Returning to the scene – Bunker 38 @ Clue HQ Warrington

bunker38

Please note this review relates to a visit in December 2014.

After being wounded on their first go The Animals were keen to put things right and play again. And as Clue HQ were offering a Living Social discount for their other room, Bunker 38, and we’d enjoyed our first visit so much, it was an easy choice to make.

If you’ve not read my earlier review (but why not?) here’s a little bit about Clue HQ Warrington in general: There are free parking spaces right outside, or a bigger pay and display car park just down the street. Plus it’s almost underneath Warrington Central Train Station, so it’s a doddle to get to. They have a reception area with a toilet. It may seem funny to point it out but not everywhere does. All the staff I’ve met there have been lovely and I really enjoyed my first experience there in The Dungeon of Doom.

Bunker 38 is their first opened and theoretically easier room. I say “easier”, but the number of escapers compared to attempters, as recorded on their website (a nice touch I think), suggested it wouldn’t be easy. Another nice touch is the fact that the shape of the space they had available, under a railway arch, lends itself to the theme of the room. I’m sure that wasn’t a coincidence.

On arrival we were warmly welcomed again, briefed to make sure we knew the rules (and how padlocks worked), and then led into the game room to watch the introductory video:

After being locked in an underground bunker following a radiation leak, it’s now time to leave as you’ve limited oxygen left. Only 60 minutes of breathable air remains – will you escape in time?

Why the bunker was designed to run out of oxygen 60 minutes after it was safe to leave is never explained but that’s an article for another time.

The hallmarks of Clue HQ were evident again; nice set design, good mix of mental and tactile puzzles, and appropriate direction from the host (Jack). Another recurring feature, which I don’t think is a spoiler (but let me know if you disagree) is navigating your way through multiple doors to get to the exit rather than just turning around and leaving the way you entered. I like the way that a new room provides so much more to investigate rather than just opening another cupboard or encountering another puzzle.

On the slightly more negative side, one of the tasks didn’t work, and it was obvious that they’d tried to fix it before (unsuccessfully). And one lock had been removed due to it not working, leaving us with an answer to a puzzle that wasn’t required. These are easy fixes that I’m sure have been remedied since, but took a little of the sheen off our visit.

Despite that Bunker 38 was a very enjoyable room. It worked us right to the end; we escaped with just over a minute to go. It had both some original touches and clever twists on standard tropes. I’d recommend it to both experienced escapers and novices.

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