Review of Dark Ritual Escape Room

Review of “Dark Ritual”
at E-Exit in Toronto

Word around the block is that strange things have been happening. Disappearing pets, reports of strange animals, and now, your classmate who’s been acting strange suddenly stopped coming to school.

Upon arriving at his home, you find the door unlocked. You enter, unbeknownst of the dangers you are about to encounter.

Will you be able to save your classmate? Or will you fall victim to the trap that’s soon to be sprung?



E-Exit has a very nice location in Yorkville in Toronto.  The location is great – close to restaurants and transit or paid parking.  It looks really nice inside and the staff at the counter were friendly and helpful.

Much like other rooms we’ve done here the story was delivered without much enthusiasm but the narrative and goal were clear nevertheless.  They are great at delivering hints – very quick and effective and always happy.  However, we had a major technical issue in this room which required them to come into the room to address it.  Even after they addressed it there were major challenges with the technology that cost us a lot of time.  When we ran out of time the attendant offered to sell us an extension on the time for $5 per person.  While I think this is a clever and appropriate practice, it was not appropriate in this situation where our delays were caused by technology issues.

The atmosphere is really good and most puzzle elements worked well.  The Stranger Things theme is very strong throughout. My partner felt they could’ve gone further with the decor and I do agree that there are additional things that could make the build a bit more immersive, but overall, I liked the atmosphere.

The puzzles were a good mix of traditional and unique puzzles but again we had technology issues on another puzzle further down the line.  I don’t want to spoil anything but I will say that we’ve seen this sort of trigger be implemented much better before.  If you get the answer right, but it doesn’t work because you need a certain technique or finesse, maybe it’s not the best choice for your room.

I really wanted to like this room more because the theme is great and the atmosphere is great but those technical issues combined with the staff being sub-par here really negatively affected this experience.

This room is medium-hard and you’ll benefit from having 3 to 6 players.  But, if the technology doesn’t work, it doesn’t matter how many players you have.

Feel free to give it a try and leave your own review in the comments!

Review of Chamber of Serpents Escape Room

Review of “Chamber of Serpents”
at E-Exit in Toronto

“As students of Hogwarts, a school of witchcraft and wizardry, you’re no stranger to secrets and mystery. However, one confirmed legend of the school has never been found – the chambers of Salazar Slytherin. Many have tried but non have even found a single clue alluding to it… until now. As you were perusing the library one night, a particular book called out to you – not for how unique it looks, but rather how ordinary it was. If you had not had a misfired spell that accidentally shot in that direction, you would’ve never noticed it. Opening it up, the pages were empty except for one line: “The home of Salazar Slytherin lies behind the green stone eyes.”



E-Exit has a very nice location in Yorkville in Toronto.  The location is great – close to restaurants and transit or paid parking.  It looks really nice inside and the staff were friendly and helpful.

The story was delivered without much enthusiasm but the goal was clear nevertheless.  And although we didn’t need much assistance, the communication was a bit abrupt and the ending was a little bit weird.

The room looks good and the areas are distinct and well made and appropriately lit.  It would be nice to have a bit of variation in ambient audio from space to space.  There are several “do not touch” stickers here and I feel like it would’ve been better for the host to just say “please don’t touch this really cool prop” rather than having stickers on it.

The puzzles are logical and fun and follow the story very well.  There was a good mix of unique and traditional puzzles in this room.  The room is not very hard and would be great for newer groups or groups with kids.  The puzzles are very linear in this room.  The room can accommodate 2 to 4 players quite well but above that, you’ll find some people just standing around.

We did enjoy this room and would recommend trying it out!

If you’ve tried this room, please share your experience in the comments below!

Those Meddling Kids

Review of Those Meddling Kids
at Crux in Hamilton

In Cruxton exists a house stuck in time. This house sits undisturbed as its last resident passed away some time ago.  Being a new group of realtors, you’ve been set to the task of finding out what exactly is going on.  But, beware…rumours abound as to the haunted nature of this attraction!

