Team building, creative thinking, and immersive entertainment?
Where can you do all of these together?
Escape Rooms…of course!!
One of the things we love to do at Daddy Blogger is showcase, highlight, and analyze some of the latest societal trends. For this blog review, we spent 5 days visiting all of the different Escape Rooms in Vancouver: that’s 15 Escape Rooms in 5 days, averaging 3-4 Escape Rooms each day!
Firstly, what’s an Escape Room?
According to Wikipedia, “real-life room escape games are a type of physical adventure game in which people are locked in a room with other participants and have to use elements of the room to solve a series of puzzles, find clues, and escape the room within a set time limit.”
We had a few goals in mind when doing these series of reviews:
a) BE POSITIVE – our goal was to support the Business Owners and the Escape Room Industry as a whole so we have approach our reviews with a desire to be encouraging, positive, and uplifting.
b) BE OBJECTIVE – our goal is to be objective in our analysis looking at the strengths and weaknesses of each Escape Room (while maintaining our first goal to be positive)
c) BE COMPREHENSIVE – our goal was to review as many Escape Rooms as possible to get an overview of the industry as a whole and how we can support each Business Owner
So, here is our comprehensive review of almost every Escape Room in Vancouver broken down chronologically by date visited. We have included the picture we took after we succeeded or failed as well as our interview with the Business Owner or Team Member.
DAY 1 (Time Escape, Lockdown, Smarty Pantz)
1) Time Escape
We started our reviews at Time Escape in Richmond and were warmly greeted by one of the co-owners Russell. We tried out Space-Ship Mysteries. They had some cool Space Outfits in the first room and the ambience really made you feel like you were on a Space-Ship. We only made it about 50% through the game since we were still “Escape Room Rookies.” One of my favourite features of Time Escape was how kid-friendly it is. Even in my video interview below, you can hear all the kids playing in the background and Russell emphasized the family-friendliness of Time Escape several times in the interview as well. I can’t wait to take Rianne and Ryan on an Escape Room Adventure when they are older!
Game Tried: Space-Ship Mysteries
Our second Escape Room adventure brought us to Xcape which is one of Richmond’s longest-running and most popular Escape Rooms. In true entrepreneur fashion, Xcape was started by a group of students while they were in college. Well done in running your own business at such a young age – bravo, Team Xcape! This time around, we tried out Sherlock’s Mystery which puts you in the midst of a detective crime-murder mystery. I liked the story-line as it was more than just escaping. You had to guess the identity of the murderer and victim based on the series of letters, clues, and puzzles. Unfortunately, we guessed wrong so we all definitely need to work on our detective investigation skills!
Room Tried: Sherlock’s Mystery
Have you ever wanted to be Tom Cruise in a Mission Impossible Movie going through lasers in a race against time? I know I have! Well, thanks to the team at Lockdown, your Mission Impossible dreams can come true at Nuclear Crisis. The clues are really creative – one of them even involves smell (we definitely needed a hint to figure out the smell-based riddle)! After getting through the first 2 rooms, we were most surprised when a series of lasers was between us and the finish line. Luckily, 2 of our YVR Bloggers team were super fit and flexible and got us to our first ever Escape Room victory!! It definitely feels way better to hold up one of the “SUCCESS” signs!
Room Tried: Nuclear Crisis
4) Smarty Pantz
Live actors? Yep!! Smarty Pantz sets to differentiate itself from the competition through the use of professionally-trained actors in costume and character through the whole Escape Room experience. We all loved how realistic and immersive the Live Actor element was. While you are waiting for your game to begin, you can play the Giant Jenga Game in the Hair Salon-themed waiting room. All of a sudden while we were waiting, a masked Hunchback Master’s Assistant came out of nowhere to scare us and lead us into a dark room which was a “Serial Killer’s Basement.” Being in this room, brought back memories of countless movies I’ve seen over the years. Never would I have imagined I would be in one of these rooms myself!
