REVO Escape – The Lab: Lockdown [Review]

Prison Simulator

Location:  Scarborough, Ontario, Canada

Date Played: May 2, 2022

Team Size: 4-8; we recommend 4-5

Duration: 75 minutes

Price: It’s Complicated

Ticketing: Private

Accessibility Consideration: Players need physical dexterity and strength to fully participate in this experience. At minimum, 2 players need to be fully physically capable.

Emergency Exit Rating: [B] Emergency Key

Physical Restraints: [B] Mechanical Release

REA Reaction

The Lab: Lockdown took two of our least favorite escape room settings – prison and lab – and smashed them together. In some ways playing this game felt like an absolute disaster, while in many others it was a triumph. It was a weird game, from a strange company, so buckle up, because we’re going on a journey.

As far as labs and prisons go, REVO Escape made both sides of this experience unique and compelling. Setting us in a dystopian sci-fi narrative where we were prisoners being experimented on allowed them to create a sense of purpose for both the prison and the lab. Neither felt generic (which is part of why these settings usually disappoint). The story was legitimately interesting… I bought it.

A lab for human study, there is an assortment of equipment, but it looks in disarray, there is blood spatter on the fllor.

Where things got really unusual in The Lab: Lockdown was the punishing physicality of the entire experience. REVO strives for mimetic design, which means that they want you treating everything like it’s an actual scenario, and The Lab: Lockdown had a MacGyver theme to essentially all of its challenges.

To that end, the bonkers solution to the first challenge seemed unreasonable… and it truly was unreasonable. Doable? Yeah… but it mostly involved 2 teammates; no one else could help them in a meaningful way. In our case, David sat in his prison cell with essentially nothing to do for 40 minutes. Yes, it took us 40 minutes to complete the first challenge.

Beyond that, there was an obstacle course that included scaling an 8-foot wall with very little headroom at its peak.

There was also a challenge in this game that David and I completed together. We have never felt more accomplished in an escape room than we did after defeating this monster.

Throughout it all, we picked up many bruises, cuts, and scrapes. I’d guess that the REVO Escape staff are more familiar with their first aid kit than any other escape room company we’ve visited.

Lisa's elbow with a big bruise on it.
One of many.

The Lab: Lockdown was a weird beast. Switching almost at random from boring to exciting to curious to punishing, the entire experience felt chaotic, unapologetic, and unforgiving. It was as easy to love this game as it was to hate it, and frequently both all at the same time.

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REVO Escape – Bunker: AI’s Martyrdom [Review]

“We’re in!”

Location: Scarborough, Ontario, Canada

Date Played: May 2, 2022

Team Size: 4-8; we recommend 5-6

Duration: 75 minutes

Price: It’s Complicated

Ticketing: Private

Accessibility Consideration: At a minimum, you need at least 3 physically fit people. This game requires lifting heavy objects, dexterity, and balance.

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

I have not stopped thinking about Bunker: AI’s Martyrdom since I played it. I deeply loved this game right up until the point where I hated it with every fiber of my being.

REVO Escape is one of the most interesting escape room companies that we’ve ever visited. Their stated goal is to create mimetic games: games where you as a player aren’t doing gamey things, but trying to react and problem solve as if it truly were real life… which it is… but it’s a game… and they don’t want you treating it like a game.

From a narrative and worldbuilding standpoint, REVO Escape built an impressive, sprawling gamespace and wrapped it in a story that had shocking depth. Most notably, there was something that I found funny about the story from the outset. I sneered at this element right up until the silliest part of it proved integral to the story.

A massive metal door labeled "Restricted Area" in a concrete structure.

The technology of Bunker: AI’s Martyrdom was inspired. REVO Escape tied the entire world together with their tech and used it to create incredible opportunities for emergent gameplay and some of the most cinematic moments that I have ever experienced in an escape room.

The variety of physical, spatial, engineering, and investigative challenges in Bunker: AI’s Martyrdom were surprising, exciting, and physically demanding.

I’m gushing… because I really did love this game. And then I didn’t.

The last two challenges sent us careening into tedium. Operating in parallel, these two challenges were arduous and draining. One was mentally draining, the other physically draining… and both were spiritually draining.

It’s hard to truly convey the excitement we felt over the first 35 minutes… and how rapidly it departed as we attempted to chip away at the same two challenges for roughly 40 minutes.

There was a lot to love in Bunker: AI’s Martyrdom… and love it I did… But $%^* it needed a better ending.

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