 

We’d heard a lot about Crux since our earliest days of escape rooming but never made it around to their location until today. It really seems like a place that would’ve been the height of escape rooms in Canada around 2015, but had since been let go.  The main entrance room, the washrooms, and the escape room itself were all worn down.  Even the website seems to have been forgotten about.  But, we’re here to discuss Those Meddling Kids specifically.

The staff member was friendly and helpful and gave us the right hints at the right time. She was generally enthusiastic about sharing the story. She admitted that she was new to the job but I think that she’ll do well if she keeps at it because she had the right type of energy.

The room itself is in better condition than the general facilities seem to be with all but one of the props intact and affixed solidly. There is appropriate audio and lighting in the different areas and it seems like making a home environment is fairly easy to do. There was some noise from adjacent rooms with the sound of amplified audio coming through the wall at one point.  You’re also very close to the entrance and there can be additional noise from groups waiting to enter their rooms.

This room is very linear and approaching the easy mark. Only one of the puzzle clues could have be a little clearer.  The storyline and goal are also very clearly presented and understood throughout.  It has a bit of a spooky vibe but not much. They could definitely dial this up with the addition of lightning and thunder, power outages, or live actors.

A group of 4 newer players would be very comfortable in this room.  I think that even one experienced player would be able to complete this room on their own within the allowed time. We did expect the room to be a bit bigger or have more to do which is why we gave it the rating of easy.  More experienced players will complete this room quickly and may question the value.

Overall it was a fun room and great for beginners or pairs. Hopefully, the owners get back in there themselves soon and take care of some of the general upkeep because other escape room venues have really raised the bar in this area!

 

Mission: Quazar at Decode

Review of Mission: Quazar
at Decode in Mississauga

A mysterious powerful crystal has fallen on Earth. Aliens of all kinds set their eyes on the human race and planet Earth. Can they steal the Quazar Crystal from humanity successfully or will they be discovered and captured in the process? Gather your team and hunt down the Quazar Crystal now!!

 

This was our first visit to this location which looks very well run. They have an enourmous games room in the back and some chocolates and drinks available for purchase. During non-COVID times, they even serve hot food. We’ll have to go back!

The staff here are friendly and helpful and were good at following the request for no hints unless asked.  The story is delivered in person with a follow up video introduction. In this room a buttton is availabe for hints which calls the staff to enter the room.

The puzzles are very clever here and we enjoyed them quite a bit.  The rooms here are math-heavy and require a more logical and scientific approach than other places. We did find the puzzles unique from other rooms which was great.  However, there were a few technical challenges in this room – one door didn’t open right away, the first puzzle didn’t get triggered properly even though we did it right, and one element had to be manually triggered by the staffer.  Those things not only break immersion but waste precious time.

The rooms were generally well-made but there should be some consideration to what is the purpose of the second area. I don’t think it needs to be so dark as it’s intended to be an office space. I think their efforts worked against them a bit here.  The story was well-integrated throughout and it objectives were clear the whole time.

I would rate this room medium-hard and it could be done by 3 to 6 players.  If you’re going to do two rooms when you visit, I would suggest doing Mission: Quazar after The Mutagen Effect.

The Darkest Hour at Decode

Review of The Darkest Hour
at Decode in Mississauga

As years went by, humans have carelessly exhausted majority of their energy resources. As they frantically search for a solution to this problem, they turn to you, experienced time agents, to find the secret behind infinite power. With the human race facing its darkest hour… will your team be able to light the way before it’s too late?

This was our first visit to this location which looks very well run. They have an enormous games room in the back and some chocolates and drinks available for purchase. During non-COVID times, they even serve hot food. We’ll have to go back!

The staff here are friendly and helpful.  They seem invested in the players having a good time. The story is delivered in person with a follow-up video introduction. In this room, there is a help button on the wall if you’d like them to come to the room.

