Sauve Qui Peut – Final Exam [Review]

No more teachers; no more books

Location:  Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Canada

Date Played: April 8, 2019

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

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $30 CAD per player

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock *

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Sauve Qui Peut’s Final Exam was surprising. We had been told that it would be more physical and it absolutely delivered. This escape game was all about agility, dexterity, and teamwork.

This was a truly different game that asked us to to take some risks as we explored its eccentric gameplay. We had to climb a ladder and crawl… and there were confined spaces. Not everyone had to crawl or enter tight spaces, but everyone needed to climb and the tight crawlspaces were where Final Exam was most interesting.

In-game: A schoolyard fence with with a bookbag hanging from it.

Along with this experimental gameplay came some frustrations. One core mechanism was particularly quirky. Another key moment was muddied up by a bit of unnecessary confusion.

All-in-all, this was a nutty game. While we were a bit dubious of it in the opening act, we grew to love it. We recommend it to anyone near Montreal with the willingness to explore this strange maze to its fullest.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Agile players
  • Any experience level

Why play?

  • To experience a crazy puzzle construct
  • Unusual design elements
  • Playfulness

Story

We had all aced our final geography examination, but our teacher suspected that we had cheated. We’d earned our grades fair and square, but he’d failed us anyway.

To avoid summer school, we’d plotted to break into school, hack his computer, and clear our records. Failure of any kind was not an option.

In-game: A hopscotch with each tile bearing a piece of sporting equipment shot through the gate of a schoolyard.

Setting

Sauve Qui Peut’s Final Exam opened up in a schoolyard at night. It was a fenced in play area beside a brick wall. It wasn’t the most elegant of sets, but it absolutely conveyed schoolyard.

From there, we climbed our way into our classroom… and beyond that, well… spoilers… really strange… really fun spoilers.

In-game: A view into a classroom from the outside of the school.

Gameplay

Sauve Qui Peut’s Final Exam was a standard escape room that required more physical prowess than most escape rooms. It had a moderate level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around searching, observing, making connections, puzzling, communicating, and maneuvering around tight spaces for significant periods of time.

Analysis

Final Exam had a playful premise that made returning to school fun.

➕ Final Exam incorporated physical solves including dexterity and agility. We especially liked how these solves required teamwork. One physically skilled person couldn’t solve these puzzles alone.

➖ In one instance, different clue paths jumped over one another, resulting in unnecessary confusion.

➕ While Sauve Qui Peut telegraphed some of the early gameplay, they surprised us with a reveal that changed the nature of the game. It was elegant and exciting.

Final Exam felt video game-y… in a fun way. This entire aspect of the game was unexpected.

➖ While many of the puzzles made sense in the schoolyard and classroom theming, others felt arbitrary and oddly our of place, given the theming.

➖ We solved one puzzle correctly, but the solve didn’t trigger because our choice of tool was correct, but off by a fraction of an inch. This slowed the roll of our momentum.

➖/➕ Final Exam ended anticlimactically. Because of the teamwork aspect of the final puzzle, we weren’t all together when we freed ourselves from the classroom, having cleared our names. One person stepped into freedom triumphantly without the rest of the team. That said, the exit was designed such that everyone who wished to experience the unusual element of Final Exam had the opportunity to explore this.

❓ *The entrance door to Final Exam was never locked. There was also an emergency exit door at a particular juncture. That said, Final Exam required at least some players to spend time in confined spaces. Not everyone will be comfortable with these spaces or their emergency exit options.

Tips For Visiting

  • There is metered street parking.
  • This game is more physical than most escape rooms. Everyone needs to be able to climb a ladder. At least 2 people need to be able to crawl.
  • You can play this game in English or French.

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

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

Escaparium – The Golden Jubilee [Review]

Heigh-ho Heigh-ho

Location:  Laval, Canada

Date Played: April 6, 2019

Team size: 3-6; we recommend 3-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $29.99 CAD per player

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

The Golden Jubilee was a diamond in the rough. Escaparium split this game into two distinct acts: light and dark.

The light side was set in a gorgeous gem mine that would have felt at home at a Disney park. The dark side was in total darkness and required us to puzzle with senses other than sight.

In-game: A collection of gems glowing in the dark.

Escaparium nailed so much in this game, spare a few entirely fixable details that really cramped the experience. The most noteworthy flaw was an early puzzle that just didn’t seem to work cleanly. This diminished our trust in the game, but that mistrust was unfounded.

