Have you ever been to an escape room before? They’ve become very popular in Montreal and I wanted to see what all the hype was about. I checked out two different escape room companies in Montreal to test my deductive skills and problem solving capabilities. With less than an hour in each room, come along for the journey to see if I escaped and what I thought of both experiences.
The first escape room I visited was at A/Maze. A/Maze is a real-life escape game that offers unique and immersive escapes. Since we were a group of adults, we opted for the newest, adult escape – Serial Killer. The scenario is as follows:
ESCAPE BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE
Over the last couple months there have been strange disappearances occurring in the Griffintown area. The police have issued a warning advising the public to be cautious when going out at night and to travel in pairs when ever possible.
This weekend it is your friends birthday, so to celebrate you head over to your favorite bar and buy a round. However that is all you remember… you awake tied in a small room, your friend sleeping in the corner.
Where are you? Who put you there? Will you be able to make it out alive?
We entered the A/Maze building, which is a new bar in Griffintown. It’s a fun place to hang out with a pool table and a ping pong table, be we had our sights set on one thing – escaping the serial killer.
We were explained how it all works and brought down stairs. Our host was super laid back and inviting. He’s the kind of guy that everyone likes and you could imagine hanging out with him afterwards for a beer.
We were brought into a room and handcuffed to a bed post or a wall or something similar (there are releases on the handcuffs in case of emergency) and the race against the clock began.
Teamwork is essential. We had to work together to connect all the clues, but we grooved together nicely. Some clues are simple while others require a lot of reasoning and connecting other clues or visuals in the room.
Every time we opened a lock or solved another clue, we became more encouraged. I liked that the more simple clues were at the beginning and it became more difficult as the time ticked on. We felt like it was difficult but not impossible.
That’s not to say we didn’t get stuck sometimes. When you’re stuck, you can ask for a hint. Some hints are given for free, but if you need more and you ask, it costs you time on the clock. We only asked when we felt really stuck and one clue held us for over ten minutes.
We did manage to escape with only seconds left on the clock and we were bursting with excitement. I’m happy A/Maze was our first experience because we weren’t so successful the next time.
Our second experience was at Find The Key in the Cabin in the Woods. We were already on a positive note walking into the experience. We’d successfully completed our first escape and knew how the concept worked.
The story behind the Cabin in the Woods:
It all started like the adventure of our life. This forest is known as being haunted… what better place to spend Halloween? Everything was going well… all gathered around the fire telling scary stories and eating marshmallows…
Until, out of nowhere, a storm broke loose. The rain was falling down so badly that we could barely see anything. A voice suddenly broke through the storm… “In here, hurry!” he said.
We followed the voice to a small cave in the mountain where an old man had shelter. But not all of us made it to safety. Two of our friends got lost in the storm.
The old man offered us some warm tea and dry blankets. Around the fire, he told us about this old cabin close by, that used to be the house of a woman whose parents were accused of witchcraft. Now the place is empty, but many say it’s haunted by evil spirits. Many people have disappeared, never to be found in this forest.
If our friends are still out there, that could be the first place to start searching… maybe they found shelter at the old cabin…
We were greeted and given a safe, locked up place to put our belongings. After our host explained the game, we were given a choice of three additional hint options. We could choose more time, one extra hint, or a 10 second look at the escape room with random hints added to the room.
The viewfinder option seemed unique to Find the Key so we decided to give that a try. We each put on the viewfinder and looked for hints to help us solve any clues.
We were led to the escape room and the setup at Find the Key was way more elaborate. There was an actual cabin set up. We were asked a few questions and then Cord and I were placed in chains in the cabin and our friend, Michael, we left outside the cabin on the other side of a locked door.
We had to work separately to figure out clues that brought us together. I felt like that put a lot of pressure on Michael to be isolated on his own but we quickly figured out how to unlock the door and come together.
Multiple clues had to be combined to figure out the escape, but sometimes it was difficult to know when to reuse a clue and when to move on. The clues were defiantly more creative at Find the Key and the setting was more detailed, which made for a more immersive environment. We were sometimes left spinning in circles though, like when we had to arrange something and then rearrange it to connect clues. Ultimately, we didn’t succeed at escaping the Cabin in the Woods. I believe part of it was because we were never sure if we were finished with a clue or we needed to return to it.
In the end, I wished we had of succeed at both escapes so I would have had a more unbiased outlook on the rooms. Maybe our failed attempt to escape the cabin lead me to like it just a little bit less. The environment and creativity are favored at Find The Key while the communication options and process are favored at A/Maze.
Regardless, I loved both experiences! We’re already talking about when we can return and which one we’d like to try next. It’s very game-like and requires cooperation and reasoning. All things that Cord and I love doing together.