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Review: Shelter R

RATING: 5 Keys          RESULT: Win          REMAINING: 14:32

Everything I know is wrong, so now I’m just going to smash it all.


This bunker has been your world, it is all you’ve ever known, but now the thing that kept you alive is about to become your tomb. You are running out of oxygen and your only chance of survival is to break out.

Brooklyn Escape Room takes what is commonly an industry trope and turns it upside down, in a sort of “everything you know is wrong.” Sure – we’re in another bunker – but this time it’s not about stopping a bomb or seeking a protective hiding place from danger. This time, the bunker itself is the biggest danger to us!

As air quickly begins to run out, Shelter R’s aging control system is well beyond a state of disrepair. Once a technological wonder that guaranteed our safety, its faulty technology now works against us, sealing the doors so tightly that not only are we unable to get out, but fresh air cannot get in.

Every step along the journey through Shelter R is entirely story-driven and every action we take furthers that central narrative in such a way that it’s impossible to not become instantly immersed into its world.



Brooklyn Escape Rooms has a knack for surprising us with their scenic quality. From the moment we open Shelter R’s massive, heavy vault door, we become trapped in a sort of post-apocalyptic dream – or nightmare.

Every inch of the vault’s four rooms are severely aged to a rusted, grungy filth. Clearly this is a space that has not seen the light of day, or felt the kiss of fresh air for far longer than we’ll have left to survive inside it.

It’s a combination of a desperate hope for survival and leaking battery acid – making for a juxtaposition between the most extreme sides of optimism and pessimism.


In a sense, Shelter R has no puzzles – because nothing you’ll accomplish within it feels like a common game. Instead, every step you take feels like a last ditch effort at surviving in a world never meant to last as long as it has.

You’ll make use of tools and even weapons left behind – sometimes with their intended purpose and other instances very much improvised to meet your needs. You’ll rewire power controllers and short circuit systems to get what you need out of them – just as you’d be expected to do “if it were real” and you were left to your own desperation.

There’s a whole lot to love about Shelter R’s tasks, but perhaps what stands out most is the repeated realization that “everything you know is wrong.” Brooklyn Escape Room will repeatedly challenge the taboos and norms you would otherwise believe to be acceptable. On more than one occasion, Shelter R smashes pre-conceived notions of how an escape game should flow with a brute force of its own flavor that’s so refreshing it’s impossible to not stop and say “…wow!”

Get ready to make that oh-so-tantalizing statement, “I know what you want me to do, but I’m going to need to hear you tell me to do it,more than once.


Shelter R’s greatest strength, beyond its taboo-defying actions, of course, is its firm dedication to the storyworld. Every second of your time inside that bunker feels like a desperate rush to improvise within your stockpiled supply to save yourself by any means necessary. Each moment builds toward a narrative-resolving climatic finale wherein players will actually override their own security systems and – if they’re lucky – force a system shut down that will allow the door to open for them.

Brooklyn Escape Room truly impressed us with their first outing – an epic Medieval Dungeon full of unique, custom-crafted physical puzzles and some truly fantastic authentic stone scenic. At the time of our first visit, it was their only offering – yet it alone was enough to quickly skyrocket this venue among our highest recommendations in the saturated and extremely competitive New York City market.

Their new batch of games in The Haunted and Shelter R only further exhibits their continued evolution – maintaining everything that worked, like their dedication to story and high attention to scenic detail. Perhaps best of all, every single game feels different. There’s no cross-over between puzzles, and each theme is distinctly unique.

Passing through that giant keyhole quite literally unlocks multiple worlds of adventure the likes of which we rarely get to experience, yet so often seek.

Venue Details

Venue:  Brooklyn Escape Room

Location: Brooklyn, New York

Number of Games: 3


Duration: 60 minutes

Capacity: 8 people

Group Type: Public  / You may be paired with strangers.

Cost: $30 per person (weekdays), $35 per person (weekends) – Group discount available

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