I feel like every few months I’m saying “there’s a new escape room in Edmonton” – because it really does feel like every few months, there’s a new escape room in Edmonton!
As a big escape game enthusiast, that is a great thing.
As of December 2015, there are now five escape game companies in Edmonton – the newest one – GTFO Escape Entertainment – quietly opened downtown in November. (The first to ever open in Edmonton in 2014 was BreakOut and they will be expanding to a second location in 2016. Plus, according to the GTFO owners, at least another three are being planned for the coming year too!)
I had a chance to try out two of GTFO’s rooms a few weeks ago, and loved them (in fact one of the rooms we did is in my Top 2 for favourite escape rooms I’ve ever tried!)
Read on for my review of GTFO Escape Entertainment (how it compares to the others in town) and enter to win 1 of 3 pairs of game passes so you and a friend can try GTFO Escape Entertainment too!
The first thing to note about GTFO is its interesting acronymed name. I don’t know where your mind went when you first read ‘GTFO’ but my first thought was the shortened Internet/texting slang for ‘get the f*ck out.’
Here’s how GTFO describes its name:
GTFO can mean many things, perhaps even the obvious one you’re thinking about… But here are some fun examples we like: Games To Figure Out, Good Time For Offense, Guess The Fuzzy Object, Galvatron Transforms and Fights Optimus, Good Time For Ownage. Whatever your interpretation might be, just Get There and Find Out!
GTFO is conveniently located downtown at 105 Street and 100 Avenue.
On the second floor of the building, GTFO has a very clean, open space with lots of sitting room plus table puzzles and board games. They encourage players to get cozy in their lobby waiting for a game to start.
In fact, when we were there, a group had just finished doing a room and were settling in for about an hour of board games while they waited for us to finish our room! You can really make a whole night of it there – GTFO also offers water bottles and cookies if you’re playing, and there’s even a Wii you can play!
My group of friends tried two of GTFO’s three rooms – Visiting Hour and The Heist.
The Visiting Hour is described as:
The asylum on the edge of town is a historical building that houses people afflicted with a diverse range of conditions. The asylum has been gaining attention lately as patients have been inexplicably disappearing without any sign. This month, the asylum will begin hosting visitor tours in attempt to recover their reputation following the disappearances. Something strange is taking place at the asylum. Will you make a visit and figure out what happened to the patients?
The Heist is described as:
You’ve received a mysterious tip from someone planning a hit on the bank, and they’re putting together a small crew to pull it off. It’s fishy, since you don’t know anything about the guy planning this whole thing, but rumour has it that this bank is actually holding a serious amount of cash and valuables. If the job goes well, you could walk away a very wealthy person. Will you participate in the biggest score this town has ever seen?
Both rooms were incredible.
We had so much fun doing both! I loved The Heist so much that it shot up to being one of my top 2 favourite rooms I’ve ever tried in Edmonton to date (the other one I always recommend is Keller’s Magic Emporium from Escape City – so I kind of waffle between the two now trying to decide which one is my favourite. If you try either one – you will not be disappointed!)
Because there are so many escape room options in Edmonton now, I feel like the quality of the rooms keep getting better and better and that with each room that comes out, the bar is set so much higher than before. GTFO Escape Entertainment is no exception. Their rooms are absolutely raising the bar.
GTFO is co-owned by four friends John, Andy, Derek and David – two who work there part-time and two who work there full-time. When you talk to these guys, you can tell they’re really passionate about this business (which they call their baby).
My group was so impressed with the number of rooms within each scenario we played out, design of the rooms, along with the variety/types of puzzles.
There are some riddles, some place-in-the-right-order-to-unlock type of puzzles, magnets, memorization, weight, matching, even creating colours from primary colours type of game play.
I also love their take on hints. All escape rooms we’ve played to date give you two hints that you can choose to use at anytime throughout the 45-minute gameplay. GTFO takes a completely different approach by planting ‘hint coins’ in various areas throughout the room(s).
