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What is Breakout NL?
By Lauren Power
The escape the roomgame arrives in the province. 

You are in a room and the door is locked. To escape, you must piece together a series of clues and solve puzzles. You have 45 minutes.

That’s the pitch for Breakout NL, which has been in business since October. One month in, it’s building a following, aided by the “Escape the Room” craze stemming from similar locations around the world.

In real-life room escape games, you are locked in a room with other participants (friends or strangers) and you must use elements of the room to solve a series of puzzles, find clues, and escape the room within a set time limit.

Glen & Chen Stokes opened Breakout NL in October after extensive renovations. The pair enjoyed the Breakout Game in Singapore, and have been working since then to bring the franchise to the province.

Breakout NL is located at 1399 Torbay Road, in the same building as Liddy’s. Liddy’s, by the way, claims that it’s the oldest bar in Newfoundland and a former favourite spot for honeymooners on the Avalon. So, now you have two reasons to go to Torbay.

My team attempted the Magican’s Secret, the hardest of the available puzzle rooms. Having a solid mix of puzzle people, brainy types, and lateral thinkers, we figured we should jump into the Breakout deep end.

After the host guided us to our destination room, she matter-of-factly informed us that we were magician’s apprentices, sneaking into our mentor’s training chamber, only to find ourselves locked inside. We now had 45 minutes to escape, or suffer the consequences.

Clearly, the situation asks you to indulge, and geek out a little bit. It’s hard to take it all seriously, and that’s kind of the point: when do you ever get the opportunity to use your brains and work as a team, all to give a wizard the slip?

So, you’re armed with a walkie talkie and flashlights (one less than the number of your group), the host departs, and you get to puzzling. Word puzzles, number puzzles, and logic puzzles lead to combination locks, padlocks, electronic gadgets, hidden compartments, and more— all which must be mastered before the clock runs out.

In the end, we failed. We managed to escape, but only after the 45 minutes had elapsed. After crushing a half-dozen puzzles within 30 minutes, one sequential colour puzzle stumped us for almost 20 minutes. Ugh.

In the end, we had fun. It’s equal parts “Survivor,” a murder mystery evening, Sudoku, and team-building exercise. At $22, it’s angling to compete with other forms of “a night out with friends” entertainment. Right now, an IMAX movie at the newly christened Scotiabank Theatre (formerly Studio 12) will cost you $20.33 (no popcorn). Something to think about.

Find out more about Breakout NL at www.breakoutnl.com