The Mayor’s Office

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

The Mayor's Office

  • Played March 2017
  • Kitchener, ON

  • 60 minutes
  • 2-21 players
  • $27.50 - $22.60 depending on group size

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One thing we often get asked by escape room owners and enthusiasts across North America is where the first Canadian escape room company is located, and if we’ve been to it… Thanks to an invitation from the owners at Adventure Rooms Canada in Waterloo, Ontario we can now proudly say we’ve experienced ‘the original’ first hand! We were also reunited with long-time friends of ERA who live in Waterloo and wanted to help us tackle this challenge… but enough about us and why this visit was special, what about the room itself?

The pre-room experience was a bit different than we had anticipated. We assumed Adventure Rooms would have a large, modern, near eye-sore status of a building with jumbo neon signs and road markers leading us all the way to the front doors. Certainly NOT the case and very much the opposite. We arrived at the listed address to find an old run down industrial neighbourhood complete with a rail-yard and gravel/mud/pot-holed parking lot. Walking into the building we quickly adjusted our expectations of what the inside must look like… Surprise number two! What do we see but a wonderfully large lobby with chairs, tables, board games, refreshments, friendly staff and… wait for it… a JUKEBOX! I think the staff were probably trying to talk and give us an even better welcome, but we were lost to the world once we had the option of picking our own background music from a great selection of CDs. I mean, who could resist starting an escape room with your very own custom soundtrack?!! From very worried, to very impressed! Let the surprises continue… We were soon led up a large flight of old wooden stairs and learned the building was indeed an old electronics and manufacturing company headquarters from decades gone by. We didn’t ask whether there was an elevator, so please be sure to call and ask ahead of time in case you have mobility issues…

Now for another odd twist. As we entered the room, we were simply asked if we were ready to start, no pre-story, no video, no context; we assumed it was just a time restriction or perhaps the introduction would take place inside the room itself (more on that later).

The room quality was great for the most part. With the game being set in a mayor’s office, there were several things that ordinarily wouldn’t have worked but ended up fitting quite nicely (radiator, air conditioner, and some unfinished overhead ducts). The props were good quality, the furniture items were good quality, and it was well maintained and clean. A few design features of this room also impressed us, but we’ll avoid any spoilers. It’s looking good…

Reflecting on the immersion of this room took us back to our earlier observation where no pre-story was given. We simply entered the room and began playing. This is because Adventure Rooms Canada takes a different approach to escape rooms and unlike any company we’ve seen to date, they don’t include stories in their rooms. No pre-story, no video, no in-game story based text… nothing. We inquired about this after our experience and they mentioned they prefer to not get bogged down in story details and put the emphasis instead purely on puzzles, set design and atmosphere. Some of our team found they were able to create a story in its absence, others felt it left them lacking a mission or sense of purpose… It’s definitely a unique philosophy but we have to admit we were surprised how it didn’t spoil some of the immersive moments of the room itself. We learned a valuable lesson from this experience: set design, puzzles, and atmosphere add critically important immersion (debatably just as much?) as a story itself… We didn’t think that could happen, but even after a collective 450+ escape rooms, the ERA team is still learning new things!

Having said that you’ve probably already guessed we really enjoyed the puzzles offered in The Mayor’s Office. It started with a great team building puzzle (not merely inclusive, but an actual team building puzzle), and it just kept getting better from there. There were a good amount and variety of puzzles that were generally both inclusive and fun. One thing we took note of was there wasn’t any needless searching. All of the information or items needed to solve the puzzles were readily available. No aggravated searches for the proverbial needle in a haystack? Hurray!

So with no story component but good set design and puzzles, could this room be considered fun? Yes! We joked about how story enthusiasts will probably hate this review once we mention The Mayor’s Office being fun. Don’t get us wrong however, we do believe story makes a BIG difference, and truth be told we wished there was a bit more suspense throughout the room. The great thing about The Mayor’s Office is that it’s a good game for almost anyone. Young, old, experienced, or even first time players. All in all whether you believe you need a story, or you believe it’s fine to not include a story, you’re going to feel you had a good time and we recommend checking it out.

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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