A Shiny Life For Me!

a personal review blog by Bianca

Escape Venice – The Merchant Of Venice

The Merchant Of Venice
17 November 2023
Venice, Italy
4.0 out of 5.0 stars

During a short weekend trip to Venice, I booked to play at the only escape room in the historic city of Venice. They offer a few outdoor experiences, and two indoor escape rooms. We decided on The Merchant of Venice, which is on the more difficult side and, according to the company, has a 20% success rate.

The Venue is super central and next to a little square with several restaurants, quite easy to find. But there is no entry room or anything, basically the front door is the door to the escape room, so they do the whole induction briefing outside and then usher you into a dark room, where there is a short video message explaining the scenario and putting you in the spirit. Once the light comes back on, it’s off to the races!

I attended with a team of only two people, this room is definitely more suited for larger team, there is SO MUCH to do. However, there is a bit of a caveat. I’ve played over 80 escape rooms at this point, and there are so many different approaches to them and it really depends on what you like in a room. This one is not a narrative driven, fully immersive room. It’s basically a series of locks, with unconnected puzzles that get you keys or codes to open those locks, and more clues and props to solve more puzzles to open more locks.

Personally, I quite enjoy this type of room, probably more than the average escape room enthusiast. I like having a puzzle at a time to focus on, while other players can try to solve other puzzles. And once you’re done with a box or drawer or cupboard, you can shove the materials aside and move on to the next one.

While a fully immersive experience with story-driven challenges and non-padlock mechanics is amazing, I also really enjoyed this lock-riddled puzzle room. We didn’t get stuck on anything, though we did ask for a few hints here and there, and we didn’t stand still for a second, rushing from puzzle to puzzle and challenge to challenge.

Unfortunately there’s only one room (with a few cupboards, but no side rooms) to discover, but it’s packed with things to tackle. Most of the puzzles are quite logical and well labelled, making it easy to figure out which lock goes with which props, there was only one puzzle that had us stumped, and it was a visual one that relied on counting items, without it being clear what was being counted or what the number was then used for. We got it eventually, but did need some help with this.

There was no communication system with the games host, but they can hear you and then write customised clues onto the screen in the room, which works quite well.

We did finish the room with seven and a half minutes to spare, which was very exciting, and did feel a sense of accomplishment. So while it’s not a high-tech room, it’s a great challenge and fun to play. Most props were related to Venice and its history, so that was a good bonus, though I would have loved a more immersive use of the story in the title of the room.

Overall, a fun room if you like padlocks and industrious puzzle solving. If you’re expecting high tech immersion and detailed storytelling, maybe steer clear and find a different room to play.

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