Missions Morpheus – Apocalypse [Review]

Hot Sauna Time Machine

Location:  Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Date Played: February 1, 2020

Team size: 4-6; 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

Apocalypse was a fun, puzzley game in an attractive setting. Missions Morpheus included some great interactions and a strong transition moment.

Missions Morpheus "MM" in a target reticle logo.

While that strong transition moment was cool, there were clear opportunities for refinement that could have made this game epic.

Additionally, with one towering ghost puzzle, it seemed like what they had originally created was far too complicated for an escape room.

I feel like Missions Morpheus was so close to having something incredible on their hands. I hope that they make a few selective improvements to this escape game.

Even if they don’t, I can comfortably recommend Apocalypse for players of all experience levels.

Who is this for?

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

Why play?

  • A cool set
  • Nifty scene transitions
  • Puzzles that cleverly used the space

Story

A man claiming to be a time traveler had been arrested. Interpol couldn’t find any documentation of this man’s existence in any database. He alleged that terrorists had traveled through time from November 2022 to his time in 2522, where they had detonated a bomb that ended the world.

There was a recording of a break in at the old workshop-turned-museum of Middle Ages scientist/ inventor Sebastian Trithemus, who claimed to have created a time machine. The cameras showed men entering the building, but never leaving.

Setting

Apocalypse was set in a Middle Ages workshop, made largely from wood. Bookshelves lined the walls, along with drawing, diagrams, and maps. Various tools and equipment were dotted throughout the space.

It looked good. I would show it to you like we always do, but there was a strange mix-up with Missions Morpheus: When we visited they told me that they had photos that they could send. However, when I followed up over email, they told me us no such photos existed or could be taken and emailed. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Gameplay

Missions Morpheus’ Apocalypse was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

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

Analysis

➕ Missions Morpheus set Apocalypse in a large space with intriguing props and puzzle elements. It had a cohesive aesthetic. It looked polished.

➕ Missions Morpheus minded the details in the gamespace, covering the material of a common escape room item to make it feel more of their world.

➕ In the first scene, Apocalypse presented a variety of challenges that required us to think in different ways. Many of these were meaty, layered solves. We especially enjoyed one visual extraction from a tangible solve.

➖ Apocalypse had one glaring ghost puzzle. It was disappointing to see this prop standing without purpose. The resulting interaction seemed especially forced.

➕/➖ Apocalypse included an exciting transition in two acts. It was a fun setup. That said, if the team made an easy mistake, the reset required a gamemaster’s instruction and substantial backtracking. We liked the concepts behind this transition, but it felt like a missed opportunity for a truly memorable sequence. Furthermore, given the story moment, we expected a more dramatic transformation.

➖ In some instances, we encountered imprecision that stalled our forward momentum. This took the form of a few finicky measurements. It also included a lack of precision in prop construction that left us bewildered. Cleaner execution would have given us more confidence as we worked through one process puzzle.

➖ Although Apocalypse was not a search-heavy escape room, Missions Morpheus missed an opportunity to sidestep a certain tired search trope.

Tips For Visiting

  • There is metered street parking. Download the P$ Montreal parking app to pay the meter.
  • This game is entirely bilingual (French and English).
  • Players will be split into two different starting areas, but they can see and hear each other.

Book your hour with Missions Morpheus’ Apocalypse, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Missions Morpheus provided media discounted 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.

Immersia – The Piccadilly Cabaret [Review]

A haunting performance.

Location:  Laval, Canada

Date Played: February 1, 2020

Team size: 2-6; we recommend 3-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: from 25.99 CAD per player

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

The Piccadilly Cabaret was more than the sum of its parts.

The puzzles were completely forgettable, but the overall experience was so very memorable.

In-game: An old bar after closing time.
Image via Immersia

I have a longstanding fascination with simple things executed beautifully; The Piccadilly Cabaret really spoke to that.

With games like The Grand Immersia Hotel, Immersia has greatly advanced the complexity and intensity of their escape experience design. If you only have time for one game with Immersia, it probably should be The Grand Immersia Hotel. That said, their earlier lineup offered so much subtle beauty that I must recommend playing at least one or two of them. Immersia’s roots are strong and deserving of appreciation.

Who is this for?

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

Why play?

  • Phenomenal yet subtle atmospheric moments.
  • A brilliant approach to story and set design.

Story

It was the 1930 and we were devoted fans of the late diva Emma Albani. It was the anniversary of her death and the cabaret that she had made famous was scheduled for demolition. We’d decided to take a crack at sneaking into the old, condemned building to see if we could find her dressing room before everything was destroyed.

In-game: the piano and microphone on the stage of an old cabaret.
Image via Immersia

Setting

The Piccadilly Cabaret was minimal yet effective. Everything in this game felt right, even when there wasn’t a lot of detail. This really speaks to how smart Immersia was when deciding upon the setting for The Piccadilly Cabaret.

Additionally, the most memorable moments of this game were born of Immersia’s set design.

In-game: Closeup of an old bar's cash register.
Image via Immersia

Gameplay

Immersia’s The Piccadilly Cabaret was a standard escape room with an easier level of difficulty.