These puzzles are very clever and will challenge your mind in a more scientific and mathematical way than most rooms.  We nearly finished it with 2 adults and 2 tweens but being a very linear room means that several people cannot work simultaneously. The room is best with 3-4 people but is medium-hard.

The decor isn’t great in the first room and feels very forced to make you feel like you’re in some sort of time machine but the subsequent area(s) are better.  The countdown timer is played by the “Computer” aboard the time machine and gives you helpful time reminders as you go.

The story integration is good and you get the sense of going back in time to solve a problem. Some background ambient sounds in the second area would be nice.  We didn’t hear any noise from the adjecent rooms even though there were other groups there the whole evening.

This was a fun but challenging room that needs a bit of work to be an immersive experience. Make sure you’re prepared to work on challenging puzzles together or take turns “leading” the problem-solving as you move throughout.

The Forgotten Island by Exit

The Forgotten Island
Room in a box by Thames & Kosmos Exit

A boat is chained to a palm tree. Everything on this island seems to be secured with locks … and you soon come to realize: You must figure out all the combinations to open the locks in to order to escape. If not, you will never leave this island! Can you solve the riddles left for you and escape the island?



If this is your first escape-room-in-a-box, you may not enjoy it – but you will enjoy your second more! It definitely takes some time to get used to doing this sort of activity which is why I’ve come back to edit this review.  A boxed experience is a bit more like a board game experience that you can only use once. With the Exit series of boxes especially, you destroy elements of the game in the process so it can’t be used again by someone else.

The storyline is very clear and is well integrated through the puzzles.  The progression is very logical and only once used a hint for a puzzle we weren’t ready to do.

The physical quality is appropriately good for a product you’ll end up destroying in the process.  There are a lot of elements in the box as well.

We played this with two (and sometimes help from a third) players. With just myself and my teen daughter, for the most part, we were able to finish this in about 90 minutes with 3 hints. Not too shabby and was a great time together.  This was, to date, my favourite boxed escape room experience and gave me hope to try some more!

Overall, it was fun and challenging, and I will do more of these specifically because this one was so good. So, if you don’t mind sending all that material to the landfill once you’re done, give it a shot!

Cyber Crime Unit at Paradox Games

Review of Cyber Crime Unit

Virtual Room by Paradox Games

Someone at the Sallinger & Jewel Law Firm has been murdered! It’s your job as part of the Cyber Crime Unit to figure out who the killer is and what their motives were. By utilizing your unique tools you must search for clues online, analyze data, interrogate suspects, and collaborate with your team. Good luck!

 

This was our first virtual escape room and we didn’t really know what to expect. At first I was thrown off by the thought that we would each need our own computer but it quickly made sense as to why. It costs $20CAD to access the game but only one person in your party needs to pay and the rest can join the game remotely. One player will be designated the Detective, while the rest of the players will be Forensic Agents. Each type of player is assigned different pieces of information and you’ll need to communicate together to solve the puzzles.

The puzzles are very careful and do require good communication. I can’t give away too much, but we were blown away by the technical integrations used and how you can actually feel like a detective at an office using what’s around you to solve the puzzle – even while inside your own home.

The story line is clear and well integrated with a clear problem to solve. Everything is presented in a logical order. We only needed to use the hint system once and were very pleased with how that works.

The nice thing about a virtual game is that there is no wear and tear on the props – though we did notice a couple of glitches and are pretty sure they’ll get addressed quickly. My only points of improvement would be to maybe have an interface that was a bit more immersive but I understand that programming that to work on a wide array of devices is quite tricky and so the decision to keep it a bit simpler may be intentional or neccesary here.

This was a fun virtual room that had us working together and communicating well.  If you haven’t yet tried a virtual room, give this one a go! It was a lot of fun.

The Mutagen Effect at Decode

Review of The Mutagen Effect
at Decode in Mississauga

You and your friends visit an island owned by a corporation who specializes in taming wild animals. Unfortunately, one of your friend was attacked and left with an animal wound. Will you be able to find the doctor and get help in time? What secrets await on this mysterious island…

 

This was our first visit to this location which looks very well run. They have an enourmous games room in the back and some chocolates and drinks available for purchase. During non-COVID times, they even serve hot food. We’ll have to go back!