As we played it, The Golden Jubilee was a beautiful light/ dark hybrid escape game in the spirit of Escape My Room’s Smuggler’s Den. It got a lot right and offered up a ton of novelty. With a few tweaks to the existing gameplay, this could be a masterpiece.

If you’re in Montreal and you’re comfortable with a puzzle experience in total darkness, The Golden Jubilee is a must play.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Puzzlers… who can solve with senses other than sight
  • Players with at least some experience

Why play?

  • The gorgeous opening gamespace
  • The challenge of a pitch black puzzle room

Story

Dr. Woo had passed away leaving his precious Golden Jubilee gem hidden within his mine. Treasure hunters from all over the world had converged in hopes of finding the gem.

Woo had been known to enjoy games and had surely left some challenges to trip up any would-be treasure hunters.

In-game: A gem mine with mining carts, and gems protruding from the walls and ceiling.

Setting

Escaparium went above and beyond with the set design of The Golden Jubilee’s first act. It basically looked like it belonged in a Disney park as part of a Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs attraction. We were in a beautiful gem mine.

In-game: A bucket hanging from a rope in a mine. There is a wooden sign labeled "DANGER" hanging from the wall.

The second act took place in pure darkness. The set was visually irrelevant; everything revolved around our other senses.

In-game: A completely black image with nothing visible.
Actual game photo.

Gameplay

Escaparium’s The Golden Jubilee was an unusual escape room with a high level of difficulty.

The first act played like a standard escape game. The second act took place in complete darkness where we solved puzzles uses senses other than sight.

Core gameplay revolved around exploring, observing with different senses, making connections, communicating, and puzzling.

Analysis

➕ Escaparium’s mine was strikingly beautiful. It was cavernous, detailed, and decorated with colorful gems. It was a delightful aesthetic. We really enjoyed this gamespace.

➕ Escaparium really hit the nail on the head with one early puzzle.

In-game: A joust holding up the walls of a gem mine.

➖ Another early puzzle lacked both gating and cluing. The puzzle did not work. This lowered our trust in the game. After hacking our way through it with hints that only sort of made sense, our gamemaster was unable to explain how this should have worked.

➕ /➖ Escaparium set up a fantastic early puzzle with a large prop. Unfortunately, this puzzle asked for a large logic leap and slowed our wheels.

➕ Escaparium justified the dark room with the mine staging and story. The transition made sense.

➖ There was a bit of light bleed into the dark room.

➕/ ➖ Some puzzles in the dark room made more sense contextually than others. We appreciated how some of the puzzles were thematically connected. Others felt oddly random.

➕ The puzzles in the dark room worked well without sight. They also forced us to work together in the darkness. The Golden Jubilee flowed well in this section.

➖ We struggled with the audio in the dark room. Because we couldn’t see, our other senses were heightened. The soundtrack was distracting, especially when working on certain puzzles. The lengthy audio indicators of puzzle solves were confusing at first, and later simply distracting. The audio story elements didn’t land.

➖ The conclusion lacked excitement. It was too easy to intuit early on exactly how the game would conclude. As we all made our way to the bright part of the mine to claim our prize, its reveal didn’t feel momentous or particularly triumphal.

Tips For Visiting

  • There is a parking lot.
  • Part of this game is played in total darkness.
  • You need to be able to crawl to play this game.
  • This game is entirely bilingual (French and English).

Book your hour with Escaparium’s The Golden Jubilee, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Escaparium comped our tickets for this game.

Codex – The Night of the Wolf and the Serpent [Review]

Hammer of the Gods

Location:  Laval, Quebec, Canada

Date Played: April 6, 2019

Team size: up to 8; we recommend 3-6

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $28.99 CAD per player

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

We finally played an escape room set against Norse mythology… and it only took 700+ games until we stumbled upon it. I’m happy to report that we adored it.

Codex struck a balance between homemade and polished that was really quite charming. The Night of the Wolf and the Serpent had great puzzle design and flow. It felt like an adventure and it conveyed a story.

The story led to an end-game decision. There was meaning in it… but we made our choice by accident. The escape room needed to provide just a bit more context.

This was a delightful game from a new and exciting company. Whether you’re a newbie or an experienced player, if you’re near Montreal, The Night of the Wolf and the Serpent really ought to be on your itinerary.

In-game: A campfire burning under the stars in the middle of the autumn woods.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Story seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Any experience level
  • Players who don’t need to be a part of every puzzle

Why play?

  • A unique theme and setting
  • Strong puzzles
  • Fantastic interactions

Story

We had jumped to a parallel universe where the Vikings had conquered the world. Belief in the Norse gods had grown so strong that they had become real… and Ragnarok, the end times, were upon these people.

