My experience at Xscape the Room Media began as we entered a pristinely maintained office building on 3rd Street. We were directed towards a common kitchen area between several offices and adjacent to a glass enclosed conference room. Happily, this area was unoccupied, or else the experience would have been much more awkward and uncomfortable. We were quickly greeted by a very friendly young woman named Kristin, who provided us with the one electronic device to pass around to sign the standard waver. She chatted warmly and inquired as to whether we had been to an escape room experience before. Having been the only person in our group of nine to have been to a similar experience, Kristen encouraged the rest of the group to listen to each other, work together and to be sure to announce when you discover clues. Sound advice to be certain.
Once the wavers had been signed, and we had all made name tags sporting 1920’s era mobster names (I chose Mugsy) to accompany the speakeasy themed room we were about to enter, we were led to the alcove outside of the room. Here… Kristin slipped from our happy hostess into the saucy character of our speakeasy bartender!
She laid out some brief rules, including the fact that electrical outlets were not a part of the game, which we ended up being thankful we knew. Then, Kristin alerted us to the fact that the speakeasy owner “Bugsy” (oops) had stepped out to take care of some business with his goons, and that we have about an hour before he comes back and busts our skulls for being in his joint, and though she could help us three times if needed, she was technically on Bugsy’s payroll and her assistance “wouldn’t come cheap”.
Eight fellow students and I entered a dimly lit, and quite frankly, strange little room which felt EXACTLY how you would imagine a speakeasy to feel. At a glance, the room is equipped only with black and white headshots of stars from the time, a full bar, shabby furniture, and a complete stranger watching you explore a room from another time. The experience is surreal without question.
As we all examined the room around us, it wasn’t long before we were all excitedly clambering with reports of what we had found. Clues, mysterious keys, inexplicable objects and the added fun of period costume pieces lay before us. Without a second thought, we all wore the costumes, and tried to start puzzling it out, but we kept getting stumped! That’s when we decided to keep looking, which turned out to be our saving grace, because we uncovered a link that allowed us to make headway.
(Let that be a word of wisdom- the moment you think you have found all you can find is the moment you will fail this challenge).
From there we were on fire, working together, laughing, screaming, committing to character and using our minds. It was a fully engaging and brilliantly creative excuse for some team building. In fact, Kristin commented half way through that she wished she was playing with us, because of how much fun we were having!
Ultimately, we did escape the room with only five minutes to spare, and as the rush of satisfaction and camaraderie swept over us all, I knew that we had just made an amazing life memory that bonded us all.
True, though the puzzles weren’t quite as insanely difficult as the last escape room I had been to, they allowed for just the right amount of laid back fun to make this a glowing highlight in the suburban event scene. I would recommend this to families, groups of friends, groups of enemies, stressed out commanders, handmaids that need to use their minds for a change, and anyone looking for more fun than Netflix and chill ever had.
Xscape the Room Media offers up 4 rooms: The Classroom, The Safehouse, The Speakeasy, and The Sanctum
Review by Raymond Carter-Thompson