Escape My Room – Escape Extinction: Sharks [Review]

The Magic Schoolbus

Location:  New Orleans, Louisiana

Date Played: July 14, 2019

Team size: up to 10; we recommend 5-7

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $19.95 per aquarium member player or $23.95 per non-member player

Ticketing: Public

Emergency Exit Rating: [A] Push To Exit

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Escape My Room built a game inside of the New Orleans Audubon Aquarium; it was something special.

Port De La Porte, and the SS Audubon submarine in the middle of the Aquarium.

Escape Extinction: Sharks blended 5 Wits-style, high-throughput, amusement gameplay with strong, puzzley escape room challenges. All of this was topped off with an amazing set and kid-friendly story that would feel right at home in a quality cartoon. The resulting game offered something to players of all ages, attention spans, and skill levels.

We’ve seen other museums (big and small) host escape games, but none of them have come close to the scope, scale, and quality of the collaboration between Escape My Room and the Audubon Aquarium.

There are tons of amazing escape rooms in and around New Orleans. Add this one to the list of must-plays.

In-game: lisa, chris, and drew inside of a shark.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Story seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Any experience level
  • Players who don’t need to be a part of every puzzle

Why play?

  • Fantastic set design
  • Tons of fun puzzles and tangible interactions
  • Strong, yet adorable storytelling
  • The greatest magnet maze ever built

Story

As members of Human Animal Rescue Team (H.A.R.T.), we boarded the SS Audubon with one mission: save sharks from extinction.

In-game: a group of kids watching a briefing from a commanding officer.
Image via the Audubon Institute

Setting

We approached the SS Audubon, a large submarine docked in the Aquarium. Once aboard the boat, we met some delightful characters and followed our captain on an adventure to save sharks from extinction.

In-game: a group solving inside of the submarine.
Image via the Audubon Institute

The experience took us through the submarine and then to some unexpected locations as we saved massive, misunderstood fish.

In-game: the submarine's engine.

Gameplay

Escape My Room’s Escape Extinction: Sharks was an unusual escape adventure with a variable level of difficulty.

In-game: players solving a beautiful, multi-colored logic puzzle.
Image via the Audubon Institute

It was built in a railroad style. Teams moved through the rooms at timed intervals, whether or not they had solved all the puzzles. It would be challenging to solve all the puzzles in the time allowed, but teams don’t need to solve them all to complete the game.

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

In-game: multiple players pushing colored buttons on a panel.
Image via the Audubon Institute

Analysis

➕ We loved the theme of Escape Extinction: Sharks and the characters we encountered aboard this submarine. The captain was especially adorable. The kid-friendly villains were comical. The whole cast set the right tone for a playful game with a serious message.

In-game: someone watching security cameras.
Image via the Audubon Institute

➕ Set design was on point. To quote our ex-navy teammate – and one of the most experienced escape room players in the world – Drew Nelson: “the sub read like naval architecture.” Additionally, each set felt profoundly different from the previous one, while maintaining a feeling of cohesion between the locations.

➕/ ➖ The first room onboarded players by priming them to collaborate. We especially enjoyed the opening puzzle. That said, the first scene was packed with some of the most challenging puzzles in the experience, which seemed like a steep on-ramp.

❓ Because there are more puzzles than most teams can complete in the time allotted for each room, playthroughs could feel unfinished. As puzzlers we wanted to be completionists, but that wasn’t how the game was meant to be played.

In-game: someone on a bicycle powering a device.
Image via the Audubon Institute

➕ The puzzles encompassed interesting and varied interactions.

➖ One segment asked the entire team to collaborate to steer the game forward. While the challenge was conceptually great, the interaction felt like it could have used more refinement.

➖ There was a recurring locking mechanism that seemed to work against the solvers, forcing frustrating backtracking.

In-game: a player inputting a code into a locker keypad.
Image via the Audubon Institute

➖ The sound system could be turned up a bit.

➕ We stepped off our sub into one entirely unexpected scene. The set expanded and contracted to bring this scene to life. This was one of my favorite scenes that I’ve ever encountered in my escape game career. Nearly any other company wouldn’t have bothered to add the level of detail that Escape My Room did with this relatively small moment.

Tips For Visiting

  • This game is located at the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas in New Orleans.
  • You do not need to purchase admission to the Aquarium to play Escape Extinction: Sharks.
  • To locate the game, follow signs to the lobby of the “Entergy Giant Screen Theater.”

Book your hour with Escape My Room’s Escape Extinction: Sharks, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Escape My Room comped our tickets for this game.

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