Claustrophobia – The Laboratory

Claustrophobia is located in the Hintonburg area of Ottawa.  It was highly recommended by friends-of-friends over Escape Manor, so we went with Team Ryvian (Ottawa friends) to investigate.  We made our way up the stairs and was greeted by the gamemaster who invited us to sit in their lounge which included some comfy couches.  We did our waiver/pay thing and started the room.

Creativity and Design 
(aka its Fancy level): – Was it inventive ? Did it fit the theme?
Score : 3.0 of 5.0

The room looked like a cross between a chemistry/bio classroom and a large single office space.  As the room progresses, it starts to slowly lose the overall theme of a lab and move into something more obscure.  The pieces that we thought would be relevant to a lab were irrelevant to the puzzles and the room showed signs of wear and tear through key pieces.  The game intro was almost as long as the ‘do not touch’ list which was a bit discouraging along with the many ‘do not touch’ areas.

Bells and Whistles: Was it just lockboxes throughout the Room?
Score:  3.0 of 5.0 *SPOILER ALERT*

The room does have tech and some creative interpretations of simple tasks.  This next part is hard to describe without spoilers, but we were disappointed with its implementation.  We thought we were finished the room, but only to discover a ‘surprise’ that required multiple members of our team to operate.  I personally list it as a safety hazard because it  has the potential to cause injury if not handled properly.  Team Ryvian (who have 3 games under their belt) didn’t see any issues with it.  I definitely believe it could have been implemented in a number of different ways, so I saw it as being lazy.

Intuitive (aka Frustration Level):  Did you have to be in the designers mind to escape?
Score:  3.0 of 5.0

In most teams I default to one of the scavenger/searcher because of our experiences in finding things in obscure places.  However one of the puzzles required an excessive amount of searching, which was annoying because it was one of the first puzzles in a very linear game.  Otherwise some of the puzzles provided enough direction, while some gave none at all.  Other than the searching we didn’t feel there was any large logical leaps in the room.

The hint system is your standard walkie-talkie call-in for a hint.  We didn’t have any issues with this.

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

The Gamemasters were friendly to chat with.  They mentioned that if you have the top escaping time in the month, your next visit will be free.

The price structure is a bit different.  Its $75 / group on weekdays and $90 / group on weekends (which includes friday).  So if you do the math, you would need at least 4 people (on a weekend) to match their competitors.  Luckily we had our friends, but if it was just my wife and myself $45/person is steep.  That being said the larger your group (up to 6), the better your price.

 The Laboratory was mediocre at best, but the ‘surprise’ element makes me think it needs to go back to the drawing board.  On the flip side there are some cool elements in the game, so I definitely encourage other escapers to see for themselves and build their own opinions.

For more information check out:
984 Wellington St. West
Ottawa, Ontario