An order of chopped up body parts with a side of high school drama.
- Website: Level 1 Escape
Address: 517 16 Ave NE, Calgary, AB T2E 1K5
- Private Booking: Yes
- Price: $28 per person
- Duration: 60 minutes
- Linearity: Linear
- Group size: #small
- Player Level: #rookie
- Premise: “Your police unit has been dispatched in response to a distress call placed with 911. The operator reports that the call was only a blood-curdling scream, followed by nothing. Your sense of duty compels you forward, but what awaits you below?”
The staff seemed aloof when we came. They were tucked behind their desk and made little attempt at building rapport. It wasn’t busy either. We still got the same briefing procedure at the start and got our picture taken at the end.
Pretty standard – we got in, got the debrief, and off we went.
Similar to The Haunting of Apartment 103, the puzzles here were simple and straightforward. Simple doesn’t necessarily mean easy. In this case, simple means knowing how to connect a clue to a puzzle, how to solve the puzzle, and how to use the information you get to move on to the next puzzle. Here, there are no red herrings or conflicting information. It’s a linear progression (you solve a puzzle, you move on to the next one).
We’ve done quite a bit of escape rooms with varying levels of difficulty. I’m starting to find that complicated isn’t always necessary. Sometimes, simple works just as well. The puzzles here are in no way innovative or extraordinary; in fact, it’s the opposite. Simple? Yes. Well-executed? Yes.
There seemed to be a bit of a tradeoff between simplicity and creativity in this room. For the puzzles to be as simple as they were, they weren’t overly creative, but this was most definitely not a bad thing! In this case, having relatively simple puzzles gives you so much momentum as you solve them.
I don’t think there was a single time in this room where we were left going “huh?” for too long. I personally think that’s really good design – the fact that the momentum builds as you progress in the room capitalizes on the existing pressure you feel from the time limit in an escape room.
We’ve done two rooms at Level 1 Escape, and neither room has the most extravagant production design. Similar to The Haunting of Apartment 103, this room also looks very shabby. It works better for the other room because that’s horror-themed. While this one still has gruesome elements, I feel like the room just lacked effort in terms of look.
The room was quite bare, but maybe it’s because everything in the room is relevant. What was in the room was a little bit shabby like Mr. P said, but I think that’s the kind of atmosphere that they were going for.
The music in this room was faint and the walls were paper-thin. Another group was doing The Haunting of Apartment 103 right beside us. Every so often, we would hear them scream, which took us out of our experience. However, because the puzzles kept us busy for our entire stay, it was still an immersive experience.
I don’t know if there was even music playing here to be honest! I was personally immersed for the whole time just because of the puzzles.
Murder mystery rooms are almost as common as prison-themed rooms. It’s an easy route to choose when conceptualizing an escape room: Someone dies mysteriously; you solve the mystery. Because the theme is already so common among escape rooms, the execution is where they differ. Overall, the execution was consistent. Nothing mind-blowing, just good.
What I really liked about the backstory to this room is that it unfolded as we progressed. I’m a really big fan of that kind of dynamic storytelling in escape rooms!
The puzzles were, for the most part, thematically cohesive. There’s one puzzle at the very end that I thought was really interesting. I liked the premise, but I don’t think I’m a fan of the result.
I give this room a #gold. Most of the components were just passable, but there was something about the simplicity of the puzzles that I appreciated. Momentum is a big part of your escape room experience. If the puzzles allow momentum to happen, then I’m satisfied.
This room gets a #gold. From the two rooms that we’ve done at Level 1 Escape so far (this room and The Haunting of Apartment 103), I would say that Level 1 Escape is a good place to start if you’re new to escape rooms. These two rooms are straightforward, fast-paced, and puzzle-focused, so if that’s what you’re in to, give these rooms a go!
- Completed: July 2, 2016
- Escaped: Yes (2 people)
- Our Time: 0:35 (/1:00)
- # of hints used: 0