|Game experience: ENTERTAINING|
|A prop that looked magical
A large space and parallel puzzle structure adequate for big groups
|Somewhat empty setting
The gamemaster entering into the room before the game
Jigsaw Escape Rooms is a large escape game venue in Ottawa very conveniently located in Byward market, just next to many restaurants and bars. They feature five rooms, four of which are 45 minutes long, including The Castle, which we played on this day.
“It is a dangerous time in the land of Elmir. War and poverty have ravaged neighbouring countries and a dark force has invaded your land, with no one able to stop it. You and your friends are of the strongest, most heroic knights in the kingdom, but that alone is still not enough. There have been tales of a powerful weapon that can defeat the darkness plaguing your land. You must search the castle and find the weapon; only with it can you save the kingdom from the darkness that could consume us all!” (text: Jigsaw escape rooms)
Immersion: The setting was nice – with mock stone walls, armors and medieval furniture – if a bit empty. There was not much in terms of scenario, but there was a reference to a famous TV show at some point that should raise the interest of quite a few players. The time was given by a large timer that did not fit so well in the medieval atmosphere; some other solutions might have fit better, such as an hourglass or waterglass. The hints were given through an interphone – here again, some other solutions might have fit better (like a pre-registered sepulchral voice giving hints).
Puzzles: Many puzzles were first-generation and padlock-based, but there were a few clever mechanisms, including a great device in the first room that felt really magical. One of the first puzzle that involved arranging together many elements was very original for me. The puzzle structure is largely parallel, enabling large groups to divide into subgroups, each trying to solve a different puzzle. There was not so much scavenging to do, except a set of elements that were cleverly hidden.
Hosting: Our gamemaster was friendly. She did enter into the room to give us a few instructions before the game starts, which damaged a bit the immersion. However, she did not enter again during the game to give hints, which is appreciated, as this seems unfortunately to be the norm in most of Ottawa’s escape games.
The room is not too difficult, but not straightforward either: the two of us could exit the room with a bit less than 4 minutes left on the counter, having used 2 hints (you can use up to 3 free hints, after which your allotted time starts to decrease). Overall, despite some classical features, The Castle should have enough novelties in terms of puzzles to keep escape enthusiasts excited, and we had fun playing it. It would also be a very good introduction to escape games for a large group of beginners, who would have a lot of room to roam from one puzzle to another. Jigsaw escape rooms also has a large waiting space with a few boardgames, which is convenient if you chose to play two escape games in a row!
Game tested in March 2019 (picture 1: Escape The World; pictures 2, 3, 4: Jigsaw Escape Rooms)
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To get a second opinion, you can read the following review(s): The Esc Key