[At the time of this review, The Crux Escape Rooms was called The Hour.]
No one acknowledges that the punishment for escaping jail is generally worse than being in jail.
Location: St. Catharines, Ontario
Date played: August 30, 2015
Team size: up to 6; we recommend 3-4
Price: 20 CAD
Theme & story
You are wrongfully accused of a crime and are locked in a jail cell. While the warden is quelling a jail riot, you have one hour to escape from your cell and through the warden’s office to freedom.
This was a two room escape: Both the jail cell and the warden’s office were thematically appropriate. The rooms existed in stark contrast to one another. It worked well.
While the decor was thematically appropriate, not all the puzzles fit into the theme of the rooms, nor did they elevate the story.
The game began with players handcuffed (hands in front) in a dark jail cell. It was not a horror room, but these elements might scare some players.
The Hour’s website doesn’t overtly state this in the game description or at the time of booking… And it probably should. We know some of folks who love escape games, but aren’t comfortable with handcuffs or dark rooms.
Hide & seek
Lighting factored substantially in this game. In fact, in Jail Break, more than in any other game we’ve played (except one that took place in complete darkness) we contended with darkness as an obstacle.
Jail Break also relied heavily on scavenging for clues.
Much of the difficulty was derived from the scavenging combined with the lighting.
The game started strong; the early puzzles were very intense.
As the game progressed, the intensity of the setting dropped, and the intrigue of the puzzles tapered off. The final puzzle was the least interesting component of the game.
Our experience in Jail Break suffered from repeated instances of faulty equipment.
This was the first escape game we played where the gamemaster stated ahead of time that equipment might fail, and should we derive the right puzzle solution but experience hardware malfunction, she would send in the needed workaround… Or send someone in with bolt cutters for broken locks.
We appreciated the lengths to which The Hour goes to make sure players succeed if they correctly solve clues. However, equipment workarounds during play are a solution that shouldn’t be necessary.
Players only get one chance to enjoy these games… They need to work correctly. There’s no excuse for faulty set up, and there’s no excuse for faulty equipment. It should probably be more diligently checked.
When we exited the game, we brought the gamemaster two irreparably broken items, and another item that had malfunctioned but could be fixed after the game.
Should I play The Hour’s Jail Break?
This was the second prison break-themed escape game we’ve played. Like Trapology’s Drunk Tank, this game started strong, but petered off before the end. This might be the nature of the jail break genre: It is inherently more exciting to escape from a prison cell than it is to escape from the warden’s office. Games designed on this theme should be aware of this pitfall.
That said, Jail Break offered some really fun moments. It had a thrilling beginning of the type that will either be your cup of tea, or won’t be. If you like this type of thrill, I recommend giving it a go.
Jail Break was one of The Hour’s first creations, and it’s a strong one as far as early attempts go. They know this, and they are already evolving with the industry to elevate their future games.
Book your hour with The Hour’s Jail Break, and tell them the Room Escape Artist sent you.