By Olivia Podber
You begin alone, or if you’re lucky, with a partner in a dim room that is locked from the outside. The space is filled with clues to be deciphered, such as a hollowed-out book or a three-number code. Working with others in parallel rooms, only able to communicate through a telephone on the wall, you must figure out how to escape within an hour, or risk getting trapped.
Mission: Escape is a live-action simulation where players and a group of friends, coworkers or strangers are challenged to use their combined wits and creativity to escape the mission.
Going into the activity, my expectations were high. Ever the avid consumer, I made sure to research online before deciding on attending Mission: Escape. The company, located at 500 Bishop St. NW, received rave reviews and five stars. Despite my excitement, I was unsure whether Mission: Escape would live up to the hype surrounding the invigorating game.
Mission: Escape offers two different simulations: a hotel and a study. Unknown to us, my rookie group chose to participate in the more challenging of the two: the hotel. The hotel provided us with unforeseen tests, made more difficult because we were separated. Our group had to learn to communicate with each other, knowing it was the only way we could succeed.
The mission was deceivingly simple: we had an hour to escape two sets of ‘hotel rooms’ by solving and piecing together intricate hints. The initial rooms were individualized, but if we were able to make it out of those with time left, we had another room (the ‘lobby’ of the hotel) to escape that would ultimately lead to the end of the mission.
Upon entering the simulation, we were immediately split into the three separate rooms. As soon as my partner and I were locked into our hotel room, I knew it was going to be a difficult task. Before starting, we were told by the ominous bellhop that we would only get one question to ask the “concierge” should we get stuck, and that they would be monitoring our progress through the camera and microphone set up inside.
My room was seemingly barren. There were a few scattered, torn-up books, keys dangling from key hooks, two locked boxes and a singular painting adorning the wall. I was at a loss for how my group would solve the complicated puzzle in only an hour. But every time I was about to give up, we would find another clue or be prompted by the staff that would lead us to another small success.
Although we were able to solve different aspects of the room, as soon as the concierge started counting down the precious minutes we had left, we still had not finished the first room. Though initially disappointed in our failed attempt, we were later informed that it wasn’t just my group of newbies who had problems finishing the simulation. We learned the hotel game only had a 15-percent success rate.
All-in-all, despite our shortcomings that ended in us not escaping in time, the whole experience was exciting and a new and fun way to spend an hour. I know I’ll definitely be back soon to check out the other rooms Mission: Escape has to offer