RUSH Escape Game: Da Vinci Down Under [Review]

Rush Escape Game - Escape Room in MelbourneLocation: RUSH Escape Game, South Yarra, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

Date completed: November 2015 (2 players). Succeeded escaping!

Creativity: 8.5; Difficulty: 7Atmosphere: 8.5; Fun: 9

Requirements:

  • Fluent English
  • 2-6 players

Da Vinci Down Under is RUSH’s thrilling Dan Brown-esque escape room where players have one hour to find a secret map that ‘reveals the locations of Da Vinci’s never before seen inventions’. Trouble is, the secret society that has protected this map are a rather enigmatic lot and there is a supervillain of some sort also after this key prize.

Despite the proliferation of escape rooms in this genre, Da Vinci Down Under was one of the more beautiful and memorable escape rooms we have ever played. Read more below to find out why!

To begin with, two of the main strengths of RUSH are attention to detail and craftsmanship. In Da Vinci Down Under, players enter a vintage study, suitably decorated with works of the great master. The decor is elegant and players are made to feel Mona_Lisa,_by_Leonardo_da_Vincilike they have stepped into a room in the investigative phase of movies such as Da Vinci Code, National Treasure or The Ninth Gate. The music also contributes greatly to this setting and starts slowly but gradually ramps up to generate momentum in the game.

Also contributing to the sense of immersion are the puzzles which use simple technology that works and fit the story. Leonardo’s inventions inspire many props, that pose creative tasks for players.

Some parts of puzzles are cryptically dispersed throughout Da Vinci Down Under, visible from the start. After a detailed search of the room, the amount of future puzzles we would have to solve quickly mounted up.

It was interesting to find a broad mix of puzzles in this room which ranged from puzzles that pay tribute to mathematicians of old, puzzles which combine observation with spatial reasoning, others which require interpretation of artistic works or some which require players to use different perspectives. Even ancient encryption methods got a workout here. Then there were other times when the game designers had fun with the tendency of players to over complicate things. A diverse team will perform better in this room than a group of people that think alike.

The_Lady_with_an_ErmineOn another note,  it was very nice to see that the theme  of the room was not just for atmosphere and was very well incorporated into some of the puzzles. People actually familiar with the works of Da Vinci will have an easier time of a particular part of the game but this knowledge is by no means a requirement to go in.

Have we said how beautiful the setting is? We have, but Pa was having little jumps of happiness every now and then, recognizing some of her favourite pieces of art. There is a nice large replica of “The Lady with the Ermine” in the room, among many others. Art-lovers might have to remain focused and not spend time just drooling over the decoration. 🙂 On a funny note, the Mona Lisa in this room is way bigger than the original, located in the Louvre Museum.

The layout of this game is quite simple and is fairly different from what most escape room veterans would expect. Furthermore, the flow of the game is quite smooth and can be non-linear. Although there was an option to solve a deliberately obvious puzzle to start the game, we became immersed in the setting and took a slightly more difficult detour that still got us through some challenges before we were ‘back on track’.

Given the space and the amount of puzzles present in the room, we recommend teams of up to 5 players before it would potentially start feeling crowded.

Out of the room

Service: The staff at RUSH were friendly and approachable. We had a good chat with them after our games there and they were also very enthusiastic about escape rooms. Aaron and Chloe gave us pretty solid recommendations of which venues to go to and which ones to avoid.

Communication: Walkie talkies are used and the staff at RUSH paid very close attention to our progress. They communicated with us when we were stuck and were not nosy or intrusive in the way they went about it.

Surroundings: RUSH is quite close to tram stops at South Yarra and is easy to get to. The surrounding area has good cafes and a tasty 1950’s style burger joint which the staff recommended (and which we found served pretty good burgers).

Da Vinci Down Under is a popular escape room that has been reviewed extensively. We’ve yet to see anything bad written about it and understandably so. Bottom line, this room is easily within our top five so far. For other reviews of this room, check out Escape Rooms in MelbourneEscape Room Hunters and Room Escape Artist.

This escape room can also be played in Canberra at Expedition Escape Rooms, where it is known as Da Vinci’s Secrets. Read our review of that room here.

Rush - da vinci

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