Immersia – Weekend at the Shack [Review]

Killer Party

Location:  Laval, Quebec, Canada

Date Played: February 1, 2020

Team size: 2-6; we recommend 3-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: from 25.99 CAD per player

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Weekend at the Shack was one of Immersia’s earlier games. While it wasn’t as impressive as the Circus of the Lost Souls or the Grand Immersia Hotel, this escape room was brimming with personality.

In-game: the kitchen of an AirBNB.
Image via Immersia

Immsersia committed to building a strikingly realistic set and infused the game with convincing audiovisual theatrics. The net effect was that we cared about the characters that we encountered over the screen.

Even a week after playing, I can barely remember any of the puzzles. They were adequate, old-school challenges. They weren’t the point.

Ultimately, Weekend at the Shack was far more than the sum of its parts. We attribute that to Immersia’s commitment to experience. If puzzling is what draws you to escape rooms, I will confidently recommend passing on Weekend at the Shack. However, if you’re willing to surrender to the experience and let the theatrics lead, then I recommend checking out Weekend at the Shack, if you’ve already played Circus of the Lost Souls or the Grand Immersia Hotel. This was a different game and we enjoyed it for what it was.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Story seekers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Horror fans
  • Searchers

Why play?

  • A believable set
  • Fantastic acting
  • Strong storytelling

Story

For our friend’s 30th birthday a group of us had decided to rent a shack up north for a weekend. It was going to be the best weekend ever! Nothing could wreck our amazing weekend!

In-game: a silly looking lamp with a van as its base.
Image via Immersia

Setting

Weekend at the Shack honestly looked like a rentable shack. The furniture, decor, and layout felt completely real.

The kitchen was the most realistic kitchen that we’ve ever seen in an escape room.

This may not have been the most complicated set to build, but Immersia nailed it and it helped sell the fiction.

In-game: closeup of a tilted lamp in a grim room.
Image via Immersia

Gameplay

Immersia’s Weekend at the Shack was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around searching, observing, making connections, and puzzling.

Analysis

➕ Weekend at the Shack opened with a silly intro video that introduced us to the characters. In just a few minutes, Immersia made us care about these characters just enough to make them matter.

➕ The opening set looked genuine… like humans actually lived there.

➕ Immersia used video clips throughout Weekend at the Shack for character building and to add intensity. These were well produced and served the gameplay.

➕ Immersia created a backstory for their serial killer. Their character development made this more interesting than another SAW-knockoff murder basement.

➖ There was a cheap scare that didn’t make sense as a part of this story.

➕ Our hints came from another character who existed just outside of our experience. Immersia tailored the interactions with this individual to the tone of our group. They committed to making these interactions – whether we needed hints or not – an engaging and funny part of the experience. This was a thoughtful, integrated hint system that added to our experience in Weekend at the Shack regardless of our skill with the puzzles.

➖ Much of the gameplay in Weekend at the Shack felt dated. The escape room relied heavily on searching and paper-based cluing. The puzzles weren’t memorable.

➖ A few of the props were badly worn.

➕ Near the end of Weekend at the Shack, we encountered a decision point. The choices were clear and the fact that we were making a choice was as well. Immersia set us up for this decision from the opening moments of our experience. In this way, it was more meaningful than simply choosing to be brave or moral.

Tips For Visiting

  • There is parking lot.
  • This game is entirely bilingual (French and English).
  • While there are jump scares in this game, Immersia can intensify, lessen, or even remove them entirely, based on your comfort level. While we advocate for playing the escape room as designed, and believe that the jump scares add to the experience, Weekend at the Shack is far more than a collection of scares. It stands on its own even if the scares are removed from the experience.
  • Note that this game is at Immersia’s Laval Location.

Book your hour with Immersia’s Weekend at the Shack, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Immersia provided media discounted tickets for this game.

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