||As a reviewer, I try not to let any singular experience dominate how I
feel about a facility. This is particularly the case with customer service
snafus. However, in this case, I’m not comfortabe going back. If
you’re interested in a more balanced view, look for other reviews to
supplement this one.
3130 Hwy 7 East.
Markham, ON L3R 5A1
Cross Street: Woodbine Ave. and Hwy 7 E.
Group Size: The Ancient Pyramid (4-6), The Contaminated Hospital (2-6), Medieval Prison (4-8), Death Note (2-5), A.D 2046 (8-10)
Game Time: 60 minutes or 70 minutes for their A.D 2046 room
Price: $28.00/Person (Optional membership card that offers 10% discount)
Phone number: 905-940-6500
I had (at the time) heard some good things about Trapped. I was in the area with two friends, and we decided to play the Contaminated Hospital room. We were blindfolded and brought into the starting area. The decor of Contaminated Hospital is acceptable. The decor is more like a research hospital (laboratory setting) than a medical one. Some puzzles are themed to the laboratory, while some felt like they were thrown in because the designer really wanted a particular gimmick/trick but couldn’t find a room for it. Giving an accurate assessment of how the overall design would be tricky because of my particular experience, so I’ll refrain from referring to it.
As I wrote in the summary above, I don’t think it’s a good practice to to make a ‘final’ judgement on a place, so to speak, from one incident. As anyone can see, I’m not a huge fan of XScaper Arts, but I gave them more than one chance. In this case, I had a particularly bad experience, so I wouldn’t feel comfortable ever going back. It’s hard to explain without giving spoilers, but the jist of it is that a previous group had damaged an element of the game. The staff had tried to address it, but my team noticed it and had unknowingly gained access to a part of the game well before when we were supposed to. Trapped uses the hint ‘system’ (if you want to call it that) where they give hints as cryptically as possible, so I never had opportunity to mention what we had found. We would answer whatever the staff asked and follow their lead. As you might expect, we reached a part of the game where we were very confused. Little did we know, the solution that we had was for a puzzle close to the very end of the game. Fast forward ahead, game over, we “escaped”.
We were not happy on the ride home. It felt like a very expensive experience, for what would have amounted to a mediocre game, which on TOP of everything, was broken. As readers are well aware, I loathe broken games. Here’s where I make my mistake; I e-mailed the owner. I mentioned that it would have been better customer service to have redirected us the unbroken Death Note game instead (which also fit our player count). There was a rapid escalation in the ensuing emails. I was rude because I didn’t want their membership card, I was there to ‘ambush’ them with a bad review, he was glad he saw my identification because I would have otherwise tried to break his rooms.
It goes on, and it gets worse. Admittedly, I added some fuel to the fire when the accusation was made that I was there to break his room. To this day, that accusation is certainly the most disarming escape-related thing said to me; It really caught me off guard! I eventually stopped replying to the email chain. I did not want to engage anymore, and I definitely should have stopped earlier than that. It definitely prompted me to change my stances on certain issues. I don’t give unsolicited advice anymore, with the exception of when I think public safety is at stake (eg. falling bookcases or the like).
I’ll try to be objective. The following things I’ve written are very consistent with what I’ve expressed in other reviews. Overall, ignoring the emails and even ignoring the broken part of the game, I think it’s overpriced for what was delivered. It’s default price is $28, which puts it up there with games with the ‘Assisted-Gameplay’ model which specifically require a staff member devoted to your group. Even stacked up another facility in Markham, you get bubbletea and a day of board games along with your escape room, for about the same price (Omescape).
They advertise as being the biggest in Toronto, but that certainly didn’t reflect in the Contaminated Hospital. That room doesn’t really approach the size of the rooms at Omescape or Escape Games, but I suppose it’s possible there’s some gigantic room somewhere I’m not aware of.
I was also told that Trapped also does that thing where they don’t tell players who lose the solutions to puzzles they were stuck on. I’ve always been of the position that it’s a cash-grab tactic.
What probably irked me the most (again, aside from the interaction with the owner) is a potential safety issue. I’m listing it all the way at the end because I’m probably the only one who cares. There were no emergency keys in the game. This was actually the only game to date that I’ve played that has this setup: The way you came in is locked, there is no key in case of emergency, and ontop of that you’re not even sure where the exit is (brought in blindfolded).
As I stated in the summary, if you’re interested in this place, go look for other reviews to balance out this one. I would normally go back and give more rooms a shot, but that ship has long sailed for me. At the very least, it’s unlikely your experience will be similar to mine.