RATING: 5 Keys RESULT: Win REMAINING: 19:55
Roomescape Los Angeles — the best place in town to stop Nuclear Armageddon.
This Cold War Bunker themed game takes a clichéd story objective in Escape Rooms and turns it into one of the most enjoyable diffuse the bomb / stop the missile style scenarios we have played. Roomescape Los Angeles, also known as Fox in A Box in other markets, accomplishes this by integrating the puzzles and activities of the game deeply within the story world. The primary thrust of the game is finding a type of nuclear football and then working through using it to stop a missile launch. This is done all in ways that adequately gamify the activity without entering into the territory of immersion breaking situations.
The storyline itself is limited, but a few in world documents and letters provide a bit of context to the scenario. The main strength of story really is in “player action as story.” What I mean by this is players often get the sense that their movements through the game are in line with could conceivably happen in this world and not just that they are simply in an escape room. The actions players take become a type of emergent story.
The game takes place across two fairly basic rooms with an adequate level of scenic decoration to support the theme of a bunker office. The main office room takes a more stylized approach to design instead of opting for a space that feels like a real bunker. The second space is more plain with a simple pass of a concrete-like scenic paint on the walls.
A few puzzles do well at integrating scenic pieces like phones, control panels, and the ever important suitcase. Using physical objects as gameplay elements as opposed to just working through pen and paper puzzles gives the game a more grounded feeling.
The gameplay experience and puzzles are where the Cold War Bunker shines. By far the most fun is had working with the nuclear football suitcase through different phases of missile disarmament. The process involves taking the suitcase to different stations and solving tasks with wires, switches, and knobs. Some of the best moments require teamwork to yell across the room or convey information that the other players can’t see from their vantage point.
Using a large physical object like this as a way to solve multiple puzzles using varied means is significantly more satisfying than working through a suite of different combination locks.
The game is on the easier side of the difficulty spectrum and would be a great game to use as an introduction to the genre for new players. It’s often on the short list of venues I recommend when players have never heard of escape rooms because of how good of a primer it is for all the core tenants of playing a game.
Roomescape Los Angeles and the Fox in a Box brand has made one of the best examples of a stop the missile game. Completing the physical tasks in the room like flipping switches and plugging wires inside the suitcase creates a fun experience for players that they won’t soon forget.
The staff at Roomescape Los Angeles is also among the friendliest we’ve encountered at any Escape Room venue. On both of our visits, they were excited and passionate while talking about Escape Rooms with us. They created the kind of environment in which one almost wouldn’t mind spending another five minutes waiting for the game to start.
Roomescape offers two identical Cold War Bunker rooms, so if you have an exceptionally large group, or want to do a team building exercise, you can book both rooms and compete head to head.
Location: Los Angeles, California
Number of Games: 6
GAME SPECIFIC INFORMATION:
Duration: 60 minutes
Capacity: 6 people
Group Type: Private / You will not be paired with strangers.
Cost: $99+ for 2-3 people (Price varies by group size, minimum 2)
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