Room Tried: Thirst for Murder
DAY 2 (Trapped, Myst, Locked Canada)
Onto Day 2 of our Escape Room escapade around Vancouver. We started the day at Trapped in Richmond trying out the “Trapped in Wonderland” themed-room. One of the things, I have discovered is that the most immersive rooms really make you feel like you are inside a movie. With the psychedelic lights, the playing card themed puzzles, and rabbit hole ambience, we really felt like we were in the middle of the latest Alice in Wonderland with Johnny Depp! Best of all, with the help of the staff, we managed to escape! Before leaving, we tried out their famous Selfie Room where you can dress up in hundreds of costumes, take as many selfie pictures with a remote timer and a DSLR, and walk away with all your images from a beautifully branded The Selfie Room USB!
Room Tried: Trapped in Wonderland
Flickering lights, scary music, and more! I never thought I would be trapped inside a Haunted School but thanks to the creative minds at Myst, that’s exactly where we found ourselves figuring out the puzzles to make it out before the time ran out! You really have to look everywhere to find your way out: on the chalk board, under the desks, and even go through a secret room to get from one classroom to the next! Unfortunately, even with the help off the hints, we couldn’t make it out. Myst also brings the popular Asian Group Tag Game “Running Man” to their facility. We will have to come back and try some of the other rooms as well as Running Man!
Room Tried: Haunted School
7) Locked Canada
This was our second time to Locked Canada. The first time, we went with our YVR Masterminds group and the second time with our YVR Bloggers group. It was good to connect again with the friendly owners Simon and Wendy. The first time we tried out “Z Apocalypse” and this time, we tried out “The Asylum.” For the Apocaplyse, they really make you feel like you are outside by cranking up the air conditioning and covering the room with leaves and branches. For Asylum, you are handcuffed to the walls so you need to work as a team to help each other escape. Even though we have tried 2 different games, we have yet to escape! They just introduced a brand new game called “The Ruins” which is getting rave reviews so we’ll have to come back since I’m only a 15 mins drive away!
Rooms Tried: Z Apocalypse & The Asyulum
DAY 3 (GUESS HQ, EXIT West Broadway, Freeing Canada)
8) GUESS HQ
GUESS HQ calls itself “Vancouver’s Only Adventure Room.” With so many Escape Rooms, it’s good for each venue to differentiate itself and GUESS HQ has done a great job. Here, the goal is not to escape but to solve the adventure which continues into the second game. The 2 games are “The Heist” and “Into the Depths” with a third game called “Temple of Light” opening up soon! GUESS HQ has done a great job in focusing on immersing participants in the storyline with staff wearing headsets, engaging videos, and some very life-like props and sets. We made it all the way to the end and were about to get the diamond but our time ran out! I’ll definitely be back to check out Into the Depth and Temple of Light!
Room Tried: The Heist
9) EXIT West Broadway
If you are a fan of Escape Rooms, you will have definitely heard of EXIT. They have several locations including 2 in Richmond, one in Surrey, one on West Broadway, and even one in Kelowna. We tried out Butcher Shop at the West Broadway location which is one of the most central locations in Vancouver. This was definitely one of the most challenging rooms we had to escape thus far since a lot of the clues involved mathematics and even converting between pounds and kilograms. We only managed to make it to the second of three rooms. Make sure you get a picture with the Mini Iron Man – he’ll even treat you some candy to reward your success!
Room Tried: Butcher Shop
10) Freeing Canada
An Indoor Ball Pit just for adults? Both my kids LOVE Ball Pits and a part of me wishes I could jump in and play with them in the Ball Pits and outdoor festivals and malls that we visit. Well, at Freeing Canada Station, we had the opportunity to play in our very own Ball Pit inside the Rainbow World theme! Plus, we got to try out two different games: Secret of the Asylum and War of Tomorrow. In both of these games, we got to wear our own costumes: straight-jackets for Secret of the Asylum and army vests for War of Tomorrow. Freeing Station has locations around the world – would love to see how the other locations compare to the Vancouver one!!
