Sauve Qui Peut – Denderah’s Secret [Review]

Riddle of Anubis

Location:  Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, Canada

Date Played: February 3, 2020

Team size: 2-8; we recommend 2-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: 30 CAD per player

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

I feel so weird about Denderah’s Secret. We found enjoyment in this escape room even though it rarely passed an opportunity to do stuff that we routinely say “shouldn’t be done that way in escape rooms.”

Before we go further, I need to clarify that this was one of Sauve Qui Peut’s earliest games. As far as early games go, it was great. And this company has come a long way since designing this escape game. With that in mind…

In-game: the entrance to an ancient Egyptian pyramid.

The set is impressive, especially given how long it’s been in operation. Had we seen it when it was new, it would have blown us away. However, a pair of small areas were essentially undesigned and there was a lot of wear.

The puzzles all worked, but two interactions went against our safety recommendations… and you had better have someone who can Sudoku because, oh my, do you need to Sudoku. This isn’t a spoiler, it’s a fact.

We were laughing the whole way through Denderah’s Secret because it felt like the embodiment of what we regularly get on stage and tell people not to do. If I’m being completely honest, I didn’t hate it. Denderah’s Secret was fun because Sauve Qui Peut knows how to keep things interesting. That said, there was a lot of opportunity for this to become a much better game.

Sauve Qui Peut has so many amazing games. Denderah’s Secret doesn’t have to make your playlist. It is still kind of interesting, and by playing it, we better understood how Sauve Qui Peut has evolved. While my brain is telling me not to recommend it, my heart still had a good time.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Tomb raiders
  • Any experience level

Why play?

  • A charming Egyptian set
  • Solid, basic escape room gameplay

Story

Our parents were renowned Egyptologists and we had grown up listening to their stories. As we grew up, we followed in their footsteps and set off to Egypt to unravel the mysteries of the ancient structures that have long captivated the world.

One of our parent’s stories, “Denderah’s Secret,” had always captured our imaginations, and that became the focal point of our work.

In-game: The base of an ancient Egyptian pyramid.

Setting

Denderah’s Secret was a big Egyptian sandbox of a set. As usual, Sauve Qui Peut’s gorgeous wall murals added depth and setting that murals almost never accomplish.

In-game: a beautiful mural of Egyptian pyramids in the moonlight.

As we explored the tomb, almost all of it looked and felt appropriately Egyptian.

That said, there were a few small portions of the game that were essentially undesigned.

Gameplay

Sauve Qui Peut’s Denderah’s Secret was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around searching, observing, making connections, and puzzling.

In-game: A wooden toolbox sitting in the sand beside the base of an ancient pyramid.

Analysis

➕ The ancient Egyptian sets of Denderah’s Secret looked magnificent, even with some significant wear. Sauve Qui Peut transformed its rooms with expansive murals and the scale of the props and set pieces.

➕ The painting throughout Denderah’s Secret was fantastic. The wall murals were gorgeous.

➖ Two late-game sections were under-designed, especially given what had come before it.

➕/➖ There were a lot of glyphs in Denderah’s Secret. They were different enough that we could distinguish them. That said, with the escape game’s age, some had started to lose their definition and could have used a touch up.

➖ Denderah’s Secret‘s gameplay was dated. It included a long process puzzle that jammed gameplay, multiple trick locks, and the standard pitfalls of the one classic Egyptian trope. It also asked us to interact with the set in a way that seemed… unwise.

➖ We were disappointed to rely on laminated paper cluing within this gorgeous set.

➕ Although the reveals weren’t surprising, they looked great, which added excitement.

➖ While we appreciated Sauve Qui Peut’s early foray into allowing players to affect the game by making a choice, it wasn’t refined. It was easy to unknowingly make a choice before uncovering enough to make an informed decision.

Tips For Visiting

  • There is metered street parking.
  • This game is entirely bilingual (French and English).

Book your hour with Sauve Qui Peut’s Denderah’s Secret, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Book Denderah’s Secret

Disclosure: Sauve Qui Peut comped our tickets for this game.

Sauve Qui Peut – Dream Weekend [Review]

16 & phoneless

Location:  Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, Canada

Date Played: February 3, 2020

Team size: 2-4; we recommend 2-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: 30 CAD per player

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Dream Weekend surprised us.

After a humorous introduction, the opening scene was profoundly underwhelming, but that gave way to some incredible moments.

In-game: A very pink girl's bedroom with a large heard on the wall that reads "FOREVER" underlined by an arrow.

From the set to the puzzles, the first act of Dream Weekend felt like a dated, lame escape room. David more or less checked out and lounged on that bed, convinced that Sauve Qui Peut had finally produced a total dud. He was wrong.

