Yay! I got a chance to play another escape room game, Great Escape! The first time I’ve ever played one of these new trend games was at ESC-IT which I really enjoyed! (I ended up going again after my first time and we solved one room — the Library. Yayyy).
In any case, a couple of my friends decided to go to Great Escape last weekend to try two of their room puzzles. We were a team of four and played the Dungeon and the Garage.
Great Escape is situated at a great location — about 5 minutes walking from Finch Station in North York — which makes it very easy to get to for those that live downtown or even though that live uptown; you can take the subway or park nearby. It’s on the second floor of a small cafe, so make sure you keep an eye out as you’re walking down the street because I actually walked passed it without knowing since there isn’t any prominent signage that pointed me towards it.
Upon walking up the stairs, it’s a very well-ventilated area with the reception desk right in the middle of the small hallway. The different rooms are located to the sides. Basically, the point of the game is to work together to solve all the clues and puzzles in the themed room in under 45 minutes in order to obtain the final key to escape the room.
Seeing that I had played ESC-IT before, I had a couple of comparisons when playing Great Escape. I’ll list them out in bullet-point format for easier reading:
- I was appalled that despite they offer a discount on the fee of $15 with a Facebook check-in/like (original price is $17), they didn’t offer any free wifi to their customers. This shocked me because ESC-IT freely offered free wifi in order for you to check in on Facebook/use four square/other social media platforms in order to show that you were at the place. This is a fantastic business advertising opportunity because friends can then see on the social media that you are there (awareness and exposure for the business). When you don’t offer free wifi, you are limiting your business since no one actually knows who goes there. Most people aren’t going to remember to ‘like’ the Facebook page later. To me, their reason of not offering wifi because they had four tablets that had to be connected to the Internet and they didn’t have enough bandwidth was really crass and silly. So many businesses and restaurants nowadays offer free wifi that you would expect a place like this to offer it as well.
Their props and ideas are very well thought out. By playing the games, I can tell that a lot of work and detailed thinking went into every part of the rooms. I appreciated how much time and effort they put into it. Compared to ESC-IT, Great Escape wins in terms of their creativity and detail. For example, I liked how for the Dungeon room, they stimulated the cannibal situation by blindfolding us, hand-cuffing us, and chaining together in a group. It made the experience a lot more authentic and fun! 🙂
- After we finished playing the room, they actually gave us the answers to how the room would be solved. To me, this is a little unwise as a business because then your customers have no incentive of ever coming back to play the room again. I know that for ESC-IT, they don’t tell you the answers which gives the customers a chance to pay to play the room a second time in order to figure out and solve the room — in fact, this is what one of my friends did. Great Escape is very nice to tell their players the solutions to the game, but just unwise. When you establish a business, making money is more important than being nice.
- I liked how there was a place for us to put our belongings (locked up in a locker). For ESC-IT, we were allowed to bring our belongings into the room (not sure if they’ve changed it since), but I liked this more because it made sure that no one was bringing anything into the room to help them solve any puzzles (i.e. cell phones).
I liked the timers in the rooms. They looked like actual count-down clocks whereas the ones in ESC-IT were just hand-held devices that were cheap-looking.
- I felt like the puzzles at Great Escape were a tad more difficult than the ones at ESC-IT. They really make you think and work together as a team to have fun.
- Depending on if you successfully solve the room or not, you get to take a picture with your team. I felt that the layouts that they use to pair up our pictures with were a little lame — they’re based on the
currentlypreviously popular memes like “Y U NO ESCAPE?!” Or “Haters gonna hate, escapers gonna escape.” To me, they’re really lame and they don’t look as professional as the signs that you take pictures with at ESC-IT. Also, I felt that it was again unwise of them as a business to not be able to upload these pictures online to their Facebook page immediately (you had to wait a day or two in order to see these pictures) whereas at ESC-IT, they took their pictures with a phone and the pictures were uploaded immediately throughout the day as their customers played the rooms. This is smarter for them as a business because the response is instant and in a fast-paced society like ours today, everyone prefers instant gratification and instant check-in’s.
- Lastly, we were a little concerned about the hygiene of the blindfolds as we put them on. They were taken out of a box that seemed to only have the same four blindfolds time and time again. Do they even sanitize these after every game so that players don’t share potential germs?!
All in all, even though I felt a little frustrated with how everything was set up (the lack of wifi and having to wait for the pictures part), I really enjoyed playing the rooms with my friends. (Mind you, I do understand that they are a new business and are just working out the kinks so please bear with all of my opinions.) We were able to solve one room (Garage) but not the second one (Dungeon). The thing I liked the most was how detailed-oriented all the stories and rooms were. I really appreciate these kinds of things and it makes the entire venture more fun when the rooms and props are designed and made with care.
Would I come again? Probably! There are still two more rooms for us to try and I’d love to see what props and ideas they came up with for the other two rooms. 🙂