We were tasked with investigating this place in space and time, understanding their rituals, and deciding which of the gods deserved our help.

In-game: The inside of a cabin with two wood and fur thrones surrounded by round shields.

Setting

The Night of the Wolf and the Serpent was set in a Viking world which included “outdoors” in a forest and inside a cabin-like throne room.

The set was as unusual as the story. The night sky was covered in glowing stars. The cabin was lit by warm fire-like light.

Overall, this was a good-looking set. It wasn’t perfect and the seams were easy to spot, but it was a really cool environment to explore.

In-game: a cabin covered in ivy in the middle of the woods.

Gameplay

Codex’s The Night of the Wolf and the Serpent was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

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

Analysis

➕ The Viking/ Norse mythology staging was a smart choice… and remarkably, we had never encountered it before.

➕ Codex built a lovely set for The Night of the Wolf and the Serpent. The gorgeous starscape brought the space to life. The set felt homemade, but polished, and crafted with love and attention to detail.

➖ Much of The Night of the Wolf and the Serpent was played in low light. Codex could build more well-lit work spaces so that we wouldn’t be constantly relying on our flashlights.

➕ Codex used environmental details as clue structure. This enabled phenomenally tight puzzle design and especially satisfying solves… for observant players.

➕ The puzzles required a variety of skill sets. Our wits shielded us from complex, layered puzzles and we dexterously hit our targets.

➖ One late-game sequence lacked a bit of cluing. It was solvable, but it didn’t flow smoothly enough to make the actions feel as epic as they should have been. In this case, the puzzling thwarted momentum instead of building it.

The Night of the Wolf and the Serpent delivered exciting reveals. In one instance, we forged ahead to enjoy a telegraphed outcome. In other, we branched in an unexpected direction. These were both phenomenal moments.

➖ In The Night of the Wolf and the Serpent, we made a narrative choice. At the time, however, we didn’t realize we were making a choice. Even if we had known, our 60 minutes in this parallel universe hadn’t given us the context to make an informed decision. For the ending to feel consequential, we needed to understand that there were options and what each choice meant.

➕ Codex’s escape rooms fit into an overarching narrative of parallel universes. They justified their stories with universe-hopping by teleporter. This explained otherwise messy details… like bringing flashlights to a place that felt too historical to have electricity. Our gamemaster’s charming introduction and the physical teleporter provided a fun journey to The Night of the Wolf and the Serpent .

Tips For Visiting

  • There is parking in the back of the building near the entrance to the escape rooms.
  • They sell ketchup chips… it’s a Canadian thing.

Book your hour with Codex’s The Night of the Wolf and the Serpent, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Codex provided media discounted tickets for this game.

Sauve Qui Peut – Wrath Of Poseidon [Review]

9 out of 10 gods recommend Trident.

Location:  Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, 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

Sauve Qui Peut had a style unto themselves. Their games were unusual and quirky. Wrath Of Poseidon was our favorite of the 3 games that we played with them. (They had 9 games at the location we visited.)

The second half of this game was vibrant. Wrath Of Poseidon was uneven in many ways. This unevenness paid off in the end, however, even adding to our experience.

If you’re in Montreal, Sauve Qui Peut is a bit outside the city. If you have a car, I highly recommend visiting them. Wrath Of Poseidon made us feel happy.

In-game: A periscope in a submarine.

Who is this for?

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

Why play?

  • The second act
  • The details

Story

Poseidon, the vengeful god of the seas, was furious with humanity for polluting his kingdom. In retaliation, he intended to flood the lands. The only way to save humanity would be to steal his legendary trident spear.

In-game: A sealed door in a submarine.

Setting

Wrath of Poseidon was a game in 2 acts. It began in a submarine. Then we experienced a transition of mythic proportions.

The submarine setting was great. It had a bronze sort of steampunk aesthetic that made it feel different from your more traditional naval vessel escape game.

The second act… well, if I spoiled it for you, I’d be a jerk. Rest assured, it was awesome and I would love to talk about it.

In-game: piping and pressure gauges in a submarine.

Gameplay

Sauve Qui Peut’s Wrath Of Poseidon was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

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

Analysis

➕ The premise of Wrath Of Poseidon was fantastical, but meaningful. The story was light but certainly present.

➕ We especially liked the puzzle that asked us to remember the why of this escape room and act according to that premise.

➖ While some later puzzles integrated seamlessly, many of the early puzzles lacked inspiration. They didn’t make a ton of sense in the world. We had to dive deep in this dark submarine to find the threads of gameplay.

