RATING: 5 Keys RESULT: Loss REMAINING: X:XX
Trapped in yet another Egyptian tomb – but this time, something is different; this time we LOVE IT!
When you booked your vacation to see the great pyramids, you thought it would be more interesting. But as your tour guide drones on and on about different types of ancient pottery and myths, you decide you could have much more fun if you were exploring on your own.
When no one is looking you quietly slip away from the group and make your way down a dark passage marked “Unmapped Area. Do Not Enter!”.
After a bit of exploring you walk into a small dark room and SUDDENLY a stone door closes behind you! You realize, all too late, that you are trapped! You look around the room and to your horror you see the remains of other “explorers” and realize that you have walked right into an ancient Egyptian trap! Can you uncover the mysteries of the pyramid and escape before time runs out? Or will this tomb become your final resting place?
Another Egyptian Tomb? Seriously? You probably have a preconceived idea of what you’ll see in Tomb of Anubis. Let me tell you – YOU ARE WRONG. I dare to say this is the most immersive tomb in the country. The mere scale of this room is staggering with surprises around every corner.
This is the closest you’ll get to being Dr. Jones – unless you’re reading this, Harrison Ford.
We start off in a tight and narrow confine. The walls are made of sandstone decorated with hieroglyphics, and there is intentional wear and discoloration – it convincingly looks a century old. The floor is covered in sand. TONS OF SAND. “We had to dump our shoes after the game” kind of sand. However, there are no shoe prints other than our own, so it’s apparent that the dead traveler on the floor has been dead for quite some time.
After we find our way through the initial room, there is the single largest reveal you may ever see. It was unexpected; it was jaw-dropping; it was AWESOME. We were so taken off guard. It felt like it took a full minute to digest what had just happened. It’s a spectacle worth seeing even if you lose the game right there and then.
The inner tomb was a much larger space than where we initially started. The room demanded exploration and for your group to split up. Just like the first area, the walls were made of a discolored sandstone. There wasn’t the shear amount of sand as the first room, but it still felt like no human had been in there for a long time – it felt dirty as a tomb should be. One wall was lined with several colorful vases. The largest showpiece of the inner tomb was the giant pharaoh statue. It was the single largest prop I have seen. As you can see, there is a motif in this tomb – make things of epic proportions.
The inner tomb grants access to several smaller side passages. Each of them has a new surprise, so I will spare you any spoilers. Let’s just say that I often yelled to my team “look at this!”. All of the smaller rooms had the same authenticity as the main larger tomb. No detail was forgotten. This is EXACTLY how Anubis would have wanted his tomb designed.
Once we made our way out of the inner tomb, there was a hallway with a cracked and jagged floor outfitted with Egyptian symbols. We could catch a glimpse of the (presumably) final tomb, but our game quite literally depended on every step we made through the hallway.
The final catacomb was just as grand as the ones before. The four corners of the room were held up by black and gold beams, and the centerpiece was the stone grave site of Anubis himself. As we looked up, we could see the night sky through a cutout in the ceiling. 13th Gate used superb lighting and special effects to give us sight of the world outside of the Tomb of Anubis.
Much like the massive scale of everything else in Tomb of Anubis, this is a puzzle heavy room. In Egyptian tomb fashion, there are your typical hieroglyphic deciphering puzzles. There are also several abstract and logic based puzzles. There is some light scavenging, but the focus is on puzzling and teamwork.
There are a couple journals you find on your journey. They contain diagrams and seemingly cryptic notes from other travelers who had failed to escape Tomb of Anubis. Every page in the journals reference a puzzle in the room, so it is necessary to read everything. This can pose problems with larger groups – it’s hard for more than two people to read the journal at a time. We had to pass around the journals several times during our adventure.
It is extremely necessary to split up in Tomb of Anubis. This is a difficult room with many puzzle paths. A group of six experienced players is almost necessary if you want to successfully escape. I’m glad to report that the difficulty is not artificial, either. Every puzzle was fair and made logical sense. However, the sheer volume and complexity of the puzzles is what made the Tomb of Anubis challenging. None of the puzzles felt out of place – they all made sense within the context of the story world. Several puzzles even seemed to get their inspiration from the Indiana Jones series.
The only flaw I could possibly find in Tomb of Anubis is the use of Escape Room Boss. You are given an iPad at the beginning of your journey, and if you need a hint, you scan a QR code found in the room. Automated clues also present the problem of not always being what you need at the time, or giving you something that you already know. However, there is always a game master who can offer more customized hints.
If you’re even a little bit a fan of haunted attractions, you have most likely come across the name 13th Gate. Simply put, their seasonal signature haunt, simply called The 13th Gate, constantly makes every short list of best in the nation. Those are big shoes to fill for their newer venture, 13th Gate Escape.
I’m often wary of rooms or companies that have lots of hype and positive reviews. I had to see Tomb of Anubis for myself. Let me tell you – the hype is REAL.
13th Gate has expert set designers. Words on a website simply cannot do the set design justice. The early game reveal is still the single most memorable escape room moment for me. I have tended to avoid other Egyptian-themed games ever since I’ve played Tomb of Anubis because I cannot imagine any of them ever coming close. This game is the benchmark.
Venue: 13th Gate Escape
Location: Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Number of Games: 5
GAME SPECIFIC INFORMATION:
Duration: 60 minutes
Capacity: 8 people
Group Type: Public / You may be paired with strangers.
Cost: $28 per person