Xscaper Arts is located in the heart of Main St Unionville (a very unlikely place for an escape room). Before we even tried the rooms, the staff were very eager to show us the rooms even before playing.
Reviewed rooms: Cecil Hotel, The Lab, Entrapment, Inception
Creativity and Design (aka its Fancy level): – Was it inventive ? Did it fit the theme?
Score : 5.0 of 5.0
Unlike the venues we tried previously, these rooms focused on a Horror theme (especially compared to the kid-gloves AT Escape had). You would see blood and eerie music playing, so if you’re in the ‘faint of heart’ category, i would recommend you try another venue (just kidding). But that just shows that Xscaper Arts has done a great job of emphasizing and marriaging the Horror theme with the escape game. If you want a good scare i would recommend The Lab.
Entrapment does have the vibe of a great heist. There are elements of the room that give it feel that this is the final room where the grand treasure is located. This does require a certain level of agility to get through to the other side, but adds a uniqueness to a reused theme. But I can be biased because there were lasers everywhere. See for yourself.
Inception is (I have never seen the movie) following the concept of the movie of the same name. Its their first multi-room and involves a few interesting concepts which i’ll dig into later. Each room was well furnished, and it seems they have made some custom puzzle pieces to fit the theme.
The props and setup were impressive in each of the rooms and really fit the theme. The Lab felt like a doctor’s office, the Cecil Hotel did feel like a bedroom.
Bells and Whistles: Was it just lockboxes throughout the Room?
Score: 4.5 of 5.0
Its hard to say the neat and interesting locks used in Xscaper without ruining the puzzle. But just like some other rooms, they seems to have good knowledge of electronics. Entrapment has lasers that are scattered throughout the room, that once the lasers are tripped will take off 1 minute of your time to solve the puzzle (among other neat rooms ideas like solving a puzzle sets off a electromagnetic lock elsewhere in the room). There apparently was one puzzle that did have a problem at cold temperatures, however that room has been removed in place of a new room that is coming later this month.
We also experienced some difficulty with Entrapment, there were some odd instances where the lasers became misaligned and the 60 minute counter suddenly became 0 minutes (but the staff readily helped us reset it to what it should be). But in the ideal working situation, the lasers worked well.
Inception doesn’t fail to impress, but slightly falls under in the execution. Like all the great ideas at Xscaper, they have a number of interesting locks and ‘lock releases’ that other areas don’t. However we found some of them were a little more ‘sensitive’ (or expected a specific response) to be released. But after talking to the gamemaster (reviewing the game with him) afterwards he was determined and very open to our feedback. Once they nail those , i’m sure they would be a solid 5 out of 5.
Intuitive (aka Frustration Level): Was it solvable? or Did you have to be inside the creators mind to solve it?
Score: 4.0 of 5.0
The puzzles were somewhat intuitive, and not much instructions needed. However there was one or two cases where we needed a explanation halfway through to use a special device to unlock a puzzle. The staff was eager to help us when we got stuck, but without their help we didn’t realize we almost missed a time dependent hint. We did get out in enough time but didn’t realize some of the clues we were pondering were red herrings (nothing wrong with that, every escape room has these). The other half of the frustration had to do with the bells and whistles.
In Entrapment as stated above, we had difficulty with the lasers becoming misaligned, but otherwise the puzzles weren’t too difficult.
Inception relies heavily on communication, which was the bulk of the trouble. We didn’t finish it, but for the most part was able to figure out most the puzzles without too many hints. Technical problems aside our group wanted to even replay the room to finish the puzzles.
Staff Support/Price : Were they friendly? Were they helpful? What was the Damage?
Score: 4.0 of 5.0
The staff was friendly and eager to show us their rooms (even when we weren’t sure we were going to do any rooms that night). I would take advantage of it and see what room interests you. The hardest part was actually finding the venue, (its located in the side of an old church).
**updated**In subsequent visits and even a replay of Inception, we got to meet gamemaster Mark, who was very enthusiastic to hear our feedback of Inception (both times).
If you try to book online you will need to pre-pay.
The current price was $25 , which is pretty steep for the area (most other rooms charge $15, with facebook check-in) however comparatively if you will definitely get a different experience than those other rooms.
**updated** With the new businesses like Omescape and Trapped new in Markham, $25 is actually middle of the road for a similar experience.
Overall: Xscaper Arts is a little gem in the GTA, i would highly recommend it if you are tired of unlocking lockboxes and worn out dollar store clues.
For more information check out:
50 Main Street, Side Entrance
Unionville, ON L3R 2G9