QUEST ROOM – Da Vinci’s Challenge [Review]

A job interview for your life. 

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Date Played: December 1, 2017

Team size: 2-6; we recommend 4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: 99 for 2 players, $129 for 3, $159 for 4, $179 for 5, $199 for 6

REA Reaction

We really enjoyed this escape room.

Da Vinci’s Challenge included many different tangible, but puzzle-y challenges. QUEST ROOM’s solutions triggered exciting reveals.

In-game: Models of the planets and sun hanging from the ceiling. Saturn and the Sun look spectacular.

Who is this for?

  • Puzzler lovers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Any experience level

Why play?

  • Interactive puzzles
  • Immersive adventure

Story

It was the year 1493 and we were among the many hopeful students seeking an apprenticeship with Master Leonardo da Vinci. In order to select the right individuals to train under him, Leonardo had created a series of mental challenges to test the wits of his potential pupils.

In-game: A replica of Da Vinci's flying machine hanging from the wall.

Setting

QUEST ROOM began Da Vinci’s Challenge by splitting our group in two and putting us into separate chambers of a large Renaissance study. The space was filled with sketches, models, books, and contraptions of Leonardo’s design. The lighting was dim, but there was plenty of light to uncover.

The set felt like an amalgamation of realism and fantasy.

Gameplay

We started Da Vinci’s Challenge in two connected, but separate gamespaces.

This was a puzzle-driven escape room with an emphasis on collaboration and variety, all packaged nicely in an elegant set and nifty interactions.

In-game: Close up of some sort of ornate cage.

Standouts

The opening puzzles sequences.

Mechanical interactions and triggers permeated the various puzzles. We especially liked one more subtle visual puzzle and its mechanical trigger. A lot of nonessential details brought a coolness to Da Vinci’s Challenge that a lot of escape rooms lack.

There was a nifty bonus puzzle that provided a worthy reward.

QUEST ROOM used journals to clue many of the puzzles within Da Vinci’s Challenge. These thematically appropriate books were well designed to avoid red herrings and long blocks of arduous text. The pages clearly clued the puzzles. Additionally, there were two journals (albeit different ones), which mitigated some of the bottlenecking.

Shortcomings

While QUEST ROOM designed the journals well, I still spent much of the game with my nose in a book. I would have liked more of the clue structure woven within the room itself. Because of the journal-driven gameplay, I missed out on truly experiencing and appreciating many set details in Da Vinci’s Challenge.

With some specific mathematical knowledge, it would be easy to bypass one of the most exciting reveals of this escape room. You should resist the urge to bypass this as it will work, but it will spoil some of the best moments of Da Vinci’s Challenge.

While the bonus puzzle was quite cool and well engineered, it felt like there was an opportunity to do more with it.

Da Vinci’s Challenge petered out. The final task wasn’t really a puzzle… and the resulting win felt unearned.

Tips for Visiting

  • QUEST ROOM doesn’t have traditional signage, but they do have a massive mural on their facade. We Instagramed it. By the way, we’re on Instagram.
  • QUEST ROOM’s first two games were different from each other: While Da Vinci’s Challenge was a puzzle game with some adventure, Bloody Elbow was an adventure with some puzzles. Choose wisely.

Book your hour with QUEST ROOM’s Da Vinci’s Challenge, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Full disclosure: QUEST ROOM comped our tickets for this game.

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