ANNA

Warning: May induce very loud screaming.

> EDMONTON (YEG) > Breakout > East

anna

recappppp

  • Website: Breakout (Edmonton)
  • Address: 6111 101 Ave NW, Edmonton, AB T6A 0G9
  • Private Booking: No
  • Price: $25 per person
  • Duration: 45 minutes
  • Linearity: Nonlinear
  • Group size: #medium
  • Player Level: #rookie
  • Features:
  • Premise: “In 1969, Lora and Chuck Simpson had a baby girl named Anna. Everything was perfect in their quaint house in the South Common for seven years, until the house was foreclosed due to late mortgage payments. Collectors arrived at the house but no one was there. For the next thirty years, families would move into the house, and were never seen again. Police would always be sent to investigate but no evidence or leads were found. In the interest of public safety, the house was deemed condemned and to be never used again.”

ratingssss

RATING PAULIE BEN ELLE
Service ninenine ninenine ninenine
Puzzles ninenine ninenine ninenine
Look tenten tenten tenten
Immersion tenten tenten tenten
Theme tenten tenten tenten

reviewwwww

Service PAULIE ninenine

(First off, one of our friends Elle decided she wanted to join in on the fun and review this room. She was so enthusiastic after getting out of the room that she wanted to write also! We write our reviews separately, but because we all had the same incredible experience, some of our reviews may be similar.)

For service, like Ben and Elle say, pretty standard. This was our second time here; the first time was when we did The Ark. Friendly people, solid overall.

BEN ninenine
Pretty standard service – prompt and friendly.
ELLE ninenine

We went late on a Saturday evening, so the lobby was very quiet walking in, but overall, the staff members were friendly, helpful, and thorough!

Puzzles PAULIE ninenine

There were two parts to completing this room. I hesitated rating the puzzles a 9 because the first part was truly exceptional, but the second part needed a lot of tweaking.

The first part of puzzles was simple, solvable, and intuitive, not to mention totally innovative. There were tricks and twists that were unique to this room and totally paid off in a very satisfying way. With horror-themed rooms specifically, I find that the simpler the puzzles are, the better the execution. Why? Simpler puzzles provide momentum, and with scary rooms, momentum is a huge part of providing participants maximum satisfaction. When puzzles are simple, you keep being scared; when puzzles are difficult, you shift from feeling scared to just being frustrated. Don’t get me wrong, the puzzles were not all easy—most of them still required a good level of thinking. However, nothing was unnecessarily hard or frustrating, and there was never a point when we felt stuck… until the second part of the room.

When we got to the second part of the room, our momentum came to a screeching halt. Time was ticking down, we had the puzzles completed, we were feeling good. All of a sudden, we had to deviate from our current progression and needed to review, rewatch, and reread everything in the room. This was fine enough, but it took a lot of time just sitting and talking, and even with the gamemaster explaining the solution at the end, it still wasn’t satisfying. There were details that were not fully clear. Escape rooms should require thinking logically to get to a solution, not guessing blindly based on vague clues.

However, overall, the first part of the room was spectacular enough that I’m able to forgive the second part.

BEN ninenine

I really enjoyed the puzzles here! Personally, I think that horror rooms tend to have puzzles that are a bit lower on the difficulty scale, because having really tough puzzles pulls you out of the scary atmosphere a bit. I think that Anna did have relatively simple puzzles, but the creativity that they were executed with was amazing!

If you’re a seasoned escape room-goer, the puzzles won’t wow you with the difficulty, but instead with their simplicity and effectiveness in the context of the room.

My one gripe with this room was with one of the objectives of the room. Just like Mr. P and Elle, I found that it wasn’t entirely intuitive, and it definitely pulled us out of the incredible atmosphere that the first part created. I loved the premise of it, but I wish it was executed a bit better so that it was more integrated with the rest of the experience.

