“Never ask a baker what went into a pie. Just eat.” ― George R.R. Martin
- Website: Smarty Pantz
Address: 10524 110 St NW, Edmonton, AB T5H 3C5
- Private Booking: Yes
- Price: $25 per person
- Duration: 45 minutes
- Linearity: Mixed
- Group size: #medium
- Player Level: #competent
- Premise: “You are trapped in a nightmarish basement and about to fall victim to a killer’s psychotic and cannibalistic quest for the fountain of youth. There a glimmer of hope though; you’ve been left alone and there may be a way out.”
The manager (a dead ringer for Eddie Redmayne) and our in-character host made sure our experience was smooth and memorable. The narration was a tad overlong but I enjoyed every minute of it.
SmartyPantz is unique in that they have an in-character game master that does the introductory story and provides the hints via walkie-talkie. Our game master was absolutely incredible – he stayed in character as the crazed Beetle even through a battery change for our flashlight. It was really impressive!
There were no overt puzzles here to solve. You have to sift through the environment to figure out what to solve. We had to scrutinize jars and IV bags and shelves. We didn’t know what to solve. The puzzles didn’t scream “I’m relevant, solve me!” I appreciated this take. It allowed us to explore and interact with the environment. The puzzle-solving experience didn’t feel like a series of chores that needed to be done.
The last time we were at SmartyPantz, we did Spies and Lies where the puzzles were nonexistent. I’m happy to say that there were puzzles in this room though! I don’t know if it’s because of my reduced expectations going in, but I was content with the puzzle offerings of this room. They leaned towards traditional lock-and-combo puzzles and there weren’t a ton of them, but what was there was not bad. Overall, pretty average.
SmartyPantz prides itself with rooms that have movie set-like production designs. I agree with this marketing blurb in this case. I felt like I was in Mrs. Lovett’s kitchen, ready to be made into a pie. The centrepiece in the form of a furnace (/crematorium?) was the lovely bow on a horrifying but impressive gift.
This room was quite spacious – I guess Beetle’s master enjoys letting his food roam around a bit instead of being cooped up. While I liked the decor in the room (it was appropriately macabre), it was somewhat sparse. There’s a very obvious centrepiece in this room, and I was pretty happy that we got to interact with it in the end, though I wish we could have done a bit more with it!
Music can really make or break the immersion in a room. As Ben mentions, the lack of music here took away from our experience. I wanted to feel that sense of urgency (that we were going to be served to a cannibal after an hour). Music would have augmented the horror feels in this room.
One aspect of immersion that was missing from this room was the music. I think that good music can really make the mood of a room, and it was conspicuously absent here. I appreciated the occasional chats with Beetle over the walkie-talkie, but I personally have trouble with understanding people over walkie-talkies and so I left it with Paulie for the most part.
The room’s story is anchored by the way the host delivers the narration. He’s exploding with so much energy that you can’t help but to feel pumped before going into the room. You’re captured in some chamber. If you don’t escape, you burn in a hot oven until you die. It sounds gruesome but the execution still had some levity.
This was a new theme for us, partly because we don’t tend to do a lot of gory rooms. I thought it was quite appropriate for escape rooms, and I love how the game master was the one who tied the whole theme together. That said, it means that your experience relies a little bit on who you get as a game master.
This room gets a #gold. If Tim Burton were to do an escape room, the final product would be similar to this. It’s terrifying but whimsical at the same time. I wish the individual components had more of a punch, but this was still a pretty good room.
This gets a #gold from me. It’s a pretty good offering from SmartyPantz, but in the overall Edmonton escape room scene, it’s quite average.
- Completed: October 7, 2016
- Escaped: Yes? (booked for 1.5 hours – 2 people)
- Our Time: 0:32 (/0:45)
- # of hints used: 2