Crypto Escape Rooms – The Lost Shipwreck [Review]

A tale of a bird and his pirate

Location: Newmarket, Ontario, Canada

Date Played: May 2, 2022

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

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $30.98 CAD per player

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

The painstaking craftsmanship that went into the creation of Crypto Escape Rooms’ The Lost Shipwreck was highly evident. We were delighted to explore it.

The detail-oriented nature of the set, including aspects of the ship itself, were revealed throughout the storyline in dramatic and fitting flourishes alongside natural game flow progression. This atmospheric tone also carried over into the accompanying lighting for the space, setting the mood while still enabling us to clearly see the tasks at hand.

An adorable parrot in a tri-corner hat, with an artificial win made of wood, rope, and cloth.

We appreciated the detail of character assigned to the pirate; however, momentum suffered in the final puzzle. While the multiple iterations required to assemble the final solution narratively made sense, in practice this sequence struggled to hit the high note necessary to be the capstone for the experience.

The Lost Shipwreck would be suitable for families and groups of friends alike, providing a visual playground of interactions for all in the space. Those in the greater Toronto region would do well to exchange ye doubloons for a treasure hunt throughout this particular cavern.

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Confundrum Escape Rooms – Cypherspace [Review]

Out of This Wormhole

Location:  Burlington, Ontario, Canada

Date Played: June 12, 2022

Team Size: 2-8; we recommend 4-6 depending on experience level

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $32 per player

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

In short, your experience in Cypherspace will be highly dependent on the puzzling aptitude your team brings to the table. Beginners will find this to be quite a challenge with little onboarding in the space. Enthusiasts will have a varied experience, with the difficulty depending on how much you click with the puzzles presented. Each puzzling aspect is matter-of-factly laid out, challenging you to hop in and start solving immediately. And by immediately, I mean please don’t waste time in your 60 minutes as there is a bit of a puzzle mountain in front of you.

You might even be wise to take advantage of an interesting feature that allows you to query the gamemaster on your completion percentage so that you can pace yourself. Not an exact measure (as it seemed to depend on the number of puzzles completed and not necessarily the complexity of the solves involved), it will give you a reasonable enough understanding of progression to be helpful on your journey into the wormhole.

Grey background with white lettering reads, "Confundrum wouldn't let us take photos... and never got around to sending them." The text finishes with a shrug emoticon.
Editor’s note: In the thousand+ games we’ve reviewed, this is incredibly rare.

There was certainly some variability in puzzle design; some hit home with solid aha moments and some made us shrug after the lock clicked and we quickly moved on. There was one discernible puzzle in the earliest segment of the game that required some guesswork to arrive at the right answer. With a similar mechanic and a few alterations in its execution (such as spacing out inputs provided), this could become a stronger part of the game flow.

If you’re looking for searching challenges or scenery immersion, one of Confundrum Escape Rooms’ other experiences will be what you’re seeking. However, if you just want to go solve some puzzles in Southern Ontario, and are an experienced player (or a group of beginners up for a stiff challenge), check out Cypherspace.

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Niagara Escapement – End of the *Bleeping* World [Review]

End of the Bleeping World is one of the best escape rooms in the Niagara / Buffalo area. Here are our recommendations for other great escape rooms around Niagara Falls / Buffalo, NY.

Puzzle Preppers

Location: Niagara Falls, Ontario Canada

Date Played: May 1, 2022

Team Size: 3-6; we recommend 3-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $25 CAD per player

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

The word that came to mind when I walked out of End of the Bleeping World was just… classic. Most refreshing was the momentum that carried us through the plot, lining up opportunities for players to score successes in frequent and approachable intervals as we sought solace from catastrophe.

Designed by the same individual who was the mastermind behind Dead Air (a now-closed hallmark of escape rooms in the northeast), End of the Bleeping World was another example of rock-solid game design. This serious scenario with a lighthearted tone was a joy to work through. The puzzles were incredibly fair, the aha moments were particularly delightful, and the non-linear space itself was set up in such a way that enabled players to have their own range of motion, both physically and in discovery moments.

Inside of a brick and metal bunker with a pneumatic tube system.

If you are playing in the Buffalo/ Niagara/ Southern Ontario region and you don’t play this game (alongside the 2-person Easy Bake Coven), you are doing yourself a disservice. Suitable for beginners and entertaining for enthusiasts, End of the Bleeping World was a great example of intelligent, approachable gameplay really hitting a home run.

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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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Lock & Key Escape Room – The Seance [Review]

Astral Abduction

Location: Buffalo, NY

Date Played: April 23, 2022

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

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $27 per player

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Lock & Key Escape Room delivered a well-orchestrated escape room with The Seance. It used a myriad of puzzle types to build towards an escape that was both satisfying to play through and built on a logical game flow.

We particularly enjoyed a puzzle with an artistic aspect that had us mixing and matching elements in unexpected ways midway into the experience. We paused to appreciate the detailed novelty of the interaction, which underlined how set pieces found right away may take on a different context with information found later.

A seance room with a strange symbol painted on the wall.

As a note, The Seance did lose a bit of its storyline later in the gameplay. While the puzzles were clearly laid out, it wasn’t always obvious how they were driving us towards the original objective of finding a silent film star. This certainly won’t heavily impact whether some people enjoy this room or not, but a stronger narrative backbone would help tie the individual moments together.

If you’re in the Buffalo area, The Seance is a perfect weekend activity to close out a day adventuring with your family or to kick off a night going out on Elmwood Avenue with friends.

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