You have 60 minutes

Kristen Sill | Courtesy
Kristen Sill | Courtesy

By Troy Aubut

For those who love puzzles and want to try something out of their usual comfort zone, Escape Room Virginia Beach might be a place worth spending time. Once inside one of the four rooms available, the group is given 60 minutes to use elements of the room and the member’s collective knowledge and wits to discover clues, solve puzzles and escape and/or find the missing item. People can choose to book a private room or work with a group of 8 to 10 others. This is a different kind of place to enjoy an interactive group experience with a significant other, family, friends, coworkers or even complete strangers.

Escape Room is 15 minutes away from campus and is located at 408 Investors Place near Mt. Trashmore Park. It opened up in July of 2015, and was brought to the Hampton Roads area by the owner.

“He [owner] had played an Escape Room in Washington DC and loved the concept so he wanted to bring it to Hampton Roads as a new and fun interactive team building experience,” Kristen Sill, general manager of the Escape Room Virginia Beach, said.

While there is the opportunity to stop by and book a room instantly, it is easier to plan ahead and book a room online at the website for a guaranteed spot. Escape Room is open every day of the week and rooms can be booked at times that suit every schedule. It costs $25 per person or $200 a room for a room of eight, with the exception of the Traveling Crook room at $250 for a room of ten; if a room is fully booked by a single group, a 20% discount is applied, bringing those prices down to $160 and $200, respectively. One or two additional people can be added to a full room at the price of $20.  Additionally, there is the option of doing the Escape Room Marathon, which costs $140 a room and $175 for the Traveling Crook room. Escape Room Marathon allows a group to book two different rooms and experience them on the same day. Gift certificates can also be purchased on the website, ranging from $25 for a person to $150, which covers 6 people.

There are four rooms that differ in difficulty and each one has a unique story that requires the players to find a certain item. The Inheritance is a room where the players are tasked with finding a million dollar check before their “dysfunctional family” finds it; there’s a 23% chance of succeeding, according to the website. In the Traveling Crook room, players are tasked with finding a key to escape the room the crook trapped them in. This is the only room that accommodates 10 people and players have a 14% chance of succeeding. Con-Artist has the lowest chance of success at 13% and tasks the players with finding a valuable piece of art a mastermind has hidden. Finally, Detention Hall tasks the players with finding a tablet the teacher hid after confiscating it. This room is the the second easiest with a 22% chance of succeeding.

Sill said her favorite room is Traveling Crook.

“I really enjoy it because it has many different components to the puzzle, making it quite challenging; however, it is quite rewarding if you escape in time,” Sill said.

Virginia Wesleyan senior Dustin Ogburn booked Traveling Crook with some of his brothers for a Sigma Nu brotherhood event.

“It was frustrating, mainly because we got ahead of ourselves. Once we got on the right track, we ended up getting close to solving the puzzle. But by the time we got our heads together, it was too late and the crook escaped,” Ogburn said.

Each room requires cooperation, communication and keen observation from the members of the group, all while trying to solve the puzzle in under 60 minutes. The time limit is pressuring and because of the low success rate, it is preferred that more than one person participates and that the participants are older than the age of 18. However, children over the age of 14 can participate in the presence of their parents or guardians.

Escape Room allows players to take their escape games from the screen to real life where they can interact with other people and objects. Win or lose, an hour at Escape Room is bound to give players an experience like no other.