A trap Houdini never escaped
Location: Ferndale, Michigan
Date Played: August 3, 2019
Team size: up to 10; we recommend 4-5
Duration: 60 minutes
Price: $20 per player Sunday – Thursday; $24 per player Friday – Saturday
Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock
Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints
The Houdini Trap told a unique story in an unusual and beautiful space. The puzzles and props were solid and engaging.
There were a few nooks that felt underdeveloped, and a handful of puzzles that could have benefited from additional refinement.
Nevertheless, this was a truly delightful game. If you’re in the area, check out The Houdini Trap; it was doing some magical things.
Who is this for?
- Story seekers
- Puzzle lovers
- Scenery snobs
- Any experience level
- An elegant set
- Good thematic puzzles
- Fifth Wall is a fully themed escape room establishment
- An interesting take on the Houdini escape room genre
- The story pulls from Houdini and Detroit history
We entered a trap designed specifically for Harry Houdini by a mysterious individual. Sadly, history’s most famous escape artist passed away in Detroit’s Grace Hospital before he’d had a chance to take on the seemingly impossible challenge room.
Almost a century later, The Houdini Trap was rediscovered and we were given the opportunity to explore the room that Harry Houdini had never escaped.
The Fifth Wall Escape Rooms’ facility was fully themed around a secret society. (This made it 1 of 3 fully themed facilities that we found outside of Detroit).
The Houdini Trap was a pretty space. Honestly, I don’t think my photos fully captured it.
The Fifth Wall Escape Rooms built the space with an art deco aesthetic that had a slight otherworldly vibe.
Many of the interactions and props were built from metal and were incredibly solid.
The Fifth Wall Escape Rooms’ The Houdini Trap was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.
Core gameplay revolved around searching, observing, making connections, and puzzling.
➕ The Houdini Trap was designed in an art deco style. We were immediately captivated by the details in the design.
➕ The Fifth Wall Escape Rooms introduced The Houdini Trap with an entertaining video with great art. It kept our attention despite being a tad lengthy.
➕ The puzzles were solid, but the set-based interactions were phenomenal. As beautiful as the set was to inhabit, it was that much more exciting to manipulate.
➕/ ➖ One interaction in particular worked as an in-game metaphor for the larger theme. It was unique, conceptually and physically. That said, the interaction needed additional refinement, in both cluing and mechanism.
➖ We were bogged down by substantial reading in The Houdini Trap. Much of the story was told rather than felt. Reading included printed materials, laminated paper, and a journal that, while not quite a runbook, sometimes behaved a bit like one. We also encountered a handwritten clue that caused confusion.
➖ The audio could be hard to understand, which was frustrating, as it was crucial to one segment.
➕ Although The Houdini Trap flowed linearly, The Fifth Wall Escape Rooms gated (and labeled) puzzles such that large teams could get a jump on later puzzles early without wasting time or breaking sequence.
➖ One nook of this otherwise impeccable space was left underdesigned, which was disappointing.
➕ We adored the timekeeping mechanism in The Houdini Trap. As time rolled forward, intensity mounted. We appreciated that the game displayed our progress as well as the time.
Tips For Visiting
- They have a parking lot.
Book your hour with The Fifth Wall Escape Rooms’ The Houdini Trap, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.
Disclosure: The Fifth Wall Escape Rooms provided media discounted tickets for this game.