searching for the Secret of the Attic! You can book your time in grandma’s house here!

8.5/10 (Great)

Full Disclosure: Escape Room Arlington provided media discounted tickets for this room.

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