Escape Manor – The Asylum
Escape Manor is located on Queen St in Downtown Ottawa. We arrived there just after we checked in our hotel which was literally a 5 minute walk away. As we made our way up the endless stairs and we realized we really should have taken the elevator (a note to you future players).
Just a note to future escapers, Escape Manor is really difficult to get tickets for (yes they use a ticket system), especially if you want to go with a group of 4-6 . We checked in, paid and watched a group before us take some shots…. wait .. shots? Escape Manor is the FIRST escape venue we’ve been to that sells alcoholic drinks. The lobby itself is a well furnished and resembles something between an old rich guy’s den or dracula’s living room.
We were greeted by Gamemaster Meaghen who did a small icebreaker with our random teammates (who were awesome btw) and we were off to the Asylum.
Creativity and Design (aka its Fancy level): – Was it inventive ? Did it fit the theme?
Score : 4.5 of 5.0
The backstory is that Escape Manor was actually a former Asylum and that this room was just left ‘as-is’. We were brought to the room and noticed a flickering lightbulb. Gamemaster Meaghen quickly said that “it wasn’t normal” and just as she closed the door the light went out. The room was decorated as a creepy laboratory or medical room, complete with white tiled walls and a full metal gurney. As the game went on there were a few nice themematic touches that give some pleasant (and unpleasant) surprises. They almost get a perfect score other than a few things that felt out of place because they were added for puzzle purposes.
Bells and Whistles: Was it just lockboxes throughout the Room?
Score: 4.0 of 5.0
Escape Manor kept it simple and didn’t include any mind-blowing tech. The setup included set items that made sense for the theme and enhanced the atmosphere. For a similar theme, we’ve seen some bigger and better things and wish that they reached just a little farther in that regard. On the upside we didn’t experience any technical/safety isssues…. well other than that lightbulb (which is probably a story element).
Intuitive (aka Frustration Level): Did you have to be in the designers mind to escape?
Score: 3.5 of 5.0
There were quite a few instances of too-much-info-and-not-enough-direction where there would be a 4 digit code and multiple 4 digit locks. Our group got stuck at another point where there wasn’t quite enough direction to continue with the room.
The hint system is an interesting spin on a walkie-talkie hint. The walkie talkie is actually hidden in the room, and you are required to find it in order to use your 1 hint (before it isn’t counted as a win). This would definitely stump newbies.
Staff Support/Price : Were they friendly? Were they helpful? What was the Damage?
Gamemaster Meaghen was great to chat with and her enthusiasm might have been the reason why we enjoyed the introduction. Overall the staff at Escape Manor move like a well oiled machine (much like some of the busier places in the GTA, De Code Adventures and Escape Games), so unfortunately we didn’t get any backstory.
The price is $21.00 / person and they run on a ticket system (meaning if you can play with randoms potentially). You definitely have to book at least a week in advance or be prepared to play at obscure hours.
Overall: Escape Manor showed us that Ottawa has a real contender that could compete with some Toronto Escape Rooms. The Asylum is definitely one of our recommended games for Ottawa, but make sure to book it in advance.
For more information check out:
201 Queen Street – 4thFloor