➖ Although Sauve Qui Peut built a polished world for Wrath Of Poseidon, at times the clue structure felt slapped on. For example, handwritten numbers on objects felt unrefined given the level of detail in other parts of the experience.

➕ Sauve Qui Peut designed mechanisms brilliantly so that one solve enabled a later one to work properly. The gating worked well and the second solve blew us away.

➖ We tripped up on ghost puzzles. This added some unnecessary confusion… but I also think that it would be difficult to fully remove this.

Wrath Of Poseidon was a beautiful escape room. Every set was carefully crafted and artistically detailed.

➕ Wrath Of Poseidon delivered a spectacular reveal. We stopped playing to take it in.

Tips For Visiting

  • There is metered street parking.
  • You can play this game in English or French. However, if you don’t read French, there is one important instruction that you may miss.

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

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

Escaparium – The Wizard Four and the Rise of Lord Thulsa [Review]

Powerglove!

Location:  Montreal, Canada

Date Played: April 7, 2019

Team size: 3-7; we recommend 3-5 (best with 4)

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $34.99 CAD per player

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Escaparium has an armada of interesting, unusual, and entertaining games. The Wizard Four and the Rise of Lord Thulsa was their flagship.

The second in their series of The Wizard Four games, The Rise of Lord Thulsa was a magical adventure complete with special powers and boss fights. The set was gorgeous and the effects elevated the experience.

In-game: Bottles of magical ingredients.

There were a few opportunities to repair some wear and refine the gameplay or effects, but all around, we enjoyed ourselves immensely.

This is a must-play game if you’re anywhere near Montreal. I’d highly recommend playing its predecessor The Wizard Four and the Book of Black Arts first… but if you only have time for one, then go straight for the sequel.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Story seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Wizards
  • Best for players with at least some experience

Why play?

  • Wizarding abilities
  • Fantastic, magical interactions
  • Strong puzzles
  • Wizard battles

Story

It had been three years since we had graduated from magic school and had saved the high wizard from Lord Thusla. Now the evil sorcerer had returned and we had to thwart him once again.

In-game: A series of tubes and lab equipment mounted to the wall.

Setting

Escaparium’s The Wizard Four sequel, The Rise of Lord Thulsa, had a set that fit with the first installment, while feeling distinctive as it took us to different iconic wizarding locations.

It looked as good, if not better, than the original, and packed in some heavier magical effects.

Gameplay

Escaparium’s The Wizard Four and the Rise of Lord Thulsa was a standard escape room with additional individual powers and a moderate level of difficulty.

Each player wore a glove that activated their special power, which would be necessary to solve certain puzzles.

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

In-game: Magical gloves, each with the symbol of a different elemental magic on it.

Analysis

The Wizard Four and the Rise of Lord Thulsa looked great. It looked mythical, detailed, and polished. It was an exciting environment for our wizard selves to explore.

➕ The powers added an interesting mechanic to escape room gameplay. We could choose how to use them: whether to split up and solve puzzles individually or help each other use the different powers. It was fun to be the wizard controlling a unique ability. This had the added benefit of keeping everyone engaged.

➖ The gloves that activated our powers were a bit finicky. Some of the sensors were especially touchy. The gloves were also pretty worn and some wouldn’t fasten.

➕ One puzzle blossomed into something far more interesting than it had originally appeared.

➕ Another puzzle nailed its target well.

➖ One puzzle seemed to be barely a puzzle. Perhaps it was a ghost puzzle? This was not a satisfying solve and was particularly disappointing when other powers revealed such interesting dynamics.

➕ Escaparium surprised us with an unorthodox transition.

➖ We encountered a tedious search puzzle which, despite the layered approach, was still a time drain.

The Wizard Four and the Rise of Lord Thulsa included a number of other solid, layered puzzles that we really enjoyed.

➖ At times the gameflow felt uneven. Some puzzles triggered far more forward momentum than others.

➕ There was a late-game sequence that played remarkably well. At first it seemed like it might have been too complicated. Then we thought it might be too simplistic. In the end, it felt like it checked all of the boxes just right.

➕/ ➖ In the end, we found ourselves in a wizard battle. The culmination of our powers worked really well. That said, Escaparium was hampered by the limits of their tech. As cool as it was, sometimes the fight dragged. With a few changes to lighting and sound, Escaparium could create a more dramatic series of interactions that would be more emotionally engaging.

