Go for the door, stay for the puzzles.
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Date played: April 29, 2016
Team size: 2-6; we recommend 3-5
Price: 2 players $40 per person, 3 players $36 per person, 4-6 players $32 per person
Theme & story
Da Vinci Down Under was a puzzle room themed on the quintessential Renaissance man, Leonardo.
The game didn’t have much of a story, but it had its fair share of theming. Da Vinci Down Under was dimly lit with beautiful wood decor; it had a handcrafted, earthy feel to it.
Handcrafted & robust
The entire game was built with skill and deliberate care. Everything was incredibly sturdy and clearly built to withstand the punishment that comes with repeated play.
Throughout Australia, escape room companies are not legally allowed to lock their players inside of the game. This is also the case in many municipalities throughout the United States. There are a ton of good and not-so-good ways to handle this, but Rush Escape had the most brilliant method we’ve ever seen:
They nested a door within a door.
The outer door never locked and simply latched shut. The inner door was locked and releasing that lock was our goal. This heavy door was beautifully designed, impeccably engineered, and a true innovation.
Da Vinci Down Under was deliberately dimly lit. This was done to create ambiance, but it also added to the difficulty, and not necessarily in a fun way.
Rush Escape Game did an excellent job of loading the room up with more flashlights than we could possibly use. But still, one hand was always occupied by a light. Playing as a team of two, this became tedious. If one of us took on a task that required two hands, the other had to hold the flashlight or the first person had to use their chin. There were times we just wished there was a section of the room that was well-lit so that we could bring things to it and work there.
Similarly, Da Vinci Down Under relied heavily on UV lights. We became frustrated constantly swapping between flashlights and blacklights.
The puzzles within Da Vinci Down Under were challenging, logically sound, and well-crafted. They kept us busy and entertained.
Hints were delivered via walkie-talkie. We really struggled with this. There was interference from someone else on our channel and our walkie-talkies didn’t work so well.
We had a hard time communicating with our gamemaster and an even harder time hearing what he was saying to us. This burned a few minutes of our time and ultimately cost us the game: we knew what to do in the end and misheard something over the walkie-talkies that led us astray.
Our gamemaster did a wonderful job overall, but was spread too thin overseeing multiple games and the front desk. When we had to ask for a hint, we also had to catch him up on what we were doing.
Da Vinci Down Under is doable with two people, but I think it really needs three people. We just didn’t have enough hands between the pair of us.
Rush Escape Game (and most escape rooms in Australia) will not partner you up with strangers by default (which isn’t a bad thing), so if you’re an American in Melbourne, you’ll need to keep that in mind before booking.
Should I play Rush Escape Game’s Da Vinci Down Under?
Da Vinci Down Under was a very fun and aesthetically pleasing puzzle room.
If you love escape rooms, design, and engineering, it’s worth playing just to see the door. I’m not kidding.
I didn’t love everything about the game, but it was constructed with a level of care that is rarely seen in escape rooms. That’s where Da Vinci Down Under truly shines. It wasn’t perfect, but the craftsmanship, thought, and love that went into it was truly superb.
If you can show up with three to five people, then this is a great game to play. If you’re playing with fewer, you may be better served playing their other game, Lost in Paradise (we poked our heads in and got a walkthrough, but never played it). This is a company worth visiting.
Book your hour with Rush Escape Games’ Da Vinci Down Under, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.
Full disclosure: Rush Escape Games provided media discounted tickets for this game.