The Ninja

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

The Ninja

  • Played June 2017
  • Toronto

  • 60 minutes
  • 3-6 players
  • $28

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The Ninja is hands-down the best escape room at Roundabout. Roundabout, as long time escapers will know, is located smack in the center of Toronto’s downtown core, literally steps away from Yonge-Dundas square. For subway-takers, downtown-dwellers, and Eaton-shoppers, this location could not be more ideal. Parking, understandably, is much harder to find in this area. I’d recommend taking the subway and making a day trip out of it if you are outside of the city. Being in the downtown core where space is limited, the lobby is a smaller and can get crowded if multiple groups are waiting to go in at once. The space is decorated with lockers, chalkboards, posters, and a few seats.

Instagrammers should be careful about wearing black (the tragedy!), since the chalk from the chalkboards may rub off on you if you’re leaning against the walls or squeezing together for a photograph. Chilled water is available for $1 in the waiting room for hot summer days.

Since shoes are not permitted in dojos, players must change into slippers (socks are okay) before entering the room. The immersion was definitely enhanced by this little attention to detail. The Ninja’s back story, although conceptually fascinating, could’ve been rehearsed and delivered better. If the introduction had had more of a suspense-driven discovery, and less of a straight-forward quest, the story of the room might have unpacked better.

Upon entering The Ninja, the quality of the walls, floors, and décor was astoundingly beautiful. Beautiful and impressive handiwork went into the wooden décor of this room. The props, for the most part, were befitting of a secret ninja-training dojo. A few had components (such as Velcro) that clashed with the rest of the theme. A few were plastic and took away from the solid wood effect of the rest of the room. One of the walls featured a questionable design choice; however it did not affect the game play. The Ninja succeeds in blending modern technology with ancient puzzle mechanics smoothly into the same game. Such a feat is not so easy to accomplish in an escape room!

The Ninja has many surprises to offer. The room does its job making players feel like they’re uncovering secret after secret. The puzzles all are incorporated fairly well into the theme. Not all of them fit perfectly, but they are still fun and challenging. The atmosphere of the dojo was supported very nicely by the puzzles and décor. Although the story is a bit too straightforward and could use some development, the atmosphere makes up for it, delivering an immersive experience.

The Ninja boasts a huge fraction of physical puzzles. Physical puzzles are fun because players don’t have to be particularly nerdy or calculating to solve them. (Creativity, however, is a great asset to have in this room.) On the flip side, challenging physical puzzles can be finicky to solve. At one point our entire team was working on a puzzle for about 15 minutes!

One puzzle in particular is easier to complete with a shorter/smaller player on the team! This is a nice change of pace for short players (like me) who sometimes encounter clues at unreachable heights. The puzzles followed a linear path, so not everyone could work on something at the same time. I would recommend this room for 2-3 escape veterans or 4-5 beginners. There were a few clues that were somewhat ambiguous, or seemed like a solution could be MacGyver’ed, but many of the puzzles were truly unique and refreshingly creative!

For groups considering this room, I would advise to keep your numbers low if you’re experienced and in the mid-range if you’re new. Players who get impatient easily may not want to step foot into this dojo. Any all-star NBA players should bring a normal-height/petite player for getting into small spaces. And you might want to wear socks if you aren’t comfortable wearing slippers on bare feet.

Final Verdict:


1 response

  1. Jen says:

    This is only the second room I’ve done at Roundabout, the other being The Prisoner. I thought The Prisoner was fantastic, but I was severely disappointed by this one, and would not recommend it to anyone. Every puzzle solved had such a subtle effect that the feeling of gaining momentum was never there. And then the final puzzled: we weren’t even sure we were done, because it looked like it gave access to more clues rather than letting us out of the room. They were just props with no game purpose except being on theme, plus we had other unused clues, because we’d solved the physical puzzle they were intended for through feel without them. We were actually working on figuring out how to used these clues when before a staff member walked in and said, “Congratulations!”

    I hope that bit was sufficiently un-spoiler-y, and now I’ll get to a couple more spoiler-ish criticisms. The leaderboard behind the front desk says the fasted solve time for this room is 12 minutes. It’s pretty clear to me that the team that got this played with the main component for the final puzzle early on and inadvertantly “solved it” by pure luck simply trying to figure out what it did, because you have access to it from the start. My other big complaint was that there was a puzzle that had a light that went green or red. We didn’t know it had to be manually reset between tries, and spent a riduculous amount to time on it. Moreover, although it goes green when solved correctly, a bunch of other random actions will also turn it green. Seems like it should only go green when solved, and resetting should either be automatic or the need for manual reset be made more clear (there is a tiny label reading reset, but I suspect younger game designers underestimate how invisible smaller text is for older eyes.)

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