Clue Carré – The Game Museum [Review]

REA in The Game Museum with the Solution

Location:  Metairie, Louisiana

Date Played: July 14, 2019

Team size: up to 8; we recommend 3-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $28 per player

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Clue Carré has three locations around New Orleans. The Game Museum was the only game we played at the Metairie location. We chose it based on the recommendations of many well-traveled escape room players.

There’s a lot of love in The Game Museum. It combines two approachable themes – tabletop games and museum – and it’s satisfying to solve puzzles around recognizable, nostalgia-inducing props. Furthermore, it was brightly colored and inviting.

In-game: Exhbits about Dice, Mancala, and Monopoly.

Although there is opportunity for Clue Carré to level up the scale and prop quality in this game, giving it a more polished look, the gameplay flowed well and the solves were fun.

While our favorite Clue Carré games are still French Quarter House of Curiosities at their New Orleans location, as well as Bookie and Alien Encounter inside the Surge Trampoline Park, if you like your escape rooms puzzle-focused and have time to visit Metairie, we thoroughly enjoyed playing The Game Museum; it wasn’t fancy, but it was fun.

Who is this for?

  • Puzzle lovers
  • Tabletop & video gamers
  • Any experience level
  • Players who don’t need to be a part of every puzzle

Why play?

  • A fun collection of game-inspired puzzles
  • Some clever nostalgic interactions

Story

We entered The Game Museum and had one hour to play through the history of gaming.

In-game: Wide shot of the game museum. The exhibits are laid out in a timeline, with classics such as Clue, Scrabble, and Bingo in view.

Setting

The Game Museum was set in a bright, office-like space with windows letting in natural light. The space had museum exhibits along the walls – each about a popular game throughout history – and a table in the middle of the room.

In-game: A sign for the video game, "8-bit & Beyond" exhibit.

Gameplay

Clue Carré’s The Game Museum was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

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

In-game: the video game exhibit in the game museum.
Image via Clue Carré

Analysis

➕ We enjoyed how Clue Carré built puzzles around familiar tabletop games. This gave each puzzle an added level of excitement. First it was “Hey, it’s dominos!” and then we reached the “Hey, I’ve solved a thing!” moment.

➕/➖ We encountered a nifty communication puzzle where one teammate could look upon the room in a different way. While we enjoyed the concept, the necessary gear made the transition clunky between folks who wanted to share the experience.

➕ Clue Carré’s homage to the point & click adventure game genre was delightful.

➖ There was an opportunity to level up the puzzle components in this game. Along with the game pieces, we encountered laminated paper and some messy modification. Some of these puzzles would have felt more grand if they were built at a larger, escape room-y scale with entirely tangible elements.

 The Game Museum was bright and vibrant. Few escape rooms have windows. Light streamed in and illuminated the colorful props. The space felt joyous.

Tips For Visiting

  • This game is located at Clue Carré’s Metairie location.
  • There is a small parking lot.

Book your hour with Clue Carré’s The Game Museum, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Clue Carré comped our tickets for this game.

Clue Carré – The Bookie [Reaction]

Rebookied

Location:  Metairie, Louisiana

Date Played: July 11, 2019

Team size: up to 10; we recommend 3-5

Duration: 45 minutes

Price: $23 per player

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

RISE Escape Rooms is no more, but their games live on. 13th Gate picked up their more celebrated games Hijacked and Golden Lock-In Award winner Spellbound. Clue Carré took on The Bookie, which I felt was a deeply underappreciated game.

While it was far less bombastic than Hijacked, for my money, I think that The Bookie was a tighter, more complete package with superior gameplay and puzzles.

In-game: A bar beside a blackjack table in a back room casino.
Image via Clue Carré

Almost 2 years after we first played it, we visited Clue Carré’s new Surge Trampoline Park location and sort of played/ sort of watched our friends play the new, streamlined version of The Bookie.

What’s Different?

