Escape Games – Round 2

Escape Games is located right near Downsview Station at Dufferin and Sheppard.  We decided to write a fresh review to better represent their new practices and updates.  Without a doubt Escape Games is striving to produce the best escape game experience out there.  They now have a briefing room where they play the intro video and go over the rules (things we’ve seen in some of the newer places like Trapped!) and they hired more staff.  If you haven’t already been they also have a large boardgame selection that you can play for FREE (if you play a mission), unlike Omescape or De Code Adventures that apply small fees.

Rooms: 6
Reviewed Room: Haunting of Noriko

Creativity and Design (aka its Fancy level): – Was it inventive ? Did it fit the theme?
Score : 5.0 of 5.0  MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

Noriko is in a class by itself compared to most other horror themed rooms.  It is a multi-level and multi-floor experience, so you can tell that the game designers at Escape Games didn’t cheap out on anything.  The plywood and wooden boards add to the horror theme, which reminds us of our time in Trapped!’s Claustrophobia.  If we had to criticize anything we would definitely say that there were some items that felt out of place for a japanese home, but for puzzle and gameplay purposes we can ignore that (its not like other places don’t have electronic components to make things fun).   Another thing is a few of the locks were in a dimly-lit room, so dim that it became hard to read the numbers on the lock.  But it’s a bit of a catch-22 since that also helped with the theme, perhaps they should include flashlights?

Score breakdown

Set Design/Theming – 2.5 (out of 2.5) – Strong horror elements.  Some of our players were sprinting down hallways when they weren’t hiding in brightly lit areas (there weren’t many).

Effort / Polish  – 2.5 (out of 2.5) – No hanging wires, and the details of the various rooms will either scare you or make you take a second look.

Bells and Whistles:
Was it just lockboxes throughout the Room?
Score: 5.0 of 5.0

The most interesting tech in Noriko wasn’t puzzle related, but instead theme related.  There are ‘reminders’ of the backstory and interesting ways they integrated it.  The good thing about Escape Games is they always have some custom tech, which for players like us who have seen tech being reused across different companies it feel refreshing.

Score breakdown
Inventive Tech  – 2.5 (out of 2.5) – They have impressive custom tech that was well used.

Technical/Safety Issues – 2.5 (out of 2.5) – There were no safety or technical issues that we noticed, they kept anything that could harm you (or anything expensive that a player could break) locked away.  Definitely a smart design.

Intuitive (aka Frustration Level):  Was it solvable? or Did you have to be inside the creators mind to solve it?
Score: 5.0 of 5.0

Overall the room was simple and easy to figure out.  The only frustrating part was one “guru guru” puzzle that required a certain amount of precision to be executed correctly.  The game flow had allowed for both linear and simultaneous tasks (which is rare), which would allow a big group to split off and execute multiple puzzles.

There was 1 confusing part.  The first was in the video it said that no brute force is needed, but we found one particular ‘part’ requiring 1-2 people to move an object.  Of course this could have been our tired-after-work-bodies not agreeing with us, but hey that could be on us.   Not a big deal and we can understand where they are coming from, but that’s all we could find wrong with the room.  (and that we weren’t clear when the room actually ended)

Score breakdown

Logical Leaps – 2.0 (out of 2.0) – Straight forward.  Most puzzles were task-based.  In fact we broke the weekly record.

Puzzle-Flow – 2.0 (out of 2.0) – Multiple starting points that converged on the final puzzle, excellent for a big group.

Hint System – 1.0 (out of 1.0) – You get a single hint, the staff comes to answer.  But this game we didn’t use any.

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

Staff – 2.5 (out of 2.5) – Escape Games has definitely made some changes since our last visit.  Each of the new faces now sports an Escape Games uniform, and they seem to move like clockwork in their closing and resetting process.  The friendliness of the staff still varies based on our groups comments, but overall a huge improvement from our last visit.

Price – 2.5 (out of 2.5) -The current price $22 per person on a weekend and $20 per person on a weekday.  Comparatively to other venues, Escape Games gives the best value for the dollar.

Overall: Other reviewers already recognize the quality of their games, but what is going to mark their place as the top spot is the improvements they continue to make.  With new staff, a new briefing room and a couple other changes, its clear that they want to be the premier spot in Toronto.  If they keep improving and keep making rooms, we’d be happy to revisit

For more information check out:
11 Kodiak Crescent
Toronto, ON M3J 0G7