RATING: 2 Keys RESULT: Win REMAINING: 16:38
A great flood is coming, and God said unto Noah, “You must gather two of each animal, divide them by the square route of pi and multiply by six.”
Noah’s Ark, the game, followed the same premise of the famed biblical tale of the same name. A great flood is on its way, destined to devastate the land as we know it. God himself has reached out to Noah, asking him to gather two of each type of clean animal – one male and one female in order to ensure their continued existence in the new world.
Salvation Room embraced that premise by crafting a game that follows a similar flow, and at the start it somewhat succeeds – at least until the waves of the great flood crash through the bow of the mighty ark sinking it forever into a sea of mathematical equations.
Noah’s Ark clearly had a modest scenic budget, but they did their best with it to create a mood that inspires the flavor of this timeless biblical tale. Much of the decor is brought to life through vinyl wallpaper graphics – on three walls featuring animals in an open field so as to imply they’re herding in with Noah, and on the fourth, the ark itself. The floor of the first room was a grassy textured AstroTurf to further the outdoor setting.
Once aboard Noah’s Ark, the vinyl motif continues, this time an implied board texture throughout the remaining two rooms, each of which have wooden looking floors littered with loose straw. The walls in both of the interior ark scenes are lined with half-constructed wooden pens intended for each animal species destined to be saved.
I found myself wishing Noah had invested a bit more in sandpaper, as the reclaimed wood – though scenically appropriate – in the real world left me with several fairly large splinters.
Noah’s Ark was intended to be Salvation Room’s more family-geared game – and for the first two thirds of it they essentially achieved that goal. Once gaining access onto the ark itself, players would assist Noah in physically gathering the animals outside and loading them into their correctly designated pens. As the bible instructs, only the clean animals were to be brought aboard, leaving behind more nefarious species like snakes – and as such, players were left determining the deservedness of each animal they encountered.
The animals themselves were of the plush variety – giving this game a very kid friendly appearance. Animals destined to be saved were marked with color coded tags (because escape game) while the lesser desirable species had no markings at all. Once on board the ship, each animal is placed in their similarly color coded pens (because escape game) which lead to the game’s greatest puzzle of all – securing each gate without filling your fingers with splinters. Clearly, I failed at that puzzle. For some reason, this activity was then repeated a second time following a note that told us “the animals don’t look comfortable,” causing us to move each species pair by pair from the first room to another set of color coded pens in the second. I suppose I must have missed that verse in the bible where the animals were dissatisfied with their accommodations and demanded a free upgrade.
Through this point of the game, I had an appreciation for its simplicity, understanding that I am clearly not its intended core demographic and recognized without question how appealing moving the dolls from pen to pen could be for younger kids. That all quickly changed when Noah revealed his true identity – not as a farmer but in fact as a evil math teacher – leading to the game’s heavily equation based, calculator free finale.
Salvation Room had an ok thing going with their early momentum in Noah’s Ark, but bizarrely chose to then take that very momentum and throw it overboard. We’ve harped on the many negatives that come from using math-based equations as “puzzles” in an entertainment rooted attraction – but it almost felt more out of place here than anywhere we’d seen.
Noah’s Ark was a game that tried to stay true to the actual biblical story, making players active participants, dropping them straight into the pages of the tale in a living, tangible way. How on earth does it become in any sense logical that the finale of this epic tale should involve solving math equations to gain a code to an exit door?
I can say without question that if I were an animal during the time of the great flood and Noah approached me offering, “God wants me to save you, so all that’s left for your species’ survival is your ability to successfully pass this math test.” – well, I think I’d take my chances in the water. After all, I’ve always been a pretty strong swimmer.
As a brand, Salvation Room offered something unique to the market that sadly just never managed to realize its true potential. We had the opportunity to meet the owners and speak with them at length during our visit and can honestly say they were warm, enthusiastic folks who wanted to try to grow their product into something of quality. Unfortunately the reality of just how many challenges await a new venue proved a bit too daunting for them, causing Salvation Room to permanently close shortly after they opened.
Venue: Salvation Room
Location: Commerce, California
Number of Games: 2
GAME SPECIFIC INFORMATION:
Duration: 60 minutes
Cost: This venue has permanently closed.
We thank Salvation Room for inviting us to play this game. Although complimentary admission was generously provided, that in no way impacts the opinion included within this review.