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Our fifth (and second to last) company while touring Detroit was Escape Room Novi. Their location is in a large outdoor mall so it’s quite easy to find, and as you’d expect they reap the benefits along with it including tons of parking, lots of nearby food & attractions, and easy to read signage. With an all glass exterior it was easy for us to see the large crowds lined up inside one of their two lobbies. Yup that’s correct, they have two smaller separate lobbies which is an interesting feature and most likely the result of their company occupying two mall units which were eventually combined into one. Each lobby was well furnished with couches, snacks and drinks available for purchase, and some younger but enthusiastic staff who always had a smile on their faces. Aside from a cool, mini, escape game in their lobby, nothing in particular stood out as needing improvement or exceptional…all in all it was a good start and we were ready to tackle the first of two games….The Speakeasy!

The room quality of Speakeasy was impressive and probably our favorite if we really had to choose one aspect. Dark wood décor, brass handled beer taps, and authentic props, all of which made the experience as authentic as one would hope. We also enjoyed how the smaller room size of Speakeasy was well insulated from sound distractions of neighbouring rooms, while at the same time being designed for maximum space usage. Although the atmosphere of a room technically falls under the category of immersion, it’s been our experience that high quality design choices often leads to a good atmosphere and that’s exactly what we found in Speakeasy.

Speaking of immersion… having already praised the atmosphere, let’s talk about some of the other impressive aspects of Speakeasy’s immersion. Everything kept in theme which we enjoyed. The puzzles were in theme, the props were in theme, and the story was well suited to the set design and atmosphere. We also enjoyed the background soundtrack and type of lighting used throughout the experience. All of these combined together made for an above average level of immersion. Where a little more attention could’ve been, was the common lament we always have… story development. Again, in Speakeasy we have a story fully revealed at the beginning with the context, the characters, the mission and what will happen if you achieve the end result…all we had to do was go through the motions of doing it. Instead, we’re yearning to see more escape rooms develop their stories IN the game itself. This seems to either intimidate or slip by most designers which is a shame because the experiential difference in playing a game where you ‘discover’ the plot, the objective, and ultimately choose your final result is so much more enjoyable for participants. It isn’t common to find, but when you do, you’ll see what we mean. Either way, Speakeasy was great for what it delivered in immersion.

The puzzles were also quite enjoyable and fit well within the balance of this game. What we enjoyed most about the puzzles was the variety and amount. Although they were fairly linear for the most part, we appreciated that most of the puzzle were inclusive and/or needing teamwork. The difficulty was also varied which works well for seasoned enthusiasts, or people new to the escape room scene. Having said that, we do think there’s probably a need for at least 1 or 2 puzzle or escape room enthusiasts in order to get through the amount of puzzles offered in Speakeasy. More based on preference than anything else, we would’ve liked to have seen more team building puzzles (puzzles that physically require more than 1 or 2 players) to ensure that everyone gets to be involved. Enthusiasts may also feel there’s nothing that falls in the ‘’wow’’ factor, but this would be debated by newer players who will definitely enjoy a few of the surprises in store for them. Again, it’s an above average experience with nothing much to complain about, nor anything that will necessarily lead the industry as a whole. Just some very good puzzles you’ll enjoy!

So did we like it and have fun? You bet! Is it something we’d recommend? Definitely. We’d suggest this room is more appropriate for adults simply because of the subject matter, but aside from that it’s well suited for different types of people and experience levels. You’ll most likely want a group size of 3-6 (depending on the amount of direct involvement each person wants within the game), and as we suggested earlier, it’s probably good to bring at least one puzzle or escape room enthusiast with your group. Aside from that, be sure to make Escape Room Novi (and specifically Speakeasy) part of your day out!

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

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