Live Escape – Updated March 3, 2015

Live Escape is located in Scarborough in a strip plaza right beside a card shop.  It is part of the november wave of new locations, and almost fell off our radar.  We were invited to come and check out their scariest room the Nursery Nightmares.

Gamemasters Victor and Elena were glad to show off their facility and were very accommodating.  They also seem to promote hosting group events where they allow the groups to do multiple rooms (which they mentioned they hosted a bachelor party the previous weekend).  We were definitely interested to hear the business side of things, but how did their rooms measure up?
Rooms: 3
Reviewed rooms: Nursery Nightmares, Study of Secrets

Creativity and Design (aka its Fancy level): – Was it inventive ? Did it fit the theme?
Score : 2.5 of 5.0 for Nursery Nightmares, 3.5 of 5.0 For Study of Secrets

The Nursery Nightmare felt like a haunted toy room and part fun-house rather than a nursery.  The tech that was incorporated in the room definitely gives it a very eerie feel and has surprises.  However the decorations and details is where we felt, it fell a little bit short.

When we were shown the rest of the facility, the other rooms seem to show more detail in the design and less emphasis on the tech.  The fortune tellers room in a glance had a good amount detail to the room complete with royal purple drapes and tarot cards.

Study of Secrets was an improvement of Nursery Nightmare but still had some pieces that were dollar store pieces.  It seems that the tech was the focus of the room instead of theme.  There was one puzzle that was making use of a particular tech piece, but it felt a bit lacking.

Bells and Whistles: Was it just lockboxes throughout the Room?
Score: 2.5 of 5.0 and 4.0 for the “Study of Secrets”

The Nursery Nightmare incorporated many smaller pieces of tech that seem to help create the ambiance of the room.  Something in this room will definitely surprise one of your teammates or at the very least creep them out.  On the technical side, the room contains quite a few lockboxes and from all the tech in the room only 1 or 2 pieces were involved with solving the room (but not directly).  It doesn’t quite measure up to the tech integration of the other places, but definitely a good effort.

Study of Secrets was a different story.  We were impressed with the spoilers that they shared with us, and it is definitely on par with some of the larger facilities.  However they still brought over some of the smaller pieces that we saw in Nursery Nightmare that we really wish weren’t there and again it was full of lockboxes which could have done quite a bit more for the theme.

Intuitive (aka Frustration Level):  Was it solvable? or Did you have to be inside the creators mind to solve it?
Score: 3.5 of 5.0 for Nursery Nightmare , 2.5 for Study of Secrets

The Nursery Nightmare was fairly straight forward and we only had minor problems.  Firstly it had the too-much-info-not-enough-direction problem.  We found ourselves at the beginning with 6-8 lockboxes and no clue where to start.  However once we found out where to start we were able to successfully make our way through the room.  The second was a dependency on certain ‘small’ objects that were a bit hard to find especially in the dark.  Otherwise (other than my wife and our friend being freaked out by some of the tech/decor) the puzzles weren’t too difficult and relatively easy to solve.

Study of Secrets was definitely more frustrating than Nursery Nightmare.  It felt like we had too-much-info-not-enough-direction with the puzzles, as pieces of it didn’t seem to flow right.  Because of that we resorted to brute forcing which compounded to the problem, because by the end we still had 2 unlocked boxes and needed several hints to get past it.  By the end we were exhausted and told this was one of their harder rooms.

Staff Support/Price :
Were they friendly? Were they helpful? What was the Damage?
Score: 5.0 of 5.0

The Gamemaster’s were very friendly and hospitable.  They had a snacks and drinks for us in the waiting area.  The gamemasters are a couple that discovered escape rooms months before planning to start their own.  They wanted to provide an experience where “you weren’t walking into a room with just IKEA furniture”.  With the facilities they were comparing to, we could definitely see where they were coming from and if they existed even a few months ago they would have definitely been a big step up from most places.

The current price structure is $30/person on weekends and $25/person on weekdays (with $5 discount for cash and another $5 for checking in on Facebook), With the discounts, its a very reasonable price for the area.

Overall:  Live Escape has great potential, but falls flat on the performance.  We found the Nursery Nightmare lacking some polish, after revisiting Study of Secrets we found they still have quite a few kinks to work out, but at this time they seem pretty comfortable about their current design.  It could just be that we weren’t on our A-Game, but its also possible that this is how things are.  If you’re bored in Scarborough you can try them out and prove us wrong.

For more information check out:
113 Montezuma Trail
Toronto, ON M1V 1H8