The Virus has spread, it’s time to get the F out (escape room review)

What happens when you get a group of wildly imaginative people whose only intention is to lock you in a room for 60 minutes? You get ‘The Virus’ escape room presented by “Get The F Out,” an enclave of game masters and engineers who want to take us to the next level of escape rooms.

Located in the heart of Los Angeles, ‘The Virus’ takes its players into the world of biological warfare. The world has been ravaged by a deadly virus and it’s up to you and your team (who are now top scientists) to find the cure. You descend down to a secret laboratory where you can work on a cure, away from prying eyes. But a problem occurs. One of the scientists has accidentally released the virus into the lab, infecting everyone inside and triggering the lab’s decontamination protocol. Now it’s up to you and your team to find a cure in the next sixty minutes. Otherwise, you and your fellow scientist end up being just another “failed experiment.”

Going into “The Virus” I heard that the room was challenging, and that notion was further solidified when I walked in and saw the success board. Hundreds of groups had attempted the escape room and hundreds had failed. In fact, the room generously boasts a success rate of lower than roughly 20%. Of course, seeing such a low success rate didn’t discourage my team. We were currently on a winning streak so we were ready for a challenge.

Before we began our “escape” each player was led into the room one by one and specifically placed at a starting point. Once everyone was inside, the real fun began. Now, this is what really sets the virus apart from other escape rooms. Usually, before we start any room we’re told the backstory which is typically done by either the game master or a short little video. But the Virus wanted to do things differently. Applying today’s technology our group was treated to a little VR introduction. This VR video explained the backstory of the room all while taking us down the depths of the earth to our secret lab. Seriously, this intro was entertaining and I was excited to see what the room had in store for us. After the little video ride was done, we were shown our room. Off the bat, the room is small, it’s, in fact, one of the smallest rooms we’ve ever done. But what they lose in size, they make up for in the design. The set design does an amazing job of making you feel like you’re in a lab that’s currently in an emergency protocol. It’s not well lit and there’s a timer letting us know when we were about to “die.” I’ve done a few rooms that have taken place in a “lab” but none have really given off that immersive feeling as if you are truly in one. The Virus is the few that does. The props inside are basically the same exact props that you would find in a real-life lab.

Now, of course, set design isn’t the only thing that makes a good escape room. If it were, everyone would be escaping. The heart of escape rooms lies within the puzzles and this one had plenty. The puzzles in the Virus were challenging and well thought out. Some were a little too challenging for us, but that’s where the beauty of these puzzles lie. At first glance, the puzzles are intimidating which automatically makes you overthink the puzzle. And that’s where we failed. We treated the Virus as a room that wanted to truly challenge us, and don’t get me wrong, it really did. But the answers to the puzzles were in the simplest forms. We just overlooked it. What I think the virus does really well with their puzzles is making the players second guess their answer. It’s one of those moments when you solve it, but then you look back and ask yourself, “Can it really be that easy?” and sometimes it is.

In the end, our team was one of the unsuccessful ones. If we had an extra minute or so, I’m sure we would have gotten out, but that’s not the nature of the game. There’s a reason why we only have sixty minutes. Our downfall was that we moved around the room as if the puzzles were not linear, but it was. We kept acting as if we can solve any puzzle in any order and ultimately we’ll escape. But that’s not the case. Instead of working as a group of six, joining collective minds to solve one puzzle, we broke up into groups, trying to solve numerous puzzles but some of those were not ready to be solved.

Overall the virus is a fun, challenging, and creative room. It’s designed wonderfully and does a great job of utilizing its space. The puzzles do a great job of really testing one’s intellect and making sure players take their time to solve the puzzles. Our team definitely had a reality check. That reality that one should go into an escape room with a clear and simplistic mind. Because sometimes the answers you’re looking for are truly staring you right in the face.

The Virus is open Thursday thru Sunday. Book your reservation today at http://www.getthefoutroom.com/.

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