Escaparium – Wardrobe for Sale [Review]

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.

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

Ticketing: Private

Accessibility Consideration: If you wear reading glasses, bring them.

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

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.

Screenshot of a kijiji post for a used 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

Why play?

  • Incredibly theatrical
  • Wears its Disney influence on its sleeve
  • Gorgeous set
  • It tells a story

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.

Setting

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.

Gameplay

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.

Analysis

➕ 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.

3 thoughts on “Escaparium – Wardrobe for Sale [Review]

  1. I played this game as one of the later teams. It was phenomenally unlike any other game I have played. Mostly good, but sometimes too much of a good thing. It felt like there were 3 games worth of awesomeness crammed into one. How does the owner pick what to trim?

    When you’ve played many rooms, including the premium rooms around the country, it is hard to be gobsmacked. While this game needs refinement, there was an extended moment where I felt the same feeling I had as a 9 year old visiting Disneyland for the first time. No words can do justice to the indescribably sense of awe, wonder and beauty.

    We did not get a briefing on the backstory and I did not read anything on the website indicating the nature of the theme. Based on my interpretation of the Title I suspected we would be shopping for used clothes or dealing with a fashion based game. Very uninteresting to me. Thankfully, the game was nothing like I expected. However, if the Title was “Armoire for sale” I would have had more of an interest in booking the game as a mystery of the armoire being a portal to something special.

    Normally, I too like to wait for a room to be beta tested, refined and ready for prime time before I play it since you only get one time to have that best experience. During this tour we played more than one game that was not fully refined and while I know the games will be better for those that play in the future, I was glad to have played them on the tour because the creators of the rooms were involved with our experience. Add in the backstage tours and explanations on the features of these rooms makes the experience that much better – only available when you go on tour with REA. There is no better way to do an escape room!

    1. 100% on the promotion of this. I don’t know how people would pay for this long and expensive experience with so little information. Of course, I guess that’s where reviews come in. I loved the surprises of this room.

  2. I ended up doing the big 3 at Laval, and wow, this one positively wrecked me. I felt sometimes like I was playing a bunch of mini-games, or even just playing at Disneyland. The first act was especially excellent. The transition to act 2 floored me. The story in act 2 was marvelous, but the puzzles weren’t quite as strong. As someone who struggles with color-blindness, 2 puzzles were nigh impossible for me to do. However, the ending nearly made me tear up, and I cannot express how special this room was. Thank you, REA, for bringing this company and this room to my attention.

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