ELLE ninenine

The puzzles are so creative, and the excitement each time one was solved was ELECTRIC!! I’ve found that in a room with a lot going on, you sometimes get confused on what to do next. However, the setup of the puzzles was very linear, while still being challenging and fun to solve. Point deduction because one aspect just seemed a bit off.

Look PAULIE tenten

Initially when we walked in, the room looked ordinary. Similar to any creepy ghost invasion rooms, Anna was a replica of a house with dolls and cabinets and drawers. However, the room unveils itself as you progress through the different portions of the room. The house itself becomes a source of twists and turns that pay off in spectacular fashion.

BEN tenten

“It’s like an IKEA showroom!” is what Elle said when she first saw this room. And I think she’s right – it’s a very nice and modern-looking room! You might be thinking now, “How could an IKEA showroom look creepy?” You’d be surprised! The room is meticulously neat  (almost clinically so!), which is a great set-up for the surprises in this room.

ELLE tenten

Walking in wasn’t too exciting as the room was pretty unremarkable. However, there were small details that proved that the room was anything but!!

Immersion PAULIE tenten

More important than any other component, immersion is the key to getting the most satisfaction in scary rooms. Participants go to horror-themed rooms primarily to get scared. Did we get scared? Damn right we did.

The initial challenge in the room established a sense of eeriness, and the more we spent time in the room, that eeriness wasn’t just sustained, it was amplified. There were multiple points to this room that resulted in very, very loud screaming. This is thanks to the room design overall, because the feeling of immersion built up alongside our momentum, and also thanks to the individual puzzles and look that had clever and unexpected twists that punctuated our scary experience.

BEN tenten

In a typical escape room, I think that a lot of the immersion comes from having a puzzle-solving mindset. In the well-done horror rooms that we’ve done so far (like Apartment 103 in Calgary), the focus shifts from being immersed in puzzles to being immersed in the spooky atmosphere.

This room was GREAT at creating a creepy environment! The look, the music, the unfolding story, the clues to the puzzles and the puzzles themselves – these were all fantastic. It helped that everyone I was with was also expecting to get spooked! That feeling of being on edge was definitely contagious in my group, and that played a big part in being immersed.

ELLE tenten

There were and shivers and screams all throughout! They are not lying on their website when they say that this room is “highly immersive”. We found ourselves still thinking about the room and everything that happened long after we escaped.

Theme PAULIE tenten

Creepy child in the middle of a murder mystery, ooh, scary. The premise alone isn’t really anything new. Consequently, the theme becomes dependent on the execution of the individual components. The puzzles, look, and immersion all  work cohesively to result in a theme well-done.

BEN tenten

It’s the quintessential doll room! Something else that I’ve found that great horror-themed rooms do is have increased focus on story (like Poltergeist at Logic Lock in Edmonton). The unfolding of the story as you go through the room creates an increased sense of excitement and urgency as you get closer and closer to finding out what happened.

ELLE tenten

The whole experience exceeded the expectation of the room’s backstory. The puzzles fit the room’s narrative really well and the theme was unique in that you had two objectives to complete instead of just one. The addition of the second objective definitely tied the room to its backstory very nicely.

Overall PAULIE Diamond-Texture-Pattern-picspaper-com

Without hesitation, this room gets a #diamond rating. This may be the easiest rating I’ve ever given. Creating a scary room must be hard, but sustaining that feeling of scariness for the full experience must be even harder. This room succeeded in generating momentum, and even more importantly, very loud screams. It’s not perfect, but we had a damn good time.

BEN Diamond-Texture-Pattern-picspaper-com

This was a tough review to write because it was a bit harder to break down the room into our neat little categories. I think that speaks to the fullness of the experience that you get from this room, which is why I would give it a #diamond!

ELLE Diamond-Texture-Pattern-picspaper-com

#diamond RATING!!

No description could fully describe the experience that this room provides. Y’all need to check it out!!!

  •  Completed: August 13, 2016
  • Escaped? Yes (5 people)
  • Our Time: 0:30 (/0:45)
  • # of hints used: 1

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