The staff here are friendly and helpful.  They seem invested in the players having a good time. The story is delivered in person with a follow up video introduction. In this room a walky talky is availabe for hints and there is a help button on the wall if you’d like them to come to the room.  This room isn’t very difficult and was completed with 2 adults and 2 tweens.  It has an eery feeling to it but is not scary.  It could accomodate 4 to 6 players well but can be completed without much difficulty by two peope.

The story integration is really good and you definitely feel like you’re trying to solve a problem throughout the experience.  The atmosphere is good and makes sense throughout. I don’t remember there being any background audio and the room could definitely use that.  We didn’t hear any noise from adjecent rooms even though there were other groups there the whole evening.

There is a good variety of puzzle types but isn’t too heavy on math unlike their other rooms.  Most things were in good shape with only some signs of wear which is nice.

This was a fun room that had us working together as a team.  If you head up to north Mississauga this is a room you should have on your list.

Review of Expelled Escape Room

Review of “Expelled”
at Keymasters in Hamilton

“You’re the biggest pranksters in high school, but you never leave behind any evidence to get caught, causing others to get in trouble for your pranks. You have pushed the EAs to their limits, and now they are trying to get you Expelled. Can you escape before the Principal catches you red-handed?”



We chose this room because the back-to-school season is quickly approaching – and we’d already completed The Alley and Santa’s Workshop at this location. Also, being themed on a popular 90’s TV show brought back some memories for us – not so much for our teenagers that joined us.

The room is well built and you get the sense of being in a high school detention room.  It is, however, quite beat up.  A little too much.  A lot of props have been pulled from their place over time or worn down and it is in desperate need of repairs to minor decor and props.

The puzzles are clever and make sense but, being worn down from use, some elements are not working the way they were originally intended.  There is a key piece of technology that does not work well anymore and could be integrated much much better.  It’s time to upgrade that piece and improve the integration because waiting for technology to work eats up precious time.

The room is large enough for 4 to 6 people with lots of things to explore. We completed it just in time with four of us.  This room could be really good and I imagine at one point it was.  But it needs repairs and updates in order to be an incredible experience.

Review of Clue Escape Room

Review of “Clue”
at Next Level in Hamilton

“Last week Mr. Boddy hosted a dinner party with 6 people, who have now become our only possible suspects. The detectives have narrowed down the weapons that could have been used to 6 and they know the murder took place in the mansion in one of the 9 rooms. At this point, the detectives are stumped and are looking for any kind of help from the public to solve this case.”



One of my personal favourite rooms (Graveyard) is at this location as is The Thompsons which was a great environment, but I didn’t enjoy the puzzles as much.  I was hopeful and cautiously optimistic about this experience and I have to say I was quite happy in the end.

This room contains several unique spaces that each have their own visual and audible themes – much like on the Clue board game. Moving from one area to another is very fluid and logical and you have the sense of moving through a house to solve the riddle.

As you move about details about who it wasn’t, where it wasn’t, and what murder weapon it wasn’t, are revealed and you can eliminate each until you have found the guilty trio.  The cards you find, however, are a little out of place and I think perhaps it could be tweaked to be more natural, but all in all, not bad.

The puzzles are mostly logical although we did find a couple that lacked meaningful narrative – a couple of descriptive cards near some of the tools would help tie in the story to the puzzles.

Unfortunately, the staff member was the most overzealous we’d seen and would give us hints to puzzles as we approached them despite us saying repeatedly that we definitely didn’t want any help. We were assured later that this staff member was going to be given additional training and that they were new. Nevertheless, we had to factor this into our score to some extent. We were generally pleased with the staff in the past and are reasonably confident that this won’t be an issue on your visit.

This wasn’t a very difficult room – a solid medium – and has lots to do and lots of room for a party of 4 to 6 people.

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