You get a red herring!
You get a red herring!
Everyone gets a red herring!
- Website: Smarty Pantz
Address: 10524 110 St NW, Edmonton, AB T5H 3C5
- Private Booking: Yes
- Price: $25 per person
- Duration: 45 minutes
- Linearity: Linear
- Group size: #small
- Player Level: #competent
- Premise: “It’s 1946 and the war has finally ended, but your mission has just begun. As war criminals flee to all corners of the globe, you’re sent by the RCMP Special Branch to break into a crooked private eye’s office and discover the identity of a nasty Nazi so that he can be brought to justice.”
This was our first time at Smarty Pantz, another escape room located in downtown Edmonton just next to MacEwan University. The location is huge and spans three floors. The lobby was comfortably spacey with board games laid out.
Like Ben mentioned, there was an in-character host that delivers the backstory. I liked the execution (mainly due to the script’s witty double entendres) better than the concept itself, which wasn’t bad, but I don’t know if it really added anything.
Smarty Pantz is the only room in Edmonton that has an in-character host, which adds an extra layer of fun! To get hints, you talk to your host on a walkie-talkie and they give you your hints without coming into the room. Our host was very friendly and played his character excellently while we were there.
There was also a mishap where one key was missing. The manager was nice enough to give us vouchers for another visit though, which was great!
In terms of puzzles, this room had a grand total of… (wait for it) 2. Yes, you only had to solve two puzzles. The answers were found by searching the room. By “searching” I meant physically searching (which was fine) and also sifting through the plethora of red herrings. There was no indication of what was relevant and what wasn’t.
But really, having so few puzzles is a rip-off. This is advertised with a maximum capacity of 8 people which I think is ridiculous. One person can complete this room in under 10 minutes.
There were very few actual puzzles in this room. Most of it was searching for keys, actually. The searching wasn’t that bad though – it was actually kind of enjoyable!
I felt like I was taken to a set of a detective noir movie. It was appropriately sepia, complete with decor from the 50s. I also appreciate how the irrelevant props were glued down which saved us time. Like Ben, the only thing I didn’t like was the pixelized poster on the window.
This room was quite convincingly an office! The window picture was the only thing that was really off. I also really appreciated the decor that made it seem like we were in the 50s – I could tell because I didn’t know what a bunch of things in that room were.
The decor and lighting (and even the really hot temperature) were what kept us immersed. There was a lot of searching involved, so we were busy sifting through the many files. I don’t know what it was, but I actually felt like I was breaking into a detective’s office.
Usually, a room might have strong puzzles that are really engaging but nothing else really in the room that contributes to a really immersive experience. Spies and Lies is backwards – the puzzles were a bit weaker, but the whole experience felt more immersive. I really liked the use of the walkie-talkies to make sure no one is coming in to the room as well as the fact that our host is someone who is in-character!
Detective themes aren’t really new or exciting anymore. There was backstory at the start, but the story at the end was just kind of relegated to the sideline.
The detective theme is one that has been done lots, and there wasn’t anything particularly unique about this room that sets it apart from others.
I give this room a #silver rating. It was a very different experience because it wasn’t puzzle-heavy, but, at the same time, it still forced us to interact with the things in the room. Ultimately, though, much of your time would be spent doing a whole of nothing.
This room gets a #silver from me. While I enjoyed the overall experience, this room was a bit too light on puzzles for me.
- Completed: August 31, 2016
- Escaped: Yes (2 people)
- Our Time: 0:44 (/0:45)
- # of hints used: 2