By Jackie Gonzales
A timer counts down as you fumble with a lock and you can only think that you must escape, and do it now. This is the thrill of the increasingly popular Escape Rooms.
The concept is simple; you are locked in a room with only the knowledge that you have a set amount of time in which to escape. You must search the room for clues, codes and other puzzle elements, all the while keeping your wits about you as the anxiety of your limited time builds. This rising business is beginning to find its way into more and more cities, offering players unique experiences that challenge their intellect and composure. Upon first hearing of Escape Rooms, I knew immediately that I wanted to visit the closest one to me. Luckily, I found The Bunker Experience in downtown Pasadena.
Located in the heart of Pasadena, this escape room has taken full advantage of the old bank building it is located in. While participating, I managed to step back from the thrill of the game and appreciate the creativity with which the Bunker Team has incorporated their location into the design of their experience. Old safe doors and exposed piping contribute to the entire experience. From the very beginning, it is clear that this team has created something unique, and is whole heartedly committed to the execution of an all-around entertaining challenge.
Any attempt of either of The Bunker Experience’s two rooms begins with the building of anticipation. Participants must wait outside for two actors to come retrieve them and begin their quest. Once the obligatory waivers are signed the game begins and the team of actors makes it a truly enjoyable time. The entire facility is themed and built around a storyline years in the future in which nuclear fallout has occurred.
The first of two rooms task players with finding a map and escaping before their time limit in order to warn the primary group of survivors of a coming threat. Without revealing any important details of the puzzles themselves, I can say that I felt a good balance of challenge and satisfaction as our group (made up of myself, four friends, and two others) managed to complete the room with little time to spare.
I found the best quality of the Bunker Experience to be the creativity and commitment by the entire cast to create something unique. By adding just enough scare factor to increase the anxiety created by the time constraint, this Escape Room taps into what is creating all of the buzz and success in this up and coming business. Escape Rooms provide their creators a unique opportunity to give players the ability to enjoy situations that they would never find themselves in. Whether it is a post-apocalyptic bunker safe house, a jail cell, or a haunted house, the combination of heart pumping anxiety and brain teasing puzzles that drive Escape Rooms, is driving new players every day.