Field Report: Israeli Escape Rooms

Israel has a thriving, creative escape room scene that includes a bounty of lighthearted themes filled with special moments.

The scene is also fairly insular: as of my visit in May 2022, we were amongst the first non-Hebrew speakers to play extensively in the region, and we were the very first players of the English versions of certain rooms. Many but not all Israelis speak some English, and we were grateful to have Hebrew-speaking teammates and friends who generously accompanied us for much of our trip.

A heart-shaped pizza with a pizza cutter on one side and three tomatoes on the other.

Across the 22 rooms I played in Israel, I observed certain distinctive trends:

  • Unique Theming: Fandoms & Food
  • Family-Friendly
  • Everyone Finishes
  • Nascent Translation
  • Safety & Upkeep
  • The Secret Sauce
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Escape Academy [Hivemind Review]

Escape Academy is a point-and-click escape game. The developer is Coin Crew Games and the publisher is iam8bit, Skybound Games.

Illustrated headmaster character says, "If an escape from the traditional path piques your interest... climb aboard."

Format

Style of Play:

  • Online native experience (can NOT be played IRL)
  • Play on demand
  • Point-and-click

Who is it For?

  • Story seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Any experience level… but it helps to have experience controlling characters on your platform of choice

Required Equipment: Steam on PC, Xbox, PS4/PS5, or Epic Games

Recommended Team Size: 1-2

Play Time: 4-8 hours of gameplay. Each level is typically between 15-30 minutes.

Price: $19.99 for base game, additional $14.99 for the season pass with 2 planned DLCs; base game available with subscription on XBox Gamepass

Booking: purchase and play at your leisure

Description

A simple jaunt to an escape room turned into an epic quest to join the Escape Academy, pass its tests, and unlock the secrets of its faculty. To do this, we had to complete 11 specific tasks given to us by the faculty, where each task translated into an entire escape room. Each “room” was a self-contained open world where we could travel in all directions, inspect designated hot spots, collect items, and interact with standard and not-so-standard escape room mechanisms like combination locks, keypads, chainsaws, and so forth. Each room had a time “limit” to give urgency to the activity, but you could choose to extend the timer when it expired.

There are both solo and multiplayer options.

Escape Room Waiver, playfully giving controller instructions in a video game.
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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 $40 CAD per player; Friday and Saturday $46 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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