Lockdown Ottawa – Area 51
Lockdown Ottawa is located in Hintonburg, a trendy area of Ottawa. It was the first room of our 7-rooms-in-one-day marathon in Ottawa. We were greeted by the GM who lead us right to the room.
Creativity and Design (aka its Fancy level): – Was it inventive ? Did it fit the theme?
Score : 3.5 of 5.0
The beginning of the room starts off strong as you are searching for your lost friend. The rest of the room seems to make use of the existing building’s environment, which adds to the immersion. The room definitely has “wear and tear”, as there are signs throughout the room that say “DO NOT TOUCH”, “DO NOT PULL” and “REALLY, THIS ISN’T PART OF THE GAME, DON’T PULL” (or something like that). We noticed a memo on the front door that said they will be relocating, so these could all be moot in the new location.
Bells and Whistles: Was it just lockboxes throughout the Room?
Score: 3.0 of 5.0
There is some simple tool usage in the room, and some common uses of tech. The room overall feels very mediocre and relies on its set design and props to carry it. (Which there is nothing wrong with, its just a very basic room)
Intuitive (aka Frustration Level): Did you have to be in the designers mind to escape?
Score: 1.0 of 5.0
This is where we felt they needed the most tweaks, the puzzles. The room was full of red herrings and puzzles that didn’t provide enough direction. We went down so many rabbit trails, that we needed to use hints to make sure we were on the right track.
The room also required a few logical leaps that we still don’t fully understand. Usually for these puzzles we’ll ask the GM’s how to solve it in the debrief. This time around, our GM answered with “We added that in to make the room hard, we can’t make it too easy”. It was disappointing to see a GM defending their red herrings.
The icing on the cake was having to search for a dark coloured object in a dark room, with no flashlights (an #REDiva nightmare).
With all that being said, not all the puzzles were bad, but they are in need of some serious work.
The hint system uses a walkie-talkie system for unlimited hints.
Staff Support/Price : Were they friendly? Were they helpful? What was the Damage?
The gamemasters were friendly and helpful. Even when they called us back to confirm if we had left with a key (and not in the room), we never felt they were rude.
The price is $25.00 (plus tax) / person. For the experience (and compared to their local competitors) I would say this is on the high end for a similar experience.
Overall: Area 51 is a well-themed room that needs to re-examine its core to get the fun started again.
For more information check out:
340A Parkdale Avenue