I don’t even really know how to go through this post without spoiling anything from Mr. J’s Escape Club’s escape rooms, but I’ll do my best. I’ve done three of their rooms so far, and have had the last one spoiled for me, so I’m patiently waiting for their upcoming room to be released!
In the past, I’ve done a few escape rooms in Vancouver. G.U.E.S.S was pretty amazing, and in my opinion, way better than Exit Canada, but Mr. J has been my recent favorite. I think what stays with me most is how unique and well-designed the rooms were. And that’s what keeps bringing me back.
The first time I visited Mr. J’s, we had just finished watching a movie and then on our way to finding food in Richmond, my friends and I came up with the crazy idea of doing an escape room. It was about 11PM when we got to Mr. J’s and we snagged the last available spot of the day and off we went on our adventure!
I’ll admit. When I first got there in the middle of the night, I was a little sketched out. We went down a dark alley, and then at the end of it was a purple neon sign that read “Mr. J”. I now realize that we were literally just a block away from Richmond’s Superstore, so it’s not exactly a sketchy location. When you head upstairs, you’ll be greeted with another Mr. J sign at the top, and then to the right is their reception area. There’s always a nice, friendly staff to help you get started. All around us were wooden plaques from past room escapers, celebrating their victories.
What should you expect at Mr. J’s? Good puzzles. Don’t worry about having to unlock five different combination locks, and then spending the rest of your time trying to find keys to unlock dumb stuff. The puzzles are well thought out and since one of their key selling points is that they’re “Vancouver’s only full automated escape room”, there’s ALWAYS a really cool mechanical/technological aspect to their rooms.
I’ll share a spoiler so I can properly explain what I mean when I say there’s something “special” in each room. Click here if you want the cool tech aspect of The Lost Tomb spoiled for you (this is the only room I haven’t played since it was spoiled for me). The password to the post is: TheLostTomb
My suggestion is to try everything in the room. If your group has an idea for a solution, commit to trying it out. There was one room where we kind of half-heartedly tried to give an answer to a part of the puzzle, thinking that there was no way it would work like that. Again, their tech really surprises me, because if we had committed and properly did what we were thinking, we would’ve solved it.
Mr. J also gives you 2 hints, but in my experience, if you’re really stuck, they’ll help you out. And one great thing that I like? They let you finish the room. After going to Mr. J’s I realize how lame it is that we always pay $80-$120 for a room and we never even finish the story. They probably can’t guarantee this clause (since it’s not advertised anywhere), especially if their time slots are all full, but every room I’ve done, they’ve allowed us to exceed our allowed time just so we can finish escaping. Again, they’re super nice people.
One thing that you may have issues with might be that there are minor grammatical and spelling errors in some of the props/instructions you’ll find in the room. Mr. J is catered to both English and Chinese escapees, and they usually have a copy of the same instructions and props in both English and Chinese. This didn’t affect me (even though I can’t read Chinese), since the general gist of what they’re trying to convey is always still there.
For $25/person and with at least 50 minutes of playtime in well-thought out rooms (again, I’ve always went longer than the allotted time. One room, we must’ve gone over for almost an extra hour. The other two, we finished it with an additional 15 minutes or so added to the allotted time), it’s a real treat. Especially for the great and memorable experiences you’ll leave with!
There’s board games in the lobby if you have to wait for a previous group to finish up. You can also buy drinks (bottled milk tea was delicious!) if you’re thirsty.
I have yet to have such an enjoyable escape room experience elsewhere in Vancouver. I seriously recommend giving Mr. J’s a try (no, I’m not sponsored). And best of all, they even have a FREE room for you to try out. I didn’t do it on my first run, but I did do it when I returned with a different group of friends the second time around. It’s a shorter room, and it’s a lot less complex than the other rooms, but it still has a cool tech element to it. And again, it’s FREE. You’ll just need to go there (or call) and ask for it and they’re more than happy to let you give it a go.
Their upcoming room is called the Energon Cube and I’ve been told it’s Transformers themed. We asked how long it’ll take for it to be released and they estimate that it’ll not be ready for at least another few months. From my knowledge, they’ve already been working at it for a while. They ran into an issue at one point of the puzzle, but fixing it isn’t as easy as just changing that portion of the room. They have to rewire and change everything. Super excited for when it’s released!