RATING: 5 Keys RESULT: Win REMAINING: 10:29
Sacrifice a little time for a load of fun in this thrilling adventure through an Aztec temple (Get it? Aztec….Sacrifice…eh? eh?)
The recent discovery of a hidden shrine, the “Temple of the Gods”, is being called the most exciting archaeological find of the decade. You are part of the research team tasked with entering the temple and cataloging the artifacts inside. Everything was going according to plan until someone accidentally triggered a concealed trap sealing the door to the temple and leaving you with a dangerously short supply of breathable air. Now, you must find a way to unlock the exit and escape before your oxygen runs out.
You’re now in a race to find a series of hidden idols that are your only hope of escape. Will you unravel the mysteries hidden within the “Temple of the Gods”, or will you become a permanent resident?
Being a fan of the adventure genre and growing up watching Dr. Jones fight Nazis and smuggle treasure, I was, to say the very least, stoked to play this game. Furthermore, it is a bit atypical as it has a 30-minute time limit as opposed to the standard 60 as seen in most other games.
These two things coupled with some good scenery and puzzles were the perfect recipe for an epic adventure in an ancient temple.
Upon entering the room, our eyes weren’t quite adjusted to the dim conditions that we would experience during the gameplay. For me this was a plus as my inner haunt fan tends to enjoy games on the darker side.
The space was fairly large considering what I thought a half-hour game might consist of, and it was also not a square box which was a relief, adding greatly to the realism.
The walls were very well textured like stone, as one would expect an Aztec temple to look, as well as tangled in gnarly dead vines which appeared to have been there for centuries. Above us were more vines hanging down to really give a sense of an enclosed space, despite the facility ceiling being much higher.
What little props and other furnishings in the space there were, they were well thought out so it integrated very well with the rest of the scenery.
Going into this, I really didn’t know what to expect since we only had half the time we normally get to complete a game, especially in a space nearly the same size. I had assumed that there would just be less puzzles and steps, and that’s pretty much how it is.
Since there were only two of us, we quickly split up to search and scavenge for clues and items. For the majority of the game, the puzzles were mostly independent of one another so we were easily able to work on different things rather than having to complete one to go to the next. This is especially good for larger groups, allowing everyone to feel like they are playing a part.
As the premise states, we were trying to find a series of idols in order to escape, so naturally each idol had its own path of discovery. There were a few moments throughout the game where we were pleasantly surprised to find secret areas as well as startling moments while reaching into the unknown.
Again, being a haunt fan, the startles are always appreciated and I think add a lot to the overall experience.
The way everything culminated at the end with the final challenge really tied a nice bow on it, and with only a few minutes to spare, we really had to kick our brains into overdrive to solve an arduous yet very achievable logic puzzle before we ran out of oxygen and became a permanent fixture in the Temple of the Gods.
Headcase was first to the Gatlinburg market last year and came out swinging with a great lineup of fresh games. Despite its shorter than average run time, Aztec Temple is no exception – and may actually be our favorite game in the venue.
There was never a moment where we felt like there were any major leaps of logic required for the next step, and the one or two times we did get stuck, the game master was very attentive and got us back on track.
A few of the puzzles were obviously very tech-laden, but it was very well integrated and hidden so it didn’t stand out. This is a great example of “tech done right, ” where its integration is almost invisible to the player.
This would be a great game for beginners and folks that may not have an hour to spare, as it offers a good flavor of what to expect in an hour-long experience. When you find yourself in the Smoky Mountains, stop in at Headcase and go explore the temple.
Venue: Headcase Escape Adventures
Location: Gatlinburg, Tennessee
Number of Games: 5
GAME SPECIFIC INFORMATION:
Duration: 30 minutes
Capacity: 5 people
Group Type: Public / You may be paired with strangers.
Cost: $21 per person