Immersion – the underappreciated element of escape rooms?

My perception of a good room before

You kind of know what you can expect from¬†an escape room. A couple of rooms, filled with (more or less) good, and room’s theme appropriate props, objects and puzzles. Most of the rooms we’ve visited had quite a large quantity¬†of puzzles, enough to keep you busy for an hour or so. Puzzles are one of the most important, if not the most important part of the room – illogical, not well thought through or unimaginative puzzles can really be a ¬†downer in an escape room. We’ve also put a big emphasis on the room masters, the debriefing and overall atmosphere in the escape room. The story of the room and the decoration, light and sound effects that should make sure you feel like you’re in the room are always a great addition, but overdoing it can just mean lots of distractions in the room, which is not really ideal – and it was never on the first place for me.

The story of the room is always a great addition, but it was never (before) on the first place for me. The true immersion was never there.

And then… total immersion!

From the begining to end, you really ARE a scientist, trying to get through the lab.

When you start, you get dressed in the “hazmat suits” – if we can call them that, and are given a gas mask. And no, gas mask is not just a prop, you actually need it during your exploration.¬†

The room is really, really spacious – probably the biggest room I’ve ever been to. Every little detailed seems to be thought out, and the room looks great. I’ve never felt more connected to the story and more immersed that in this room. From the begining to end, you really ARE a scientist, trying to get through the lab. The room has a few horror elements, and it just adds to the immersion.

There isn’t really lots of puzzles in the room – we got out in around 45 minutes (though we were told we were one of the best groups).¬†Some of the puzzles were quite cool (and technologically advanced – it went really good with the theme).

In the end, we didn’t even care about not so many puzzles, and a technical glitch we encountered (or more likely, we didn’t do it right). We were all pumped with adrenaline and enthusiasm, after this weird, first time experience we had.

Soooo… best room ever?

That’s a good question – and it’s very difficult to answer. Was it an amazing experience? Definitely. Would I recommend it to others? For sure. Is it the best room I’ve visited?

It’s… different. It’s not what I’m used to when thinking about an escape room experience – and I’ve been to quite a few :). I’m enjoying a good room with awesome, well connected puzzles, friendly staff, awesome debriefing and so on. So why don’t I even care about it in this case? Not sure – maybe because the experience was just so different, interesting and immersive that all the other criteria fades in the background. I’d say it’s a totally different category of an escape rooms for me – and that was the first, and hopefully not last that goes in it.

I wanted to write this down to hopefully get some of your replies – what are your experiences with that kind of rooms? Did you ever visit an escape room that was so well done immersion wise that it just made you feel warm and fuzzy, and not care about things it might be missing? Let us know in the comments!

  1. Reply Lyndsie S. 22nd May 2016 at 5:02 pm

    Great article. Everyone’s got their own opinion about what an “ideal” escape room looks like. It’s hard to say that there is a formula or that one is better than the other (puzzles vs story-experiencing). However, it’s amazing what happens when the focus is around the spacial and mental experience being created for players!

  2. Reply Robert G 23rd May 2016 at 8:56 pm

    What escape room WAS this? I can’t find the name of it anywhere in your article.

  3. Small update about VIRUS room:

    The Roomaze room are now under the Escape Room Enigmarium management and we updgraded the game, to make it even better. You can still find it
    on same address TURNERJEVA 17 in Maribor, Slovenia, and the room is named: Omega Virus Outbreak (since some things has been changed and upgraded, we slightly adjust the name. But the total immersion factor is still there!

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