Downtown Vancouver is Getting its First “Escape Room” Attraction

Photo credit: Soban | Wikimedia Commons

Photo credit: Soban | Wikimedia Commons

Good at puzzles? This may be right up your alley.

Downtown Vancouver is getting its first escape room.  Popular around the world but just starting to pop up in North America, escape rooms are dedicated attractions where a group of people pay to be locked up inside a themed room – say a mummy’s tomb or a haunted mansion. The idea is to use teamwork to solve a series of puzzles and piece together intricate clues in order to escape before time expires, generally after 30-60 minutes. Though they’re inspired by video games, escape rooms are real-life rooms where you’re really trapped inside.

Richmond already has one of these escape room attractions and now Vancouver is getting in on the act with a 3,200-square-foot facility opening in Gastown in early 2015.

Image from SmartyPantz

Image from SmartyPantz

Called SmartyPantz, the attraction features five separate themed escape rooms, each done up with decor worthy of a film set and filled with dastardly puzzles.

  • Inside the Meat Locker, guests must escape from a serial killer’s basement before the killer returns to finish them off.
  • Dream’scape recreates a bizarre dream where nothing makes sense and you’re desperately trying to wake up.
  • Inside the Doomed Submarine, your oxygen is running out and you need to figure out how to access the escape pod before it’s too late.
  • In Spy vs. Spy, you’ve snuck into a building to get secret information about a WWII-era war criminal and now you have to get out.
  • Inside the Haunted Study, the ghost of the murdered owner of a creepy mansion waits to exact revenge if you can’t get out in time.

Each game lasts 45 minutes, and the rooms can each accommodate up to 12 people at a time, with a minimum of four people required to play. Prices work out to roughly $25 per person.

An escape room in Japan. Photo credit: Lokyanlam6 | Wikimedia Commons

An escape room in Japan. Photo credit: Lokyanlam6 | Wikimedia Commons

According to the game developers, the difficulty of the rooms ranges from moderate to “diabolical.” In test runs, only 30 percent of teams have been able to solve the puzzles and get out in time.

SmartyPantz is scheduled to open on Jan. 25 at 289 Abbot Street in Gastown. Rooms can be pre-booked online now.

Have you experienced an escape room before? What did you think? Let us know below. 

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