As the rest of the game unfolded, we were awed by the ingenuity that went into the story, set, and puzzles.

Dream Weekend was far from flawless, but it was incredibly inventive. Once it had some momentum, it was a delight. If you’re in the region, this is one of many games at Sauve Qui Peut that’s worth checking out.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Story seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Any experience level

Why play?

  • Fantastic sets and scene transitions
  • Cool puzzles
  • An amazing and clever set piece

Story

Elodie’s parents had planned a “dream weekend,” a vacation away from home and without any technology. By disconnecting, they could all reconnect. This may have been her parents’ dream, but it was Elodie’s nightmare.

Setting

Dream Weekend opened up in a bland bedroom. It had all of the right components, but there wasn’t much of anything special or exciting about it… It didn’t stay bland.

Dream Weekend transformed into an exciting and innovative space that would be wrong to spoil.

In-game: Closeup of a box with a unicorn painted on it, sealed with a red directional lock.

Gameplay

Sauve Qui Peut’s Dream Weekend was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around observing and making connections.

Analysis

➕ Sauve Qui Peut established the story of Dream Weekend on a screen with a scene unlike any we’d seen before. It was humorous, bizarrely captivating, and entirely appropriate for the story of this escape room. (Of note, to fully appreciate this scene, you need to read French… but it’s still great fun if you can’t.) 

➕ Sauve Qui Peut built a whimsical set for Dream Weekend. It transformed in unexpected ways.

➖ With the exception of the story setup, the initial act of Dream Weekend was underwhelming. It looked mundane at best. Fortunately, it improved dramatically from there.

➕ Although the world of Dream Weekend appeared uninteresting at first glance, it delivered surprising and delightful reveals. These included set transitions, visual word play, and unusual decor.

➖ Some of the early puzzles hearkened back to the earliest days of escape room gameplay. We were searching through worn paper props for codes.

➕ The whimsical gameplay of the later acts left us all smiles. We especially enjoyed what we didn’t find when we opened one late-game lock.

➖/➕ Dream Weekend lacked a finale that could stand up to the strong moments earlier in the escape room. That said, Sauve Qui Peut did bring the game full circle, which we enjoyed.

Tips For Visiting

  • There is metered street parking.
  • This game is entirely bilingual (French and English).
  • For the full experience, all players need to be able to duck, and climb over small barriers.

Book your hour with Sauve Qui Peut’s Dream Weekend, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Sauve Qui Peut comped our tickets for this game.

Sauve Qui Peut – Vortex Future [Review]

The future is really hard.

Location:  Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Canada

Date Played: February 3, 2020

Team size: 3-8; we recommend 4-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: 30 CAD per player

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

We lost in Vortex Future. It wasn’t even close. That doesn’t mean that it was a bad game.

Like Sauve Qui Peut’s Vortex Past, Vortex Future was a compact, puzzle-centric experience in a beautiful setting. However, stylistically the two games played completely differently from one another. Where Vortex Past felt like solving a puzzle box, Vortex Future felt like solving a puzzle hunt without the meta puzzles.

In-game: Wide view of a futuristic spaceship.

Vortex Future was a puzzler’s game in the purest sense. There wasn’t any searching; each puzzle was presented and labeled at its own station. They varied broadly in complexity. While there were 2 or 3 that we didn’t care for because of execution or style, they were generally high-quality challenges.

So, why did we lose? Well, knowing nothing about Vortex Future, we played too lackadaisically. We burned too much time on a puzzle in the main game before finally taking a much-needed hint. We probably needed 10 to 15 minutes for the final puzzle, which we didn’t have. The final puzzle was totally solvable, but it was also one of the most, if not the most, challenging puzzles that we’ve ever faced in an escape room. As soon as we recognized the challenge for what it was, we knew we were doomed.

If you’re a strong puzzler, there’s a lot to love in Vortex Future. We lost and still enjoyed ourselves quite a bit. I think that we could have won this game if we had realized what we were up against and had approached it with the respect that it deserved.

If you’re a newbie or you’re more into the scenery and adventure aspects of escape rooms and aren’t crazy about games that present heavy puzzling… then try out some of Sauve Qui Peut’s other offerings.

Who is this for?

  • Puzzle lovers
  • Puzzle hunters
  • Scenery snobs
  • Sci-fi fans
  • Experienced players
  • Players who don’t need to be a part of every puzzle

Why play?

  • Innovative, challenging puzzle design
  • Clean and beautiful presentation
  • If you’re looking for a hard escape game, this was a very hard escape game

Story

It was the year 2089 and we had to board a disabled space station designed to detect threats to Earth. Humanity was counting on us to restore the station’s power and functionality.

In-game: A big red button glowing on the wall of a futuristic spaceship.

