8.4 Overall
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Months into the zombie apocalypse, you and your group are running out of supplies, out energy and out of options. While looking for shelter and food, you stumble upon what seems to be an abandoned lab. What you don’t realize is that you have just walked into the lab where the virus responsible for the outbreak was created and ultimately, the only place where it can be cured. You and your team have one hour to find out what went wrong and how to reverse the effects before you yourselves join the legions of walking dead.

Let us start with our pre-room experience. First off, NOWAYOUT is very accessible and can be found just off of Derry Road in Mississauga, just minutes from Pearson International Airport. There is a large sign that is easily visible from Derry Road but you will need to utilize the side streets to access the front of the building. Note that in previous NOWAYOUT reviews, we mentioned that you might have some troubles finding the location using a GPS. WELL, your friendly neighbourhood Toronto ERA team is happy to report that the GPS finally knows exactly where to bring you so that should no longer of any concern. Once there, you enter into a very spacious lobby and are welcomed by the incredible NOWAYOUT team. The lobby itself contains ample seating, games, storage lockers to put your belongings in and refreshments that are available to purchase. One subtle difference we noticed from our last visit was the check in process. NOWAYOUT now has the tablets that you sign your waivers on separate from the front desk where you check in. We found that this freed up the front desk and greatly improved the intake/registration flow. Before entering ZOMBIES, we were treated to a hilariously animated video covering the rules and a trailer for the room we were about to do. One thing to note is that we did find the lobby unusually loud due to larger groups waiting for or getting out of their games. Unfortunately due to this, we had some trouble hearing the videos that were shown to us prior to our game. Once led to the room, another well-acted video was shown which provided some back story and highlighted our objective which was of course, find the cure before time runs out!

NOWAYOUT as a whole always seems to put an emphasis on room quality and design to the point that there is a certain level we have come to expect from when we have been fortunate to review their rooms in the past. So did ZOMBIES live up to that standard? YES, in fact, most of our team agreed that ZOMBIES may have surpassed that level of quality which seems to increase with each new room the NOWAYOUT team produces. Everything in the room from the props to the puzzles is extremely detailed, well thought out and incredibly sturdy. The use of technology in the room is incredible and lends to some really cool memorable moments. Perhaps what is the most impressive aspect of ZOMBIES room quality is its use of physical space. The entire game is housed in what is not a large space by any means, but the room and experience both feel HUGE. This really is a testament to the NOWAYOUT team as its clear they know how to maximize the space that they have without compromising experience. Finally, the room is named ZOMBIES so one can expect to run into one of the walking dead or two throughout their experience. Without giving anything away, our team was thoroughly impressed with how this was done as it was simple, yet extremely effective.

With such strong room quality, one might expect the level of immersion to be on a similar level. For the most part, this is true for ZOMBIES. So true in fact, that there was quite a few times that our entire team may or may not have been hesitant to enter an unexplored corridor. Needless to say, most of our team genuinely felt on edge through the entire experience. This is in large part due to nature of theme and the incredible room design but also can be attributed to the subtle things and great use of effects. As we stated earlier, the tech used in this room was incredible and really lent to the immersive experience. In terms of any areas in which we felt ZOMBIES immersion could be improved, some of our team members would have liked to see the story developed a little more throughout the room as it was given almost entirely at the beginning, through the well-acted video introduction. Another area that our team was divided upon was the noise bleed that could be heard from other rooms including the understandably ever present screams coming from 13 Sedah Ave. While some of our team found it distracting, others thought it only added to ZOMBIES immersion as shrieks of terror might very well be present throughout a zombie apocalypse.

Continuing the streak of areas that impressed our team in ZOMBIES were the puzzles. While there were not a ton of puzzles, there was certainly a good variety of them all of which were thematically correct. The puzzles were inclusive, flowed incredibly well, and often allowed for our group to be working on separate puzzles at the same time. While all the puzzles we encountered were fun, they were certainly of the simpler variety and we found the room to be incredibly linear which makes sense as Zombies is advertised as a room for beginners. Fear not though enthusiasts, as our team with a combined room count of over 500 rooms managed to encounter some puzzles we have NEVER seen before which is always a pleasant surprise.

So ultimately, was Zombies fun? YES it was a ton of fun. We would recommend this room to both beginners and enthusiasts alike given that there is surely something for everyone to enjoy. If you do go, which we recommend you do, we suggest going as a group of five if new to escape rooms, while enthusiasts would probably enjoy this room most in a group of 2-3. ZOMBIES, led by the incredible room design, was consistently enjoyable throughout which makes it yet another great addition to the already stellar lineup at NOWAYOUT!

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