RATING: 4 Keys RESULT: Win REMAINING: 6:02
When the safety of the whole city is at stake, be sure to send in the best that you’ve got: a team of rookie detectives.
The city is under attack from a mysterious villain. You and your team of rookie detectives have been given a lead from an anonymous source that has taken you straight to what is believed to be a well-known Super Villain’s hideout. You must find out his plan of attack and escape before he returns!
Under siege by not only a villain, but a super villain, the city has called in its newest recruits to tackle the job. We have followed an anonymous lead in an attempt to uncover the mischievous scoundrel’s identity and thwart the attack before the entire city falls victim to their plot. The tip has led us to what appears to be just the place we’re looking for: the hideout of the mysterious rogue who plans to take the city down. Luckily, he is out running errands (or perhaps restocking his supply of deviled eggs, blood oranges, or devil’s food cake – whatever it is that bad guys eat.) We must work hard and fast to uncover his plot and put an end to it – before he puts an end to us.
Escape Game Knoxville has created an exciting and great adventure despite relying on a fairly common theme in the escape room industry. The Villain’s Lair expertly combines danger and daring in this fast-paced story that unfolds before your very eyes, delivering some thrilling surprises along the way.
While the game takes place inside a large, single room, the venue itself is perched atop a small hill. This location allows the experience’s scenic environment to include several huge windows which overlook a parking lot below that stretches out into the city. This is the one of the few times we didn’t mind windows being present, because they help relay the feeling that the Villain’s Lair is perched inside a lofty apartment, from which he can stare menacingly out at the town as he plots its demise.
The adventure is bathed in vivid theatrical lighting, consisting of different colors which help provide nice ambience to the setting. A large section of lockers dominates one end of the room, serving as a secure place to hide away components of the villain’s plans.
The opposite corner of the room boasts a dramatically lit brick wall supported by a raised floor, which creates additional space for a villain to hide nefarious items (or perhaps build a secret tunnel outside of the main entrance that leads into the city.) Tucked away against another wall is a large device which seems to be the very weapon we will need to disarm.
The overall decor of the space is reminiscent of a back alley, complete with touches of graffiti and some carelessly discarded paper trash. While the hideout is a bit unkempt, it seems perfectly suitable for a villain who has bigger and better things to do with his time than clean.
The puzzles in this adventure successfully tie into the story and push you further along the path to disarming the weapon. Essentially, The Villain’s Lair is a defuse-the-bomb game, but it is presented in such a way that it does not feel like the standard industry trope. We had to consult maps to identify potential target areas and access several well-hidden secret areas throughout the room – and, of course, access those lockers we mentioned earlier.
A long table in the middle of the room came in quite handy, allowing us to arrange and keep track of all the clues we discovered. Having a central place to team up and work on solutions together is always nice. Our group’s favorite challenge involved shooting a target, simply because it was executed in a different fashion than we usually see.
As suspected, the sub-floor held several secrets, but only when the time was right. As we inched closer to the end of the game and disarming the weapon, the tension built with the aid of flashing lights and audible noises. One wrong move and it would be the end of us, but we held steadfast and were able to defeat this villain.
The Villain’s Lair is billed as the most popular experience at Escape Game Knoxville, and we saw why. It is an all around a fun time and a great game to play with family and friends, and it has a theme that can appeal to just about everyone.
It was also touted as the most difficult offering. While it did provide a decent challenge for us, we’d also encourage newbies to also look into this room as it proved to be very enjoyable. Even if you are a seasoned player like us, The Villain’s Lair gives you the unique opportunity to become “rookies” again – and save the day while you’re at it!
Venue: Escape Game Knoxville
Location: Knoxville, TN
Number of Games: 4
GAME SPECIFIC INFORMATION:
Duration: 60 minutes
Capacity: 10 people
Group Type: Public/You may be paired with strangers
Cost: $27 per person