- Played November 2017
- Vancouver, BC
- 70 minutes
- 2-6 players, ideal 4-5 players
- $25/person (includes taxes)
- Yes, not scary at all, but challenging
- What People Say
We arrived at Pandora’s Locks 30 minutes early. It was locked, but there was a sign on its door saying if you have a reservation, to knock. We knocked and a young woman answered. We mentioned we had a booking, but we were early. She let us in and said she could have us play as soon as she finished setting up. We were the first game of the day. This was genuine customer service. Only later, did she realize we had come to review Escape Wonderland.
Pandora’s Locks, a well named escape room company is located in the New Westminster area of Vancouver, which is a very quick walk from the Columbia Sky Train stop on the Expo line. There is a parking lot across the street and limited free 2-hour parking in the area.
The waiting room of Pandora’s Locks, which is somewhat dark and small, contains a few seats, specific lockers based on which room you’re about to play, and a container of props for photos. Umbrellas can be placed on the side. They have a beautifully decorated all-gender restroom down the hallway. The hallway has different keys on its walls.
There is a sign in the waiting room that says if we like Pandora’s Locks on Facebook, we’ll receive unlimited hints. When I asked about the sign and told her I already like them on Facebook, she said they happily give unlimited hints and if I were to look closer and read the bottom of the sign, there is a disclaimer stating so. She mentioned it was part of the owner’s sense of humour.
Our game master enthusiastically welcomed us, made sure we were ready and led us into Escape Wonderland. He gave us the story of how the Mad Hatter has locked us inside and in order to escape, we must solve his riddles. He showed us their hint system on the wall. If you press a button, the Rabbit provides a hint for a random puzzle. He also said if we needed any additional hints, to push down the lever by the door and he will come into the room.
Once the game master left the room, a video played of the Mad Hatter, giving us more insight on what we must do to escape Escape Wonderland, which admittedly, we did not follow because we became fascinated by the riddles on the wall. We needed a reminder that we needed to solve the first puzzle. Although the room in non-linear, it is important to solve the first two puzzles.
The decoration of the room has some shortcomings. It shows some wear and tear and it could be better presented, but what makes this room fascinating to us are the puzzles. We could have stayed all day solving them. They are intelligent, challenging, interesting and varied. The level of word play was fun.
Once we understood the system of solving the puzzles, it became rhythmic and was incredibly engaging. While this room features some technical elements, it is the charm of the riddles that makes this a winning room. The puzzles fit well with the theme and the video of the Mad Hatter continues throughout the game to distract us from the tasks at hand. We were fully engaged.
During our time at Pandora’s Locks, the owner expressed that he never believes a room is finished and he has plans to continue updating and finessing his rooms. We trust he will follow through and the room’s appearance will become more dynamic. The hand painted floor is amazing and adds to the theme.
Escape Wonderland is a challenging room that would appeal to both new escapees and veterans since it is unique in terms of the quality of riddles and puzzles it contains.