Immersia – The Piccadilly Cabaret [Review]

A haunting performance.

Location:  Laval, 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

The Piccadilly Cabaret was more than the sum of its parts.

The puzzles were completely forgettable, but the overall experience was so very memorable.

In-game: An old bar after closing time.
Image via Immersia

I have a longstanding fascination with simple things executed beautifully; The Piccadilly Cabaret really spoke to that.

With games like The Grand Immersia Hotel, Immersia has greatly advanced the complexity and intensity of their escape experience design. If you only have time for one game with Immersia, it probably should be The Grand Immersia Hotel. That said, their earlier lineup offered so much subtle beauty that I must recommend playing at least one or two of them. Immersia’s roots are strong and deserving of appreciation.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Story seekers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Any experience level

Why play?

  • Phenomenal yet subtle atmospheric moments.
  • A brilliant approach to story and set design.

Story

It was the 1930 and we were devoted fans of the late diva Emma Albani. It was the anniversary of her death and the cabaret that she had made famous was scheduled for demolition. We’d decided to take a crack at sneaking into the old, condemned building to see if we could find her dressing room before everything was destroyed.

In-game: the piano and microphone on the stage of an old cabaret.
Image via Immersia

Setting

The Piccadilly Cabaret was minimal yet effective. Everything in this game felt right, even when there wasn’t a lot of detail. This really speaks to how smart Immersia was when deciding upon the setting for The Piccadilly Cabaret.

Additionally, the most memorable moments of this game were born of Immersia’s set design.

In-game: Closeup of an old bar's cash register.
Image via Immersia

Gameplay

Immersia’s The Piccadilly Cabaret was a standard escape room with an easier level of difficulty.

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

Analysis

➕ The story behind The Piccadilly Cabaret was original and clever.

➕ The set for The Piccadilly Cabaret was minimal, but it felt right. It had enough details to sell the scene. The lighting was atmospheric and functional.

➕ Immersia created a character who doubled as a hinting and timekeeping mechanism. The set up made sense with the scenario. While not flashy, it was well-executed. It was also entertaining. Through our interactions with this character, Immersia could also deliver our team a more personalized experience, crafting the interactions to meet our needs.

➕ We enjoyed the transition from act 1 to act 2.

➕ In the second act, Immersia enhanced the atmosphere was a few well-timed interactions. These were subtle, but powerful moments.

➖ Many of the puzzles felt dated. These included multiple searching and counting puzzles that felt “set atop” rather than integrated into the experience.

➖ Although the gameplay worked, the puzzles were largely forgettable. This was in part because much of the cluing was paper-based, rather than a built into the set and props. The puzzles weren’t native to the gamespace.

➖ While The Piccadilly Cabaret didn’t require any outside knowledge, one key late game challenge would have been rough without it.

➕ The final sequence was illuminating.

Tips For Visiting

  • There is parking lot.
  • This game is entirely bilingual (French and English).
  • For the full experience, players must be able to climb up and over a small obstacle.
  • Note that this game is at Immersia’s Laval Location.

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

Disclosure: Immersia provided media discounted tickets for this game.

Immersia – The Grand Immersia Hotel [Review]

Fantastic service. Shuttle bus included with your stay.

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

The Grand Immersia Hotel was different beast. It was big, narrative-driven, and incredibly compelling. With this escape room, Immersia has clearly established itself as one of Montreal’s must-play companies.

This ambitious escape game used many wonderful tactics to build intrigue and excitement.

In-game: closeup of the hotel's key display.
Image via Immersia

As you’ll see below, we noticed a few rough edges and opportunities for refinement. That said, they didn’t get in the way of the intensity of this adventure. That’s really what you’re paying for in The Grand Immersia Hotel.

If you’re anywhere near Montreal, check into the The Grand Immersia Hotel. You’re doing Montreal wrong if you skip it.

Who is this for?

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

Why play?

  • Size and scale
  • Some gorgeous setpieces
  • Brilliant delivery of narrative & adventure

Story

It had been years, but the Grand Immersia Hotel was finally reopening. The opening bash would be the party of the century.

We had been abducted by a man obsessed with revenge. Before he dropped us off at the hotel, he had blackmailed us and given us explicit instructions to follow. He wanted the celebrities and politicians to suffer and we were his instrument.

In-game: The front desk of the hotel.
Image via Immersia

Setting

The Grand Immersia Hotel was expansive, with multiple scene changes among vastly different spaces.

As with any hotel, The Grand Immersia Hotel was impressive in the common areas… and the rooms… less so. These were maybe a touch too unimpressive for the purported grandeur of the newly reopening hotel.

The grand parts of the The Grand Immersia Hotel really leaned into the grandeur.

In-game: The hotel bathroom.
Image via Immersia

Gameplay

Immersia’s The Grand Immersia Hotel was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

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

Analysis

➕ The Grand Immersia Hotel built excitement and momentum. From the opening moments of this thrilling ride, through each scene change, it kept our hearts racing, and our solving energetic.

➕/➖ Immersia built an incredible juxtaposition into The Grand Immersia Hotel. We entered through the scene of a stereotypically bad escape room, but pretty soon, we could glimpse a later scene, even before we could reach it. Each scene was justified in the story and the collections of scenes worked together beautifully. In a couple of instances, however, that juxtaposition was a little too strong.

➕ The acting in The Grand Immersia Hotel was a lot of fun. We could play into it as much or as little as we wanted. Whether we chose to avoid or engage, it added excitement and the threat of consequence.

➕ We loved one elegant late-game puzzle. Although it was process-y, it was tangible and thematic. The moment we keyed into the aha, we were impressed. 

➖ At times, Immersia leaned heavily on standard escape room tropes.

➖ One late-game puzzle lacked feedback.

➕ We encountered a clear decision point in The Grand Immersia Hotel. We understood our choices and their consequences.

➖ We read much of the narrative cluing from papers rather than felt it through the gameplay.

➕ The plot twist – albeit short – added to the experience. We enjoyed how the final scene played out to wrap up our story.

Tips For Visiting

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

Disclosure: Immersia provided media discounted tickets for this game.