Adventure Team – Countdown to Meltdown [Review]

Send in the drones!

Location:  Hamburg, Germany

Date Played: May 11, 2019

Team size: 3-7; we recommend 3-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price:  from € 99.00 for teams of 3 to € 154.00 for teams of 7

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A] Push To Exit

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Countdown to Meltdown was a frenzied game with a Portal-esque vibe brought on by a talkative AI.

Atmospherically, Adventure Team did a great job in Countdown to Meltdown (one space that was too dark notwithstanding). The game space struck the right feel. There was a narrative arc and it all came together.

In-game: A white walled sci-fi laboratory.
Image via Adventure Team

From a gameplay standpoint, there were lots of great puzzles. For our team, Countdown to Meltdown evoked a chaotic feeling that made us feel stressed and at times as if we weren’t really contributing… even though in retrospect we each contributed quite a lot.

Who is this for?

  • Puzzle lovers
  • Sci-fi fans
  • Players with at least some experience
  • Players who don’t need to be a part of every puzzle

Why play?

  • Frenzied gameplay
  • Interesting puzzles
  • Creative repurposing of tech

Story

It was our first day on the job at the most high-tech nuclear power plant in the country. We were greeted by a workflow and security artificial intelligence named AMEE (Artificial Mission Emergency Entity)…

The entry to the game, a steel door labeled 42 with a red wheel.

Setting

Adventure Team’s Countdown to Meltdown had a futuristic, sci-fi aesthetic with an AI voice-over. It was clearly paying homage to Portal and generally did a good job of it.

The thing that really set Countdown to Meltdown apart was its use of sound and light effects to create a frenzied environment.

In-game: a black circular door labeled, "Nucleus Industries"
Image via Adventure Team

Gameplay

Adventure Team’s Countdown to Meltdown was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around observing, making connections, and puzzling.

In-game: a padlock on a piece of worn machinery labeled "Emergency Shut Down" in a dark room.
Image via Adventure Team

Analysis

Countdown to Meltdown was a solid puzzle game in a futuristic staging. It played well and looked cool.

➖ While the sets looked good, the final set was unnecessarily dim, which hampered both the gameplay and our appreciation of the space.

➕ There were some great layered puzzles. Adventure Team did some clever things with building mastery.

➕ Adventure Team made use of some adorable tech. We enjoyed discovering and working with each one, each more complex than the last.

In-game: A computer console labeled "A.M.E.E."
Image via Adventure Team

Countdown to Meltdown relied on a runbook. It wasn’t necessary for every puzzle, but stayed relevant throughout the entire experience. It had small transparent pages, which made it especially challenging to read, even more so under dim lighting.

➕/❓The escape room’s soundtrack felt frantic. This helped foster a chaotic vibe in Countdown to Meltdown. On one hand, it really did a great job of setting tone. On the other hand, it was agitating and remained so for the duration of the game.

➖ The gameplay felt non-linear, but in retrospect, it was largely linear. This led to substantial downtime for individual players. We each left feeling that we were non-essential to the escape, but upon further reflection determined that we’d each solved quite a bit.

➕ /➖ Countdown to Meltdown had a lengthy introduction. Through it we met the AI character overseeing our experience. While it did built character and set the playful tone for the escape room, we found it overstayed its welcome.

➖ Although adorable, the AI fell short of the charm and wit of GLaDOS, but spoke in the same voice.

Countdown to Meltdown didn’t take itself too seriously. It was refreshing to play lighthearted sci-fi in the face of nuclear disaster.

Tips For Visiting

  • Minimum age is 16
  • Available in German or English
  • Knowledge of a German keyboard layout will be helpful.

Book your hour with Adventure Team’s Countdown to Meltdown, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Adventure Team comped our tickets for this game.

2 thoughts on “Adventure Team – Countdown to Meltdown [Review]

  1. Thank you, Lisa and David, for your visit and the nice review you wrote about Countdown to Meltdown.

    We adressed two of your remarks concerning the room: First, we adjusted the light in the last room, so that players will see better without a lost of atmosphere. Secondly, the “emergency book” got a new look, it has a better usability and incorporates better into the flow.

    It was fun playing with you and we would be happy to welcome you again for one of our other adventures: They Stole a Million! or Time Doctors, which will be available in english soon.

    Best regards from the Adventure Team in Hamburg!

    1. Adventure Team, this sounds like some great improvements.

      One day we hope to return to Hamburg, and would absolutely love to revisit you. We love your style.

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