The Crux Escape Rooms – Saboteur [Review]

I spy.

Location: Niagara Falls, Ontario

Date Played: September 2, 2018

Team size: 6-12; we recommend 4 or 6

Duration: 50 minutes

Price: $25 per ticket

Ticketing: Private

REA Reaction

The Crux Escape Rooms in Niagara Falls understands puzzle-focused gameplay.

Saboteur nailed split-team escape room design. When the group was split, it asked us to observe, solve, and communicate. Then the group game together to solve new challenges without stepping all over each other and the gamespace. Aesthetically speaking, however, Saboteur left a lot to be desired.

We recommend all the games at The Crux Escape Rooms. While Dead Air is still our favorite, and we also loved The Clinic, if you’re looking for additional fun puzzle games in the Niagara Falls area, definitely check out Saboteur. We’re thrilled that we did.

Who is this for?

  • Puzzle lovers
  • Team players
  • Any experience level

Why play?

  • Successful split-team game design
  • Strong and creative puzzles

Story

We had reached our final test as special agents when we learned that our group of budding agents had been infiltrated. We needed to pass the test and stop the saboteur.

Setting

Our group of special agents was split between 2 symmetrical, adjacent rooms. These were unthemed spaces with white walls – one with red trim, the other blue – adorned with puzzle components.

Gameplay

The Crux Escape Rooms’ Saboteur was a split-team escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

The group spent the first act of the escape room in separate rooms before coming together for the second act. We needed to work together from different gamespaces.

Core gameplay revolved around observing, making connections, puzzling, and communicating.

Analysis

+ Each puzzle gave us a sense of accomplishment upon completion. Saboteur didn’t use gimme puzzles as filler.

+ We especially enjoyed one puzzle that REDACTED.

– We found that one puzzle seemed to rely on some obscure knowledge or finding a needle in a haystack. While it was absolutely solvable without that knowledge, in the moment it felt unfair.

+ The puzzles flowed clearly from one to the next. The locks were well labeled and mapped to their corresponding puzzles. The challenge was always in the puzzles rather than in popping the lock or following the thread of gameplay.

+ The Crux Escape Rooms in Niagara Falls has been one of our go-to examples of how to design an elegant escape game on a tight budget. From a gameplay standpoint, they succeeded again with Saboteur.

– The set, however, didn’t offer much of anything besides a room in which to build the gameplay. It looked and felt bland.

+ The Crux Escape Rooms built solid, tidy clue structure for every puzzle. This didn’t mean the puzzles were easy. They were challenging solves clued in fair and sometimes unusually clever ways.

– We would have liked to see more from the infiltration mechanic. It seemed underused.

– The conclusion was begging for a little more drama.

Saboteur worked well as a split team game. We needed to communicate and work together from the different spaces. Our actions affected one another. When the groups joined, it was clear where and how to focus our energy on new tasks.

Tips for Visiting

  • There is a parking lot.
  • The Crux Escape Rooms is also a board game cafe.
  • If you play with fewer than 6 players, there is one puzzle where someone will have to move quickly.

Book your hour with The Crux Escape Rooms’ Saboteur, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: The Crux Escape Rooms provided media discounted tickets for this game.

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