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

Nefertari’s Tomb is one of the best games in Albuquerque. Here are our other recommendations for 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.
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Bust Out Escape Room – Doomsday Bunker [Review]

Doomsday Bunker is one of the best games in Albuquerque. Here are our other recommendations for great escape rooms in Albuquerque.

Launch Sequence

Location:  Albuquerque, NM

Date Played: December 15, 2021

Team size: 4-8; we recommend 3-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $28 per player

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Doomsday Bunker was one of Bust Out Escape Room’s earlier games… and it has held up quite well.

The strength of Doomsday Bunker was in its set and interaction design; there were a lot of engaging and unusual moments to enjoy. A few of these stuck in my memory in a great way. And often enough, I found myself thinking, “huh… I can’t believe that I’ve never seen anyone do that before. Cool.”

An elevator in a bunker. An envelope is labeled "Top Secret."

As an earlier game, Doomsday Bunker’s gameplay was rooted in more traditional puzzle play. There were a lot of lightly themed puzzles and search challenges scattered throughout this game. Overall, it was a great representation of a classic escape room, and if I had played this when it was brand new, it would have blown my mind. I still got a lot out of it.

If you’re visiting Bust Out, I’d strongly urge you to play Rattlesnake Bend first… and if you’re looking for another game, this is a great one to add to your itinerary.

Who is this for?

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

Why play?

  • An unusual approach to the bunker setting, with cool props and interactions
  • A lot of challenging puzzle content

Story

Our team had been assigned to prevent the start of World War III. We had to infiltrate a bunker, activate a missile, and neutralize the threat.

A closeup of a glowing green light within a metal container.
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Puzzah! – Knight Shade [Review]

Knight Shade is one of the best games in Santa Fe. Here are our other recommendations for great escape rooms in Santa Fe.

Pizza Arcade + Ghosts

Location:  Santa Fe, NM

Date Played: December 15, 2021

Team size: 2-8; we recommend an even number of players, either 2 or 4 adults (+ any kids)

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $25 per player

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Puzzah! is a unique beast in the escape room world. Their games are heavily puzzle-focused, with adaptive difficulty, and they are fully automated. In Knight Shade, the outcome of this approach to design was a game with a wide range of challenges that can be enjoyable for both groups of children and groups of experienced escape room players.

What stood out to me in Knight Shade was the number of different challenge types that Puzzah! was able to fully automate. There was at least one challenge for everyone in our group.

Door to "Sir Pizza-Lot"

The cost of automation, even automation that was as branching as this, was rigidity. Knight Shade adapts to how well the team is playing, not necessarily to how much they are enjoying or getting out of an individual challenge. The net effect was challenge spikes that might vary from team to team.

Additionally, we were aware that there was a story in Knight Shade, but at the end of the game, no one in our group could articulate what that story was or agree on what had happened.

Overall, I’m a fan of Puzzah!’s (?) unique approach to escape game design. This set of constraints produces games that feel different, and after a few years of making these kinds of games, Puzzah! has learned how to do it well. If you’re in Santa Fe and looking for an escape room fix, give Knight Shade a try. It’s especially fun to keep an eye on the ways that Puzzah! automates their games… it feels like its own puzzle side quest.

Who is this for?

  • Puzzle lovers
  • Any experience level

Why play?

  • Lots of puzzle and challenge content
  • Deeply adaptive difficulty that can keep a group of children or experienced escape room players engaged
  • Automated escape game design

Story

Rumor had it that the local pizza and arcade, Sir Pizza-Lot, was haunted by a spirit known as Knight Shade. We decided to go for a late-night investigation and see what we could turn up.

A large analog game cabinet shaped like a castle tower.
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New Mexico Escape Room – Bombshell [Review]

Bombshell is one of the best games in Albuquerque. Here are our other recommendations for great escape rooms in Albuquerque.

Syndicate Revolt

Location:  Albuquerque, NM

Date Played: December 14, 2021

Team size: 2-6; we recommend 3-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $28 per player

Ticketing: Private

Accessibility Consideration: If the transition sequences don’t work for you, you can bypass them.

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Have you ever just connected with a game? I connected with Bombshell. Maybe it was because I live in New Jersey, and the villain strongly reminded me of my neighbor… or maybe it was the noir vibes, beautiful set, and the clever way that New Mexico Escape Room massaged escape room tropes into the narrative of this game.

Whatever it was… I got really into it.

A box covered in a white sheet in a warehouse.

Another thing that I loved about Bombshell was that things had weight to them. The props, transitions, lighting… so much of this game had a playful gravitas. When you picked up props, they required a bit of oomph; the story felt the same.

Where Bombshell lost me from time to time were in a few puzzles that required a bit more repetition than was necessary. Those “ok, I get it…” moments weren’t numerous, but in such a smooth game, they stood out.

Bombshell is another one of those must-play games in Albuquerque… so if you’re anywhere nearby, go play it.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Story seekers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Noir fans
  • Any experience level

Why play?

  • A strong narrative-driven game
  • Phenomenal set design accentuated by lighting

Story

For decades Vittorio Bosargio had ruled crime in this city as the Don of Dons. No one questioned his judgment… until recently. He seemed to be losing it, becoming chaotic, violent, and mad. As the leaders of our respective crime families, we’d gathered to put an end to his reign, but Bosargio knew what we were up to…

A spotlit red telephone hung on a brick wall.
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Lost Games – The Fortune Teller [Review]

The Fortune Teller is one of the best escape rooms in Las Vegas. Here are our recommendations for other great escape rooms in Las Vegas.

Luck of the draw

Location:  Las Vegas, Nevada

Date Played: November 28, 2021

Team Size: 2-8; we recommend 3-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $45 per player for 2 players to $39 per player for 6 players

Ticketing: Private

Game Breakage: One puzzle was out of commission at the time of playing

Accessibility Consideration: All players must climb a flight of stairs to reach the room

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

The Fortune Teller was an ambitious escape room + immersive theater hybrid, jam-packed with innovative gameplay and actor interactions.

We were enthralled by the novelty and cleverness of many individual elements in The Fortune Teller, yet the implementation of certain puzzles lacked the extra bit of polish that would have made the overall experience truly coalesce. While little was broken outright, multiple instances of glitchy tech and overly finicky puzzles compounded throughout our experience.

But we were not on our own! An in-room actor playing the fortune teller’s assistant fully committed to an enjoyably campy performance. The actor not only communicated key plot points but also allowed for a plethora of puzzle answer formats, more varied than what is possible in most escape rooms. While we enjoyed engaging with the actor’s energetic and funny character, there was room for additional polish — especially with regard to the actor’s timing — given the complexity of the role.

The Fortune Teller was far from a traditional escape room, both in puzzle style and gameplay structure. If you don’t enjoy actor interactions or are turned off by mystical tarot imagery, this probably isn’t the game for you. But if, like us, you appreciate escape rooms that take risks, and have some tolerance for a bit of jankiness, you too may be enchanted by what The Fortune Teller has to offer.

An illuminated bell in a fortune teller's parlor.
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