Hidden behind a barbershop in the ByWard Market, A/Maze Ottawa Escape Game cleverly takes players through a devious plot to blow up Parliament. In a race against the clock, you must search for clues to prevent the attack.
Apt613 was invited to try their first room, Parliament’s Bomb, inspired by the history of Guy Fawkes but with a distinctly Ottawa spin. As the story goes, one of Guy Fawkes’ descendents lives in Ottawa and runs a clock repair shop. Authorities receive an anonymous letter leading them to believe he is plotting an attack on Parliament and it’s our job to stop it.
The game started with a briefing from A/Maze Ottawa staff to our crew, a group of special agents called in to prevent the attack. After hearing the background and having the ground rules explained, we were locked into the room. The clock repair shop features clocks of all shapes and sizes, and as was later explained to us by Daniel Konioukhov, A/Maze Ottawa’s founder, they were sourced from locations around Ottawa to give the room the most authentic feel possible. The giant timer counting down our 45 minutes added to the sense of urgency as we tackled challenge after challenge.
Our group of three consisted of an escape room newbie and two with moderate escape room experience. The room had a wide variety of challenges that everyone enjoyed getting in on. Anyone familiar with escape rooms will enjoy the mix of traditional escape room puzzles with the imaginative uses of technology, as well as a neat trick that left everyone amazed. Clues are written in both English and French, and while we had to work through a few combination locks, it wasn’t just an ongoing numbers game. Kudos to the crew at A/Maze for bringing something fresh to the table.
If needed, you can call for help and receive two clues during your game. A/Maze’s friendly staff will come into the room to help walk you through a puzzle, rather than giving you clues over a radio, as is done in some escape room settings. We got hung up a few times and eventually called in reinforcements when we were truly stumped.
The staff are friendly, welcoming, and clearly fans of escape rooms. Daniel’s eye lit up as he was telling us about plans for their second escape room, which we are eager to try once it opens later this year.
A/Maze is located in a building behind the barbershop at 89 Murray Street, about a 10 minute walk from Rideau Centre. There is on street parking available, as well as a parking garage in the ByWard Market. While they don’t serve food, there are plenty of options nearby to grab a bite after to debrief on your game play. The first room is open for business now and construction is under way on the second, called Dr. ByWard. Daniel gave us a sneak peek and it looks exciting – technology again is being incorporated into the room to enhance game play. The venue itself is fairly standard, with a waiting area where you can try your hand at some puzzles, warming you up for the challenge ahead. The real magic is located behind closed doors, in the escape room itself. After you finish, Daniel snaps a photo to share your victory (or defeat, as the case may be) with friends.
A/Maze Escape Room is located at 89 Murray Street and offers 45 minutes of game play. Cost is $23 per player, plus tax. There is a maximum of five players in the room. Cash, credit cards (excluding American Express) or debit cards are accepted. You can also pay online by credit card or PayPal when you make your reservation.