RATING: 4 Keys RESULT: Win REMAINING: 21:33
A vampire and a unicorn walk into a bar. One has silver blood, the other is a bloodsucker. Who will rein victorious in this head-to-horn battle?
Steal the light! You and your coven lurk in the shadows, ever cautious to avoid the harsh glow of the neighboring Unicorn blessing. Come nightfall, you will reveal your fangs and strike against the horned nuisance. You may even develop a taste for silver blood…
In all the many creature-themed rooms we’ve played, we have rarely had the opportunity to be the “bad guy.” While most have had us hunting down a serial killer, exorcising a ghost, or getting rid of any number of other storybook monsters, Vampires literally thrusts players into the role of the cold, undead creatures of the night. We’re not talking about the sparkling kind here. We’re talking full-blown, bloodthirsty predators whose prime objective is to take out the unicorns and extinguish their light forever.
Escape Room RVA masterfully conveys the story through the awesomely impressive scenic of the game environment. The minute we stepped into the room, we were instantly transported into the cold, dark shadows of the vampires’ lair. This storyworld represents the fight against the unicorns, half of the epic battle taking place in this head-to-head competition setup.
On the other side of the wall, the horned creatures of magical lore seek to bring their blinding light into our deliciously dark coven. Each room is completely independent of the other and features entirely unique puzzles and gameplay from the other.
We enter the room by stepping into total darkness, apparently a shadowy cave just outside the lair. Once the game begins, we search for anything we can discover just by feeling around as best we can. Eventually, we come across the means to access the entrance into the next chamber, where the scenic really starts to come alive.
We climb several steps onto a raised platform where a huge crack in the stone wall is forming. This fissure is letting light seep in through its rocky fortress, from the place where those blasted unicorns are prancing around in the bright – and deadly – sunlight.
The cavernous walls are sculpted and curved, forming grand, seemingly natural archways down into the den. Along the walls in the main area are several small doors akin to crypts in a mausoleum. Several impressive and authentic-looking medieval weapons are placed throughout the space, the floor covered in finely crumbled pieces of rubber mulch to simulate the earthy floor.
Resting dominantly in the center of the main chamber is a huge, wooden coffin. The game spans several rooms, the last of which contains even more impressive scenic details. Long, flowing red drapes and another coffin are the main focal point, drawing our eyes away from an important-looking briefcase that we will need to access later. To gain the advantage in battle, the vampires have acquired access to a certain level of tech to aid them in defeating the unicorns.
The gameplay ties together in somewhat of a legacy system. As we solved challenges, we were granted pieces of rock to place into the crack where the light was leaking in. When the competing room is being played at the same time, the unicorns’ victory is indicated by the fracture becoming fully lit. Should this happen, however, players on the losing team are allowed to finish playing out their remaining time.
We were lucky enough to be battling other players serving as the unicorns during our time in the Vampires room, which made our experience all the more exhilarating.
In the vampires’ den, we foraged around in the loose earth, searched relics, and studied the ancient-looking scrolls for information. Later, we found a useful purpose for the weapons we had discovered earlier in the game. Every time we opened one of the small doors or a container, the reward was usually a piece of rock to help cover up the light. We raced against the brightness as it reached further and further up the wall, and the feeling of rushing to place each new piece into its proper location was cathartic.
Our attention to detail was thoroughly tested during gameplay, as we made visual associations, deciphered hidden messages, and identified the most useful items in the room that would aid us in our battle against the unicorns. Within each group that plays, one person will need to not suffer from claustrophobia, because let’s just say that the coffin will certainly come into play later in the journey and test their true meddle.
Upon entering the other room, we were tasked with helping our former vampire master who wasn’t fairing too well. This developed into a challenge we really enjoyed. The aforementioned briefcase proved to be a “colorful” weapon to use against the unicorns to help secure our victory.
Once we successfully completed the last step, our gamemaster opened a door and congratulated us on winning. We extremely enjoyed every minute of this room, even though we wished for somewhat of a larger production after we snagged the win. In the end, the gameplay and overall adventure was so entertaining and so thrilling, it didn’t diminish the experience in the slightest.
With each and every room that Escape Room RVA creates, they masterfully transform the space to the extent that if placed in one of their rooms in a vacuum, one could easily not have the faintest idea where they physically – or geographically – were located. That’s pretty impressive.
Vampires proved to be a great challenge and an overall super-fun time. We will also admit that it was very satisfying to be battling the unicorns at the same time. We could hear their music playing and gleeful yelling coming from the other side, which added to the excitement and pressure.
That said, this experience is perfectly playable in isolation and independent of the Unicorns room. Each adventure has its own unique storyworld and gameplay. We actually played the other one immediately after we completed Vampires. Stay tuned for that future review to see how we faired as unicorns.
Venue: Escape Room RVA
Location: Richmond, VA
Number of Games: 4
GAME SPECIFIC INFORMATION:
Duration: 60 minutes
Capacity: 7 people
Group Type: Public / You may be paired with strangers.
Cost: $25 per person