Butcher-barber of Montreal
Location: Montreal, Québec, Canada
Date Played: May 12, 2023
Team size: 3-6; we recommend 3-4
Duration: 60 minutes
Price: $35 CAD per player
Accessibility Consideration: There are stairs up to the lobby of Ezkapaz.
Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock
Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints
Ezkapaz entertained some unusual ideas at their Manor in Montreal. From the choice of setting to the pre-game character interactions, Ezkapaz was choosing to be different. The experience was immediately captivating.
The problem was, Ezkapaz didn’t see any of these promises through to the end of the experience. Pretty early in Le Barbier, it shifted from feeling extraordinary to becoming simply a standard escape room. That’s ok. It was a fun, puzzle-forward escape room.
Ezkapaz has a vision; we could feel it. We look forward to coming back in the future for another escape room where they fully commit to the world from start to finish. We badly want to play that game.
If you’re looking for an escape room + a Montreal bagel, stop by Ezkapaz (and nearly Fairmount Bagel). Neither one will disappoint.
Who is this for?
- Puzzle lovers
- Sweeney Todd fans
- Any experience level
- Fantastic in-character onboarding
- Nifty barber shop environment
The Ezkapaz Manor was filled with curiosities. For example, a recent restoration had uncovered an old barbershop hidden behind a brick wall. We entered this barbershop to determine why it had been made to disappear. We expected something sinister had taken place within.
Le Barbier took place in an old, long-hidden barbershop. The barber chair remained in the middle of the room, and along the walls we found expected accoutrements. It was a relatively unadorned shop, apart from a few posters.
Ezkapaz’s Le Barbier was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.
Core gameplay revolved around observing, making connections, and solving puzzles.
Additionally, our gamemaster was in character from the moment we entered Ezkapaz’s Manor. Interacting with our hosts was also a part of the gameplay.
➕ Ezkapaz’s Manor had a lore than extended beyond a single escape room, and it linked all their experiences together through a detailed overworld. The staff were always in character, giving the entire building a historic and mysterious energy.
➕ The introduction to Le Barbier was especially involved. We enjoyed revealing one character ourselves, giving us a sense of discovery before the escape room began. This made us immediately more invested in the characters, their relationships, and their motives.
➖ Ezkapaz hadn’t worked their characters into the “escape room” portion of the experience. We could reach them by (old timey) phone for hints (but please default to speaker phone). When we spoke to them, however, we couldn’t figure out whether they were acting as characters, bantering with us to further enhance the story, or whether they were just a hint system.
When we were focused on solving puzzles, they were especially frustrating to try talking to. We struggled to wrap our heads around one puzzle, and the characters seemed uninterested in hinting it.
➕ Le Barbier took inspiration from Sweeney Todd. The barbershop staging looked good. We could tell something sinister was afoot, but it was playful, not scary.
➖ Le Barbier sometimes looked dusty with weathered set design, but other times it was actually dusty.
➕ The puzzles generally worked well. There were multiple meaty puzzles, with layered transformations.
➖ The difficulty curve was rocky, with one barely-a-puzzle acting as a mid-game gate, after more complex puzzles. This one shouldn’t have made the cut.
➕ The last act introduced an unexpected prop that was engaging to tinker with and delivered an exciting reveal.
➖ The story didn’t quite come together in the end. We are all for subverting expectations, but with the introduction of a late game twist, the game didn’t deliver on the narrative promise we expected at the onset, nor explain the departure from it. Especially given the elaborate, character-driven introduction, Le Barbier lacked a matching outro that pulled the whole experience together.
Tips For Visiting
- There is street parking available. Pay with the local parking app.
- This game is entirely bilingual (French and English).
Book your hour with Ezkapaz’s Le Barbier, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.
Disclosure: Ezkapaz’ comped our tickets for this game.