Escape Games (Syndicate: Relic Heist)

Room visited Syndicate: Relic Heist
Aesthetic The game takes place in the future! It has a Tron/Laser quest kind of aesthetic to it.
Theming Fantastic. I think every single thing you do is actually themed. On top of that, everything makes narrative sense, which is a first for any room I’ve ever done.
Puzzle Design Great
Customer Service Good.
Overall I would strongly recommend this game. I still prefer The Unknown, but it’s really an apples-and-oranges situation because they are absolutely nothing alike.

Escape Games
11 Kodiak Crescent
Toronto, ON M3J 0G7
Cross Street: Allen Rd. and Sheppard Ave. W
Rooms: 7
Group Size: Escape from Bleak Prison (4-6), Mayan Curse (4-6), Le Voleur de Diamant (4-8), Syndicate: Relic Heist (4-8),  Counterops (5-8), The End of the Line (4-9), Haunting of Noriko (5-12), The Unknown (4-8)
Game Time: 60 minutes
Price: $22.00/Person, $28.00/Person for The Unknown ($2 Weekday discount, 20% discount for students on weekdays)
Phone Number: 416-633-6868

Syndicate: Relic Heist is the latest mission at Escape Games. Disclaimer: I got to beta test Syndicate: Relic Heist for free. However, as always with Escape Games, the beta tests come 95% to the finished product; I don’t need to worry about having any components malfunctioning  or reviewing an unrepresentative game.
The INFAMOUS Mike from Team Undefeated was in town, and joined my team for the game. SPOILER ALERT! Our team entry into the then empty scoreboard was “Team Defeated”. No, I don’t actually post real spoilers.

So this is definitely something new and fancy. There’s a lot to talk about. It’s technically a heist mission, like various other rooms in the GTA where you might find yourself stealing jewels. However, this is very much beyond that. It’s probably not even fair to make comparisons. The backstory to the game is that players are in the near-future, where they find themselves working for a criminal organization, The Syndicate. Your elite team is tasked with stealing a relic, escaping, and leaving no trace that you were ever there. The first thing worthy of mentioning is the scoreboard: Instead of the usual timed escapes, teams are given a score. Time is a certainly a factor, but I don’t think it’s even the most important one. I don’t want to give anything away about the scoring, but if you’re curious, I scored incredibly poorly. Embarassingly so. My life of crime was very short-lived.

The narrative and theming of the game is intertwined with the gameplay and the design of the ‘puzzles’. For the first time, almost everything you have to do makes narrative sense. How do we disable the security system? Well, pretty much how you’d expect to disable a security system. Where’s the key for this door? If you pay attention to the game, it’s exactly where you’d expect it to be. There’s no random searching. No random lockboxes with clues; From start to finish, the game requires minimal suspension of disbelief. Very cool.

It’s hard to get a bead on the exact difficulty of this game. As I wrote above, my team did terrible. I’m fairly convinced we were being stupid, and the daunting highscores seem to agree with that. The game does have a very important element of communication. Syndicate: Relic Heist is not a split-team game like Escape From Bleak Prison, but I’d argue that communication is even more important (if you want to do well). I wouldn’t suggest taking beginners to this room. It requires more coordination than normal, and it would probably ruin their expectations of other escape rooms.

I strongly recommend the game. It’s the closest thing possible to being in a Mission Impossible movie.



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