Review: Escape From 20,000 Leagues at Red Vein Escape

Review – Escape From 20,000 Leagues at Red Vein Escape

Website Link – ​​

Location – Ashland, VA

Price Per Person – ​​$25

Disclaimer: we paid for the escape room experience with our own money, this review is not sponsored. All thoughts are our own.

Background/Room Premise:

We played our first escape room at Red Vein Escape, the Hunt for the Richmond Vampire, in September 2019 as a two-player group, shortly after their grand opening. We love Escape Rooms and were extremely excited about a new one opening up in the area and Red Vein didn’t disappoint. The Hunt for the Richmond Vampire had a variety of challenging puzzles and was incredibly well-themed (including a fun in-character game master interaction at the beginning). We couldn’t wait for them to open up additional rooms. Unfortunately though, between COVID19 and having a baby, it took us a while to make it back to play Red Vein’s second full escape room – Escape From 20,000 Leagues. This time, we took two friends with us, making us a group of four.

The premise of the Escape From 20,000 Leagues room is that you are a party of navigators, looking to help pilot Captain Nemo’s submarine to Atlantis. Does your party have what it takes to successfully complete the journey? 


One thing that we love about Red Vein’s room offerings is their theming.  From the game masters to the entranceways to the rooms themselves, the theming and decoration is top notch.  With Escape from 20,000 Leagues, players immediately get immersed in the world of their room by entering via rickety dock and actually smelling the ocean waters.  Once in the room, the props, mechanisms, and aesthetics fit the theming perfectly.  Red Vein does all it can to make players feel as if they’re on a submarine descending to the depths of the ocean.  Theming-wise, Red Vein compares well to any other escape room we’ve done.  They also know how to throw in some fun surprises along the way.

The room offered a decent number of puzzles.  While the standing record during our visit was about 19 minutes, the puzzles easily filled most of the hour for our group.  We appreciated the mix of puzzles involving traditional combination locks and nontraditional means of progress.  Each puzzle felt unique and none felt redundant or like a simple time filler.  

Outside of the fact that there were obvious combination locks upon entering the room, the design of the room mostly leaves players to figure things out for themselves.  While the game master will offer hints and advice if asked, it should usually be pretty clear what players should be interacting with, even if they don’t know how to solve a puzzle quite yet. We really appreciated that the game master did not offer “nudges” or hints until we directly asked for one!         

We should note that the room’s puzzle path can be a little linear.  Often, there were only one or two puzzles that could truly be worked on at a time.  This meant with a group of four, we had to work together closely and sometimes it was harder for everyone to be as hands-on at the same time.  This room definitely works better with a smaller number of players.     

The only small nitpick we might have with the room is the slightly lackluster ending.  Most of the puzzles feel very satisfying to complete and have neat results, which makes the ending of the room fall a little flat in comparison.  The room builds toward the ending nicely, but then the room just feels over without much fanfare or hype.  This doesn’t take away from the overall enjoyment of the larger experience as a whole, but was something we noticed.

If you find yourself in the Richmond or Ashland, Virginia areas, Red Vein is definitely worth checking out.  Both their Richmond Vampire and 20,000 Leagues rooms are solid and enjoyable experiences.  

Official C&C Rating:

Theming – 5/5

Puzzles – 4/5

Overall Fun – 4/5 

Final Averaged Rating – 4.3/5

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