Mining site meets post-apocalyptic bunker.
- Website: Level 1 Escape
Address: 517 16 Ave NE, Calgary, AB T2E 1K5
- Private Booking: Yes
- Price: $29.95 per person
- Duration: 60 minutes
- Linearity: Linear
- Group size: #small
- Player Level: #competent
- Premise: “Economic powers began to invade rival nations to obtain the last of the precious natural resources. This resulted in a world war which lead to the use of nuclear powered weapons which devastated the world, turning it into a desolated, radioactive wasteland. Knowing that conflict was inevitable, the government and rich entrepreneurs formed secret high tech bunkers which only a selected few were allowed. These bunkers were humanities last hope in preventing extinction.”
Ben goes over service pretty succinctly below.
We had to wait quite a while to get into our room. Once in though, we had a very friendly game master who gave us the intro spiel enthusiastically. After we got out, we were asking another staff member some questions about the story behind the room, and we were getting some pretty vague answers, which made me think that they weren’t completely sure of the story themselves.
This room was a marriage of no-tech and high-tech puzzles. The no-tech part were your run-of-the-mill escape room visual, logical, and searching puzzles.
The main room had the high-tech stuff which was all set up in conjunction with and anchored by a computer with nostalgic pre-Internet programming. I’m usually averse to rooms that take advantage of computers like this frankly because I don’t know how to use them. In this case, maneuvering through a desktop with nothing but black screen and ominous white letters was straightforward enough. It allowed us to keep track of our puzzle progression and organized our thoughts.
Individually, the puzzles were fairly clued and were straightforward. There was one portion that involved a blacklight that didn’t work super great (we didn’t really need the blacklight), and we were also able to bypass a puzzle, which made the last part of the room a bit confusing since we weren’t sure if we needed whatever was in the compartment we hadn’t opened yet.
The visual choices for this room were consistent with other Level 1 rooms–bare concrete walls, dark neutral color scheming, and unassuming pieces of furniture. However the end-result was less apocalyptic and resembled more of a mining site.
Like Mr. P, I also thought that The Vault resembled a mining site more than a post-apocalyptic bunker. I think the shabbiness of the technology inside gave it lots of character though – it tells a story of a bunker constructed urgently and in haste.
This room being behind the front desk was unfortunate. We were able to hear customers coming in and out and chattering in the lobby which is one of my personal pet peeves. Thankfully the further we progressed in the room, the fainter the outside voices became.
Despite this shortcoming, I felt a certain sense of isolation (and even claustrophobia) in the room.
I’m not sure why, but we moved fairly slowly in this room. I did appreciate how this room played with lighting, both as part of the atmosphere, and as feedback for puzzle-solving.
Surprisingly this theme hasn’t been done before in the Calgary or Edmonton area. The consistency was strong in terms of reinforcing the post-apocalyptic theme. Where it fell short was the lack of substantial backstory to set the foundation for the experience.
This theme is definitely underexplored in the Edmonton and Calgary areas, so it was a breath of fresh air to do The Vault. It’s also based on Fallout, so this might be a fun room to do if you’re a fan of the series.
There’s one strange part of the room that doesn’t make a lot of sense story-wise. We asked about it at the end, and it turns out that they changed the story of the room, but there are still some remnants of the previous story in the room itself, which made the whole backstory a little bit muddled.
This room gets a #gold. Level 1 is consistent with delivering enjoyable and straightforward rooms. This one is no exception.
I give this room a #gold. If you’re a Fallout fan, this might be an interesting room to do!
- Completed: November 2016
- Escaped: Yes (2 people)
- Our Time: 0:36 (/1:00)
- # of hints used: 2