New Mexico Escape Room – Nefertari’s Tomb [Review]

Nefertari’s TombΒ is one of the best games in Albuquerque. Here are our other recommendations forΒ great escape rooms in Albuquerque.

Grand Puzzle Tomb

Location:  Albuquerque, NM

Date Played: December 14, 2021

Team size: 2-6; we recommend 4-6

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $25 per player

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Nefertari’s Tomb was jam-packed with content. Our goal was to raid as much loot from the ancient tomb as we could, and destroy the evidence of our presence before the authorities stopped us. New Mexico Escape Room truly made us work for the loot with a constant stream of puzzle solving, searching, and translating.

The upshot: in terms of gameplay for your money, you won’t find many games with as much to do as Nefertari’s Tomb… and it was all staged in a beautiful Egyptian tomb.

Egyptian tomb interior shows a painting of a woman holding game pieces above a game board.

The potential struggle in Nefertari’s Tomb was the volume of translation, which felt both completely narratively justified… and also excessive. I literally learned to sightread the hieroglyphics in Nefertari’s Tomb and so did two of my teammates. (Not David… that’s not his thing.)

Overall, Nefertari’s Tomb feels unique, big and exciting… and at times it also feels cumbersome. It’s one of the strongest large team games we’ve seen, and it has a style that a lot of players – especially puzzlers – will connect with. If you’re in Albuquerque and looking for a puzzley good time, give this one a try.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Indiana Jones Fans
  • Best for players with at least some experience
  • Players who don’t need to be a part of every puzzle

Why play?

  • Explosive intro/ outro sequence
  • An unusual game structure that facilitated an impressive volume of puzzle content
  • A nifty Egyptian tomb set

Story

After years of research, Arnold von Dunkelheit had found the location of Nefertari’s Tomb. He had a long list of items that he required from this site, and he’d hired our gang of adventuring tomb robbers to attain them. Our instructions were clear:

  • Enter the tomb
  • Steal as many items as we could
  • Destroy the tomb and all evidence of our presence before the authorities would arrive
Closeup of paintings on the wall of an Egyptian tomb.

Setting

Nefertari’s Tomb was set in an archeological dig of an Egyptian tomb, with carved stone walls and dramatic lighting. The ceiling height was imposing, and the large space dispersed a lot of puzzle content in a way that allowed multiple groups of people to solve at the same time.

Exterior of an Egyptian tomb. The entrance is shrouded in a cloth.

Gameplay

New Mexico Escape Room’s Nefertari’s Tomb was a standard escape room with a lot of content and a high level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around observing, making connections, and solving puzzles. Multiple puzzles required extensive hieroglyphic translation.

Analysis

βž• The animation in the introductory video was excellent. It was interesting to see New Mexico Escape Room drop the pretense and embrace us being villainous tomb raiders.

βž• The setup appeared straightforward, but was, itself, a puzzle. We had to decide when to stop collecting treasure and depart the tomb.

βž• Nefertari’s Tomb felt majestic. From walls to the ceiling, and even including the entry from the hallway, the set looked great. It was big, but also detailed.

βž• There was a lot to solve and the gameplay flowed well. We could clearly connect the various puzzle elements.

βž– While we appreciated how one interaction illuminated additional meaning, we found it cumbersome to keep this interaction engaged. After the initial reveal, one teammate ended up stuck as a glorified flashlight holder for long stretches… until David eventually hacked the game.

βž– While we enjoyed a lot of the puzzles in Nefertari’s Tomb, they required excessive translation in advance of the aha moment. We felt that the balance of “process” to “aha” was off with so much time spent translating.

βž•/βž– During our hour in Nefertari’s Tomb, 3 of our 4 teammates became fluent in this particular hieroglyphic alphabet. That’s how much translation was required to solve these puzzles. On the one hand, by keeping the alphabet consistent throughout the game, the translation was manageable. It was pretty neat to be fluently reading a foreign script after an hour. On the other hand, we felt like the gate of translation was overused at the expense of more interesting mechanics and it overstayed its welcome. We were also frustrated by the intentional similarity of certain letters in this hieroglyphic alphabet. Your mileage will vary based on your appreciation of this translation puzzle mechanic.

βž• The written clues felt good. These were durable, high quality props that felt like they belonged in the game world.

βž– In the wake of a pandemic, we question the inclusion of a scent puzzle.

βž• /βž– The inclusion of bonus puzzles meant that even strong teams feel the pressure of the clock and the decision of when to leave the tomb. We found the bonus puzzles to be hit or miss, with one set providing better ahas and a more satisfying process than the other set.

βž• Nefertari’s Tomb ended with a bang, and an impressive attention to set detail that solidified the finale.

❓ In Nefertari’s Tomb, the hints were self-service, from a predefined menu. We glanced at the hint system and it seemed sufficient, but in a game with depth of puzzle complexity, we aren’t sure this is the best route. Your mileage may vary.

Tips For Visiting

  • The game is located at the McLeod Road location.
  • There is a parking lot.
  • We enjoyed Green Jeans, for a nearby upscale food court constructed out of shipping containers.

Book your hour with New Mexico Escape Room’s Nefertari’s Tomb, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: New Mexico Escape Room provided media discounted tickets for this game.

Escape Immerse Explore: New Mexico

This game will be featured on our next escape room tour: Escape Immerse Explore: New Mexico 2022. If you’re looking to play outstanding escape rooms with other players who are just as excited about these games, we hope you’ll join us in New Mexico this June.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.