RATING: 0 Keys RESULT: Won REMAINING: 10:14
NOTICE: It has been brought to our attention that this venue has been using images taken from OBITUARIES – including one belonging to a 23 year old victim of Orlando’s Pulse Nightclub mass shooting – to post fake positive reviews endorsing their product. As such, we can no longer endorse them in any way and have altered their previous 2 Keys score to an appropriate 0 Keys rating.
Deep in the jungles of Africa, your safari has taken an unfortunate wrong turn! As you frantically search for the way to safety, hints of an ancient treasure and a fierce native tribe begin to reveal themselves! Can you claim the treasure for yourselves before the natives turn you into stew?
The Lost Jungle Safari answers the question of “Should we do a cannibal story or an Egyptian story” with a resounding “why can’t we do both.” For better or worse, this story, albeit a bit disjointed, is unquestionably unique. Trapped in the jungle, in a sense it becomes a choose your own adventure book where the path to the right leads to the natives’ hut and the path to the left leads into the ancient pyramid.
The problem is you’ll need to choose both paths in order to progress through this game, muddling the story quite a bit in the process.
Here’s the thing – there’s a reason you don’t see very many jungle-themed games out there; the scenic style is not easy to replicate in a convincing fashion – at least not without a massive budget. You might be shocked to learn how expensive faux foliage can get, and at the quantity you’d need to actually sell the concept that you’re lost in the middle of a jungle, you’d need to spend a small fortune.
So, you don’t see it often, and as such I’m fairly intrigued when I do see a jungle game pop up on my travel itinerary. I’m always eager to see how a given venue will try to pull it off. Generally speaking, the scenic quality was basically at the “just ok” level – barely.
The main “jungle” room was a rectangle with some vines and leaf textures on the walls, complete with an AstroTurf floor. The “tribal hut” was a small square room behind a tent-style door, littered with straw. The “pyramid” room housing the ancient treasure was a small square room with Egyptian-themed wallpaper and shelves of “Egyptian artifacts” that made it feel a bit more like a museum than a tomb.
At the end of the day it didn’t look great – at all – and as such we never came close to feeling immersed in this (barely) storyworld.
The puzzles on our Lost Jungle Safari tried their best to stay connected to the storyworld, and for that we are grateful. Colorful butterflies hidden in “the leaves” lead us to one clue, while tribal masks of various African animals stampeded us towards another.
This game was very much on the lower site of technology – but to us that is never necessarily a bad thing. Most importantly, the action flowed in a logical order with intuitive puzzles that kept us moving.
At the end of the day, the puzzles throughout The Lost Jungle Safari were certainly fun enough to keep us engaged, but if we’re being honest, they entirely lacked a true “wow” or “ah ha!” moment that we always long for in a game.
We missed the opening of their brand new Irvine location by days. That also means we got to experience their original in its final days of operation. The Lost Jungle Safari has since packed up and shipped down the road to their Temecula, CA location. This review’s Key Rating impartially reflects our own gameplay experience as is dictated by our own rating standards. However, there is more that we must discuss regarding Brainy Actz.
Since our visit, we’ve had several readers step forward to tell us that our positive experience with the venue’s staff is not at all their normal way of doing business. Sadly, it sounds as though we received the proverbial “dog and pony show” being reviewers. This very venue makes a habit of mocking their paying guests, including but not limited to a video posted publicly to their Facebook page making fun of any negative reviews they’ve received. The most unfortunate truth is the negative reviews were all completely consistent – drawing attention to Brainy Actz’s low scenic quality standards and sub-par puzzle design – two things we personally experienced in our own visit as well. In essence, their goal of cracking jokes at their guests’ expense instead shined a blinding sun-like spotlight on many of their actual shortcomings.
It has also been brought to our attention, complete with what was presented to us as photographic proof that this venue has made a habit of counter-balancing *real* negative Yelp reviews with fake ones, using impostor accounts with profile images ranging from stock photos to a candidate running for office in the state of Pennsylvania to, most deplorable of all, a photo originally posted in an online obituary.
With games that are barely “just ok,” it would be difficult for us to send you, our readers, to Brainy Actz in the first place considering how much *great* content exists literally all around them in the Southern California market. However, with these offensively underhanded business tactics, if you ask our opinion, we recommend you avoid them entirely, and spend your hard-earned money at a venue that appreciates you rather than openly disrespects you.
EDIT: Since adding information to this Overall section regarding Brainy Actz poor treatment of paying guests and fake reviews using obituary photos, things have somehow taken a turn even further for the worst. New fake positive reviews for their product have been posted to Yelp and Facebook using the image taken directly from an online obituary of an innocent 23 year old who was one of the 49 victims of Orlando’s Pulse Nightclub mass shooting in 2016. This is so far beyond unacceptable that we have altered their score for this formerly 2 Keys game to a definitive 0 Keys rating. We will never endorse, support or visit Brainy Actz again, and it is our recommendation that you consider joining us in that stance.
Venue: Brainy Actz
Location: Irvine, California
Number of Games: 3
GAME SPECIFIC INFORMATION:
Duration: 60 minutes
Capacity: 10 people
Group Type: Public / You may be paired with strangers.
Cost: $30 per person (This game has since been moved to their Temecula, CA location.)
We thank Brainy Actz for inviting us to play this game. Although complimentary admission was generously provided, that in no way impacts the opinion included within this review.