Escape Games (Escape from Bleak Prison and the Haunting of Noriko)

Escape Games
11 Kodiak Crescent
Toronto, ON M3J 0G7
Cross Street: Allen Rd. and Sheppard Ave. W
Rooms: 5
Group Size: 4-6, 4-8, 4-8, 5-8, 4-9
Game Time: 60 minutes
Price: $22/ Person Weekends, $20/ Person Weekdays
Site: http://www.escapegames.ca/
Phone Number: 416-633-6868

Rooms visited: Escape from Bleak Prison and the Haunting of Noriko
Theming: Top notch
Customer Service: Acceptable
Would I go back? I’ll be back once they make a new room

Finally… I’m done every room at Escape Games. Booking has been a hassle, but at least it’s worth it.

My team started with Escape from Bleak Prison and it was fun. It’s another split-team scenario and is very much a beginner room. At a point in the game you have to pass items between jail cells (the staff warns you beforehand, so I don’t think its a spoiler) and we actually got an item stuck halfway! I suggested that they tie their shoes together to lasso it, but we didn’t end up resorting to that. A solid beginner room that I would recommend.

After we finished Escape from Bleak Prison, we were brought to a different room where they played an introduction video!  I mentioned it before during my review of Trapped! that I think it’s a great idea for places that can afford the space. The video seemed professional too. The introduction to rooms is often neglected. It’s not even close to the most important factor, but it does play a part in a player’s experience. I’ve had many game masters phone it in and it makes it harder to get excited about a room.

The most striking thing about the Haunting of Noriko is that it’s themed beautifully. It really matches the aesthetic of what you’d expect from the scene of a Japanese horror film.The production value is stellar. There are two floors of scary effects. Notably, the lighting is dim but you never feel like you need a flashlight.  A few of the puzzles are definitely distinctly unique to the theme, and not what you’d expect to see in any other theme. I would definitely recommend this room (especially to beginners and fans of horror in general). One of my team mates actually had trouble sleeping that night
I think this room is top notch. There are parts that I didn’t enjoy, but I can recognize that this is a matter of personal preference. The Haunting of Noriko is very much a beginner room – which isn’t to say that it’s necessarily easy. When I consider escape rooms, I break up room activities into puzzles and tasks. Puzzles require solving, while tasks are (usually) activities that are self-evident, but may be difficult to execute. For example, if you entered an escape room and found a basketball, and later found a basketball net, you’d know to shoot the basketball in the net. Noriko is comprised more of tasks than puzzles, which is perfect for people new to the hobby. I wonder if this reflects a pivot in the direction Escape Games is going. It would make sense business-wise – I imagine it would appeal to a bigger demographic.

Nonetheless, I prefer solving puzzles over executing tasks. I went in with adecently sized group and by the time I was finished with a task, I had already missed much of the game! That would be my one piece of advice to reader – Take your time with this room. Don’t rush! Soak in the ambience and get scared. If I had a do-over, I probably would have brought a slightly smaller group so everyone would have participated more.

Overall, I would recommend both rooms to beginners. I would strongly recommend the Haunting of Noriko if you’re a fan of horror, as the production value is heads above the other ‘scary’ escape rooms I’ve done.

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