Circus of Screams

6.4 Overall
Room Quality
Puzzle Design
Fun Factor
Users (0 votes) 0

Circus of Screams

  • Played October 2016
  • Oshawa

  • 60 minutes
  • 2-8 players
  • $20
  • Great for families and players of all ages

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Please note: Circus of Screams is a limited-time Halloween theme escape room that is facilitated as part of S. Caper’s Break Out Zone’s Scary Escapes Event. During this event, the S. Caper’s staff modify their existing rooms and essentially create pop-up rooms within their regular line-up of rooms.

In the heart of downtown Oshawa you’ll find S. Caper’s Break Out Zone in a rustic old home that’s been converted into an escape room facility.  There’s parking available for 3-4 cars in back of the house, and we couldn’t help but make numerous TARDIS jokes as the inside felt much bigger than the outside. The staff were friendly, accommodating and excited to tell us about their rooms and company philosophy. We were happy to learn there is a conscious effort to support local charities and be actively involved within the community. A lack of space is noticeable, and there aren’t too many frills you’d commonly see with most companies such as designated room for pre-game entertainment and/or refreshments… but all in all, a pleasant start.

S.Caper’s is among those companies who frequently redesign their rooms to maximize returning customers.  As you would guess, the downside to this approach is often seen in the room quality with inexpensive props and not much wow factor and/or tech. The set design is further hindered by visible wires, plugs, and several windows which allow too much light and view of the outside. We did however enjoy this room’s theme consistency and how the props supported it.  Room quality definitely isn’t the strength in Circus Of Screams, but let’s keep digging…

As mentioned the immersion also suffers because there’s a few too many ‘tells’ you’re in the former bedroom of an old preserved home…  We did however enjoy the soundtrack and choice of window coverings. Oddly enough we found that although this room’s immersion was fairly low compared to most escape rooms, it was perfect for the room’s target audience which is families with children.

Continuing on the idea this room was designed for families with children, we decided to slightly change our lens of perception to reflect how families would enjoy this room.  This was especially important when it came to our focus on puzzles.  Most hardcore puzzle enthusiasts will probably find the puzzles in this room too simplistic and/or lacking the level of engagement they want.  From a family perspective however these puzzles were incredibly well designed and suited for kids to get involved. Our team even felt disappointed we didn’t have kids with us so we could see their enjoyment as they interacted with the challenges. It’s also important to mention just because these puzzles are ideal for families doesn’t necessarily mean they’re all easy.  When we say it’s ideal for children we’re simply referring to the impressive types of puzzles and challenges (dare we say some of these puzzles might even be easier for kids than adults?)  Anyways, BIG kudos for the puzzles here and for being mindful of the target audience!

So the room quality is on par with most pop-up escape rooms, the immersion isn’t what you’d ideally hope for, and the puzzles are incredibly enjoyable for the target audience of families and/or newbies… What you really want to know however is whether it’s fun?  Yes, but once again don’t go into this room expecting something that will impress you with its tech, its quality of design, or the things that appeal to most enthusiasts.  This room is ideal for families and completely new escape room players plain and simple.  There are many companies out there who advertise their rooms as being ‘child friendly’ or ‘family suitable’ but very few of them actually achieve an inclusive atmosphere for kids from start to finish like Circus of Screams.  So come one, come all, step right up to the family spectacular as very few have seen it before.  Escape room enthusiasts can take a pass on this one unless they can find some kids to come with them and shown them how it’s done!

We want to hear your thoughts!  Be sure to comment in the section below or send us a message via ERA’s email, Facebook, or Twitter… As always, happy escaping!

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