Setting

Vortex Future was a beautiful, compact space station lined with cleanly presented puzzle modules. Each station had the same 1 through 8 number inputs and took up the same amount of wall space.

The artistry in Sauve Qui Peut’s design was how they used this same structure to present so many different challenges.

In-game: The power and engine computers in a futuristic spaceship.

Gameplay

Sauve Qui Peut’s Vortex Future was a standard escape room with a high level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around puzzling. Every puzzle was clearly presented without any searching. We simply had to figure out how to solve them.

In-game: Two different puzzle stations.

Analysis

❓ Vortex Future was a puzzler’s escape room. This was one of the hardest escape rooms that we’ve ever played.

➕ The spaceship set of Vortex Future looked clean, sleek, and polished.

➕ In Vortex Future, Sauve Qui Peut demonstrated just how much a puzzle designer can accomplish with a simple input interface. While these stations looked similar, and resolved with a consistent interaction, the paths to solve them were incredibly varied.

In-game: A sealed doorway in a futuristic spaceship.

➖ One puzzle felt light on cluing. We spent too long thinking we were making progress, only to find that we hadn’t learned anything about the puzzle at all. Coupled with the puzzle’s harsh sound quality, this was especially frustrating.

➖ One puzzle had a misleading visual interface, given the ultimate puzzle resolution. This puzzle really dashed our expectations.

➖ In one puzzle, the only viable solving method (that we found) was tedious and trial & error-y.

➕ Vortex Future required us to learn the logic of the game world, but think outside the box to solve the puzzles. This resulted in immensely satisfying puzzle solves.

➖ In a few instances the inputs were finicky, which caused us some confusion.

➕ While we got hung up on a few puzzles, overall they were fair, inventive, and unusual escape room puzzles that we enjoyed solving.

❓ The final puzzle was probably the most challenging puzzle that we’ve seen in an escape room to date. It was tangible, team-centric, and the type of thing many experienced puzzlers would know exactly how to approach… but it was a beast of a puzzle nonetheless. I think we would have been able to solve it if we got to it with at least 10 – maybe 15 – minutes on the clock.

Tips For Visiting

  • There is metered street parking.
  • This game is entirely bilingual (French and English).
  • This game would be extremely difficult for colorblind players.

Book your hour with Sauve Qui Peut’s Vortex Future, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Sauve Qui Peut comped our tickets for this game.

Sauve Qui Peut – Vortex Past [Review]

Big, ancient puzzle box.

Location:  Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, Canada

Date Played: February 3, 2020

Team size: 3-8; we recommend 2-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: 30 CAD per player

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Vortex Past was a unique escape room that felt like solving a giant puzzle box. There were no words because we had traveled to a pre-writing time. Each puzzle required us to play with it, interpret the feedback that we received, and determine what to do from there. This was progressive discovery in its purest form.

I love solving puzzling boxes. I mean, I proposed to Lisa with a one-of-a-kind puzzle box that I helped design… so I’m stating my stylistic bias up front.

In-game: an effervescent blue and yellow rock structure with water running through it.

Additionally, the beautiful set of Vortex Past rivaled its gameplay in uniqueness. At times, I completely stopped playing just so that I could take in the beauty of my surroundings.

I can also easily imagine some disliking Vortex Past. The small set didn’t have tons of puzzles. If everything clicks, you could find yourself winning quite quickly. If the puzzling style isn’t one that works for you and your team, then you might be in for a bumpy ride.

The magic of Sauve Qui Peut is that none of their games feel even slightly similar in style, design, or gameplay. From a gameplay standpoint, Sauve Qui Peut easily ranks among the most innovative escape room companies that we’ve ever encountered. Part of what comes with that incredible diversity is that not everyone will feel the same way about the individual, wonderful games at this company. My recommendation is to play a few games at Sauve Qui Peut and try to embrace each for what it’s striving to achieve.

Who is this for?

  • Puzzle lovers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Players with at least some experience

Why play?

  • We’ve never played a game like it
  • Compact, yet stunning set
  • Vortex Past was one massive progressive discovery puzzle. It felt like a giant puzzle box.

Story

An unknown element unlike anything found elsewhere on Earth had been identified inside of an equatorial cave. The planet had endured a series of natural disasters that seemed to stem from this mysterious element.

We were sent back in time to attempt to neutralize the element when it first arrived to prevent future calamities.

In-game: a stone sundial beside a firepit in a cave.

Setting

Vortex Past was a gorgeous cavern filled with stalactites, iridescent stone, and running water. This was the definition of a small, yet mighty set.

Additionally, the puzzles were completely baked into the environment, so we weren’t just looking at the set, we were engaging with it throughout the experience.

In-game: stalactites hanging from a red walled of a cave.

