The Virus Escape Room
“Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!”
Everyone knows this line (or a variation of it), but no, I’m not a thief being pulled out of retirement for one last job, nor a detective who stumbles across the case of a lifetime on the day before he leaves the force. Instead, I’m an escape room veteran. (Check out my most recent review here, along with links to several others.) The Virus Room was my 24th Escape, and going into it, I confess I had become a bit jaded. I’d seen some excellent rooms (and plenty of bad ones), and I thought I was maybe over them as a hobby. Luckily, I was wrong. The Virus Room was a shot in the arm that boosted my enthusiasm back up, and now I’m looking forward to trying some more rooms later this year.
As you might suspect from the name, the Virus Room has you taking on the role of doctors trying to stop an epidemic from decimating mankind. Hustled into an underground lab via some cool technology that I think will catch on in more escape rooms, your team has one hour to create an antidote or join the rest of the populace in a very unpleasant death. The room is very well designed and has a few secrets that are not immediately apparent. By far the strongest aspect of the Virus Room is the variety of puzzles. Fitting the theme, everything is science-based (or mostly). There were 6 of us in the room that has capacity for 8, and there was plenty for all of us to do. I would describe the room as mostly non-linear, or maybe consisting of parallel tracks. So you can start work on something and see it through to the end, but you can also jump over to another friend to help them out if you’re stuck somewhere.
The variety of puzzles included some pretty cool technology. I don’t want to give anything away, but I think I can say there were some innovative uses of electronics, chemicals, and light. There is a “guard” in the room who can give you guidance if you want it but is not too obtrusive. In our case, the guard was played by none other than the creator, Bob Glouberman. He was very enthusiastic at our pre-escape briefing and had a funny moment with us in the room when one of our group wanted to “brute force” a solution (puzzle language for trial-and-error). He admonished us “doctors” and guilted us into solving it the right way, but it was all in good fun. My group escaped with 14 minutes to spare, but that doesn’t mean it was easy. We had six very experienced escapers. With fewer players, or with less experienced ones, I can see this being a nail-biter. Another good aspect of the difficulty is that one of the puzzles has a built-in help guide–that we didn’t even use! Instead, my friend was able to recognize how to solve it without even knowing that help was available. She was especially proud of that.
If there is one drawback, it’s the price. This is the most expensive room I’ve done, and there’s an additional service fee to buy tickets online. I’m not sure if you can skip the fee by buying on-site or not, but either way, it’s still pricey. I know the technology and production design costs money, but it’s still a bit of a tough pill to swallow when compared to other rooms. They do have occasional deals and discounts, which helps. As for my rankings, I would place this room right around number 5 on my unofficial list. Definitely upper echelon, with a 4/5 rating from me. After we escaped, Mr. Glouberman was telling us a little about his next room idea. It sounds AMAZING. I really hope he pulls it off, and when it opens, I will absolutely be back!
The Virus Room presented by Get the F Out is open Thursdays through Sundays, with various times available. They are located at 630 S. Flower St. in Burbank, CA 91502. Tickets are $36, and their website is www.getthefoutroom.com