The Great Escape (The First Endeavour)

Rooms visited: The First Endeavour
Theming: It’s relatively themeless.
Puzzle Design: Acceptable. I have one issue. More on that below.
Customer Service: Acceptable.
Would I go back? Sure

The Great Escape
165 Geary Avenue
Toronto, ON M6H 2B8
Cross Street: Dufferin St. and Dupont Ave.
Rooms: 3
Group Size: 2-8, 4-8
Game Time: 60 minutes
Price: $23/person (Discounted Group Rates)
Site: http://www.thegreatescapecanada.com/
Phone number: 416-530-5858

I covered ideal group sizes in my latest post, Tips and Tricks Vol 1. So what do you think might be the worst team size? 10 people? Nope! You’re on the wrong end of the spectrum.
The Great Escape is in downtown Toronto, in the Ossington area (visit Bakerbots while you’re in the area and get an ice cream sandwich with burnt toffee ice cream in an everything-cookie). They haven’t done much marketing, so the only thing at the time that really caught my eye is that they had a minimum group size of 1 (I just checked, it seems like the minimum group size is up to 2 now).

Anyhow, I (foolishly) signed up for a SOLO adventure! The non-spoiler summary is that I got to the last puzzle, but ran out of time. I did spend 15-20 minutes on a puzzle I should have beaten instantly, but a clue was apparently removed by a previous group.
The format of the game is a little different from other’s I’ve seen. There is an interesting step in the game I’ve considered before (but had not seen in any of the rooms I’ve previously visited).

My singular complaint is that I fear there is some top-down blindness in the design. The First Endeavour is intended to be a linear room, with a particular set of steps you have to take in a particular order. However, you actually have access to puzzles further down-the-line, and you might inadvertently bypass parts of the game. It was actually the case that I started and solved the second puzzle of the game first, just by chance. When I realized it, I decided to solve the first puzzle – to play the game the designer intended. It just led me back to the second puzzle again, which was a little disorientating. It’s my preference that things like this be eliminated from games during the design process. The sole reason I’m not hammering this point harder is that I imagine some people might enjoy a shortcut in their game.

Overall, the experience was fun. The propietor of the establishment was friendly, though I’m not sure how receptive he is to any of my criticism. They’re opening a third room in preperation for Halloween.

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