“Choose your adventure.” – No, really.
- Website: Sidequests
Address: 10190 104 Street NW, Basement, Edmonton, AB T5J 1A7
- Private Booking: Yes
- Price: $23.81 per person
- Duration: 45 minutes
- Linearity: Mixed
- Group size: #medium
- Player Level: #competent
- Premise: “This is it, it’s what you’ve always dreamed of: assisting your world-famous Egyptology professor on a real dig! This sure beats reading a musty textbook. Even better, the team has just discovered a new chamber and they want you and your classmates to do an initial survey to put that classroom theory to work!”
This was our third time at Sidequests. They are great people who are more than just escape room employees. They are meticulous about their customer service and make sure everything goes smoothly, from the moment you get your picture taken to the moment you get out.
The staff at Sidequests are great – they’re friendly, and they remembered who we are! I always think it’s a sign of good customer service when the staff try to remember their customers’ names and faces.
Man oh man. Can I give this section more than a 10? Every single puzzle we encountered was fresh and innovative while still being loyal to the theme. They leaned heavily on visual problem-solving, so this room is perfect for right-minded folks like me.
We breezed through this room like clockwork. The puzzle progression was inherent to what Sidequests advocates for–choose your own adventure. I think this mantra works particularly well here because they leave it up to you to choose which path to take in a binary progression. You can solve puzzles from column A or B. Take your pick and see how to best spend your time. (Hence, choosing your own adventure.) We ended up solving all the puzzles by the end anyway and got to see the ending(s).
The puzzles here were incredibly creative! I think part of this creativity comes from the fact that there were no locks in this room, which allowed the designers to move beyond puzzles that result in a letter/number/directional combination. Another thing I really loved was the cluing – most of it was through pictures! It does get a bit tiring reading long-winded passages of text (not that it’s always a bad thing), so it was great to see clues given this way!
Since we did this room with only two people, it played out pretty linearly for us. And the room is linear, but there are actually two different puzzle lines you can do simultaneously, which means that a larger group likely won’t have people standing around doing nothing! Whether or not you finish both puzzle lines determines what kind of ending you get. I really appreciated this little mechanic because it felt like my interactions with the room were a bit more meaningful – we had a choice as to whether or not we first would work on the first or second line, or if we would tackle them at the same time.
This room looked fantastic. Every single space was covered in icons and symbols, all of which eventually became relevant. Other than small tools you would encounter every now and then, there were no movable props in this room. The puzzles were embedded into the environment itself which was pretty damn cool. You’re not manhandling dusty books or opening empty drawers; instead, you’re just looking around to see how the walls, ceilings, and floors can help you.
Expedition looked appropriately Egypt-y without being too over the top. I thought it could have used a few more props to really show that the room was an excavation in progress though. What I did love was how intentional they were with their use of space in this room – it felt like every part of the room was used for puzzles, but the room did not feel crowded (nor would it if there were more than 2 people, I think).
My eyes, hands, feet, and brain did not stop moving from the moment we got in the room. Because you always have a choice of which puzzle to solve at any given time, you’re just forced to keep working while in the room. There was never a moment when we felt stuck or frustrated. This enabled us to focus on our mission while in the room which led to a highly immersive experience.
One thing I really like about Sidequests is how they incorporate your walk to the room into the story. An in-character staff member brings you into the story as you travel from the lobby to your room, which I think is great at moving you into the proper mindset before you even get into the room!
For Expedition in particular, there’s a sound effect that plays whenever you solve a puzzle correctly. For some, this could take them out of immersion, but I personally thought it felt like a fun video-game inspired addition that made it unambiguous as to whether or not you got a puzzle right.
The theme involves being a part of an Egyptology team and exploring a new chamber. In that regard, they succeeded. The theme stays with you throughout the entire playing period, even from the moment you sit in the waiting room. Your mission is to get a necklace and get out–the room never lets you forget that.
I don’t think Egypt is unique by any means, but the way that Sidequests pulled it off was pretty new to me! I enjoyed the in-character story briefing that we got – my only regret is that we didn’t do a bit more with that interaction! It was a bit one-sided with the staff member telling us the story, but there were plenty of opportunities for us to have spoken up and to help shape our pre-room briefing.
Compared to Uncle, I thought Expedition did a better job of really demonstrating the concept of “different endings”.
This room easily gets a #diamond and debuts really high on my (currently unpublished but always audited) top Edmonton escape room ranking list. Prepare for an adventure.
This room gets a #diamond! It’s a room with polished puzzles and an engaging story – I would highly recommend it if you’re in Edmonton!
- Completed: October 29, 2016
- Escaped? Ending D (2 people)
- Our Points: 2069
- Number of hints used: 2