Da Vinci: The Secrets Beneath

by Break The Code

Legendary art collector and musician, Henry Brown has passed away and left his entire estate to his niece, Florence Brown. She has heard rumours that there are some secret rooms and halls within the mansion that could contain information about a mysterious society, but no one has ever been able to find any evidence of these secret rooms. She knew that her uncle was also an expert puzzle designer and is likely to have designed a series of cryptic puzzles that could lead to the information.

You are the master detectives, hired by Florence to find the secret chambers and retrieve the organisation's information before time runs out. Do not disappoint...

Break The Code website
Da Vinci: The Secrets Beneath

Review

August 2016 update: We were informed by Break The Code that they have now implemented a walkie-talkie system for hints, which obviously changes the hint experience quite a bit. Our original review for November 2015 remains, but it's great to see the room (and overall experience) evolving and improving!

Da Vinci has a time limit of 60 minutes. We didn't complete the room with three people, and one of our three hints. We knew what we had to do for one of the last puzzles, but couldn't pull it off!

We were a bit worried going into this, because from the brief pre-talk, we were told that we only had three hints and had to press a button to call someone if we wanted one. From past experience, we associate this with low-quality rooms and staff who don't really care.

But then we walked into the dimly-lit room decorated with some of Da Vinci's most famous paintings (they were the originals, right?) and atmospheric background sounds, and it turns out first impressions can be misleading. The theming throughout was excellent! We got off to a rocky start with the first puzzle, which we felt was too vague. Even if you worked out the (very) cryptic clue, the it could be used to interpret the solution in a number of ways. We used one of our hints here!

But the rest of the puzzles were much clearer, and working out the clues was challenging in a good, satsifying way. There were also some very unique locks that had nothing to do with number combinations or keys. All we'll say is that they were high-tech in a way that didn't seem high-tech, and they surprised and delighted us.

We especially loved one of the last puzzles, but this was what caused us to fail the room as we're totally tone deaf. The staff were excellent here, as they gave us a bit more time when they didn't see us emerge. Then when they came in to tell us we'd failed to escape, they helped us solve the puzzle we couldn't do and let us quickly solve the ones that remained.

We also appreciated how they asked for our feedback after we'd completed the room. Not because we're egotistic (okay, maybe just a little) but because it showed they're always working to improve and refine on their puzzles. And that's always going to hit our soft spots!

Hint system

Terrible. You're only allowed three hints, and to get a hint you have to press a button to call a staff member into the room. It really ruins the atmosphere. Not only does someone open the door and come into the room, you then have to explain what you're stuck on because the staff don't observe you.

Difficulty

Medium. There was a vague puzzle that could have been interpreted a few ways, but most of the puzzles could be worked out with some thought.

Skills

You better not be tone deaf (like us!)

What we liked

pyko: How to say this without spoiling anything? Can I say the high-tech nature of the puzzles and good use of technology?

lexi: Strangely enough, the puzzle we failed miserably because we're tone deaf. I'd never seen a puzzle like it before and it wasn't tech for the sake of tech, it felt natural that it'd be part of the room.

Visited on 13 Nov 2015 by pyko, lexi and friend

At a glance

A high-tech escape room with a wide variety of puzzles and locks, a number of which we'd never seen before. However, an otherwise excellent experience was let down by the hint system.

Recommended?

Yes

Pros

  • A wide range of puzzles and locks (some of which don't look like typical locks)
  • Incredibly high-tech puzzles
  • Multiple rooms to get through
  • Great atmosphere with sound effects
  • Staff asked for feedback after we completed the room

Cons

  • One vague puzzle, one requiring some trial and error
  • Limited to three hints
  • Staff do not observe you at all and must come in if you need assistance

You will like this if...

You love unique puzzles that unlock items as if by magic, and excellent theming and atmosphere.

You might not like this if...

You like having a personalised, fully immersive experience.

Recommended number

There's not many concurrent puzzles, so we wouldn't recommend more than four or you'll get in each others' way.