Niagara Escapement – Easy Bake Coven [Review]

Double double players in trouble

Location: Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada

Date Played: May 1, 2022

Team Size: 2-4; we recommend 2-3

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $26.55 CAD per player

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

When I first heard we were about to be captured by a witch and thrown into an oven, à la Grimm’s fairytale Hansel & Gretel, I thought the experience might be dark and somewhat scary. Instead, from the very first moments, we were immersed in a delightful storybook world, complete with a cute audio introduction that captured our imaginations and set the stage for a fun adventure. Even the name, Easy Bake Coven, sets a clever, light-hearted tone, which is carried throughout the escape game. 

The space was simple and uncluttered, almost sparse, with little to detract from the actual puzzles; some additional design details here and there would have enhanced the overall immersion even more. And yet, the game kept us fully engaged as we progressed from playful, tactical interactions early on to more nuanced, layered puzzles later in the experience. With smooth game flow and unique, creative puzzles that just “clicked” when you solved them, Easy Bake Coven was a delight.

A witch's cauldron on a fire with green liquid boiling in it.

There really is something for players of all ages and skill levels, a rarity in a family-friendly game. If you’re in the Niagara Falls area, you should absolutely stop by Niagara Escapement and play Easy Bake Coven.

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Scavenger Box [Review]

Forget the chocolates, give me a puzzle!

Location: At home

Date Played: June 29, 2022

Team size: 2

Duration: 60+ minutes setup time, 45+ minutes for scavenger hunt as described with no customizations

Price: about $69.99

REA Reaction

When I first heard about Scavenger Box, a do-it-yourself romantic scavenger hunt kit, I was intrigued. Our anniversary trip was a few weeks away, and it seemed like the perfect occasion for a fun, unique gift-giving experience. The kit arrived in a plain black box; I told my husband it was another Kickstarter escape game and I was going to add it to the pile. Instead, I put it aside to pack in my suitcase…

Black treasure box with a heart combination lock, on a bed surrounded by electronic candles, rose petals, an a red envelope with a gold seal.

I took a quick peek; the presentation of items in the box was beautiful, and the quality was impressive, especially the satin-lined treasure box and the heart-shaped lock. You can tell that a lot of thought was put into each and every item. In fact, there were so many props, I admit I was a little overwhelmed. Could I really pull this off? But the step-by-step guide made setup so easy! It detailed exactly what clues to write, what items to use and where to hide them around the room. Additionally, there were suggestions for customizations to make the whole experience as unique and personalized as you wish. 

Our big day arrived and I sent my husband to the beach while I got to work. Setup took a while, around 90 minutes. There were quite a few steps and I had to make some adjustments due to the hotel room layout. I also created some of my own clues and added a few wrapped gifts here and there. I made one minor mistake with the clue that used disappearing ink, but it was easily fixed. Once everything was setup, the room looked amazing…my husband returned to find flickering candles and rose petals and Clue #1. 

Everything flowed perfectly from one clue to the next…until the jigsaw puzzle. Not only did it interrupt the momentum of the experience, but it was also a bit awkward to simply sit and watch him put a puzzle together. One other clue could have used more specific instructions, and I imagine it would have been difficult to solve if the scavenger hunt had been outdoors. 

Overall, we both absolutely loved Scavenger Box, as it brought a fun, playful and creative element to our anniversary celebration. For a special occasion – a romantic birthday, anniversary, Valentine’s Day or even a marriage proposal – I would not hesitate to recommend Scavenger Box. Maybe next year it will be my turn to receive one?

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