By Kristen Thompson
Thoughts and opinions in this article are entirely our own - we were not coerced into telling you we had fun when we didn’t! We promise!
Two things I learned from my evening at Kelowna’s Impuse Escape Room and VR Lounge: 1. I have moments when I’m brighter than I give myself credit for. 2. I can also go so totally blank that it’s a wonder I can put my pants on in the morning.
I imagine these are the musings of most people who find themselves locked (although, of course, you’re not really locked) in an escape room, trying to solve a series of riddles before running out of time. While also trying to prove to your teammates that you would be a valuable asset in a situation where logic, quick-thinking and a level head would be necessary for survival.
Certainly, these were my thoughts as the friendly staff at Impulse Games bade the four of us “good luck” and closed us into a room that looked like a mad scientist’s steampunk laboratory. Our mission was to figure out what happened to said scientist’s lab assistant, and the creature they created, the latter of whom had suddenly gone rogue. We had no tips and no clues. Just a room, 60 minutes, and four people turning in bewildered circles wondering where to begin.
For a minute it seemed like we would spend the next hour baffled, trying to pull immovable levers and open locked cabinets to no avail. But, about two minutes in to the adventure, someone stumbled upon a clue, which led us to another clue (like a domino effect), and then all of a sudden we were immersed in the game, using logic (and a bit of luck) to stumble through a mystery whose ending we couldn’t guess yet.
To say that we had a blast is a total understatement.
Escape rooms and virtual reality lounges are a growing trend among people looking for something more than pubs or bowling for date nights and friend get-togethers. The idea is simple: You and your group are closed into a themed room, and given an objective to accomplish within a set period of time. The team works together using intellect, logic and strategy to solve a series of puzzles, codes and riddles, using clues and hints found in the room. Sound simple? It is … but it isn’t! And that’s why it’s so much fun!
What is particularly unique (and amazing) about Impulse is that the owners come up with each room’s theme and backstory on their own, then custom-design the space and the devices. Which means there are no cookie-cutter designs and puzzles, only a unique, local experience. There are several themed escape rooms set up at any one time, and rooms change every few months, so there’s always a fresh adventure, like The Barbershop, and Merlin’s Last Quest. Each room has a difficulty rating and a recommended group size, and you get the chance to compete against the clock, as well as the “best-of” time set by some other team clearly comprised of people with PhDs.
What was fun about our room and our group (or maybe this is the case for all rooms and all groups) was that everyone had a moment to shine, despite our self-deprecating insistence that we would be the “worst” and “slowest” member of the team. Each one of us had an “a-ha!” moment that moved us through the game, allowing us to get a pat on the back from our teammates, and a much-needed sense of accomplishment that gave us a shot of adrenaline, and the drive to forge on.
Ultimately, we didn’t solve the room in time (insert sad horn noise here). But, since we were only one clue away from completing the objective, the owners gave us the two more minutes (that’s literally all we needed) to finish the task, letting us leave with a sense of accomplishment even though we ran out of time.
We all left with a buzz, excited to try the other rooms and challenge ourselves to another game of intellect as soon as we could. “I can see how people could get addicted to this,” one of us told the owners as we were leaving, and he didn’t disagree. We’ll be back. Again and again and again. And next time, we’ll get out in time!
ALL ABOUT IMPULSE ESCAPE ROOM
Anyone can play! There are no age restrictions
The space is available to host parties or corporate events, so groups are welcome!
You’ll have to leave your phone and bags in a locker before going into the room, but it’s locked, and you keep the key - so it’s safe!
You are not locked in the room, and can leave any time, including to ask for help or go to the washroom.
Impulse offers three themes of varying difficulty. None of the rooms require prior knowledge, which means anyone can play and have fun. The majority of puzzles, riddles & tasks are mentally-based. You do not need strength or agility to complete the tasks.
Some rooms have a moderate scare factor, so call ahead if you are coming with kids just to double check.
Participants under 19 must have a parent or legal guardian sign a waiver on their behalf. Participants under 12 must be accompanied by at least one adult. Children under 5 years are free.
If it’s your birthday, you play for free! (Minimum 3 other participants). They also offer birthday packages (contact us for rates).
LOCATION: 157 Asher Rd KELOWNA
Wed & Thur 3 – 9 PM ( By Reservation Only)
Fri & Sat 12 – 10 PM
Sun 12 – 7 PM
2-12 PLAYERS - $28 Per Person
13 - 20 PLAYERS - $25 Per Person
20+ Players - Contact Impulse
MORE INFO: Impulse Escape Room
Kristen Thompson is a freelance journalist, and half of the team that makes up Do The Okanagan. She likes to think she’s quick-thinking and collaborative. Her spouse, co-workers and Escape Room teammates may have other thoughts on this, though.