The door closes behind you. A clock starts counting down… 59 minutes to go… you frantically start looking for a way out. You’re not alone, a few of your friends are with you and they are just as confused as you are with what to do next, but you need to work together as a team or you have no chance of escaping. You search around the room, finding clues to puzzles and stories with twists and turns that keep you guessing what’s next. Can you put the pieces together to solve the puzzle before the clock reaches zero?
Escape rooms are the latest craze, and they are popping up all across Hamilton. Purposely trapping yourself in a room with friends, family, or co-workers might not sound like a fun time, but it’s an exhilerating experience and one that is in high demand. Some popular escape rooms need to be booked weeks in advance, and can be very challenging to complete within the allotted time. The average success rate for completing escape rooms ranges depending on the level of difficulty, with some being as low as 25% or less. Don’t expect to get it on your first try! 40-50% success rate is seen as an ‘easier’ room to escape from, and groups end up coming back multiple times to try and complete the challenge in time.
Companies looking for new and innovative ways to bring their staff teams together in a team building, collaborative activity are turning to escape rooms as an exciting solution.
With the demand for larger, more complex escape room facilities on the rise, escape room businesses in Hamilton are expanding and building new locations to keep up with bookings.
Here is a list of some of the best escape rooms in Hamilton:
1. Alcatraz Escape Rooms & Alcatraz Mystery Studios
ADDRESS: 576 Concession St. and 604 Concession St.
PHONE: (905) 379-7293
Owned and operated by 3 local puzzle enthusiasts, Beni Kalman, Zoltan Kalman and Nathan Siwak, this Hamiltonian trio have built an escape room empire with two locations in the city.
Their escape rooms have the highest review ratings on Google, with 4.9/5.0 stars and over 100 reviews.
Opening its doors on April 1, 2016, they started with their first room themed after the notorious Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary, a room that looks like a jail cell with a challenging mix of puzzles and an intriguing story to figure out before you can escape.
Since then, they expanded with a second room called “Casino Heist” (where your group has to rob a casino), and opened up a new location just down the road at 604 Concession St. which is much larger and houses their newest room, “Sleepy Hollow”.
Their rooms are custom made and very unique, offering a feel of excitement and mystery from the moment you step into the lobby until the moment you leave.
2. The Crux Escape Rooms
ADDRESS: 847 Upper James St.
PHONE: (905) 385-2789
Co-owned by Will Steadman and Timothy Taylor, The Crux was one of the first escape rooms in Hamilton, opening on Upper James Street in 2015. A “crux” is something that torments by its perplexing and puzzling nature. Their 2,400 sq ft location has three main rooms:
- The Voodoo Room – a room full of symbology where you have to make it out before the curse of the altar gets you. Success rate is 27.7%
- Aunt Edna’s Condo – a room where you have to solve a mystery surrounding your poor old aunt Edna and her inheritance. Success rate is 48.9%
- Area 51 – Strange lights have been seen over Roswell, New Mexico for years. Military presence has been on the decline, but still no one is talking. It’s the same old rumours as always…”They’ve found aliens”. Your group has infiltrated the compound with the help of a janitor who still believes. Now that you’re in, can you find proof of alien life and escape before getting caught? Success rate is 48%.
- BONUS: The Kennel – while you wait for your escape room, you can try the ‘Kennel’, a new 10-minute escape challenge involving a tricky cage.
While you wait, you can hang out in their lobby which has a lounge filled with board games. The Crux also has a second location in Niagara with more escape room experiences.
3. The Adventure
ADDRESS: 287 King St. E.
PHONE: (905) 379-7293
Co-owned by Mike Idzenga and Megan Kish and opened in 2016, this 2,600 sq ft space houses two unique rooms. Their puzzles were designed with you in mind to create a one-of-a-kind experience that doesn’t exist anywhere else in the world. You can explore one of these two adventures:
- The Parent Trap – Steph is about to return home from a outing with friends. Her parents are convinced that she is hiding something, and have recruited you to find out. Why? Because she is borderline evil-genius, and she has used every weakness in her parents to prevent them from finding out. You are her parents last hope of finding out what she is hiding. Can you work through her puzzles and trap to find the secret hiding in her room?
- Saboteur – Take part in a secret service training module, but watch for the saboteur among you! Complete a series of training modules set to specifically test your skills and intelligence as an agent. In this specific exercise, your group will be split into two teams.
4. Escape Canada
ADDRESS: 151 York Blvd #101
PHONE: (289) 667-0017
Escape Canada has multiple locations across the country, with their Hamilton location on York Blvd. They offer three exhilarating themed escape games for you to play at this location with a fourth on the way. Each follows an immersive central backstory which guides your experience.
- Dharma Initiative – Their most difficult room. This room follows the theme of the hit TV show ‘Lost’. Oceanic Flight 815 is chaos, those who are still alive are screaming along a beach riddled with airplane parts and personal belongings. You’re stuck, strapped into a chair inside of the fuselage which is filling with smoke at a fatal rate. Gather your friends, and prepare for a journey unlike any you have ever experienced – for this was not an accident, and what lies ahead is something you could not imagine would have ever been planned. Welcome to the Dharma Initiative. Recommended for 4-8 players.
- Twilight Zone – Ever had a dream so intense, it felt like you were in it? Even better, you are reliving a memory so vivid it felt like you were in a real life deja vu? You and a group of friends have stumbled across a childhood hangout spot that is about to be torn down – why not take one last peek?! After all, Memory Lanes is always a great place to take a stroll down… Welcome to the Twilight Zone. Recommended for 4-8 players.
- Alcatraz The Rock – Based on a true ESCAPE from Alcatraz, walk the path of an infamous escapee who made his way to freedom. Known to many as “Ghost”, you will attempt to make your way through one of the world’s toughest prisons, and locate a passage many do not know exists. Recommended for 5-8 players.
Escape Canada also has a new room under construction called “Tales Of The Crypt” that is coming soon.
ADDRESS: 305 Grays Road
PHONE: (905) 516-9553
Keymasters has 1 escape room called “Mad Scientists” where you’ve been lured into a Mad Scientists lab that was recently shut down for “improving” humans. You and your friends are given one chance to prove your intelligence. If you succeed, you’re free, but if you don’t…
BONUS: 1UP Games – Escape Room
1UP Games is a legendary retro video games store located at 105 King St East. They recently opened up an escape room in their basement, and it’s awesome! It’s called “Slaughter School : The Escape Room!”. There is a slot every hour from 4 PM to 10 PM. $25 per person. Min of 4 people, 6 people max.
Reservations taken over the phone, call (905) 389-0561.