- Played January 2017
- 60 minutes
- 2-8 players
- What People Say
KeyMasters.ca is the new kid on the block in Hamilton, located in the Stoney Creek community. Since joining ERA, I’ve been anxious when visiting the first room(s) of a new company, mainly because I never know what to expect. I’ve been to the early rooms of a few companies and really not enjoyed them, and I hate the idea of having to write a poorly scored review for a company just getting off the ground. Lucky for me, this is not one of those reviews.
Mad Scientists was our first stop on the frigid day that saw us travelling to Hamilton for a two-company trip. We didn’t have any trouble finding the place, though as the building is set back from the road, it’ll serve you well to keep an eye out for the KeyMasters.ca sign, just south of the intersection of Grays Rd and Barton St E. The owners were there to greet us as we stepped inside, and the conversation that erupted started us off with a very positive vibe. The lobby hasn’t been the main focus of the owners, though they have included a fair amount of seating, as well as free popcorn for their customers. One suggestion I have for any future lab subject is to check out the trailer beforehand, just to set the mood.
Once we were clearly able to see the Mad Scientists room, the first thing we noticed was how much dedication and work had been poured into this escape room. The entirety of the room is built and decorated to match the setting of the story, with props and set pieces that one would expect to find in a laboratory. If we were committed, however, it would have been quite easy for us to bypass a number of puzzles by sliding through the opening left in the door, but I’d advise against doing this as the puzzles that get you to the point of opening the door are enjoyable too! We didn’t notice many of the do-not-touch stickers, and there wasn’t any obvious wiring hanging about in the room. The owners have also added noise to the reveals so that lab subjects can locate them easily. We could have used less blood-writing on the walls though.
Mad Scientists hit a lot of the must-haves when it comes to immersion: the room is decorated to fit the story, the puzzles enforce the theme, and we felt that need to escape. One area that needs a bit of work is story. We began with an introduction from our host, which we felt could have been improved with a bit of acting during delivery. This was followed by a video that further explained where we were and why we were there, and while it was effective and well done, some of the sound seemed clipped and harder to understand (a nitpicky point). The story is lightly referred to again closer to the end of the room, but otherwise we weren’t thinking about it. This is why I HIGHLY recommend you ask for a hint or two. Even if your group doesn’t feel the need for assistance, the hints add to immersion in a fun and clever way.
When a room has something new to offer (that is to say something that we reviewers have not seen before), we are usually impressed. This holds true for Mad Scientists, the antagonists of which riddled their lab and our prison with clever, unique puzzles and tasks. No two puzzles were alike, and there was a good mix of physical and intellectual tasks for us to complete. The puzzles of Mad Scientists engage your senses while pushing you to to work with your fellow captives in order to escape.
While we had been lured into the Mad Scientists lab, we really enjoyed their tests. There are a number of unique experiences to be had in this room, and most of the puzzles promote (and sometimes require) teamwork among the test subjects. This room is a great start for KeyMasters.ca, and based on their first room, we cannot wait to see what they do next!