January 16

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Escape Maze – The Shaft

Escape Maze is located in Peterborough and our second visit to the location.  This time we met GM Scott’s entire family, which included GM’s Jake, Mike (who we met at the unconference) and the rest of their family.  Joining us was an Elite team of Escapers who have called themselves “The 805535” which consist of GM’s from Escape the GTA.

They opened their doors to “the Shaft” (which only runs during Halloween), located in the basement of the Escape Maze barn.


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

The Shaft is an interesting combination of a Haunt (haunted house) and escape room, that involves actors and more interactive elements than a traditional escape.  The premise is that you are exploring an old mineshaft to uncover a mystery.  Just like their other rooms The Shaft’s set design really sells the experience.  As the story progresses, it feels like a new chapter in a book with each room feeling uniquely different.

As a bonus one of the 805535’s noticed a field mouse in the room, which was a fun (and appropriate) coincidence.

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

The Shaft doesn’t have tech in the traditional sense, but has many types of player interactions that are handled behind the scenes.  These effects added to storytelling, the environment and its even used to manage player frustration.  It is definitely in the top 5  for the most inventive and creative rooms we’ve come across on our adventures.

The behind the scenes magic is operated by the Escape Maze family (much like a theater production), so we don’t forsee any issues with the tech.

Intuitive (aka Frustration Level):  Did you have to be in the designers mind to escape?
Score:  4.0 of 5.0

After over 100 games under our belt its fairly difficult to surprise us with unique puzzles.  We have to give credit to the creative minds at Escape Maze who still managed to delight us with simple, yet fun puzzles.

I would still say 1 or 2 puzzles could have used some more direction, but by the end of the time limit, you will have escaped regardless.  The kicker is that there is still a ‘successful’ escape, if you solve the final puzzle correctly.

The experience is guided by tech prompts and actor interactions, which the Escape Maze staff use to manage player frustration.  We didn’t have any issues with this (then again we were with “the 805535”).

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

Gamemaster Jake, Mike and the family were great hosts.  The Shaft is an excellent example of Escape Maze showing themselves as a well-oiled (family) engine.  The concept came from the need to give something unique and fun to the community during the halloween season.  The braintrust at Escape Maze is already planning a part 2 to The Shaft, which was very exciting to hear.

The price was $25 / person, and they are the only escape in Peterborough.  The room is only available during the Halloween season, but they are considering opening it during the year (so it doesn’t hurt to ask them).

Overall:  
The Shaft is one of the best haunt/escape rooms we’ve done in over 150+ rooms.  Make sure to try this gem, regardless of where you are.

For more information check out:

http://www.escapemaze.com/
156 Cedar Bank Road,
Peterborough, Ontario

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