Fox in a Box Firenze: The Bunker [Review]

logo_big_fox_florenceLocation: Fox in a Box Firenze, Historical Centre, Florence, Italy

Date completed: March 2016 (2 players). Succeeded escaping!

Creativity: 8.5;  Difficulty: 8; Atmosphere: 8; Fun: 9

Requirements:

  • Basic English
  • 2-6 players
  • Acute senses
  • Basic Geography

Your situation in The Bunker is pretty grim: Evil Mr.Pig pressed the red button and a nuclear catastrophe is about to unravel! You have one hour to deactivate the missiles and save the world. To do that, you count on your team, your wits and on an incredible Nuclear Briefcase – but the thing is chained to a wall!

The first task is to find a way to unlock the briefcase. Once it is done, you have to carry it around to complete the deactivavtion process. The Nuclear Suitcase in The Bunker is one of the coolest props we’ve seen in a escape room. Basically, you carry half or your escape room with you all the time!

This room by Fox in a Box was thrilling, fun and a good surprise. I (Pá) usually do not have much interest for Cold War-like scenarios, but this one was so creative that I take my hat off! (Or should I say my helmet? :D)

While briefing us, our multilingual gamemaster Jerome had said The Bunker was very different from the room we had played previously at Fox in a Box Firenze, called The Bank. He also said many people considered it harder. We agree: The Bunker was harder, more demanding and more challenging. But it was also more fun!

First, you need very basic English to play this room. One puzzle is entirely in that language but it’s not like it’s riddle or anything like that. Second, it’s implied that you know basic Geography. If you are the type that mixes Austria with Australia, get your maps sorted beforehand!

MrPig
(Mr. Pig won’t make it easy for you!)

Puzzles are tiered in this room: you will do three or four tasks to unlock one, that will join another one and result in a final thing. A team of 3-4 with different skill sets will probably be the best combination here. Gather a good searcher and someone who is savvy with tools and you will have a good start!

The Bunker is very much what its name says: a small, full of equipment room where military plans are discussed. It’s very well decorated according to the theme and very prop-heavy. Every inch of it has something to be looked at, so be thorough and organized with your search!

The props, and especially the Nuclear Briefcase, are the stars of this escape room. Most details fits the theme without looking gimmicky. The case, once open, gives you a myriad of buttons, cables, connections and switches. People who understand basic electricity and circuits will have less trouble understanding what to do, but the steps to deactivate the bomb are either well explained or could be deciphered along the way. Just pay attention to what is needed and do not leave pieces behind when you move the case across the Deactivation Stations. There is so much stuff in this room that it will be hard to find little pieces again.

There is also a mechanical aspect that will force team members to communicate. It’s a clever idea, enhanced by some old-style machines that fit the theme perfectly.

The Bunker is fairly non-linear and some puzzles can be solved in creative ways. You will also find some traditional logic/association puzzles here, but they are usually part of something bigger.

We needed three hints to go through, and by the end of it our hearts were really accelerated. We got the final deactivation code with less than a minute to spare, and saved the world only 6 seconds before it exploded. Ppppfffttt, that was SO close! It was a very good room and we certainly felt like “Mission: Accomplished”!

The Bunker can also be played at Fox in a Box Nice, France. The folks from Escape Room Tourism tried both The Bunker and The Bank there. You can read the positive thoughts on their experience here.

Out of the room

Service: Our gamemaster Jerome was lovely and very enthusiastic about his job. He gave us good briefings in English  (we could have chosen among many other languages). The debriefings after the game were also thorough. He and his colleagues were very keen to talk about escape rooms and asked us about other rooms we had played in Italy and other countries. Very nice people.

There is a small reception area with a few seats. There are no lockers for personal belongings and you take your stuff into the room. Be careful of where you put them! I put mine under the “hint mail box” and one of the hints almost got lost inside my jacket!

Communication: You do not talk directly to the gamemaster during the game. If you need hints, you press a button on the wall and he will “post” a few pictures with image hints to a mailbox in the room. In exceptional cases, you will listen to him through the room sound system.

Surroundings: Fox in a Box Firenze is in Florence‘s historical centre, so there are many famous attractions to visit before/after your game. Jerome gave us an awesome recommendation for a restaurant located exactly across the road, Fuoco Matto, considered by many locals the best pizza in Florence. Have you ever lamented not having a second stomach? Everything we chose (appetizers, pizza, risotto, wine) was superb, to say the least. Do not miss this place. If it looks full when you arrive, don’t despair as the kitchen will prepare entrees and serve wine while you wait. You’ll have to pay for this of course however, it was so tasty and the restaurant charged pretty reasonable prices.

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