The Minerva Project
The Minerva Project
- Played July 2019
- Ann Arbor, MI
- 60 minutes
- 3-15 players
- What People Say
Decode’s Ann Arbor location is sandwiched between two small businesses and offers plenty of parking. We walked into a nicely air-conditioned front entrance, which was memorable because it was a VERY hot day. We were greeted by a gracious host who guided us to a very cool light which indicated our passage into the lobby at the back of the building. There was even a sign welcoming us by name (what great hosts!) While we waited for our room to begin, we dove into the available chocolates and puzzles. There were no lockers available for us to use, but as there can only be one room running at any time, you won’t need to worry about other teams in the lobby during your game. You are also always allowed to bring your items into the room with you.
We were introduced to the Minerva Project by the game master with a very clever demonstration of Minerva’s AI features and then ushered into the first room. Let me first say that I LOVE puzzles. If you ask any enthusiast, they will usually have a favourite aspect of escape rooms, whether it’s the story, or the set design, etc., but for me, it’s puzzles. The first room was jam packed with tons of puzzles. Enough so, that our group of four were constantly engaged in the discovering or solving of a puzzle throughout the experience. There were a variety of types which worked to each team member’s strengths and preferences, and each had an interesting mix of high and low tech. The music and highlights of Detroit were also included which was a great touch.
When we moved into the second room, there was an incredible transition moment with effects, AI integration and storyline development. It was a definite wow moment for the team. We moved into a high-tech space with wonderful set design and our game master continued to be the star of the show. This room was again packed with some amazing puzzles, which, along with the high-tech atmosphere, had us running around excited to see where the solutions would take us.
The room tracked our progress for us, which made it clear when we were on the right path. We also found out that the owner enjoys woodworking, so there were some quality wood elements to the rooms — though it didn’t quite fit with the more modern, tech areas. From the beginning of this room experience we had Minerva (the AI) with us. Interacting with her added to our overall enjoyment — though she did give us some unnecessary tips once in a while. The interactions between her and the game master were impeccable. We were floored by the story and their relationship with each other. From entering the building, to the final photo op, we were hooked on the development of Minerva. Minerva Project is an amazing all-around experience and although I’m a puzzler first, I thought the immersion, storyline, and quality of the room was incredible. There are a ton of puzzles, some which won’t be new to an experienced puzzler, but will need extra brain power to get out in time. We recommend bringing a variety of people to get the different insights needed to solve each puzzle.
The personal experience of being the only group in the building is a nice touch for customers and will make you excited to continue Minerva’s story in the last two rooms of the trilogy.