An Escape Room is a physical adventure activity where groups of players work together to find clues, solve puzzles and “escape” the room. Modelled after the many Escape-the-Room-style games popular on computer and mobile platforms, a real-life Escape Room gives you the fun of working together as a group, the thrill of the mystery and adventure, and a suspenseful heart-stopping excitement of immersive game play.
Each Escape Room operator tends to have a slightly different angle on setting up a game. Rules and gameplay vary from venue to venue, as do the themes, staging, and even the approach to the game. We recommend fans of Escape Room games try out multiple venues for new experiences, and to get a feel for what they like and don’t like in a game.
In all cases, an Escape Room should be fun, safe, and challenging.
What is the Ultimate Lockdown approach to the game?
Ultimate Lockdown rooms are edgy, dark, and suspenseful. Rooms are dimly lit, and players are fully immersed in a suspenseful soundscape to set the mood of the game. Teams use lanterns or flashlights to hunt for clues and solve puzzles. Every element is designed to make the experience truly immersive. Expect your heart rate to be elevated and your nerves to be frazzled.
Also, Ultimate Lockdown believes the game should be difficult. In fact, most groups should expect that they will not beat the room in 60 minutes. You can check the difficulty rating of each of our rooms, but expect that these games are designed to be extremely challenging. If your group successfully beats the room, you’ll have something to really brag about!
What makes for a good game?
There are a lot of factors that go into making an exciting Escape Room adventure. In the end, only you can decide which of these is most important, but here are some things to consider:
- THEME: Is the theme engaging? Is there a captivating backstory? If you’re just not into dinosaurs, then a dino-themed room just probably isn’t for you. Try to pick a theme that sounds interesting or intriguing to you.
- STAGING/DECOR: How well is the room staged? Does it look like the environment you’re supposed to be in? Do the things in the room make sense? If the theme is a Wild West mining town, does it really make sense to have a Samsonite brief cast you need to open? Attention to detail in room staging and decor can go a long way to increasing the immersive experience.
- PUZZLES: This is where the rubber meets the road in Escape Rooms. As mentioned above, a good game should be challenging. However, the puzzles must make sense and be solvable. A good puzzle gives you an “Aha!” moment where it all becomes clear. A poor puzzle has you still scratching your head even once it’s solved. Even if the puzzle is deviously deceptive and difficult, it should still be crystal clear once you know the solution.
- GAME DESIGN: Just having a bunch of puzzles in a room does not make for a top-notch game experience. Puzzles should be chained together to keep the story moving forward. It is common (and enjoyable!) to have one or more “meta-puzzles” in a game. These are larger puzzles that often require solving smaller puzzles to get clues for the larger meta-puzzle.
- SAFETY AND COMFORT: At all times, players must be in a safe environment. There should be no physical obstacles that represent a hazard to players. Rooms should never require players to exert physical force, shimmy into uncomfortably tight spaces, jump or climb to reach clues, or be put into any sort of physical distress. There’s a difference between the thrill of fantasy danger and genuine threat of physical injury or discomfort. Rooms that involve strobing lights, fog machines, strong odours, loud noises, and the like, should be clearly indicated in advance so players with a sensitivity to these things can avoid the room.
Some Frequently Asked Questions about Ultimate Lockdown
- AM I ACTUALLY LOCKED IN THE ROOM?
- No, the door you entered remains unlocked at all times. Players are welcome to leave the room to use the washrooms, but the game clock doesn’t stop. Winnipeg bi-laws don’t permit players to actually be locked in the rooms. Rather than actually getting out of the room, players must solve a clear objective to be declared victorious.
- CAN WE GET HINTS DURING THE GAME?
- Yes. The hint system varies from game to game, but one thing is consistent. YOU decide when to get a hint, and how many to ask for. Nobody will feed you hints. You are in control of your game experience.
- IS IT SAFE?
- Yes! Please note that players who are pregnant, or suffer from heart problems, epilepsy, vertigo, or other ailments should consult a doctor prior to playing. The game is designed to be suspenseful, dark, and edgy. Expect your heart rate to be up and your adrenalin to be pumping. But at all times you are safe in the room. Nothing will ever jump out at you.
- CAN WE PLAY A ROOM MORE THAN ONCE?
- That depends on how far you get. Generally, if your group gets less than 60% of the way through a game, we will not give away any of the secrets to the puzzles and you are welcome to book another game in that room to try and finish it off. If, however, your group gets most of the way through it is unlikely that your group would get much out of returning to repeat the room so our staff will happily fill you in on what you missed out on.
- WHAT SHOULD I BRING WITH ME?
- Just your brain. Cell phones, paper, and writing instruments are not permitted. If you need to write anything down during the game, everything you need will be provided in the room.
- WHAT IF I’M GOOD AT OPENING PADLOCKS WITHOUT THE COMBINATION?
- Maybe you spent a bit of time learning how to open padlocks without the correct combination. We get it. We love to play with locks too! It’s up to you. The risk of opening locks without solving the puzzle is that you could put your team out of sequence in the game and find yourselves struggling to solve a puzzle that’s impossible because you skipped over the puzzles that would have given you clues. As well, there’s the risk that you simply finish the game too early without any real challenge, and how much fun is that? We won’t penalize you for manipulating open combination locks, but for the sake of a fun gameplay experience, we do advise against it.
- WHAT HAPPENS IF I ARRIVE LATE?
- Your game clock begins at precisely the time of your game session, whether you’re there and ready for it or not. We ask that you come 15-20 minutes early to go over the game rules, sign the waiver, and get yourself ready for the game. Starting your game late would not be fair to a group booked after you so we must insist on keeping the games on schedule.
- HOW OLD DO I HAVE TO BE?
- Unless otherwise noted, you must be 16 years of age or older to participate WITHOUT a parent or guardian present. We generally don’t recommend the games for children under 12 because of the mildly scary/creepy staging and atmosphere but we also understand that only a parent truly knows their children so we leave it to you to decide. We just ask that you remember that the rooms are dimly lit, with creepy soundscapes, and small children will likely find them overstimulating and frightening.
- CAN I RESERVE A ROOM FOR JUST MY GROUP?
- Yes. Every booking, regardless of the number of players, is considered a private booking. This means that you will not be paired with strangers to play the game.
- WHAT’S THE MINIMUM NUMBER OF PLAYERS
- This varies from game to game, but is either 2 or 3 players. That said, the game is more challenging with fewer players, and 4 to 6 players is recommended.