So you think you're smart, huh? Confident in your problem-solving abilities? Can you properly decipher the codes, puzzles and hidden clues around you in time to find the key that will set you free? Escape the room games have been wildly popular in Japan for the last several years, but Montrealers are only now starting to embrace them here in the city. A great way to challenge your friends and family, or do some team building with co-workers, or even to celebrate an event, escape games have been popping up all over recently, so we decided to compile a list of some of the best ones for your gaming pleasure.
1. Find The Key
Among the first escape rooms to open in Montreal, Find the Key offers one of the most original and authentic experiences out there. With 3 different scenarios to choose from (War Zone, Crime Scene, The Illusionist), once you enter the room, you become part of the story. Every detail has been meticulously considered and executed to deliver a fully-immersive reality. Scenarios are all bilingual and will definitely keep you guessing with a variety of custum-made sensors, programming, sound effects, light effects, etc., but don't worry, you'll have a "Guardian Angel" looking out for you if you get stuck. Located close to Berri UQAM metro station, with special rebates for students, weekday bookings or special events for groups, Find the Key is the perfect way to kill time before a night out downtown or in the Old Port.
Inspired by video games, TV shows, movies and books, Obsidem plunges players into interactive live games where you'll have to work as a team to solve intriguing problems, escape from precarious situations, and unravel the plot before time runs out. Obsidem has been careful not to overuse the whole “find a combination or key to open something” concept and features tons of interactive & electronically controlled features to create challenging and hybrid games where escaping the room isn’t even necessarily the priority. Release your inner geek in truly immersive and realistic environments with the choice of 3 different scenarios (including one designed with the help of an actual detective!) with a new, top-secret one on the way coming October 2015.
3. À la loupe
À la loupe isn't your typical escape game, changing the format and putting you on the case outside instead of locked in a room. A great way to enjoy summer and (re)discover the city in a new way, À la loupe offers two different scenarios: Investigate the biggest theft case in Montreal while discovering some of Old Montreal's most amazing buildings -or- Re-open the cold case of a missing child in the Plateau Mont-Royal, with a focus on Montreal’s amazing street art. Everything you need to complete your task (instructions, bag, clues etc.) is given to you at the beginning of each game and games last on average 2 hours. To be crowned the big winner, your team will have to score the most points based on reasoning, logic, speed and creativity. À la loupe only costs $14/person or 12$/person for a group of 6 and up (very reasonable), and there's obviously a fair bit of walking involved, so probably a good idea to save the stilettos.
Located right on the Main, Ezkapaz's colourful themes are as diverse and challenging for the seasoned gamer and the occasional puzzle-solver alike, with difficulty levels adapted to the group at hand. Developed by a local Montreal wizard of the escape game experience, all of the scenarios have been specifically designed to test your powers of deduction and observation, where every single element in the room is a clue, and nothing has been left to chance. Games are 60 minutes each, which trust me when I say, goes by very fast, but Ezkapaz won't leave you hanging at any point if you get stuck. Game masters will be there to answer your questions and offer voice commands if you are struggling or heading in the wrong direction. Ezkapaz game masters are so nice in fact, they'll even allow you a few extra minutes of gameplay at the end if they think you're close enough to escaping, so everyone has a chance to leave a winner.
With three different immersive scenarios to choose from, A/Maze takes the point-and-click format of “escape-the-room” adventures made popular by video games and puts you directly in the action. From customized decorations, to working props, to large-scale artwork, as well as locally-produced music to really suck you into the reality of each game, everything at A/Maze has been carefully considered to optimize your experience. Each scenario features its own interactive environment based on historical and cultural facts where up to 14 people can play at the same time. Elaborate environments, challenging story lines, and amazing attention to detail have made A/Maze extremely popular since they opened, but you better bring your A-game because only 5-10% of people ever manage to successfully complete the game.
As the biggest franchised escape game in Eastern Canada, Trapped definitely knows how to deliver truly immersive and engaging experiences you will want to try more than once. Designed to test your wits and challenge all 5 of your senses at the same time like no video game ever could, Trapped was masterfully crafted by an interior designer from Osaka, Japan, and offers 4 unique, multi-room escape games that bring fantasy and movie stories to real life. After Trapped's friendly game masters explain all the rules and scenario details, you and up to 8 of your friends have 60 minutes and 2 free hints to solve the tricky puzzles and beat the room, hopefully with your friendship still intact!