Tips For Visiting

  • There is a parking lot.
  • You need to be comfortable with stairs to play this game..
  • This game is entirely bilingual (French and English).
  • If you book both Alice and the Mad Hatter’s Mad Hat’s Hat and The Wizard Four and the Rise of Lord Thulsa, book “Alice” first and “Wizard” second.

Book your hour with Escaparium’s The Wizard Four and the Rise of Lord Thulsa , and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Escaparium comped our tickets for this game.

Escaparium – The Wizard Four and the Book of Black Arts [Review]

Barry Hotter: The Fellowship of the Wands

Location:  Montreal, Canada

Date Played: April 7, 2019

Team size: 3-7; we recommend 3-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $34.99 CAD per player

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

The Wizard Four and the Book of Black Arts was the first in a two-game (maybe more in the future) wizarding series created by Escaparium. We grabbed our wands and set off on a quest to stop evil… and it was delightful.

Escaparium told their own story with the help of many common tropes and a dollop of instantly recognizable pop culture references, giving us players the kind of Harry Potter/ Tolkien-esque adventure that so many of us crave.

In-game: A statue of a wizard holding a crystal ball carved into a stone wall.

The sets were gorgeous. The magic was fun. The effects and puzzles were generally strong.

Some of it was a bit bumpy. It was clear to us that Escaparium was exploring structures for escape room storytelling that became a bit onerous. The wands, while fun, were a bit finicky.

Nevertheless, we were thrilled to have played The Wizard Four and the Book of Black Arts and even happier after playing its sequel, The Wizard Four and the Rise of Lord Thulsa. If you’re near Montreal, we highly recommend playing both, in order.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Story seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Aspiring wizards
  • Best for players with at least some experience
  • Players who don’t need to be a part of every puzzle

Why play?

  • The set was beautiful
  • There was an amazing scene transition; it was incredible how much went into it
  • Some great effects
  • A number of strong puzzles
  • Wands are fun

Story

We were fresh out of magic school and we had been summoned to meet with the high wizard. By the time we’d arrived in his hall, however, he and his family were gone, abducted by an evil sorcerer. It was up to us to save them.

In-game: Animated paintings hanging from a stone wall.

Setting

In The Wizard Four and the Book of Black Arts, Escaparium let us loose in a wizarding school and it looked the part.

We explored a great hall as well as the dormitories. Each had depth, texture, and quite a bit to take in. There were points where I basically stopped playing and just enjoyed the environment.

In-game: a shelf full of scrolls.

Gameplay

Escaparium’s The Wizard Four and the Book of Black Arts was a standard escape room where players had wands to use as tools. It had a moderate level of difficulty

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

In-game: 8 magic wands hanging from the top of a doorway.

Analysis

➕ We entered The Wizard Four and the Book of Black Arts with wands in hand. This added an interesting game mechanic. But also… wands!

➖ As nifty as the wands were, their triggers could be finicky, which was frustrating. Still, we liked the wand mechanic and were disappointed when they fell out of relevance in the late-game. This felt like a missed opportunity.

➕ The Wizard Four and the Book of Black Arts was loaded with nods to various wizarding worlds. Fans will enjoy the magical artifacts and references in this escape room.

The Wizard Four and the Book of Black Arts captured the aesthetics of a number of iconic wizarding locales. Each scene looked outstanding. While Escaparium’s sets were always detailed, they went the extra mile here, crafting a scene purely so that we could enjoy our perspective.

➖ Some of the props in The Wizard Four and the Book of Black Arts had seen better days.

➖ Play stopped occasionally for long audio interludes. We didn’t find that these added enough depth to the story to warrant the stoppage in play. (We’re guessing that Escaparium would agree, given that they didn’t use this structure in this game’s sequel.)

➕ The middle act had solid puzzles that necessitated a variety of skills sets and magical ability. These flowed well.

➖ We encountered a few puzzles with ambiguous cluing.

➕ Magical artifacts surprised and delighted us as we played. These weren’t by the book.

➖ In a magical escape room, anything was possible. Anything might open from any action. Escaparium needed to better direct players to triggered opens. We couldn’t always tell what we’d affected.

➖The culminating scene felt less triumphant than it should have. The Wizard Four and the Book of Black Arts lacked its own Mount Doom. (Again, this wasn’t something that this game’s sequel suffered from.)

The Wizard Four and the Book of Black Arts was a delightful space to play in for an hour.

Tips For Visiting

  • There is a parking lot.
  • You need to be comfortable with stairs to play this game.
  • This game is entirely bilingual (French and English).

Book your hour with Escaparium’s The Wizard Four and the Book of Black Arts, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Escaparium comped our tickets for this game.