Back in August 2016, I visited a basement in downtown Pasadena, and was transported into a post-apocalyptic future where the world vandals run wild and escaping the bunker we were trapped within was our only hope. I’m of course talking about The Bunker Experience, a fun escape room experience that goes above and beyond the norm when trying to immerse you into their world.
This past weekend, I went BACK to The Bunker Experience, and was able to check out their newly revamped Chapter One AND their brand new Chapter Two: The Hive back to back…and let me tell you, did they up the ante!
To recap from the first time around, everything is “in-character” from the moment you step foot inside. One of the survivors opens the door to allow you in, ask you to sign the waiver (the only 4th wall breaking that occurs), and then, you are THRUST into the story. I do mean that literally, too. I said it before, but The Bunker Experience STILL has the best ‘opening sequences’ to any escape room I have ever been to. And then the game begins, and it is go time.
CHAPTER ONE – THE BUNKER
While three of our group of five did do Chapter One previously, it didn’t matter. The entire experience was re-done and new puzzles took over the entire room. In fact, the only thing that remained the same was the room itself.
I mentioned this in my first review, but it warrants saying again: one of the greatest strengths about the entire thing was the location itself. Lending itself naturally to the story line, The Bunker’s team wisely incorporated real world elements of the space into the room itself. And trust me, it’s to perfect effect.
The puzzles this time around seemed a bit harder, and it took all over our collective brain power to figure things out. This is not entirely a linear room, though it becomes one later on, but there is plenty for everyone to do and keep busy with as you work toward making your escape.
Of course, there is the constant threat of danger, as the vandals are making their way toward your location. If that isn’t enough, you may be startled a few times, as they make their presence known…
They also make use of an ingenious in-room hint system in case you get stuck. It’s clever, and it works for the theming quite well…and doesn’t outwardly throw the answer in your face. Instead, gentle nudges are applied to point you in the right direction of the solution.
However, the stakes are high, and even when you escape, you may be thrust right into…
CHAPTER TWO – THE HIVE
This is what I love about some escape rooms today with multiple rooms; they tell one, big story, and allow you to play them together, to help complete the tale. As soon as we escaped from The Bunker, we immediately ran into The Hive. The clock renewed, and we once again began our frantic journey to find the three items we needed and to escape.
Things are a little darker in the Hive, and I don’t mean the lighting itself. Instead, you are in the heart of madness here, and the full brutality of the outside world is on display. One wrong move can lead to your demise…that is, of course, if you don’t get out in time!
The Hive feels different from the Bunker in all the best ways possible. It continues the story in a logical manner, and ups the ante a bit in terms of the terror that is on its way. I really like how you not only have to find the way out, but you also have a bit of a quest during this chapter; find the items.
Though this one was noted to be the harder of the two rooms, to us, it almost felt a bit easier. However, I think we can chalk that up to the fact that we had to get into puzzle solving mode during Chapter One, and once we reached the Hive, our brains were going at full capacity.
That said, there is a very different breed of puzzles in The Hive, and they will definitely challenge even the best escape room fanatics. This in-room hint system, while different from the first, did come in handy toward the end when the final part had us scratching our heads.
However, we escaped before the time ran out (and in record time, too!), to make it safely back to civilization. And of course, the wonderful, ‘surprise’ ending is still intact, no matter if you do both games or just one.
The Bunker Experience is definitely a wonderful time, and one we highly recommend. Doing both rooms back to back definitely added to our anxiety and helped shape the overall story. If you have the time to spare, it is definitely recommended that you do the full experience. Kudos to The Bunker Experience time for creating such a fun, overall experience, and for keeping the story incredibly interesting.
For more information, and to buy tickets, visit them online at: http://www.thebunkerexperience.com/