|Game experience: VERY GOOD
|The use of hi-tech to further the immersion.
|The express introduction and debriefing.|
Escape Room Live is a quite famous escape venue in the Washington D.C. area, with two locations, one in Alexandria, and a more recent one in Georgetown. The latter features a very large and beautiful waiting space, that even includes a bar – the perfect place to debrief and unwind after your adventure!
Their system is quite different from other Escape game companies. First, their games are all 45-minutes-long in both venues. Second, their rooms in Georgetown (but not in Alexandria) feature some hi-tech devices such as large screens, that show “outside the room”, are an integral part of the adventure and further the immersion. I had met the chief operating officer at A Game of Rooms and we went to play a few escape games together at Escape Room Live. Being real escape room enthusiasts, we decided to play three games in a row: Ghostbusters, Jason Friday the 13th and Runaway train.
As in many Northern American venues, you can be grouped with strangers if you do not book the whole room for yourself – for this game, we were grouped with a couple. You will play here, as you could expect, the role of the famous ghost hunters. Ghosts have invaded the city at different locations and are running havoc. To capture each of them, you will have to solve a couple of dedicated puzzles.
The immersion is excellent, with screens in the room showing the ghosts wandering around. The use of the “ghost scanner” (a tablet with augmented reality) is also a great addition. Finally, there are some nice machines in the room.
The puzzles are also good. Some of them are on the classical side, but the use of hi-tech adds some excitement. There is even some humor in the choice of some items – a rarity in the escape world – that brings a new twist to item searching!
The gamemastering, however, could have been better. First, the gamemaster did not show great enthusiasm to make sure that all his instructions were understood clearly by all members of the team, and I had a lot of difficulties to understand him. Also, he rushed through the debriefing. We got helpful hints when we asked for them, though.
You can ask for as many clues as you want with a walkie-talkie, but you cannot enter the leaderboard if you use any. We ended the game three minutes before the time limit, after having used two clues – not a remarkable performance, but we had a lot of fun! The structure of the room is largely parallel, and some members of your team can work on capturing one ghost while the other members are working on another ghost. For this reason, this room can be played by a team of 4 people of more, though 6 players or more might be a little bit crowded, as the place is not that large.
Despite the perfectible hosting, Ghostbusters is an excellent and very innovative second-generation room, and was my second favorite escape experience in the DC area. If you’re visiting DC and are interested in escape games, you have to play it!
Game tested in July 2018 (Photos 1, 3, 4 & 5: Escape Room Live / Photo 2: Escape The World)
Here is a video presentation:
And here is a video of DC’s hockey team, the Washington Capitals, playing the room (beware though, as some parts might be considered as spoilers):