Our first foray into the German escape game scene has us solving our way out of a post-apocalyptic vaulted bunker outside of Mainz.
Location: Mainz, Germany
Date played: October 15, 2015
Team size: 2-6; we recommend 3-5
Price: 33-20 € per ticket depending on team size
Theme & story
You’re locked away deep underground in a post-apocalyptic bunker. The bunker is beginning to fail, and you must escape to the surface and hope that the Earth will sustain you.
The setup is delightfully bleak.
The Vault itself has a gritty, dirty laboratory feel to it that isn’t quite horror, but it’s certainly flirting with horror.
The story unfolds in a historical manner. As you progress throughout the various puzzles, bits and pieces of exposition emerge. The story isn’t bad, but it feels bolted-on.
Julien, Exit Experience’s proprietor kindly translated his games into English for us. He did a near flawless job, and we’re so thankful that his efforts allowed us to experience an escape game in Germany during our visit to Mainz.
Now he has English versions of his games (and we helped make a few small but significant changes to his translation work).
Puzzles & challenge
This is a challenging room in large part because there’s a lot in it. There are quite a few interesting puzzles to solve, and The Vault really derives its challenge from volume.
Two puzzles stood out to me as especially clever. One was purely spacial. The other had this exceptional mix of spacial perception, pattern recognition, and a touch of arithmetic (order of operations is important, y’all).
There was one puzzle involving a laser pointer that had a really cool concept, but was way too difficult to execute. It ultimately burned off a ton of time and wasn’t much fun. We ended up performed a light brute-force on the lock to solve the thing.
And speaking of locks… There were a ton of them. And it turns out that the dials on combination locks in Germany have the numbers in reverse order compared to their American counterparts. Similarly door locks turn the other direction. This threw off the equilibrium off our game a lot more than one would guess.
If you have a car, Exit Experience is easy to get to… Taxi hopping tourists beware, it’s approximately 20 euros in each direction by taxi from downtown Mainz.
The folks from Exit Experience were kind enough to call a taxi for us at the end of the game.
Should I play Exit Experience’s The Vault?
When we travel outside of the United States it becomes especially challenging to write a fair review of an escape game. There are regional cultures to these games, and I cannot claim to have a thorough understanding of room escapes in Germany after playing two games produced by one company.
All of that being said, The Vault was fun. The room itself had a lot of personality, and there were a handful of standout puzzles. The story while interesting, felt tacked-on (and reading long passages while racing against a clock isn’t ideal), and a few of the puzzles fell flat, but overall, we had a great experience.
If I find myself in Mainz again, I’d absolutely let Exit Experience lock me up one more time.
Book your hour with Exit Experience’s The Vault, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.