Immersia – Circus of the Lost Souls [Review]

Puzzling in the Moonlight

Location:  Boisbriand, Quebec, Canada

Date Played: February 2, 2020

Team size: 3-8; we recommend 3-6

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: 30.99 CAD per player

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Circus of the Lost Souls was one of those games that captured my attention as soon as I stepped through the door. The beautiful circus exterior felt magical and inspired me to want to play.

In-game: A woman posing in front of a target surrounded by knives.
Image via Immersia

The set and hint system were an utter delight. The hinting was so well executed that Lisa and I wanted to take hints simply to interact with the character… and it was good that the hinting was strong because it needed to support a few weak puzzles.

There was a puzzle that was among the most sloggy that we’ve seen, and another puzzle that had a great aesthetic, but the logical underpinning was noticeably broken. (It seemed like the folks at Immersia were aware and still trying to figure out how to revise it.)

Immersia is a fantastic company, and I have a feeling that this game will improve with time. In the state that we played it, Circus of the Lost Souls was a mixed bag. We loved so much, but found a lot of the play too tedious for the playful environment.

If you have time for one game at Immersia, make it The Grand Immersia Hotel. If you have room for a second game, Circus of the Lost Souls is worth playing. Take hints liberally when you get stuck on a puzzle and embrace all of the wonderful ambiance and character. That’s what Immersia does best.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Story seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Players with at least some experience
  • Players who don’t need to be a part of every puzzle

Why play?

  • A gorgeous set
  • Brilliant, tactile interactions
  • The hint system was overflowing with personality

Story

The Filioni Circus was once the greatest circus in the world, awing and tantalizing all who witnessed the talents of the performers… until the circus suddenly closed.

We went to the fairgrounds to have a look around and found that the circus and the souls of its lost performers were ensorcelled by Viviera, world-renowned mentalist… and she wanted our souls as well.

In-game: The citcus exterior with a large tent illuminated in the moonlight.
Image via Immersia

Setting

The grounds of the Circus of the Lost Souls were a beautiful moon-lit world filled with tents and carts.

This sprawling circus setting was ambitious and lots of fun to wander. Every nook and cranny had texture and personality, reflecting a different aspect of the circus.

In-game: The ticketbooth for the circus with a closed sign hanging from it.
Image via Immersia

Gameplay

Immersia’s Circus of the Lost Souls was a standard escape room with a high level of difficulty.

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

Analysis

➕ The Circus of the Lost Souls’ opening gamespace was the circus’ midway, a beautiful exterior that left us clamoring to know what was inside of the various structures.

➕ The circus props were cute, fun, and interactive. We found the scaled-up props especially amusing.

➖ The second act felt under-designed. We were underwhelmed by the set, props, and puzzles within the space. One of these puzzles only allowed a single player to interact with it. A different puzzle sequence had fatally flawed cluing. It was clear that Immersia had tried to refine it, and the concept had merit, but it needed to be entirely reworked.

➕ Immersia created a thematic dexterity challenge. We enjoyed how one prop transformed to give this puzzle additional dimensions.

➖ In multiple puzzles, upon making a mistake, we had to go back to the beginning of what quickly became long and tedious sequences.

➕ Immersia created an adorable, playful hint system for Circus of Lost Souls. The gamemaster could adapt it to the team. It added so much charm to the experience.

➕/➖ The clock in the moon was a cool idea. That said, we wanted the moon to be more of a natural timer; there were ways to do it.

➖ Throughout the game, it appeared as though Immersia had defaced their sets with scribbles. Although we had fun resolving this oddity, we wished it had been executed more cleanly within the game’s aesthetic, and had been justified in the narrative.

Circus of Lost Souls had a tangible and satisfying meta puzzle. This was an unusual mechanic. It was chaotic, but also organized, and worked well in a circus.

Tips For Visiting

  • There is a parking lot.
  • Note that this game is at Immersia’s Boisbriand location.
  • This game is entirely bilingual (French and English).

Book your hour with Immersia’s Circus of the Lost Souls, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Book Circus of the Lost Souls

Disclosure: Immersia provided media discounted tickets for this game.

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