Decode Adventures – Heroes Unleashed (BETA)

De Code Adventures is located out in Mississauga and is one of the longest running operations in the GTA.  We were invited to try the BETA for their facility wide escape HEROES UNLEASHED.  On our team we had Errol from ERA, his lovely wife Keren and cousin Melanie (there was also another team from ERA who had Manda and Matt).  There were 5 other groups in the game with us, each with at least 4-5 players, all with the same goal, To slay the dragon.

This is a review of the BETA, the game could have significantly changed, so please judge accordingly.

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

The most interesting thing about Heroes Unleashed is that you are each given a role (Captain, Knight, Priest, Blacksmith, Pixie) that have a very specific function to the story.  At the beginning you are also given a binder that details the story and purpose of your roles.  After a video introduction we were given our miscellaneous tools and we were off.

We were excited to see how they could transform Decode’s massive complex without making it look cheesy.  We were brought into the boardgame area which was transformed into a fantasy-type forest, where GMs played roles of shop keepers or Kitsune (faithful fox guardian).  As the game progresses the locations change along with the theme of the puzzles and decor.  I was slightly disappointed with the third part of the escape, but for the other rooms it was a good attempt at redecorating the venue.

Overall with the roleplay and decor alone, Heroes Unleashed was off to a good start.

Bells and Whistles: Was it just lockboxes throughout the Room?
Score: 4.0 of 5.0

There wasn’t any tech per se, but there were some clever game components that were original and fun to use. A tech lover (like my Brother-in-Law) would find the room boring because there are no hidden surprises or flashy lights.  On the flip side, we experienced a minor technical issue, but this was a beta so some of the bugs still needed to be ironed out.

We didn’t encounter any safety issues (which I guess is an upside for not having much tech).

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

To keep it short and sweet, the puzzles were difficult (Again we don’t know if the current version is any easier). For a group of 5 we were all busy working away on a good mix of task-based and traditional puzzles, but overall we found the first portion fairly time consuming.

Did the puzzles have any issues with logical leaps or direction? maybe some minor ones, but overall we were struggling with the types of puzzles they needed us to do in the timelimit.  There was one mishap on the second part where they forgot to give us some key components, but again in a BETA scenario we hope they ironed this out.

3 of the 5 other groups made it to the final stage (but like in other large format games it was possible to cheat by copying answers from other groups.. not that we did).

At the beginning you were given 3 ‘hint stones’ (i forgot the official term) that the Kitsune would trade one hint for one stone.

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

The GM’s were nice and stayed in character throughout the experience.  The staff at Decode is still some of the best in the city and we always look forward to returning.

The current price is $175 + tax for a group of 5.  We didn’t have to pay for our experience since we were playing a beta.

Overall:  Even with its share of bumps and scrapes, the BETA of Heroes Unleashed was still a fun and very different experience.  With a large space to explore and the addition of roles, it gives this escape some RPG/LARP elements that tie in nicely.  I would highly recommend this to enthusiasts and corporate groups, but not so much for first-timers.

For more information check out:
6620 Kitimat Road, Unit 4
Mississauga, ON L5N 2B8