Review: The Great Escape Room is a real-life Sherlock Holmes adventure

L to R: Alysia (Michigal), Anna Mae (Ann Arbor with Kids), Amber's husband, Amber (Metro Detroit Mommy),
me, Julie, and Crystal (Mom Among Chaos)

Last night, a group of bloggers and I had the pleasure of trying out The Great Escape Room, which is in the midst of its soft opening this week in Royal Oak. Prices normally range from $23 to $28, but if you try it out this week (12/19-12/21), you can experience it for $18.

Here's how the room works:
  • After entering a room with your team (up to 12 people), the door is locked behind you. You have 60 minutes to solve the puzzles and escape from the room!
  • You must work together to find clues and solve puzzles that will lead you to your escape
  • The room is part scavenger hunt and part puzzle game
  • Only about 20% of groups are able to meet the challenge and escape in time!

I thought it would be more of a real-life Clue game, but it ended up being more like Sherlock Holmes, complete with a Holmes-esque soundtrack (and some of the music I recognized from the soundtrack of the latest movie, too).

The room started out pretty neat and tidy ...

.... until we ransacked it looking for clues!

We were told to leave nothing untouched or unturned, and we definitely took that literally. Some of the clues were found easily, and some were found at the last minute. We then decided to "divide and conquer," as there were four color-themed puzzles to solve in order to escape from the room.

If you look closely at the first photo, we managed to escape from the room in 54 minutes flat! Which apparently (out of the twelve groups or so that tried out the new Royal Oak location before us) was a new record, which was pretty awesome.

TGER can fit up to 12 people in the room, but you can go with a smaller group too, if you like, and will most likely be paired with other smaller groups there at the same time. They do give 10% discounts for groups of 10+, and have partnered with Lily's Seafood in Royal Oak too: you get 10% off your Lily's bill the same day you experience TGER, if you choose to dine there.

The Great Escape Room also has locations in downtown Orlando and Miami, if you don't live in the Detroit area, and will be opening new locations soon in DC, Tampa, and Chicago. Each location has the same puzzle rooms and Royal Oak will open its second room (yay!) in late January. TGER often introduces new rooms about every four months, which is great because you cannot experience the same room a second time (I suppose you could if you wanted to, but the puzzles are the same).

Reservations are encouraged, but walk-ins are also accepted, assuming there is availability in the room. Right now, the Royal Oak location is only open Thursdays through Sundays, for $28 per person, and when it eventually opens on other weekdays, the price will be $23 per person.

Have you been to The Great Escape Room before, and if not, is it something you'd like to try?

The Great Escape Room, 301 W. 4th St., Suite LL110, Royal Oak, MI 48067, (248) 291-7599. After 6pm, ring intercom for entry.

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