The Secret of Station House No. 4

7.1 Overall
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The Secret of Station House No. 4

  • Played February 2017
  • Toronto

  • 60 minutes
  • Up to 12 players
  • $36-42

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The Secret of Station House No. 4 is the crossover of a television show and an escape room company. It combines the puzzling, immersive experience of an escape room with the stories, characters and intrigue of the Murdoch Mysteries television series. An exciting prospect that has definitely drawn some crowds, but does the experience live up to the buzz?

First off, this is not your standard escape room facility. The Secret of Station House No. 4 is housed in George Brown House, a historic building in the core of Toronto. I recommend arriving as close as possible to the start time of your experience, as there is very little seating available in the waiting area, and there aren’t any refreshments to munch on if you are early. The intro video, while familiar to some, is still enjoyable and engaging, and the actors that deliver the story are effective and entertaining.

An upside to utilizing existing spaces for escape experiences is that they don’t require as much construction. The downside, especially when it comes to historic buildings, is that there are usually limitations to what can be done within that space. Secret City Adventures has done a great job of utilizing the existing space while including additions of their own. A lot of these additions were props, all of which were thematic and aged, while still useable. There wasn’t much in the room that was not to be touched, though we did run into a couple of bugs, which I’m sure have been sorted out. In addition, the building itself was an excellent choice for this escape experience, fitting firmly into the Murdoch time period.

Large groups are a pet peeve of mine when it comes to an escape room. I always find that I miss the majority of the puzzles when larger groups are involved, which takes me out of the experience. On the flip side this says something positive about the escape room, as there are enough puzzles that are engaging enough to accommodate a large group. The actors were a key factor when it came to immersion. They drove the story forward and were a natural hint system, all while not giving anything away. A big, immersive plus was the story being set in Toronto, and while not everyone had seen Murdoch Mysteries, everyone in attendance was familiar with the city and enjoyed seeing it appear in the game.

As I mentioned before, there are quite a number of puzzles offered in this escape room. While not everyone got to be involved in each puzzle, the ERA members spread out to experience as much as possible. What we experienced was a variety of puzzles, both physical and intellectual. The puzzles made sense and were thematic, and with so many points-of-view in the room, most puzzles were usually solved before anyone got frustrated. The only bottleneck appears at the end of the game, which can get frustrating when so many people are pushing to contribute their two cents.

Overall, the Secret of Station House No. 4 offers a number of enjoyable characteristics. The connections to Toronto were a great feature, and the connections to the Murdoch Mysteries were fun. A major factor that will affect how much one enjoys this experience is one’s preference of group size. Some of our group enjoyed this room more than others. We all agreed that we would recommend this escape room to escape enthusiasts, though if you are still new to the world of escape rooms, you may be better off going with a smaller, more intimate experience.

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