Rush Hour Live Escape Games – Something Wicked (Review)

Location: Fredricksburg, VA

Players: 2-8 (We recommend 3-4)

Price: Prices vary, see website for more details

Time to Escape: 60 minutes

…this way comes.

Theme:

From the Rush Hour Live Escape Games website:

A malevolent evil radiates from Deep Creek Forest. You and your team of paranormal investigators have been called in to find the source of the evil that is inhabiting the forest. People are disappearing without warning, including the first team of investigators called in. You had better be prepared because Something Wicked has moved in to the woods.

First Impressions:

Our final room of our Northern Virginia, 23 room trek took place within a haunted wood, and that’s the kind of theme I’m more than thrilled to engage with! Stepping in, we were treated to a very large, open area decked out to resemble a spooky witch’s wood, and I was excited to get started!

High Points:

Though the theme of paranormal investigation and folks disappearing into a mysterious forest are common horror tropes, I haven’t seen an escape room that takes on these combined tropes in my neck of the woods. The story is pulled off well, and uncovering the mystery of the Deep Creek Forest is a lot of fun, especially due to a couple of great surprises along the way. The set design within Something Wicked is engaging, and the huge room that Rush Hour has placed the experience within serves to ensure that it feels as though you’re adventuring through a huge, open air forest. Lighting is well done, presenting a night time scene without being so dim that it’s hard to see, (and for those darker corners, every player is provided a flashlight,) and the sound track does a great job at ensuring the room doesn’t feel flat, sonically. The whole vibe of the experience gives off a slightly more light hearted Blair Witch vibe, keeping things spooky and mysterious without getting overly scary. Rush Hour has done a great job with sound proofing again, and though other rooms touched the same walls, we’d never know it while puzzling inside.

There are loads of different areas to explore within Something Wicked, and while the room is mostly open, there is a distinct and intuitive puzzle path to begin with. From there, the game becomes mostly non-linear and this, coupled with the immense size of the room, ensures we were all happily puzzling away from start to finish. The puzzles were engaging, and well integrated into the theme, and the puzzle threads all tied up into a great climactic puzzle as well as a satisfying finale. The finale could also lead one of two ways depending on a choice we made during the game, and although we received the “good” ending, both seemed like a lot of fun, and several of us were wishing that we had unlocked the other, based on the description that was given to us. The game flow was very smooth, and the puzzles were gated off well, with all threads connecting nicely to one another, allowing the game to remain immersive, fluid, and intuitive.

Low Points:

One drawback of the set is that there is one area that initially looked like a spooky new place to explore, but was soon discovered to be a storage room that was not fully blocked off. While the ladder inside might’ve “helped” with the puzzles, it was fairly immersion breaking and probably should be sealed off better to prevent the antics of players more mischievous than us. The one exception to the excellent game flow was one puzzle that tied into another and did not actually require us to solve, leading a couple of us to wonder why it didn’t activate anything when we correctly placed the items. Luckily, our GM advised us that we no longer needed this part of the game, but it would’ve paid off better if the interaction was not solvable without this section. One particular puzzle was undirected, presenting us with a prop, and requiring us to just know when and where to use it, coming off as more of a directionless seek and find. We had one moment were we activated a solution, but the tech was a little faulty, leading us to double check our answers several times until the GM realized what had gone wrong. Finally, although we enjoyed the idea behind having two separate endings, the choice to trigger these endings was random, and it would’ve been nice to have more player agency over determining which ending we desired. Perhaps another puzzle or a more directed choice would make this part of the game more impactful than a fifty-fifty shot.

Verdict:

While there are hiccups here and there, Something Wicked was definitely my favorite of Rush Hour Live’s experiences. Blending a huge, spooky set with a Blair Witch lite storyline, we had a lot of fun escaping Deep Creek Forest. I’d definitely recommend this room to connoisseurs of the creepy and players of any skill level. Book your time facing the mystery of the forest here!

7.5/10 (Good)

Full Disclosure: Rush Hour Live Escape Games provided media discounted tickets for this room.

 

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