Neverland: Aztec Catacomb

By | February 5, 2023

Budapest, Sep 2022

Rated between 3.5 and 4 out of 5
Toby says:

Neverland’s underground venue gives an otherworldly impression: it seemed like we’d found a whole complex of vividly coloured chambers, a sprawling space leading off to one escape room after another. They do indeed have an impressive number of escape games, but also a bar, a restaurant area and even a karaoke option. On another visit I might plan to spend time here before or after any games.
You’re entering ancient Aztec tombs in search of a magical healing crystal. This is the kind of game that proudly avoids any use of padlocks or numeric codes, has atmospherically dim lighting and a lot of touch sensors and other electronic mechanisms, with a linear sequence of tasks to solve. Each solution either activates the components for the next step, or releases something you need for it.
We got off to a bumpy start when the first puzzle didn’t seem to trigger for us – maybe we weren’t pushing quite hard enough to set off the mechanism. It went more smoothly thereafter, with the other main sticking point being due to the usual observation fail on our part.
I felt that Aztec Catacomb was a great example of the strengths and weaknesses of many self-consciously “third generation” escape rooms. The low-lit underground decor looked great, though the ancient stone walls felt a little flimsy to the touch. Puzzles involved interacting with the environment in a variety of ways, ranging from placing the right objects in the right places to finding the right set of things to touch or performing the right set of actions. At the same time, it was a somewhat arbitrary sequence of tasks which had little relation to each other, linked only by the theming.
The result would likely provide more of a wow factor for less experienced groups who might not have seen some of the clever mechanisms before. For us there wasn’t that novelty factor to spice it up, and meant I felt it needed more of a connecting structure or narrative. There was little wrong with any of the puzzles in themselves, it’s just that as an experience they didn’t add up to much more than the sum of those parts, which struck me as a missed opportunity for something much more memorable.
That said, it’s atmospheric and has plenty of nicely creative puzzles, and a less picky team could well be blown away by it; and despite the nitpicks I’d certainly return to play more at the venue. 4 / 5
Pris rated this:3.5 / 5

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