Scavenger hunt ≠ Escape room
> EDMONTON (YEG) > Thrillscape
- Website: Thrillscape
Address: 101-15397 117 Ave NW, Edmonton, AB T5M 3X4
- Private Booking: Yes
- Price: $25 per person
- Duration: 45 minutes
- Linearity: Mixed
- Group size: #medium
- Player Level: #rookie
- Premise: “It’s been 3 weeks and your Ex has moved out and on, but not before one last visit where they tore up a few old pictures and broke into your jewelry case. They took some jewelry and a lottery ticket that was hiding there. That lottery ticket is a $Million Dollar winner that you have told nobody about! Your Ex doesn’t even know! You found out where their new house is and tonight’s the night. Your Ex will be gone for 45 mins and you want that lottery ticket!”
I’m waffling over what rating to give the service. When we rate rooms, this part is usually the easiest to assess. Here, the service was very unlike that of other escape rooms. Sure, we still got the usual sequence of payment, video, and backstory, but it’s the stuff between all these that I’m having a hard time reviewing. I guess I’ll start by describing the “stuff”, which was mainly conversation. That was fine, and as we mentioned in other reviews, we actually enjoy in-depth conversations about escape rooms with staff members.
So what was different? I think in this case, the conversation was too much. It was just one long monologue after another about how great their company was, and I started to feel uncomfortable.
Then there was the hint system. The staff watch and listen to your every move. That’s fine, but again, in this case it was too much. Even when we weren’t asking for hints and just thinking out loud, a voice would come from the speakers to tell us what we should be doing. Coming out of the escape room, I feel like we weren’t given a chance to think for ourselves. I’m sure the intentions were fine and they wanted us to keep moving along in the room, but the principal source of fun with escape rooms is feeling that satisfaction after figuring out how to solve the puzzles. Here, the omnipresent voice did most of the work.
I think Mr. P covered it all. On a positive note, I liked how eager our game master was to tell us about what other rooms they’ve got in the works!
The puzzles (if you could even call them that) were tough, not because they were hard to solve, but because they were hard to find. Usually puzzles are given, and solving them is the hard part. Here, the puzzles themselves are hidden, and solving them takes a backseat. It did become tricky because everything looked so homey, so things that we disregarded as irrelevant household props ended up being relevant.
There were a few hiccups in terms of the progression. We were able to solve several puzzles without seeing clues and just skipping clues altogether. There was also a heavy use of blacklight, which coincides with the room’s emphasis on finding over solving.
I had to think about this one a lot before I started writing. The reason that I gave this such a low score was because this room played out more like a scavenger hunt than an escape room. It was very very searching-intensive. There weren’t puzzles in the traditional sense of an escape room – instead, there were clues about where to find the next thing.
This room was also very heavy-handed with its use of blacklight. I think the reason blacklight was used so much might have been to preserve the look of the room. If that’s the case, I don’t know if I would agree with that decision – sacrificing puzzle quality to make the room look really good seems counter to the purpose of escape rooms (which, I think, is to solve puzzles).
I do admit that I have a bias against an overreliance on searching and overuse of blacklight, so I might be a little bit too harsh here!
As soon as I walked in, it felt like I walked out. Let that sink in for a bit.
What I meant was, the room was still indoors, but the room resembled the outside so much. (I’d even say it’s the best attempt at making a room look like it’s outside in terms of Alberta escape rooms.) My first impression about the room was definitely positive. For the most part, they were able to sustain the homey look throughout the entire room.
Absolutely stunning room. It looked exactly like a house on the inside, and what’s amazing is that they even made the outside look like a real outside!
Immersion is the room’s weakest component. The first portion was tense, thanks to the production design of the room. I really felt like I was outside, waiting to break and enter, anxious that someone was going to catch me. From there, immersion took a nosedive. This is where the theme itself plays an indirect part in hurting immersion. During the later portions of the room, you hear the radio playing. They wanted to replicate the feeling of being in a house, but again, it was too much. I couldn’t really feel tense while Zayn Malik was singing Pillowtalk in the background. The music, as well as the excessive (sometimes unsolicited) hints were what took away from total immersion.
A big part of this immersion score is just because of the look. I love the details that went into trying to make it seem like you’re in a house. I actually thought the radio playing in the room was super clever!
What lowered the score for me was the fact that the non-puzzles weren’t very engrossing. I couldn’t quite get into game mode because I was confused about what game I was trying to play – was it an escape room or a scavenger hunt?
The name of the room is self-explanatory. You’re breaking and entering, which is still within the realm of things that could happen in real life. The room doesn’t pretend to take you to another world and go on an extraordinary adventure.
They also have a cute twist in the end, which was a nice personal touch.
Aside from the puzzles (which I also take into account while rating theme), it really did feel like you were breaking and entering! It’s also a bit of a unique take on the typical break-and-enter. I also really like the little surprise at the end!
Looking at the numbers above, my numbers for this room are all over the place. Some components are good (even great), while some components just did not work. My overall satisfaction, however, was closer to a disappointment. I give this room a #silver rating. I never felt satisfied when I opened a lock or solved a puzzle, and the excessive interruptions were enough to mar my experience.
I give this room a #bronze. I think that the key to a good escape room is having good puzzles, and that wasn’t my experience here.
That said, if you love a good-looking room and prefer something that plays out a bit more like a scavenger hunt, this would be a great room for you!
- Completed: July 30, 2016
- Escaped? Yes (2 people)
- Our Time: 0:54 (/1:00)
- # of hints used: 3+