Gameplay

Sauve Qui Peut’s Vortex Past was an unusual escape room because the gameplay was more reminiscent of a puzzle box than a classic escape room. It had a moderate level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around observing and making connections.

In-game: closeup of an effervescent blue and yellow rock structure with water running through it.

Analysis

➕ The gorgeous set had the water glistening against the rocks. We felt transported back to an ancient cave.

➕ The gameplay was progressive discovery. As we explored our surroundings, triggering responses from the set, we felt as though we were solving our way out of a life-sized puzzle box. Vortex Past required us to reframe our thinking, the result of which was immensely satisfying discoveries.

Vortex Past gave feedback when we interacted with its puzzles. Interpreting the feedback was a natural part of solving the puzzle.

➖ Although Vortex Past gave immediate feedback to our actions, it didn’t provide enough by way of light and sound cues for its own responses, which were at times delayed, and not always exactly where our attention had been focused.

➕ In the ancient land of Vortex Past, we encountered symbols, but no written words. The puzzle style felt natural within the gamespace and the story world. The puzzles were also well themed.

➖ The handwritten symbols were sometimes faded, and in one instance, a bit messy.

➕ We especially enjoyed divining a solution.

➖ One sequencing issue stalled our momentum as we completed the final interaction in the game.

➕ The finale was wholly unexpected and unexpectedly joyous.

➕ I want to call out the chlorinated water feature in Vortex Past. Almost no escape rooms chlorinate, but they absolutely should. Water features can become breeding grounds for bacteria and I am pleased to see that Sauve Qui Peut recognized this and handled it appropriately.

Tips For Visiting

  • There is metered street parking.
  • This game is entirely bilingual (French and English).
  • Players must be able to duck through a very low doorway for the full experience.

Book your hour with Sauve Qui Peut’s Vortex Past, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Sauve Qui Peut comped our tickets for this game.

Sauve Qui Peut – The Underground Bar [Review]

Putain and other French wordplay.

Location:  Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, Canada

Date Played: April 8, 2019

Team size: 3-8; we recommend 3-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $30 CAD per player

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

The Underground Bar was all about sex, drugs, and booze… and let’s just say… it didn’t beat around the bush.

What opened as a fairly traditional puzzle-focused escape room in a bar transitioned into something considerably more outlandish. It was a great time… until the final minutes.

In-game: a back-alley behind a bar.

The quality of the closing set and puzzle were well beneath the rest of the game, causing an otherwise wild ride to fizzle.

Did it ruin the game? Not at all.

Would it have been way better if the closing of this game were on the level of everything else that we played at Sauve Qui Peut? Absolutely.

If you’re over 18, near Montreal, into playing an adult game, and you’re with a group of people whom you’re open to playing this kind of game with… then you absolutely should.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Strip club goers
  • Any experience level

Why play?

  • Beautiful and detailed set
  • Unexpected reveal
  • It’s 18+ for alcohol, drug, and sexual content

Story

Our department had suspected this Manhattan bar of being an epicenter for crime. We were dispatched to investigate it and learn what kind of criminal was calling this bar home.

In-game: an electrical box in a back-alley.

Setting

We began The Underground Bar outside of the bar before progressing inside. It was a good-looking space that made use of wall-sized murals that actually added depth and character to the environment.

From there, things got a bit seedy… which was how it was supposed to get.

In-game: a grafitti's dead face.

Gameplay

Sauve Qui Peut’s The Underground Bar was a standard escape room with a section that had 18+ theming. It had a moderate level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around searching, observing, making connections, and puzzling.

Analysis

➕ The opening scene of The Underground Bar set the tone for a clandestine operation. The puzzle flow worked elegantly.

➕ The wall art in The Underground Bar was phenomenal. It was beautiful and gave the set some depth without ever creating red herrings. We’re not usually big on murals, but this one worked.

➕ The puzzles were well themed for the setting.

➖ The final act was a letdown. The gamespace was crowded and uninteresting. The gameplay felt dry, especially considering the previous act. Our momentum ground to a halt.

➖ While most of the clue structure was built into the set, one complex, layered puzzle relied almost entirely on a journal. While not exactly a runbook, it had a lot of the same problems. It was too compact to engage the entire team in the only available puzzle. The game bottlenecked at this point.

➕ One puzzle initially posed a stiff challenge, but after trying a few different angles we quickly came to a satisfying conclusion.

➕ Sauve Qui Peut hid its secrets well. The Underground Bar included some phenomenal opens.

Tips For Visiting

  • There is metered street parking.
  • You can most of this game in English. You will need French (or hints) for 2 puzzles.
  • You must be 18 years old to play this game. The theming is sexual. Choose your teammates wisely.

Book your hour with Sauve Qui Peut’s The Underground Bar, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Sauve Qui Peut comped our tickets for this game.