Dadabble in the unconventional.
- Website: A/Maze
Address: 206 11 Ave SE #102, Calgary, AB T2G 0X8
- Private Booking: No
- Price: $27 per person
- Duration: 60 minutes
- Linearity: Mixed
- Group size: #medium
- Player Level: #pro
- Premise: “Your friend Hans, a bartender at Gottfried’s, has uncovered a dastardly plot orchestrated by the Cabaret Voltaire’s creators—in an act of defiance, they have managed to steal famous pieces of Art from all around Europe, and plan to destroy them at the strike of midnight. You find yourself inside only to realise that you have been trapped by the creators. You have one hour to escape or become a permanent fixture on the walls of the Cabaret.”
A/Maze was one of the few anticipated debutant escape rooms of 2017. The owner talked to us about A/Maze being a fruit of his passion, relayed the details of how Cabaret Voltaire came to be, and teased us about their next room.
We noticed that there were no bookings at their next available slot, but it was an hour or so away, so we called to ask if we could just pop in and do the room ASAP. They were very accommodating and got us into the room as soon as we arrived.
The puzzles in Cabaret Voltaire were integrated seamlessly into the story. The story steps into the foreground and provides the framework for the puzzle progression.
There was creativity here in spades, as what seemed to be an innocuous object became necessary to move onto the next step.
What stood out to me about the puzzles here was how nicely they were integrated into the environment! There weren’t any boxes with locks on them lying around the room, which meant you had to do a bit more exploring. I thought that the real strength of this room was the puzzle progression. While there were lots of different types of puzzles to do, the way that the room guided you through them was intuitive and engaging.
I also loved some of the surprising and fun uses of tech in this room. I only wish that for some of the puzzles we completed, there was some sort of feedback (visual/audio/something) to let us know what we did.
The environment was gorgeous, thanks in particular to the large antique set pieces and a collection of small vintage curiosities that contributed to the overall atmosphere. Cabaret Voltaire transported us not only into a different space but also through time.
Cabaret Voltaire takes advantage of the Amaze building’s natural walls to great effect. Combined with the vintage decor, Amaze does a great job of bringing to life a believable setting. The excellent decor did highlight some props that didn’t fit in quite as well, but I don’t think I would have minded as much if the rest of the room didn’t look so nice!
This room spelled out the true meaning of breaking in. In an unprecedented twist, this room starts very abruptly and dares blur the line between reality and artificial immersion. (Deep-cut reference: I felt like Newt Scamander trying to figure out how to get into Gnarlack’s cabaret.)
Cabaret Voltaire started out subtly, but for a brief moment, the beginning made me go, “Where does the room start and where does real life end?!” …which may have been an overreaction on my part, but I thought the start was a fun idea that worked out really well.
The hint system and the background audio definitely kept the feeling of immersiveness going in the room. I did find that the audio was a bit loud at times though.
While most rooms have tacked on stories that get abandoned in-room, Cabaret Voltaire is the opposite: The introductory story was as convoluted as can be, but the room lets you explore and be engrossed in the story. The characters in this room were almost too real. A simple Wikipedia search would reveal historically accurate references found in this room.
I wasn’t aware of the theme before coming to the room. When our gamemaster was explaining it to us, I thought that the concept was interesting, and definitely unique. However, I wasn’t a huge fan of how the theme developed in the room. To me, it felt a bit like it was forcing the whole “escape or die” trope that is very common in escape rooms.
Also, looking back on the Amaze site, I’m not certain that the room’s description completely captured the feel of the room, but that could just be me.
This room gets a #diamond for daring to be unconventional and unfamiliar. Cabaret Voltaire is a bit of an acquired taste. This room would be perfect for escape room pros who crave something extraordinary. I’m still haunted by the room after several days.
I would definitely give this room a #diamond. It’s an incredibly polished room and the amount of work that Amaze put into this room is very obvious. If all their rooms are this good, they’re definitely a company to watch out for in Calgary!
- Completed: July 2017
- Escaped: Yes (2 people)
- Our Time: 0:45 (/1:00)
- # of hints used: ~