Clue Carré slimmed down The Bookie, cutting the game clock to 45 minutes and simplifying some of the puzzle play.

Additionally, Clue Carré added a big board to guide players towards the puzzle stations that hadn’t been solved.

In-game: A back room casion with blackjack, roulette, a craps tables.
Image via Clue Carré

It still looked and felt like the same game that we knew and loved… it just played a bit quicker and smoother. All of the set pieces remained, as did the most memorable puzzles and moments.

To put it succinctly, the leaner version was a better game. It eliminated a lot of the things that were convoluted in the original. I wasn’t expecting to love this game 2 years later, but here we are.

In-game: An old maintenance closet.
Image via Clue Carré

The only loss was to the difficulty level. Frankly, the number of players who will truly miss a little extra difficulty is greatly outweighed by the majority who will enjoy the faster pace.

Between Alien Encounter and The Bookie, Clue Carré’s Surge Trampoline Park location should be high on your playlist for New Orleans.

Tips For Visiting

  • This game is located at Clue Carré’s Kenner location inside Surge Trampoline Park
  • There is a parking lot.

Book your hour with Clue Carré’s The Bookie, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Clue Carré comped our tickets for this game.

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.

Clue Carré – Alien Encounter [Review]

Probing for puzzles

Location:  Metairie, Louisiana

Date Played: July 11, 2019

Team size: up to 10; we recommend 3-4

Duration: 45 minutes

Price: $23 per player

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Clue Carré revved up their cool factor by quite a few notches with Alien Encounter. This low-difficulty, fast-paced escape room looked fantastic and played smoothly from start to finish.

In-game: A large hexogonal door at the end of a corridore filled with tubs and connectors and other technology.
Image via Clue Carré

Set within the Surge Trampoline Park (which looks like a fun attraction in its own right), Alien Encounter had been adapted for a less puzzley audience… but didn’t diminish the fun. We breezed through Alien Encounter and had a blast the whole time.

Between French Quarter House of Curiosities, The Bookie (reaction coming soon), and Alien Encounter, Clue Carré has established that it’s able to produce games that can stand out in an intensely competitive market like New Orleans. If you’re in NOLA, this should make your play list.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Sci-fi fans
  • Families
  • Any experience level

Why play?

  • The set was cool
  • The puzzles were approachable, tactile, and family friendly

Story

The year was 2060 and humanity was being pushed towards extinction by an alien species known as the Voldran. Our team had to break into one of their spacecrafts and attempt to find a weakness or way of fighting back.

In-game: a maze of green lazers inside of a sleek, blue spaceship.
Image via Clue Carré

Setting

We boarded an alien spacecraft that was loaded with wonderful details. This set represented a giant leap forward for Clue Carré. Aesthetically this game felt at home in New Orleans. For those who know what games tend to look like in that part of the country, this really means something.

In-game: An alien in a tube in the middle of a spacehip.
Image via Clue Carré

Gameplay

Clue Carré’s Alien Encounter was a standard escape room with a low level of difficulty.

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

Analysis

Alien Encounter flowed well.

➕ It was thematically beautiful and well constructed.

➖ Some of the set could have benefited from a little extra sandpaper love. We didn’t encounter anything pointy or sharp, but parts of the ship were a little too rough to the touch for a sleek, futuristic spaceship.

➕ The tangible interactions felt great.

➖ Additional spot lighting on the more visual puzzles would have made some of the gameplay more comfortable.

➕ We love interesting, thematic doors… and this game delivered on that.

➖ The final sequence of puzzles solved well and worked fine… but it wasn’t as engaging or tactile as the earlier sequences. Additionally, it felt like there was room for a stronger narrative climax.

➕ A family-friendly approach was a great decision for the setting within the Surge Trampoline Park. (The whole place seemed like tons of fun… if you’re the kind of human who enjoys bouncing around and climbing on things. They have a giant Rubik’s Cube climbing tower!)

Tips For Visiting

  • This game is located at Clue Carré’s Kenner location inside Surge Trampoline Park
  • There is a parking lot.

