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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Casa Loma Escape Series by Secret City Adventures – The Dragon’s Song [Review]

A Song of Puzzle & Dragons

Location: Toronto, Ontario Canada

Date Played: May 1, 2022

Team Size: 6-12; we recommend 6

Duration: 60 minutes, plus a 15-minute intro and 15-minute outro

Price: Wed/Thurs/Sun: $42 CAD per player; Fri/Sat: $50 CAD per player

Ticketing: Public

Accessibility Consideration:  Several narrow, spiral staircases were part of gameplay; players must also climb stairs to get to the game

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

The Dragon’s Song took our team to new heights in a highly immersive, larger-than-life setting accompanied by a simple yet satisfying plot line. Held in the Scottish Tower of historic Casa Loma, this escape room is a must-play experience for history buffs, scenery snobs, and fans of immersive entertainment. The splendor was counterbalanced by some moments where the The Dragon’s Song leaned into its more mundane and repetitive elements rather than further amplifying its unique and spectacular assets, including some puzzles that stalled gameplay momentum. Despite these points, this escape room ultimately offers an experience you can’t get anywhere else, with something for both seasoned and newer players.

Closeup of a massive dragon's head.
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Casa Loma Escape Series by Secret City Adventures – Station M [Review]

The signal at the end of the tunnel

Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Date Played: May 1, 2022

Team Size: up to 12; we recommend 5-7

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: Thursday and Sunday $42 CAD per player; Friday and Saturday $50 CAD per player

Ticketing: Public

Accessibility Consideration: A long walk to access the game includes stairs and a sloped floor.

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraint

REA Reaction

Station M delved into the real past of Casa Loma once again, albeit in a less true-to-history fashion than in Escape from the Tower. Players journey through the underbelly of the castle before stepping foot in the game space, possibly dodging caterers and partygoers – and that might have been the most mimetic opening to a spy story I have ever played.

The spy vibe was present throughout the entire game; it’s baked into the set, the props, and the story. There was a heavy reliance on searching, specifically trying to find many parts of multiple puzzles. It didn’t feel entirely onerous, but it nearly did. We were one item short of finishing the mission for what felt like a very long time, but when that final piece came together the conclusion was satisfying. If you’re in Toronto and have a thing for old tunnels and spies, you should stop by and play.

Closeup of an old microphone labeled, "M," beyond is a computer display.
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Escape from the 6 – Volcano Views: Aerial Tours [Review]

Surprise Adventure

Location: Mississauga, Ontario, Canada

Date Played: May 3, 2022

Team Size: 4-8; we recommend 4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $33 CAD per player

Ticketing: Private

Accessibility Consideration: Stairs present; alert your gamemaster if sudden movement would be an issue

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Volcano Views: Aerial Tours took us on an action-packed and momentum-driven adventure through the skies (and subsequent picturesque landscape beneath).

Set pieces were adequately sized and creatively used to draw attention to the height available in the experience. Effectively utilizing the scale of the space to their advantage, Escape from the 6 maximized an often unutilized segment of room design to great impact, leading our team members to be mesmerized by the effect and immediately drawn to the target area.

A crashed plane on an island. Overhead there are clouds in the sky and there is a parachute, a propeller, and other assorted items strewn about the canyon.

One particular physical manipulation puzzle was clever in its design, but finicky in its execution; standardizing the ease of the solution for all four pieces involved would strengthen the signal, enhancing the momentum of the solve.

Suitable for beginners and a refreshing treat for enthusiasts, we would certainly recommend grabbing three friends and experiencing Volcano Views: Aerial Tours for yourself, just south of Toronto.

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Crypto Escape Rooms – The Cursed Temple [Review]

Wrath of a God

Location:  Newmarket, Ontario

Date Played: May 26, 2019

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

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $25 CAD per player

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A] Push To Exit

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

The Cursed Temple was a well-executed tomb raid in the vein of Indiana Jones.

At 2 years old, The Cursed Temple was hardly a relic… but it wasn’t on the same level as Crypto Escape Rooms’ more recent creation, Below Zero. It established an interesting story, but didn’t see it through fully. It had strong puzzles that didn’t integrate quite as fully as those in the newer game in Crypto’s stable.

If you only have time for one game at Crypto, make it Below Zero. That said, I’d encourage you to start with The Cursed Temple. It’s well worth playing. I can’t wait to see what this company cooks up next.

In-game: a series of crates with artifacts in them.
Image via Crypto Escape Rooms

Who is this for?

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

Why play?

  • Some really innovative puzzles
  • Strong set design

Story

Many explorers had attempted to attain Amon Kha’s cursed treasure. None had lived to tell the tale.

We had decided to go treasure hunting.

In-game: a shrine with mask carvings.
Image via Crypto Escape Rooms

Setting

Crypto Escape Rooms’ The Cursed Temple sent us on an adventure through an Indiana Jones-esque archeological dig. The environment was designed from floor to ceiling with a wide variety of textures and a lot of details to enjoy.

In-game: A worn wooden door with a bloody handprint beside it.
Image via Crypto Escape Rooms

Gameplay

Crypto Escape Rooms’ The Cursed Temple was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

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

Analysis

The Cursed Temple’s set looked great. The inclusion of more archeological dig elements along with the temple ruins added a lot of flavor.

➖ There were some sound issues. The sound was muddy and concentrated in the wrong places. This was unfortunate because it seemed like Crypto Escape Rooms put a lot into the sound design.

➕ The puzzles were strong. One group solve really shined.

➕ Technology was cleverly integrated into the experience. Crypto Escape Room’s statue concept was revolutionary.

➕/➖ Crypto Escape Rooms established the groundwork for an interesting story. There was a beginning and an end… but too much of the story was lost in middle.

➕/➖ The final boss fight was conceptually fantastic. However, it needed a bit more to feel like a true event.

Tips For Visiting

  • Parking: Crypto Escape Rooms has a parking lot.

Book your hour with Crypto Escape Rooms’ The Cursed Temple, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Crypto Escape Rooms provided media discounted tickets for this game.