After visiting Omega Mart three times last week I thought I’d provide a review that doesn’t really spoil anything. (But don’t worry, I’m saving those for a post in the future.)
What is Omega Mart?
Omega Mart is a new immersive experience from Meow Wolf, best known for The House of Eternal Return in Santa Fe.
This new story is framed by an allegedly normal American supermarket, Omega Mart. Just like your local Safeway, Kroger, or whatever the interior of Omega Mart has the same harsh lighting, the same metal shelves and price tags, and various sections like produce and dairy.
But just as the cheery jingle in some of their ads proclaim, “You have no idea what’s in store for you!”
Which is to say there’s a lot more to this exhibit than a supermarket. For one thing it’s a deeply weird supermarket. The products seem almost alien in nature. Oh and for some reason you’re invited to the employee training program.
And then there’s some sort of family drama going on behind the scenes. You need to explore and pay attention. At some point you need to make decisions about who you trust.
How do you get there? Taxis and ridesharing services are the best way to get to Area 15 and there are designated drop off and pick up zones. Limited parking is available on a first come basis. Unfortunately it’s not realistic to get there on public transit. Don’t consider walking there unless you’re staying on the same side of the freeway — it’s probably an okay walk from The Rio or Palace Station.
It’s strongly encouraged to buy tickets in advance. The center it’s located in is called Area 15, which may not let you in if you don’t have a ticket to Omega Mart or any of the other attractions in the building.
The entry requirements for Omega Mart forbid guns, knives, etc. and you will have to go through a metal detector and bag check on the way in. Larger bags have to be checked in for an additional fee.
Bathrooms, stairs, and the elevator are located to the left of the entrance. The staff will help guide you there if (or more likely when) you find yourself lost and need to pee.
With COVID-19 you must wear a mask at all times. Staff go around and disinfect spaces on a regular schedule so you may be asked to leave an area temporarily.
Although all the key areas of the exhibit are available to wheelchair users there are plenty of physically challenging passages that I feel fortunate enough to still be able to do at my age. The most uncomfortable ones were the slides. These are not well made slides, they’re fast and knock you around.
Also be aware that some areas have strobe lights, fog machines, and projection effects. There’s a lot that might give you a headache here if you’re not in the right frame of mind.
If you go to Omega Mart as a couple or small group (maybe four people max) you should stick together and use the same card. The card saves your progress in the story and you can access it anywhere on your phone by scanning the QR code on the front.
In theory the exhibit is all ages though I doubt the story would be relatable to anyone who’d never been a teenager. That said, most younger kids would probably lose interest by the time the more mature themes of the story appear. When I say mature themes I mean specifically: the story features elements of parental alienation, body image issues, and an implied “off camera” death. If you’re particularly sensitive to any of these issues at this time you may want to opt out.
There’s a bar located inside of Omega Mart. Where? You’ll have to find it on your own. For those who enjoy cocktails and don’t mind spending a little extra, I recommend ordering The Source.
Professional recording equipment is not allowed in Omega Mart but you’re encouraged to take photos and videos with your phone and share your experiences online.
I recommend booking tickets early in the day to beat the crowds if possible.
For me these strange new immersive worlds are nothing new — they are the very reason I started this blog to begin with.
What sets Omega Mart apart for me was how well put together and contained it all is. The more I looked around and explored the more the story slowly unfolded itself. There were plenty of hidden clues I walked right past the first time — or a dozen times — before I realized there was something I could interact with.
I went on three separate days during my time in Las Vegas though I could have finished all the stories in two if I’d pushed myself more. Personally I enjoyed spending my time there. By the end of my visit I kept finding myself eager to help out others who were confused or frustrated.
However there’s one very big caveat: as of October 2021 part of the story is unfinished. There’s a way to get notified when it becomes available. As a completionist type this bothers me more than it should.
My recommendation: Omega Mart is an exemplary work of immersive storytelling within a large physical space. Although it’s not yet complete there’s already many hours of entertainment. Still, I understand some might want to wait until the last mission is built out.