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

Analysis

➕ The story behind The Piccadilly Cabaret was original and clever.

➕ The set for The Piccadilly Cabaret was minimal, but it felt right. It had enough details to sell the scene. The lighting was atmospheric and functional.

➕ Immersia created a character who doubled as a hinting and timekeeping mechanism. The set up made sense with the scenario. While not flashy, it was well-executed. It was also entertaining. Through our interactions with this character, Immersia could also deliver our team a more personalized experience, crafting the interactions to meet our needs.

➕ We enjoyed the transition from act 1 to act 2.

➕ In the second act, Immersia enhanced the atmosphere was a few well-timed interactions. These were subtle, but powerful moments.

➖ Many of the puzzles felt dated. These included multiple searching and counting puzzles that felt “set atop” rather than integrated into the experience.

➖ Although the gameplay worked, the puzzles were largely forgettable. This was in part because much of the cluing was paper-based, rather than a built into the set and props. The puzzles weren’t native to the gamespace.

➖ While The Piccadilly Cabaret didn’t require any outside knowledge, one key late game challenge would have been rough without it.

➕ The final sequence was illuminating.

Tips For Visiting

  • There is parking lot.
  • This game is entirely bilingual (French and English).
  • For the full experience, players must be able to climb up and over a small obstacle.
  • Note that this game is at Immersia’s Laval Location.

Book your hour with Immersia’s The Piccadilly Cabaret, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Immersia provided media discounted tickets for this game.

Vortex – Nightfall [Review]

Shelter Skelter

Location:  Montreal, Canada

Date Played: February 1, 2020

Team size: 2-6; we recommend 2-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price:  29.99 CAS per player

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Nightfall was a strong escape room with an interesting approach to hinting.

The set looked good. The puzzles were entertaining and broadly varied.

In-game: A bloodied water well outside of a cabin in the woods.

As hinting, Vortex had included extra information lying around the room in obvious places. If we wanted to access that additional layer of information, we could do so freely at any time. This was interesting because it created as many problems as it solved – mostly because some of the bonus hints were kind of essential. This was needlessly frustrating, but quite fixable.

All in all, Nightfall was one of the strongest games that we played in the city of Montreal (bearing in mind that a lot of the action in the Montreal escape room community is happening in the suburbs). If you’re in Montreal and looking for an escape, Vortex’s Nightfall is a strong option.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Sci-fi fans
  • Any experience level

Why play?

  • Fun set and prop interactions
  • Puzzle variety

Story

While hiking through the woods in the late 1960s, one of our friends had fallen and broken his leg. We had found refuge in a cabin and radioed back to town. We were told that rescuers would be dispatched if we could determine our location. As we settled in and began looking for the necessary information, we started hearing harrowing noises in the woods around us… and the sounds kept getting closer.

In-game: 2 people operating a chamber occupied by a third person.
Image via Vortex

Setting

We found ourselves outside of a strange cabin in the woods. The setting was dimly lit, but we were able to see what we needed to see. Exterior scenes have generally proven difficult to sell, but Vortex did a pretty good job of building the right vibe. It certainly showed its seams, but felt solid enough.

As we entered the cabin, the scene shifted dramatically and Vortex maintained their level of quality.

In-game: Closeup on a firepit with a fire glowing within.

Gameplay

Vortex’s Nightfall was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

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

Analysis

➕ Vortex built a compelling outdoor set for Nightfall. It was dark, but with enough light that we could see what we needed to see. It created a sense of eeriness appropriate for the scenario, without becoming scary.

➕ The gameplay flowed cleanly. We enjoyed the wide variety of puzzles and how they linked together.

➕/❓Nightfall gave clear feedback when we solved a puzzle. We always appreciate this aspect of escape room design. It’s debatable whether Vortex’s choice of feedback notification made sense in this experience. It probably depends on how playful versus realistic your escape game preferences lean… Vortex leaned into playful. Our team was split on the subject.

➕/➖ Players could choose to make this game easier by reading the additional paper cluing that Vortex left within the game. These clues were clearly marked as optional. We appreciated the intent: that players could get the clue structure entirely from within the experience, but could choose to read additional cluing for any given puzzle.

That said, we found a few instances where we couldn’t glean the information we needed without reading the extra papers. It didn’t exist anywhere else. For example, we needed to read the printed material to know that there was a bonus puzzle available within the game. Also, the papers explained how to activate an entire critical sequence.

➖ We found one process puzzle inelegant. It ended up coming down to trial and error.

➖ One large, intriguing set piece built up to an uninteresting reveal. That moment was begging for a more engaging interaction.

➕  Nightfall had a climactic ending. Vortex created a prop that sold the moment. It was campy, but it worked well with the vibe of the set and the game. This ending was unusual, funny, and quite memorable.

Tips For Visiting

  • There is metered street parking. Download the P$ Montreal parking app to pay the meter.
  • This game is entirely bilingual (French and English).
  • All players need to be able to crawl a short distance.

Book your hour with Vortex’s Nightfall, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Vortex 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.