NextRelic (The Crime Scene)

Room(s) visited The Crime Scene
Theming The puzzles are pretty random, but the atmosphere/ambience fits the theme pretty well.
Puzzle Design Good
Customer Service Good
Would I go back?
They only have the one, but I’ll check them out again if they ever build another.

700 Progress Avenue, Unit 4
Toronto, ON M1H 2Z7
Cross Street: Bellamy Rd. and Progress Ave.
Rooms: 1
Group Size: 2-8
Game Time: 60 minutes
Price: $28/ Person (with a discount of $1/player for each player you have)
Phone Number: 416-792-0301

There’s a groupon currently going on for NextRelic. I definitely think the groupon puts the experience at a price definitely worth checking out, but I’m not entirely sure I’d want to pay the full $28-$1/player.  I’ve been turned off games in that price range because experience has shown me that the price often translates into more technology (which has a much greater chance of breaking down), rather than a better designed game. Anyways, NextRelic was enjoyable. I think there are several aspects that need polish though.

NextRelic is similar to a lot of places uptown where you get the impression that the room designer decided to throw in as much cool gadgetry and technology as possible. However, where other places had malfunctioning parts, everything electronic worked at NextRelic when I went! I think so, anyways. The staff/owner seemed to be watching us very diligently on the cameras. My teammate noted some mechanics were more likely to be manual.. and it is a possibility.  If he was just on standby, manually activating things, I wouldn’t be able to tell. Does this actually make any difference to the experience? I guess not, although it might be an issue in the future if another room is built.

The game itself was fun. Nothing was unfair, and there was a fun variety of puzzles. There was one puzzle in particular I was certain someone somewhere would make, but I hadn’t encountered it until now. The ambience impressed my teammates. It does feel like a creeky house, and the sound effects did give a creepy impression.

In terms of lacking polish, there are aspects of the business I think could be worked on. I generally only care about the room itself, but these are some special circumstances here. The first striking thing is the lack of a waiver. It isn’t that big of a deal from the customer’s point of view, but it felt strange that an escape room business wouldn’t be worried about liability.
While other locations have lockers and cabinets where you can store your effects, NextRelic only has one coathook. One of my teammates carried her purse throughout the game.
At the time, an email contact wasn’t listed on the site. For a while, other information like the player capacity wasn’t listed either. Everything’s on the site now, so maybe some of the feedback is sticking.

Another aspect NextRelic handles differently is the hint system. Instead of the usual walkie-talkie system, the staff asked for one of our cellphone numbers. It felt off-putting at first, but our phone numbers would be something we would normally give up in a waiver anyways. The staff would periodically update us with how much time we had remaining. If we asked for a hint, he would text it to us. This was a welcome change from walkie-talkies, where I often have to ask staff to repeat themselves, whether from static, lack of clarity, a language barrier, or something else.

Overall, the experience was decent. Take advantage of the groupon while you can.


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