Book your hour with Clue Carré’s Alien Encounter, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Clue Carré comped our tickets for this game.

Farewell to RISE Escape Rooms & the Fate of their Games

Hijacked

Rise Escape Rooms is closing their three outstanding escape rooms today. These games each impressed us, in different ways.

Spellbound won a 2017 Golden Lock-In Award.

Luckily, the games won’t be moving too far.

Book tickets to Escape Immerse Explore: New Orleans 2019… and you can still play them!

Interview with RISE

We caught up with Mindi Plaisance, owner of RISE Escape Rooms, to talk about these changes.

What brought about RISE’s change in direction?

Mindi: We are family owned and operated. We are hands on with every aspect of both RISE Haunted House and RISE Escape Rooms. Our team quickly became escape room enthusiasts and felt we had the creative talent to bring immersive games to our community.

As successful as our games were, we realized that juggling the escape rooms along our rapidly growing Halloween attraction and extremely involved children was too much on our plate. We didn’t want to sacrifice the quality of our product so we decided that focusing all our attention on one industry would give us the opportunity to provide a great seasonal event.

Bookie

What was your favorite part of owning an escape room?

Mindi:Personally, my favorite part was the creative process. I like the challenge of building unique rooms that are immersive, have a variety of puzzles, and flow well… games that are challenging, but not impossible.  

Will your escape rooms live on?

Mindi: We have local buyers for all three games:

The Bookie will be going to the Clue Carré newest location in New Orleans.

Hijacked and Spellbound will be going to the 13th Gate Escape in Baton Rouge. If I know Dwayne, he will put his own spin on our games, so I am looking forward to see what he’s got in that ever-creative mind of his.

Image via RISE Escape Rooms

What is on the horizon for RISE?

Mindi:We are considering a 4th Dark attraction for Halloween as well as transforming our Hayride attraction into a Christmas show. The details are still in the works, but we are definitely sticking to seasonal. 

We love your style. Will we ever see more escape rooms from you?

Mindi: We still have our 5-minute games that we will run through Halloween. I am sure we will be turning those over at some point. 

If someone approached our team on a consulting basis and our schedule permitted it, we’d be open to that idea, but we won’t actively be seeking to get into the game design business.

In-game: The gamespace looks exactly like the interior cabin of a commercial airliner.

Interview with Clue Carré & 13th Gate Escape

After getting the news from Mindi, we reached out to Megan Mouton, owner of Clue Carré, and Dwayne Sanburn, owner of 13th Gate Escape, to learn what we can expect from their production of RISE’s games.

When do you expect the RISE games to reopen?

Megan: The Bookie will hopefully be ready by May. We will be opening it at our 3rd location, which will be inside of Surge Trampoline Park.

Dwayne: We aren’t sure exactly how long it will take to move Spellbound and Hijacked, but we are planning on having them open before your tour in July.

What changes are you making?

Megan: We are not changing much in The Bookie. We have plans to improve and tweak some puzzles, but the overall puzzle structure will be the same.

At this point, we are also planning to make it a 45-minute game, to keep players flowing during their jump time at the trampoline park. We’ll have the option to extend it back to 60 minutes if we feel the 45-minute model isn’t working.

Dwayne: Both games are very solid. We probably will only be making minor changes.

If someone has already played and loved these games at RISE, should they replay them?

Megan: We will not be marketing The Bookie as a game to replay if you have played it at Rise.

Dwayne: It’s doubtful that we will be making enough changes to warrant a replay of either Hijacked or Spellbound.

Visit Spellbound, Hijacked, and The Bookie this July

We will miss RISE Escape Rooms. Their work is phenomenal and we’ll be sad not to stop in Tickfaw on this summer’s tour.

We highly encourage seasonal travelers to check out the other attractions at RISE.

We are, however, incredibly excited the games will be nearby and that we’ll get to see them again this summer at Clue Carré and 13th Gate Escape.