Elliot Ness

6.2 Overall
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Elliot Ness

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Pre-Room scores for Perplexity were based on our visit while significant renovations and construction was taking place. This is NOT what the average participant will experience now that most construction has been completed with Perplexity’s new lobby and amenities set in place.

It’s 1938 and Cleveland’s Safety Director, Elliot Ness, has hired you to investigate their potentially corrupt commissioner. Rumours of his involvement with the mob and purposely misleading your fellow detectives in their investigations can no longer be ignored. It’s been arranged the commissioner will be out of his office for one hour today, but time is moving fast, so get in there, snoop around, collect any evidence you think is important, and get out!

Southwest from downtown Cleveland you’ll find Perplexity Escape Games in the upscale tourist suburb known as Ohio City. Here, you’ll also find the Elliot Ness escape room and the first of two rooms we reviewed at Perplexity Games on this day… Ironically we had never been to, or met the folks from Perplexity, but we’ve been in touch with the owners for years, and we’ve even sent a few groups of enthusiasts their way who happened to be visiting Cleveland. Word always came back to us about how hospitable they were, and that we should do our best to include them in any future trips we had in the Cleveland area… and that’s exactly what happened!

Our pre-room experience had a large caveat attached to it. As noted above, our visit to Perplexity happened while a significant amount of construction and expansion was taking place in their facility. Because of this, we did our best to highlight what we experienced, while at the same time reminding everyone that our overall pre-room score is misleading and will certainly be much higher the next time we get to visit… so then what were some of more noteworthy things about the pre-room experience? Well to start, as all of our referrals had mentioned, the Perplexity staff were incredibly nice. Our host was accommodating, patient, and made us feel welcomed as if it were a home away from home. With Perplexity’s entrance and parking located at the rear of the building, we felt some better signage would’ve been helpful as the front/street entrance didn’t indicate where to go. Those with mobility issues may also want to call in advance as we didn’t notice an elevator, and it is a fairly large flight of stairs down to the basement level. Although we didn’t get to see the final appearance of their new lobby, we got a rough sense of what it might look like based on the layout and the size, and we can imagine it’ll be pretty nice. Unfortunately the amount of dust in the air wasn’t quite as nice for those of us who wore contacts or had respiratory issues, but again, we knew this wasn’t the final product so it’s more of a side note than anything else. Either way, it’s probably a good idea to call ahead if you or anyone in your group has respiratory or sight issues, just to make sure all construction is completed ahead of time. We were led to the room’s entrance where an interesting back story mixing real historical events alongside interwoven game objectives was verbally recited to us. On the one hand wished there was a slightly more dramatic way of this being presented (i.e. video, in character narrative… etc), but at the same time we really enjoyed the story itself. All things taken in consideration, were it not for the unfortunate timing of the renovations and construction, the pre-room experience was pretty decent.

As we debriefed after the room, we felt Elliot Ness was hard to explain in terms of room quality and immersion… In both cases the earlier parts of the game experience and quality were quite different than the second half of the game. It’s almost as if we were interacting with a room made by two different designers (much like the movie A.I. Artificial Intelligence, was made by using different teams of writers and directors; if you watch closely you can see where the transition starts to become obvious). The room’s construction, design, props, and immersive experience were on the lower end of the spectrum when we began. But by the time we completed the room, all of us had a complete change of heart and mind. The second half of Elliot Ness was very well designed, with higher quality construction and props, and the immersion was wonderful. We’re told there was a bit of intentionality in this transition, but we really wished the first impression was a bit stronger with a bit more attention to detail on room design and quality. In the end both the room quality and immersion balanced out to be good, with the potential of being better…

The puzzles were much easier to discuss and reflect upon. There was a good amount and variety of puzzles available, with some puzzles we’ve never seen before which is nice. We felt one puzzle was a bit of a stretch in solving, but this wasn’t too noticeable amidst all the puzzles we did enjoy. A combination of linear and non-linear paths are used throughout the game which worked well for our group of five players. It seemed like the sweet spot for this room would be a group size of 3-6 depending on the level of engagement you want with the puzzles. One particular puzzle near the end of the game was very fun, and we enjoyed solving it quite a bit. Although no specific team building puzzles were used, most of the puzzles were inclusive allowing most people to participate. All in all we enjoyed the puzzles and felt they were the strongest part of the Elliot Ness experience.

In the end did we have fun? Despite a rough start, yes we did! Is it a good room for a variety of ages, skill sets, and experience levels? Definitely! Is it a room most enthusiasts will want to play? Probably not, only because this room seems well suited for those who aren’t too finicky about every little detail which most enthusiasts can be. It’s a great room for introducing new friends, colleagues, and family into the world of escape rooms. By the sounds of it, several people in the Cleveland area have credited the Elliot Ness room as the beginning of their escape room passion.

We want to hear your thoughts! Be sure to comment in the section below or send us a message via ERA’s email, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter… As always, happy escaping!”

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