Immersia – The Salutem Medicina Institute [Review]

Update 2/15/22: If you enjoy The Salutem Medicina Institute, we hope you’ll check out our interview with Immersia’s owners Maxime & Roxane Filion on The Reality Escape Pod.

Update: If you want to hear more about The Salutem Medicina Institute back us on Patreon at the “Search Win!” level to get access to a Spoiler’s Club Episode about this game. Reality Escape Pod co-hosts David and Peih-Gee talk all about it with the creator, spoilers and all.

The Salutem Medicina Institute is one of the best escape rooms around Montreal, Canada. Here are our recommendations for great escape rooms in the Montreal area.

Dr. Milgram will see you now.

Location:  Boisbriand, QC, Canada

Date Played: October 10, 2021

Team size: 2-5; we recommend 4-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $31.99 CAD per player

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

So often an escape room story is conveyed through heavy and lengthy exposition, but the truth of the medium is that story moments experienced are always more powerful than story moments told.

The Salutem Medicina Institute was a marvel of escape room narrative design. With next to no dialog, Immersia built a fully realized narrative that we experienced in our core.

The Salutem Medicina Institute had a beautifully rundown medical set where each door creaked, and everything felt foreboding. That environment was given life by two key elements:

  • The in-character gamemaster nailed the performance with a blend of authority, darkness, and a dash of humor.
  • The video, which was the heart of the experience, expertly pulled us into the story.
A bloodied operating table in an old rundown medical facility.

All of this was underpinned by solid but unremarkable puzzles that looked and felt right. This wasn’t a game that you play for the puzzles; you play it for the experience and for the memory.

As a company, Immersia has grown into masters of building worlds and stories within them. The Salutem Medicina Institute wasn’t big or bombastic like The Hotel Grand Immersia. It was more subtle. I strongly encourage you to play it looking for the nuance, because that permeates this experience.

Who is this for?

  • Story seekers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Best for players with at least some experience
  • Players looking for something different

Why play?

  • The core structure of this game was genius
  • Masterful worldbuilding through set, story, character, and video

Story

The Salutem Medicina Institute has operated with absolute secrecy about its work. All anyone knows about it is that they run clinical trials of their revolutionary new drug, and that no one has ever leaked information about the drug or the clinical trial. Authorities believe that the Institute buys the silence of their participants.

We had enrolled in the clinical trial.

Setting

The Salutem Medicina Institute felt like an ominous doctor’s office set in an ambiguous era, as Immersia is prone to do. In some ways, the world felt like it was set in the 1930s, 50s, and 80s… but it all came together smoothly.

The details were absolutely everywhere: some seen, others heard, and many more felt. The deeper we went into this world, the more it sucked us in.

The use of video tied the world together, breathing life and intensity into the foreboding walls.

An hold hospital bed in a dingy hospital room.

Gameplay

Immersia’s The Salutem Medicina Institute was a narrative-driven escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around observing, puzzling, communication, and taking in the experience.

A computer in a small office surrounded by diagrams of human organ systems.

Analysis

➕ The structure of this experience was genius in that it all came to make sense as we played through it, without any exposition. There was an aha, not for a single puzzle, but for the entire game. At whatever moment we each experienced it, it was brutally impactful.

➕ The set, though minimal, was deliberately crafted for an ominous atmosphere.

➖ Spatially, the game bottlenecked in one place. With a larger team, it was challenging for everyone to gain the full impact of each scene.

➕ The gamemaster’s performance set the tone for the experience with no words, and surprisingly few actions. It was impressive.

➕ /➖ Your team will select someone for a specific role without any information. While this set the tone well, it can put some teams in a precarious situation later.

➕ The puzzles carried the narrative forward.

➖ One series of puzzles dragged a bit, as it required exact transfer of complex information a few too many times.

➖ There was opportunity to vary the style of puzzles in the middle segment. It felt like we solved many versions of the same idea.

➕ Even the hint button belonged in this world.

❓ There was a push/ pull of feeling like we could make a choice, but also knowing that there was only one way forward in the escape game scenario. While immersion-breaking for some, and frustrating for others, this design decision allowed Immersia to present the narrative in full to each team, letting each player take it all in.

 In The Salutem Medicina Institute players confront heavy material. This will not be the right game for all players.

Tips For Visiting

  • Note that this game is at Immersia’s Boisbriand Location.
  • There is a parking lot.
  • This game is entirely bilingual (French and English).
  • Immersia’s website reminds players: “This scenario is considered 16 years and over because it contains graphic images and moments that may be considered inappropriate for young people under the age of 16.” Be warned that you will confront heavy subject matter within this experience, which could be troubling for some players.

Book your hour with Immersia’s The Salutem Medicina Institute, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Immersia comped our tickets for this game.

One thought on “Immersia – The Salutem Medicina Institute [Review]

  1. This one was a highlight for me on the tour, while not as “grand” as other games experienced, from a story and immersion perspective I absolutely loved it!

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