AT Escape (Bunker Evacuation)

AT escape inc.
173 Sheppard Avenue W
North York, ON M2N 1M9
Cross Street: Sheppard Ave. and Yonge St.
Rooms: 5
Group Size: 2-4, 2-6, and 2-8
Game Time: 45 minutes
Price: $20.34/Person (with like and check-in on Facebook)
Site: http://www.atescape.ca/
Phone Number: 647-341-8989

AT Escape is located adjacent to KTown, sharing the neighbourhood with another room escape business, Great Escape. It actually looks like a residential bungalow from the outside, and we missed it on the first pass. We eventually found it, and they have parking in the back as well.

I have a dissenting review from fellow room escape reviewer, EscaperForHire (http://torontoescapegames.wordpress.com/2014/09/11/at-escape/). My experience was a fairly negative one, to the point where I initially thought EscaperForHire was a shill for AT Escape (I don’t think that anymore!). Bad experiences can happen by chance, just like good ones. I normally give places a second chance, but I didn’t in the case of AT escape. However, I did check with other people who have visited to see if they had experiences similar to me, and certainly some have. A fellow on reddit named serjery had a similar experience with the staff (http://www.reddit.com/r/toronto/comments/2arh3a/toronto_room_escapes/ck593gm), which makes it seem like a consistent problem. Anyhow, onto the review.

I attended the Bunker Evacuation room with one other friend. My first impression was that they did a good job with the decor. They clearly put in effort to make it look significantly like an actual bunker. There were ammo boxes on thefloor, and shell casings around the room. On top of that, they welded a few pieces of metallic tubing together to make a pretty decent looking prop machine gun! Kudos for effort on props.

What really failed me for the Bunker evacuation was the puzzle design. I absolutely loathe poor puzzle design. They had two cases of unintentional red herrings. Without spoiling anything, there was a set of things, and one of those showed up on a piece of paper. You had to ignore it, and it wasn’t part of the puzzle. UGH! I wanted to take that fake machine gun and shoot myself in the face with it (hyperbole, please don’t email me about this statement). Beyond that, the overall structure of the puzzle design bothered me as well. I’ve completed my fair share of room escapes, and I’ve seen linear puzzle rooms, rooms where independent puzzles come together to a master puzzle, and everything in between. They’re both okay, depending on how you execute them, but the execution in this case was poor and misleading.

Second complaint is about the staff and the hint system. First of all, the staff seems friendly enough, but getting their attention once you’re in the room is a bit more difficult. When we eventually got a hint, it was actually about the overall design of the room, rather than on the puzzle we were working on.

I did contact the proprietor, but his response was, more or less, pick an easier room. That’s a pretty condescending and dismissive reply, but I didn’t really want to push the issue.

Summary

Rooms visited: Bunker Evacuation
Theming: Good! Decor matched the theme. This place actually did a great job with that.
Puzzle Design:  Poor.
Customer Service: Poor.
Would I go back? Most probably not. I’ve actually been in the area several times since then and I’ve managed to suppress my room escape urge. I’m not really offended by the owner’s reply, so much as I don’t want to go through more rooms that have been designed with a similar mindset.

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