…Because it’s 2016! When the 2000s Pokemons are back, but chased in a virtual reality, instead of being collected as cards. Because, if you want to bring a mega-popular game from France to French Canada and to make it as popular as in its homeland, you better transform it into an exciting offline experience! Let players enjoy it by living into its reality.
So most probably, that’s what Ubisoft had in mind when opening “Les lapins cretins”in one of Montreal’s highly anglophone communities: an unique concept that would revolutionize the basic idea of an amusement centre. Globally. Undoubtedly, Montreal is the largest urban area that adds a “french touch” to the North American lifestyle. Although it has many foreign districts (including a Romanian square), Montreal is mostly French. Except for its predominantly anglophone suburbs in the West Island. And when we speak of those, we must absolutely start by mentioning Pointe Claire: a highly family friendly neighbourhood where residential areas with similar houses are harmoniously combined with industrial areas. Where you can find West Island’s main shopping mall and bus terminal. Where you’re connected to the city by two main highways: 40, leading to “industrial Pointe Claire” and 20, connecting the city to the historical part.
Off the 40, following the 55 exit towards Boulevard Des Sources, you’ll have zero chances of missing it: the Mega Centre, a commercial area which now hosts our futuristic playground. The one where the bracelets are digitized and your picture is taken at the entrance (However, all visual evidence of your visit is destroyed at the end of the day). More than that, there is also a membership program, meaning that, once registered as a member, you can accumulate points which lead to various advantages. But the basic admission process goes like this: you pay (prices depend on your age, but here’s my trick: if you’re a baby and take your grandparents for a fun-filled day, you get to pay nothing as apprentices under 11 months and mentors over 60 have free access), get your digital bracelet that you need to activate, smile for the camera, take your shoes off, get in and have fun. Once inside, you are only allowed to half an hour (five minutes at a time) out of the playground during your stay. But trust me, you wouldn’t want more. Especially, if you’re between one and 12 (Adventurer or Explorer). Because you have everything you need to have fun: A climbing wall, two ball pools (for younger or older players), tube slides, obstacle course and looot, loot, lot more.
You have different areas depending on the age groups of fans: a baby zone, a toddler zone or one for bigger kids. Common to all ages (but mostly under 7), you’ll find a creative room, where kids can play with magic sand, sponge bricks or decorate certain things ( pumpkins at this time of year).
…Including extremely nice and clean birthday rooms for princesses or pirates.
Plus, a “just dance spot” where kids can imitate moves on a screen or a play zone with screens and a branded video game spot (the only place where you can actually see Ubisoft’s logo).
One thing that is omnipresent are the rabbids: those crazy rabbits that follow you literally everywhere, even before you enter their territory.
Except for the bathroom, a place where their presence is obvious solely on the entrance door. And the cafeteria that offers four sorts of combos, made-up of pizza, pasta, vegetable with rice or wrap. You also have a choice of fruit salad or fresh vegetable mix. Adults can serve them with coffee, or water, kids with water, juice or milk.
When your visit is about to end, the playground provides you with a little souvenir shop, where those friendly animals invite you to take them home under various forms.
Although the outside area advises you to keep out, I would honestly suggest the contrary.
Later edit: This spring break, during our next visit, my daughter also tested the Virtual Reality section. One hour and more of waiting time was totally worth the two (!!!) minutes in which you're transported into the rabbids' adventure, that's what I noticed from her reactions. So, if you're 5 or older, we sincerely recommend it.