Rooms Tried: Secret of the Asylum, War of Tomorrow, and Rainbow World
DAY 4 (EXIT Garden City, EXIT Beckwith, Escape Key, Krakit)
11) EXIT Garden City
The first Escape Room in Canada!! E-Exit Garden City definitely has the First Mover Advantage being the pioneers of Escape Rooms both in Vancouver and in Canada. With their numerous franchises and strong marketing, they are leaders in the Escape Room marketplace. We tried out the Ancient Egypt theme which was really cool since there was sand in all the rooms, hieroglyphics on the walls, and even a Mummy’s Tomb. One of the clues involved figuring out different animal sounds which I found to be very creative. I really wanted to see what was inside the tomb but we couldn’t figure out the last couple of riddles even with the help of the staff.
Rooms Tried: Ancient Egypt
12) EXIT Beckwith
WOW! That’s the one word that will come to your mouth when you walk into the massive lobby at Exit Beckwith especially when the giant animatronic Dragon starts snarling and moving! Make sure you watch the video below to see what I mean!! It’s even more amazing in real life. They have a cool mini Movie Theatre which tells you the Escape Room Story Lines. Beckwith also has the most number of Escape Rooms in one venue anywhere in the city (apparently, all the rooms tie into one inter-connected storyline). We got to try out Airplane Hijack and were blown away by how lifelike the ambience was – we really felt like we were in an airplane trying to solve the hijacking mystery.
Room Tried: Airplane Hijack
13) Escape Key
When you walk into Escape Key, the lobby walls are filled with keys with the names of people who have escaped written on them as well as some empty keys waiting for our names to be on them! Unfortunately, even with lots of hints, we were only able to make it about 70% through the game so we didn’t get to put our names on a key yet. They have some creative gadgets such as a Knocking Lock, a Magnetic Lock, and a Wireless Remote Lock. Escape Key is a good choice if you like a lot of traditional puzzles and riddles. The owner Tim is a professional Puzzle Maker and it’s evident in the riddles and clues inside the room.
Room Tried: Escape Key
Krakit is Burnaby’s first and only Escape Room! It’s conveniently located a short walk from the Skytrain with free parking on site too. One of the creative and unique features of Krakit are the Live Actors who are all connected to the storylines. We got to try out Asylum and managed to escape with the help of the friendly staff. Wasn’t expecting to be scared by 2 different characters who pop up and into the game at random times!! Watch the video below for a little teaser into what to expect when you try out Krakit for yourself! Krakit does seasonal specific games too for Halloween, Christmas, and at other times of the year.
Room Tried: The Asylum
DAY 5 (TIXE)
TIXE is the largest Escape Room venue in Vancouver. Furthermore it is the only location that we have tried out all the different games available! We went to TIXE first with our YVR Bloggers Group, then again for our YVR Conferences Volunteer Appreciation Party; so we got to try out Exile District and Time Shrine our first visit and Hyperbolic Chamber and Raven Citadel our second time around. One of my favourite features of TIXE is the physically moveable rooms. TIXE also hosts regular #TIXEChallenges events, with exciting venues like: Science World, Aberdeen Centre, and other locations around the Lower Mainland! Their #SuperVillain competition at Science World was amazing with a Running Man style challenge as the grand finale! Check out their website for details of the next #TIXEChal
Rooms Tried: Exile District, Hyperbolic Chamber, Raven Citadel, and Time Shrine
Now that we have reviewed almost every Escape Room in Vancouver, what’s next? Of course, we would love to visit some of the venues and escape some of the rooms we failed at the first time as well as some of the different rooms in each location. Also, Escape Rooms keep opening up in Vancouver and beyond so we will add our reviews to this blog post so stay tuned!
Next up on our Review List:
16) Find & Seek in Tinseltown
17) i-Exit in Downtown Vancouver
18) E-Exit in Surrey
19) Mr J Joker Room in Richmond
20) Countdown Escape Rooms in Abbotsford
21) Escape Rooms Whistler
DISCLAIMER: Our Admission was complimentary for the purpose of reviewing the different Escape Rooms but we were not financially compensated in any way for these reviews. A big THANK YOU to all the owners, staff, and team members at each Escape Room for your hospitality, willingness to let us do a review of your business, and time to do the interviews. We look forward to support each Escape Room and the Escape Room Industry as a whole!!
Have you been to an Escape Room before? Please leave us a comment and let us know which one was your favourite!!