As part of our two-part feature on Puzzle It Jamaica, we had a chat its co-founder of Puzzle It Jamaica, Jabari Ennis….when Jabari Ennis and Yanique Levy decided to open Puzzle It Jamaica, they had no idea what to expect. Fortunately, since the launch of the business in November 2016 they have had no regrets and based on the reviews, neither have the customers. We sat with the owner at his Elizabeth Avenue, Kingston location to find out more about Puzzle It Jamaica and how this relatively new offering is changing the entertainment landscape here.
For those not familiar, what is Puzzle It Jamaica?
Puzzle It is an interactive concept where players race against the clock to escape from a room. The room is themed and arranged with fun puzzles based on the theme for players to solve and successfully escape. The players are assisted with clues and have a great time challenging themselves. I want the idea of using your brain to entertain yourself to become a thing for Jamaica. Puzzle It is here to prove that we can have fun and stimulate our critical thinking skills at the same time.
That is a novel idea for a business. What inspired it?
The idea came from the least likely place, at a friend’s pre-wedding event. Our co-founder Yanique Levy and I travelled overseas for the event and went to an escape room to celebrate the occasion. I was impressed with it and immediately thought to introduce the concept in Jamaica. At first, it was met with hesitation because no one knew what it was and thought it was only for smart people. However, that perception is changing because when they visit, they have a completely different experience.
What makes it so different and what can persons expect when they come to Puzzle It?
The difference is the quality of customer service we provide and how accommodating we are. Our hosts ensure that customers are catered to and guarantee they have fun while fully immersed in the escape room experience. When they come they have the option to play a 30-minute or 60-minute room with themes like Rum Hangover, Ward 21, or Framed. These rooms are inspired by typical Jamaican experiences and we even periodically change them to keep it fresh. The themes are age-appropriate so anybody can play and a host is always on hand to keep you safe and assist in any way needed.
Speaking of age-appropriate, who do you cater to and how affordable is it?
From babies to adults, all are welcomed to enjoy! We create an atmosphere that everyone can be comfortable in and have fun. Because of how the games are set up, we can even cater to corporate customers as well. These customers want an unconventional way to build team morale and we try to make it unique and relevant so many companies like our concept. We also accommodate clients with requests to bring the game to them and have gone as far as Negril for a conference. Our rates are very affordable because we want it to be accessible to everyone. For the 30 and 60 minute rooms, the cost is JA$1,000 and JA$2,000 respectively per person and children under 7 (years old) play for free. If you have a special request, we will work with you as best as possible to accomplish your goals.
What happens after the puzzle is solved? Is there a prize?
The prize for solving the puzzle on or before time is bragging rights (laughs). Seriously though I find that playing with a group of people mixed with the euphoria of trying to escape in a competitive atmosphere is the real prize. To make it even more fun, we have a scoreboard with the best times that players try to beat. Our fastest escape time to date is 11 minutes for our 30-minute Framed themed room.
Why should people visit Puzzle It?
If you are looking for something fun that you have never done before, then give us a visit. There is nothing like Puzzle It in Jamaica and the games are Jamaicanised. A game could be trying to escape an unfamiliar house after drinks with friends at Chilitos. Another example is our special Halloween event this year where we transformed Puzzle It into an immersive haunted house for our 2nd annual Duppy Story series. Telling duppy stories is a part of our culture so we featured scary apparitions from River Mumma and Ol’ Hige stories. Customers wore customs and won prizes. It was a lot of fun.
Where do you see Puzzle It five years from now?
We see ourselves having multiple locations all over the island and becoming a well-known entertainment option.
And finally (and most important), how can customers book an appointment?
Customers can book appointments directly on our website, call, contact us on Instagram, Facebook, Whatsapp or the best way which is to just show up.
Our visit to Puzzle It Jamaica was a wonderful experience. It is conveniently located and very accessible. The hosts are high energy, fun, and always ready to assist. We rate this experience E for everyone and highly recommend them for a Staycation visit.