Wardrobe for Sale is one of the best escape rooms around Montreal, Canada. Here are our recommendations for great escape rooms in the Montreal area.
Update 11/1/22: If you enjoy Wardrobe for Sale we hope you’ll check out our interview with creators Jonathan Driscoll and Sacha St.Denis on The Reality Escape Pod.
Update 6/24/23: We revisited Wardrobe for Sale in 2023, to see the polished, final product that wasn’t available to us at the time of the original review. It’s a spectacular two act game with a jaw-dropping transition. In Wardrobe for Sale, Escaparium leans heavily into story. We’ve watched players really connect with the characters and be moved to tears by this game. Despite the smooth run-through this time around, much of our original critique still stands. The script was too long, and the drawn out story became dissociated from some of the props and gameplay. In the second act, it became the role of one character to make sure the players followed the story. This character performed the role well, but we wished it weren’t warranted. The characters in act 1 (and the method by which they were presented!) were super entertaining, and far more compelling than those in act 2. Overall, this is a masterful escape room, and we’ve never seen anything else like it.
It’s bigger on the inside.
Location: Laval, QC, Canada
Date Played: October 12, 2021
Team size: 3-10; we recommend 4-5
Duration: 120 minutes
Price: $79.99 CAD per player
Accessibility Consideration: If you wear reading glasses, bring them.
Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock
Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints
Let’s get this out of the way upfront: Wardrobe for Sale is a special escape game. It’s big, theatrical, and unique. It blends performers with a beautiful set, compelling puzzles, and a structure that is unlike anything we’ve seen before. Escaparium set out to build something amazing and they delivered.
When you go play, I expect you’re going to have a blast. When I played… well… there’s a story. So, this is a different kind of review than we usually write.
Long ago, we swore off being early players in escape rooms… but through running an Escape Immerse Explore tour to Montreal, we found ourselves as the very first team through Wardrobe for Sale.
As with any first team through a game, it was bumpy. The game ran long. We encountered some half-baked puzzles and the inevitable bug. These issues blended with the pressure of knowing that we were sending another 7 teams through this game that very day. All of this meant that Lisa and I were not really feeling this game. The good news is that we still saw and respected what Escaparium was doing… and they rapidly iterated throughout the day. We had the post-event survey data (and conversations) regarding this game to help us understand what it became.
That survey data told an interesting story. The first team after us had a bad time. The team after was lukewarm. The third team through enjoyed themselves… and every team after that loved this game. A lot.
Over the course of a single day, Escaparium went through what seemed like weeks of iteration… and over the course of a single day we went from having unhappy players in the morning to people having FOMO that they didn’t have Wardrobe For Sale on their schedule by the evening.
All of that is to reiterate that Escaparium has built something special here. It wasn’t in its final form… and this review is a first review. We will return, play it in its finished state, and report back. In the meantime, here’s our take on Wardrobe for Sale.
Who is this for?
- Adventure seekers
- Story seekers
- Puzzle lovers
- Scenery snobs
- Best for players with at least some experience
- Players who don’t need to be a part of every puzzle
- Incredibly theatrical
- Wears its Disney influence on its sleeve
- Gorgeous set
- It tells a story
We’d found a listing for an antique wardrobe allegedly owned by famous fantasy author Mr. Jack.
No delivery, we had to go pick it up ourselves.
I mean… we went inside of a wardrobe. Who could possibly imagine what sort of wardrobey things were contained within? Clothes? Adventure? Both?
For the time being, Escaparium doesn’t want us talking about what’s inside, but rest assured, the set was gorgeous and well built.
Escaparium’s Wardrobe for Sale was an extravagant escape room with a high level of difficulty.
At the time we played, the difficulty stemmed from overabundance of content for the time limit, technical bugs, and lack of playtesting. We saw dramatic improvement over the single day that Escaparium ran this game for teams during Escape, Immerse, Explore Montreal and we aren’t sure where it will net out in terms of difficulty.
Core gameplay revolved around observing details, making connections, puzzling, and taking in the characters and story.
➕ The set was breathtaking. We were transported to another world.
➕/➖ There was a detailed, elaborate story woven through this game in the form of cut scenes. The script needed editing; there was too much exposition. (We know that in later playthroughs, players really connected with the character and story, but my gut is that the dialogue needed to be edited to convey the story in fewer words.)
➕ The presentation of the characters in act 1 was brilliant. It was fun and engaging.
➕ The gamemastering was incredible. It took multiple people to run this game. Their roles were a well choreographed dance. They were the characters and our hint system all in one. They were remarkably skilled.
➖ The scale was… jarring. We were in a large set where the tiniest of details mattered for the puzzles. While these details were sometimes presented clearly, other times they were scattered about and hard to parse. If you wear reading glasses, you’ll need them… and not for reading.
➖ One large focal prop in act one was hard to take seriously. Yes, this place was magical, but this prop’s movements were too divorced from reality, landing it somewhere in the uncanny valley.
➕ Escaparium gated puzzles by delivering items to us midway through a segment of the experience. We don’t often see this form of gating and it worked wonderfully, adding character interaction and novelty that periodically amped up the excitement.
➕ The act change was entirely unexpected and over the top. We cannot believe this exists in an escape room. In a good way.
➖ In the second act, we lacked the sight lines necessary to appreciate the story scenes. The larger the group, the more challenging it will be to fully appreciate the narrative.
➕/➖ There were a lot of clever puzzles. Some of these were a little buggy; some of them overstayed their welcome. We expect Escaparium to edit the experience down and sort out all of the bugs. They already resolved a ton of them while the groups on our tour were playing the game.
➕ The second act had a different look and feel that contrasted well with act one. We especially loved the opening interaction to this segment.
➕ There’s a poignant ending. Don’t miss it.
Tips For Visiting
- Note that Escaparium has multiple venues around Montreal. Wardrobe for Sale is in Laval at the Boul. Rossignols location.
- There is a parking lot.
- Escaparium has a game cafe and restaurant off their lobby.
- This game is entirely bilingual (French and English).
Book your hour with Escaparium’s Wardrobe for Sale, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.
Disclosure: Escaparium provided discounted tickets for this game.