The owners determine when/how many hints a group may need to get through a particular room so the number of hints you get will vary by room (and also if you’re able to find the hint coin!)
What’s most impressive to me though is that the GTFO owners built all the rooms and puzzles themselves.
I just could not get over that. As they put it, you don’t really go to school to learn how to engineer puzzles and build escape rooms but it’s something they wanted to learn to do – and are really proud they did. They say everything except the video production (video introductions to each room’s storyline) were done in-house.
What’s also interesting is they say they only tried BreakOut before hitting the round running with their own escape game ideas (they haven’t been to any of the other ones in Edmonton yet! I would think they’d want to do that type of research before launching but I guess this way you don’t get a lot of imitation puzzles!)
If you’re wondering – my group failed to escape either room (which is typical of my escape game track record, lol).
We were VERY close to solving The Heist though, but were very far off from solving Visiting Hour (which has a higher difficulty level – I think we also spent way too much time trying to figure out the initial puzzle in that room, but we got out of the restraints quicker than I thought we would too).
Another thing that’s unique about GTFO (and is just really fun) is their use of polaroids to capture your group’s success/failure.
They have print-out emojis and other acronyms/phrases that players can pose with in their post-game photo, and if you do break out of the room successfully, they place your polaroid on a success wall people see as they enter the lobby area.
As with other escape rooms in Edmonton, GTFO has room to grow.
They’re currently working on a fourth room and also have space for a fifth room. They also plan to cycle through/swap out current rooms down the road as well.
Co-owners tell me they think the escape game industry in Edmonton in particular is still pretty fresh with lots of room for growth. “The average Edmontonian still doesn’t know what escape games are.” Each escape game company also has their own style with their rooms so you get a little something different with each one you try. You can tell there is a distinct personality/style with GTFO’s rooms and puzzle choices.
Similar to the other escape companies, GTFO is not looking at the other businesses in an overly competitive way. The beauty (or curse) of escape games is that if you’ve tried a room once, you probably won’t try it again – so the more options there are in the city, the better.
(Smartly, Escape City and BreakOut have teamed up to offer a loyalty card where if you do come back you pay a discounted rate – I’m constantly wanting to bring new friends to try old rooms).
GTFO is another welcome addition to the Edmonton escape game scene (that is a thing here now) and I’m really excited to try their new rooms as well as return with different groups of friends to try rooms I’ve now done.
Now on to the free stuff!
I’m giving away 3 pairs of passes so you and your friends can try the rooms at the new GTFO Escape Entertainment! I’ll be selecting three winners who will each get two game admission passes.
(Not sure about your chances? You could just also book your GTFO escape game experience here!)
** GIVEAWAY **
ENTER TO WIN 1 OF 3 PAIRS OF PASSES TO PLAY AT GTFO ESCAPE ENTERTAINMENT! (each pair valued at $50)
Here are the different ways you can enter this contest (make sure you check off what you’ve done through the Rafflecopter widget below in order to qualify!)
- Leave a comment on this blog post telling me which room you’d like to try escaping at GTFO Escape Entertainment. (Click here to see available rooms)
Note: You MUST leave a comment in order to be eligible for the prize! All other ways to enter will get you additional/bonus entries and improve your chances of winning, but you won’t be eligible unless you leave a blog comment first.
- Tweet this message: I want to try new Edmonton escape room company @GTFOInc! Hope I win @lindork’s giveaway! #yeg http://bit.ly/1YQ3osI
- Follow me @lindork on Twitter
- Follow @GTFOinc on Twitter
- Like my Facebook Page – Lindork – Linda Hoang
- Like GTFO Escape Entertainment’s Facebook Page – GTFO Escape Entertainment
I’ll randomly select THREE winners after the contest closes on January 5, 2016.
* Note: Comments are moderated so if they don’t appear right away, don’t worry!
Thanks to the team at GTFO for giving me three pairs of passes to give away for my readers!
Disclaimer: I will always provide my 100% honest opinion on this blog. GTFO invited me to try two rooms and give away three pairs of passes. This has no impact on opinions stated in this post.