November 16

R.E.D. Report – Lost Canada

If you ever wanted to see an Expert Escaper frustrated, this article is for you.  Our friend Errol is (generally) the Escape equivalent of Mr. Dressup (a nice guy, kid-friendly), but there are times when even he can be pushed so much.  This is one of those times…

You should never write an email in anger. If you strongly feel negative about something, write it out and then wait a few days to see how you feel so as not to start something you would regret later.

Screw that.

I’m writing a review for Lost Canada’s “Return of the Nemesis”. In the past, I would write reviews taking into consideration how a newcomer would feel. Not this one. I hope to start a series called “Room Escape Diva Report” or something ridiculous like that. Does this sound a bit silly? Yes! Do I care? No! This is what bad escape rooms do to me.

*SPOILER ALERT** I’m going to tell you the number of puzzles. Stop if you don’t want to know that.

FIrst off, their bathroom smelled funny. But whatever.

Secondly, we had to wait so we went to this cool looking game in the lobby that tested reaction time. It was broken. Whatever. First world problems.

We started the room and I was a bit excited. I was doing the room with a few newcomers and rooms are usually fun with newbies because they’re super excited about things!

Our gamemaster gave us the regular spiel on how to use electronic locks. All good. He then told us the room was a bit dark, and gave us one flashlight.

There were six of us, and he gave us one flashlight.

My brow furrows. I try my best not to sully the experience for the newcomers with my soured expression.

We walk in. One of the newcomers does a great job at solving the first puzzle in about twenty seconds. We go on to the second puzzle.

This puzzle takes us twenty minutes…in a forty five minute room. Now, the room is listed as one of their more difficult rooms, although I didn’t know it at the time. Heck, I didn’t even know what the theme was because the gamemaster didn’t tell us.

It didn’t matter though, because the room was empty save for a few elements on the walls. The theme was ‘nonsensical zombie plot’, but it easily could have been ‘grocery store shopping’ considering most of the puzzles seemed arbitrary.

Anyway, back to the second puzzle. Why did it take us so long? We actually got all the ‘clues’. We just needed to put them together. However, try as we might, we could not get it. And in the end, when we were told, I didn’t have the ‘Aha! How could I have been so dumb?’ moment.

NO. I had the “That’s such a vague answer so prone to error I could punch someone in the face right now” moment. I was that frustrated.

We called two hints on it. The first hint told us what to do. The second hint I just straight asked for the number because we were twenty minutes in and I hated life and wanted to kick puppies. My friends noticed the tone in my voice. They probably think I’m a huge buttbag right now, but I don’t care.

On to the third puzzle. I’m feeling tired already. It takes us around five minutes to solve. I’m not happy with the answer.

Hey, designers! Red herrings make a puzzle more difficult, but it’s not clever! It’s not satisfying! If you want to play puzzles with me, I’m thinking of a number between one and a thousand! Guess it! Ha ha! Fun isn’t? Just because it’s hard to derive an answer, doesn’t mean it’s a good puzzle! For the record, the puzzle wasn’t as stupid as my example, but it just felt arbitrary. When more than one number fits the answer and you have to trial and error it, I get annoyed.

Fourth puzzle. Not bad. Super minor tech glitch. The newcomers solved it. I am impressed with my team. They rock! ^_^

Fifth puzzle. Dumb. Random. Newcomers got it by trial and error and guessing. On top of this, another red herring too. Oh man, I’m not happy.

Sixth and final puzzle. Hunh, only six puzzles now that I think of it.

I actually liked the concept of this puzzle. When we were told the answer, we realized we were close and it may have been fun to solve. It was still a bit of trial and error, and it required outside knowledge, but hey, I’m trying to be positive here.

However, it wasn’t turned on so we didn’t see the full puzzle for the first five minutes. Did we see the switch to turn it on? Yes, we did. Why didn’t we turn it on? BECAUSE THINGS WERE LIGHTING UP WHEN WE TOUCHED THINGS. We thought it WAS on.


The only puzzle I thought would have been interesting to solve and we ran out of time. We ran out of time because a lot of it was spent working on the puzzle when it was turned off. I hate you sixth puzzle. I hate you so much.

Did the team have fun? Yes! Because it was new to them and I tried so hard not to grumble while we were playing. I don’t think I was successful.

In conclusion, remember, I am reviewing this as a diva. Furthermore, I am really judging it by the puzzle design. Of course, the set design wasn’t anything to write home about.

In the end, I was so unimpressed by this room I literally had thoughts of trashing it. I was so annoyed by the second puzzle, I was gritting my teeth asking the gamemaster for a hint. They say the recommended number for this room is 4+ and it goes up to eight. You could do this room with just two people, since they give only one flashlight. However, here’s a hint: just don’t.

Even if you got it on a groupon, which we did, just don’t.

And do you know how much they normally charge? $28!

What!?!?! And it’s more if you don’t book online! WHAT?!?

And they have a ‘donate’ button on their website!! Why do they have that?! Because the toys in their lobby are broken?

I should stop now. The more I talk, the more things incense me. You know the worst of it? I’m booked with them again next week with some other friends. *sigh*

They did have one of those two wheeled motorized drift scooters in the lobby. We played on that a lot. It was fun!

Not the room though. Just…don’t.

About the Author:

Errol Elumir has played adventure games ever since they were text on screens loading from cassette tapes. He would put the number of Escape Rooms he’s played but it keeps changing so you can just check his play log. He loves clever puzzle designs and has designed the puzzles for #TOPH2 and Canadian Caper’s Speakeasy. He is an active participant in the Escape Room community and you can find him on his twitter account. Warning: long escape room discussions may ensue.