Adventure City Games

We tried an outdoor escape game in Toronto to see if it was worth the hype

Summer in Toronto means taking advantage of the warm weather by going outside and making the most of the city. But, if you’re a big fan of escape rooms, that usually conflicts with the whole “outdoors” ideal, because, as the name suggests, you’re escaping a room that is most likely closed off from things like fresh air and the sun.

But you don’t need to be trapped in a basement to enjoy a puzzle-solving adventure. In fact, there's a new Toronto experience you can try that'll have you taking to the city on heroic quests to thwart evil villains and ne'er-do-wells. 

Adventure City GamesLetting you explore the city with a new perspective, Adventure City Games has designed outdoor escape games that are part treasure hunt, part escape adventure, and part walking tour. An easy outdoor activity you can plan year-round, all you need is a smartphone, a few friends, and you’re ready to explore.

As an escape room connoisseur myself, I wanted to give Adventure City Games a try to see if it’s really as good as it claims to be. So I slapped on some sunscreen, got my team together, and took to the city streets on an ambitious adventure.

Multiple adventures to choose from

Upon visiting their website, the first choice you’ll have to make when booking a game is which adventure you want to embark on. 

Adventure City GamesWith a variety of difficulties and locals to explore, Adventure City Games currently offers three different experiences that’ll have you saving the country's economy through downtown Toronto or investigating a series of kidnappers through the Distillery District.

For our adventure, our team chose to do The Evil Dragon, which had us trying to prevent a dragon from being released in Toronto. Because this option had a 73% success rate, even though Mama loves a challenge, we wanted to get a feel for the game process before diving into something too difficult.

Adventure City Games

An escape game at your own pace

Once you’ve chosen your game, it’s time to assemble a whip-smart team of coders and puzzle solvers.

Thankfully, if you’re popular enough to have too many friends for traditional escape rooms (which… I definitely am.... don’t worry about it), there aren’t any capacity limits with Adventure City.

Whether you’re organizing an adventurous first date with your partner, seeking a fun-filled afternoon adventure with your family, or want to go on an epic big birthday quest, anyone can join in on the game.

Adventure City GamesIf you have a larger party, it’s recommended that you split up into different teams to best enjoy the experience or compete against each other to see who can complete the game the fastest.

Also, none of the games have a specific start time, so once everyone has paid, there’s no limit to when you start, as your activation link is good for 12 months at any point in the day. 

As someone who has indeed organized a lot of escape rooms only to have team members cancel at the last minute, this gives you some reassurance that you can always reorganize the adventure easily without the looming threat of a cancellation fee.

Explore historic landmarks in Toronto

Once my team organized a date and time, we met up for our adventure at our starting point — Old City Hall on Queen Street — with charged phones and an adventurous spirit. 

It’s important to meet at the starting point because once you’ve hit your activation link, you’ll be taken to a chat system where the game’s narrator will start your game and direct you to your first mission.

Adventure City GamesPlaying the game was very intuitive and well-designed, with puzzles and challenges getting progressively harder, and earlier puzzles setting you up to complete harder ones later on in your adventure.

There’s also a progress bar at the top of your chat to let you know how far you are into your adventure.

Solving puzzles to complete your game

From finding secret passwords to unscrambling clues to discover your next location, the games provided challenging puzzles that provided a lot of "Oh, that’s it!" moments. 

Adventure City GamesIf you have any fears about tackling the challenge, the game's narrators are very generous, allowing you to ask for as many hints as you need at any point in the game through your chat, and also letting you use the internet, to help you along on your adventure.

Not that I care about looking silly in public, because, well, it really doesn’t phase me anymore. But, the game isn’t obtrusive and it safely integrates different landmarks — like the Toronto sign at Nathan Philips Square, the Canada Life building, and different sculptures around downtown — to prevent you from doing anything too outlandish.

Adventure CityYou’ll also have enough time to travel from puzzle to puzzle, as the next puzzle activates through secret code words once you arrive at your specific locations. 

Even though I've lived in Toronto for years, the game helped me come across interesting anecdotes and historical facts about the city that I wasn't even aware of.

Start your next adventure today

Overall, playing The Evil Dragon from Adventure City Games was such a fun experience.

My team had a mixture of experience levels, with one never having played an escape room, and we were able to easily work together to prevent the dragon from waking up and ravaging Toronto (you're welcome, I guess).

Adventure City GamesWith so much flexibility on when and where you can play and a price of just under $20 a head, booking an outdoor escape game with Adventure City Games is definitely one of the easiest, most affordable, and fun ways to explore the city.

Looking for a new fun adventure in Toronto? You can book yours with Adventure City Games now and explore the city in a whole new way.

Lead photo by

Fareen Karim

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