Location: Arlington, VA
Players: 2-8 (We recommend 2-4)
Price: $28 per person
Time to Escape: 60 minutes
Gotham City needs its heroes.
From the Escape Room Arlington website:
Slip on your spandex and strap on your utility belt! The super villains have escaped the comics! Using your wit and wiles, you must break into the very heart of darkness; transport yourself into the comic lairs of four of the city’s most notorious super villains, discover the clues they’ve left behind and save the city… if it’s not too late.
Escape Room Arlington had already shown us some impressive rooms, so we were absolutely hyped for their take on the rare Superhero genre, at least in regards to escape rooms! Side note, as much as we love being the super heroes, the title of this room made me pine for a room where you get to be the super villains, which I think would be enormously fun! Perhaps a sequel is called for?
Super Villains begins with an intense opening in an expansive, varied, and beautiful set. Initially placed in the center of a completely open space, players travel between the lairs of Catwoman, Joker, The Penguin, and The Riddler, and each room is wonderfully decorated to reflect the personality of their owners. This openness is great for larger parties, allowing the group to split up and take on their favorite villain, while crossing over between each room as pertinent clues reveal themselves. This is exactly what our group of five did, as from the word go, I took the Catwoman room, one friend took on The Joker, and my wife and other two friends split time between The Penguin and Riddler’s lairs. At no point during the game were any of us not fully involved with puzzling, and we all found puzzles to suit our tastes and solving styles. The rooms weave together beautifully, and the game flow’s entirely non-linear threads tie together perfectly at the climax, giving us tangible feedback on our progression and making for enormously satisfying solves. Wrapping everything into the theme of the room are a cavalcade of fantastic props, including some tactile items that encourage some great mechanical puzzling.
Due to our frantic divide and conquer puzzling, we made pretty good time in this room, (and capstoned our years long quest for a golden gnome, a Ravenchase staple,) but that isn’t to say that the adventure isn’t densely packed with puzzles, quite the opposite! So many of these interactions are part of the set design, and figuring out their secrets is immensely enjoyable. There are some neat twists on standard designs, helping the entire game feel fresh, even for folks on a 23 room mega-marathon, and working through this highly intuitive yet entertainingly challenging experience was absolutely one of the highlights of our trip. In fact, I’d say it’s one of the highlights of my escape career so far!
Our quest for a golden gnome is finally complete!
There was one particular puzzle that involved a fair bit of squinting to make out, which is somewhat by design, but even with tools to figure this one out, it’s a bit of a seek and find that was mostly underwhelming. That being said, we enjoyed every other puzzle in the room, so it wasn’t that big of a deal. The only other thing is, as may be obvious, this room could be a bit easy for long time enthusiasts, however, I feel it was still a reasonable challenge, and we had a glorious time in this room.
Escape Room Arlington’s Super Villains is a novel room, with an interestingly open layout that still manages to hide many secrets within its walls! Original puzzling, some beautiful set designs, and an intense storyline that had us battling it out with some of our favorite villains all wove together into one of the most exciting games we have played in Virginia or beyond! Without a doubt, I recommend checking out this room, and look forward to what the designers come up with next! Book your time in Escape Room Arlington’s manic comic book here!
Full Disclosure: Escape Room Arlington provided media discounted tickets for this room.