Welcome witches and warlocks,
I recently had the pleasure of attending THE VIRUS ESCAPE ROOM by Get the F Out and thought I would offer up some thoughts for my fellow escape room enthusiasts. To best describe the story, I will turn to a slightly modified version of their website’s summary:
“A deadly virus has ravaged the planet and we must descend to an underground lab and find a cure before the computerized decontamination system destroys us and our efforts.”
Our journey begins with us being ushered into a small, closet like room where we were told to hold the bar in front of us. Soon, VR goggles were put over our eyes and we began to experience the ride down to the underground laboratory. The VR was actually pretty well as no matter where I looked there was something to see. If I had to log a complaint it would be that when I looked directly down, I never once saw a digital representation of my feet nor did I see my hands holding the bar in front of me when I looked forward. There was also a small sound issues where the things happening directly behind me (which I will get to in a second) sometimes were louder than what was being said by the doctor supplying us with information.
Of course, when we took off the goggles we found the entire laboratory behind us; ready for us to begin our work. Things were actually pretty calm right now because all we had to do was safely remove a blood sample from the rat in front of us so that we had a baseline to test against. Much like a theme park ride, where everything goes wrong, we botched the extraction and the lab was locked; leaving us with only an hour to find a cure for ourselves (and all of humanity) before the premises were destroyed.
The setup was a lot of fun and, thanks to a real looking rodent, had an air of authenticity. The lab we were in was small, with not an inch left to waste. Having spent some time in actual laboratories it felt authentic from its minimalist moving room to its bare countertops and cabinets. It was easy to believe we were in a real lab because there were many typical and less typical scientific accoutrements around to aid us in finding the cure.
No discussion of an escape room would be complete without some talks about the puzzles. There was a good mix here of head scratchers versus physical tasks that made it so that even those who are not as quick on the mental draw had some task to accomplish. There was so much to do that each person in my group was essentially working on different puzzles for the first half of the room. While we were working separately I came to notice and be impressed by the fact that they were able to cram so many different tasks into such a small space. From having to remote control a ball through a maze, to guiding a key along a wire track, to decoding a message, to a game of chess, they managed to put a ton of variety in that kept us occupied for nearly the entire hour.
I say nearly because we did have the good fortune to escape. I say good fortune because they have had over one thousand groups go through the room and less than one third have made it out in time. For those who manage to complete the room, there is even a little extra credit task that gives a bonus to those who can solve it before the rest of their remaining time runs out.
All in all, this is a pretty tricky escape room that manages to pack a big punch in a small space. I appreciated the sheer variety of puzzles and that there were plenty of manual tasks for those less inclined to take on the cerebral bits. This really is a fantastic escape room, but I would probably recommend it to people who have a little more knowledge of how escape rooms work than to a first timer.