Location: Herndon, VA
Players: 2-10 (We recommend 4-5)
Price: $28 per person
Time to Escape: 60 minutes
From the Escape Room Herndon Website:
Your friends have come over to play your newest video game; however once you get to the basement you see your mom has locked up all your gaming gear until you finish you homework. You and your friends have 60 minutes to find all your gear and put it back together before your mom kicks them out and they all go over to Wade’s house.
I have to say, as a child who grew up on the NES, 80’s and 90’s movies, and sitting in front of giant box TVs on grandma’s shag carpet, 8-Bit Escape was absolutely calling my name, as it called most of our team. I try to go in to rooms without big expectations, but the pull of nostalgia from this one was hard to resist, and I was giddy to see what wonders were in store during this escape!
There are several pictures in this review that show the amount of detail that has gone into making 8-Bit Escape a truly convincing blast to the past, but these pictures alone cannot describe the absolutely amazing feeling of stepping into the room for the first time. The experience is truly brilliant, with a set design that stays one hundred percent faithful to it’s gloriously creative theme. Sound design was amazing as well, and hearkened back to the NES era of chiptune earwigs that I still cannot get out of my head decades later. The story is simple, but effective, and calls to the kid in us; it does a fantastic job to frame the adventure, but doesn’t need to be overly complex, as the main draw here is the immersion within the old school theme of the room. The first thing most folks will want to do upon entering is get their hands on some of the fantastic, true to life props and just start playing around, and in some cases, there are items within the room that are marked as simply that, games and toys to play around with while you explore the room. this touch is fantastic, and though they may not further the puzzle flow, they do add to the immersion of the room, and allow players to indulge their nostalgia to their heart’s content.
8-Bit Escape is a room that’s just enormously fun to be in, but there’s still an escape game to play inside, and it is just as exciting. The game flow is fantastic, with a non-linear run that ensures big groups with have plenty to work on when they aren’t playing around with the Atari or He-Man figures. Every single puzzle within this room is integrated perfectly into the theme, and there are so many superbly creative interactions, some of which we’d never seen before. One early puzzle rewards a bit of outside knowledge without requiring it, and gives a rush of satisfaction to those that can solve it early without breaking the game flow by skipping ahead, which is great. One of my absolute favorite parts of the room involves a full scale arcade cabinet, and an interaction that expanded the room in a way I did not expect. There are further surprises in the late game that are beautifully done, and during this climax, there are some absolute full-scale gems that are just joyous to work through. All in all, this room is a pleasure through and through, and I cannot say enough good things about the experience. It goes without saying that I recommend booking a slot here, no questions asked.
We had to eventually leave. Seriously, though, that was kind of a bummer. We could spend all day in this room if you let us, I’m sure! Honestly, the only problem I personally can think of is that there are a few props that feel a bit worn. Beyond that, I really can’t think of much that I could write here.
Only one other escape business I’ve visited has ever received more than one ten out of ten review from us in three years, but Escape Room Herndon absolutely deserves to be just the second business to receive this honor. 8-Bit Escape is an escape room that is elevated from merely a simple game to an experience that is a pure joy to engage with. The set design, nostalgia, clever puzzling, and great easter eggs come together to deliver a room that absolutely deserves the title of must-play! Book your time in mom’s 80’s basement here!
Full Disclosure: Escape Room Herndon provided comped tickets for this room.