The Red Market

7 Overall
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Room Quality
Immersion
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When we got an invite from NOWAYOUT Escape Rooms we were excited. There’s been some buzz within the Toronto escape enthusiast community about the quality of their horror themed rooms. Naturally the ERA team knew it was time to spring into action and give you the scoop on all the good, bad, and… um… goosebumps of what you may experience!

NOWAYOUT is easy to find and just minutes North-West of Pearson international airport. There’s lots of visible signage from the main road and the only struggle you’ll have will be with your GPS directions as the parking lot entrance is from rear of the building and not from the main road. Once we entered the building the lobby seemed barren and in need of an aesthetic upgrade. Looks aside, there were snacks, drinks, lockers and seating available so the basics were covered even if it wasn’t the fanciest of lobbies. The quality of a welcoming atmosphere is usually determined by the staff however. We ask ourselves things like: Did they smile? Did they show an interest in their customers? Did they show enthusiasm for what they’re doing or did they seem disinterested, combative and secretive? (we still get a good laugh when owners are convinced that character doesn’t matter)… In every way possible we can honestly say we loved the staff at NOWAYOUT! Nothing sets the mood for a good escape room better than the people you first meet, and within minutes we felt connected with the staff!  Our excitement was only increased by their positive character… All in all a good start!

The Red Market’s overall room quality was great!  The construction of the room was clever with many of the plywood walls and corridors being made to feel as if other materials like metal, brick, and cement were used instead.  The layout and design were equally impressive with use of varying levels, stairs, and passages. The tech is impressive but not overly relied upon which was nice to see.  Most of the props were good, but we did notice a couple plastic items at one point. Where this room’s quality most impressed us was how it forced us to use items and do things we weren’t accustomed to doing in most escape rooms.  In our world, different and unique is good!

Immersion was one of the more debated topics within our team as we reflected on the experience we had.  On the one hand, we all agreed the atmosphere was immersive and impressive!  On the other hand, some of us wished we had a bit more of an emotional connection to the story and events happening around us.  The theme was consistent throughout and we never felt removed from the environment which was nice.  The story started off well, but some of us felt  more could have been added to induce stronger feelings of panic, anxiety, or moral dilemma.  You may want to read our review on 13 Sedah Road to see how this makes a difference.  Having said that, it’s still a fairly good immersive environment, so we’re definitely not going to nitpick this…

The puzzles were fairly straight forward and easy to understand. Again, we really enjoyed how NOWAYOUT used their puzzles in a manner that was different from most escape rooms. No spoilers here, but consider this advanced notice that simply being an experienced enthusiast may not help you as much as it would in other escape rooms. This is a huge bonus from our perspective. Experienced players should never assume too much in this room, so be sure to communicate and talk to one another instead of being a ‘lone wolf’ who’s accustomed to figuring everything out on your own. Aside from slightly different use of puzzles, there wasn’t too much that really stood out to us as overly impressive or negative.  A good selection of puzzles, but nothing overly memorable either.  In general, puzzles were inclusive but not really team building by nature.  Having a mix of new and experienced players would seem to fit best here.

And the most important question: Was it fun?  Yep!  We enjoyed the atmosphere, the set design, the staff, and the game for the most part.  The only minor critique we’d like to see improved is a more immersive story that is built throughout the game (but as most of you probably know, that’s a common critique of this reviewer for most rooms).  I always take great joy in saying this, but part of the great experience about this room is the fantastic job and quality of the staff – they’ll start you off on the right track and will make sure you’re a top priority throughout.  If you haven’t already, be sure to visit NOWAYOUT!

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!

Final Verdict:

7/10

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