Escape Experience Chattanooga -The Bunker [Hivemind Review]

The Bunker is a livestream adaptation of a real-life escape game created by Escape Experience Chattanooga in Chattanooga, TN.

DOS-screen for MAD-LOW, "Mutually Assured Destruction - Launch On Warning" software.

Format

Style of Play: livestream adaptation of a real-life escape room

Required Equipment: computer with an internet connection

Having more than one screen is highly recommended. There are many items in play at any time, and you will need to have 10 or more browser tabs open for objects, plus tabs for 360-degree views of the rooms.

Recommended Team Size: 2-4

Play Time: 60 minutes

Price: starting at $25; but resulting in $43 per person for a private group of 4 players

Booking: book online for a specific time slot

Description

This is a livestream of an avatar who explores a physical escape room on your behalf. You have access to the avatar’s first-person view of the room. As the avatar finds inventory items, locks, new rooms, or even videos, they “scan” the object. This creates a link in the chat window of the video call. Each link launches a new tab in your web browser that contains the scanned item. A large part of this game is effectively managing your browser tabs.

Walls of stone and steel in a bunker.

Hivemind Review Scale

REA's hivemind review scale - 3 is recommended anytime, 2 recommended in quarantine, 1 is not recommended.

Read more about our new Hivemind Review format.

Andrew Reynolds’ Reaction

Rating: 2 out of 3.

The Bunker was the most frenetic avatar game I have played during the quarantine. There was a constant stream of collectibles and puzzles for our team to find and solve. The chat room quickly filled up with links to documents and images that had to be opened, read through, and worked on. Managing the browser tabs that these opened up in became a task unto itself. Because of the sheer amount of information, this game is a bit of a rarity among avatar-led games in that you likely won’t be part of every puzzle because at some point you’ll be sorting through discovered information rather than seeing what is new. This level of information to dig through would be easier to contend with in person.

Header for a memo from the Secretary of the Air Force.

Brett Kuehner’s Reaction

Rating: 2 out of 3.
  • + Great-looking sets and large game space
  • +High-resolution 360-degree photos of each area were a big help in knowing what instructions to give the avatar
  • + Fun “scanning” mechanism to give an in-story justification for the avatar sending us photo links to the objects
  • + Massive number of items that were “scanned” made it possible to solve in parallel, unlike most remote games
  • + Separate gamemaster and in-room avatar helped keep the game flowing despite having so many items to manage
  • + Good quantity and variety of puzzles
  • – Even with all the positives, gameplay may not be worth the cost ($43 per person for a group of 4)

Sarah Mendez’s Reaction

Rating: 1 out of 3.

This room would be awesome for in-person play. It’s huge, allowing for effective parallel exploration and puzzling… in person. However, a room of this scale demands strategic organization and communication, and the mechanisms provided for remote play are sadly insufficient. Lacking a centralized inventory system, each player must manage dozens of browser tabs, making it entirely too easy to become disoriented. It’s also difficult to communicate, as the audio is often occupied with in-room sound effects or the avatar’s necessarily copious descriptions. We had fun, but the logistical overhead is stressful enough to prevent me from recommending this experience broadly.

A metal desk in a nuclear bunker.

Crystal F’s Reaction

Rating: 2 out of 3.

The Bunker was a fairly standard escape room with a large amount of puzzles. We were provided with scans of each puzzle which quickly became an overwhelming amount of information to go through. I often found myself lost in the sheer amount of information to parse. There were a few moments in the game that I wish I had been there for in person, but even over video, Escape Experience Chattanooga provided a sense of immersion that added to the overall story. I particularly enjoyed the banter and immersion that the live gamemaster provided. However, the video feed could have been a lot clearer. The Bunker was enjoyable enough but the price was quite steep, even if it had been in person.

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