Zombie Lab

by Fox in a Box Madrid

How much time do you actually need to escape from scary zombies and save the entire world: a day, or a week maybe? Not if you get your team and trust your intuition. You have exactly one hour to explore a science laboratory, use zombie supplies, break secret codes and find mixing ingredients that will save the planet from disaster. But don’t get tricked by the genius zombies and their excellent plan; when time expires you can easily become one of them.

From the Fox in a Box Madrid website
Zombie Lab

Review

Zombie Lab has a time limit of 60 minutes. We completed it in about 50 minutes with a group of four, and not too many hints. 

When we arrived, we were told that the group before was running over time, and asked to come back in 10 minutes so that group wouldn't spoil anything if they discussed the puzzles as they emerged. Not such a great start, but hey, we were in Madrid! So we waited around with pyko's sister's two friends who were joining us for the game and learned more about life from a local's perspective.

The pre-game briefing was quite long (a bit too long, we felt) but then we were led down the stairs to a very authentic-looking brick hallway that felt very much like an underground bunker. According to our host, it was all part of the original architecture too! We were given a short in-character introduction - everyone's turning into zombies, find the cure in the lab, we can only hold off the zombies for an hour - then were sent into the lab to save the world.

The atmosphere was fantastic. All the props were of high quality, and there was even a video feed to 'outside' where you could actually see zombies moving down the hall, being attacked, and increasing in number as time counted down. Background noises added to the immersion, and we wouldn't have been surprised (just terrified) if a zombie burst in through the door. But there was one point after we reached the second room where certain repetitive events simply for atmospheric purposes meant that we had to wait about 10 seconds each time before we could continue solving puzzles again. It was somewhat frustrating as this continued for the remainder of the game.

The puzzles fit perfectly into the room's theme. They worked well with the story, and the reason for completing the puzzles all made sense - as opposed to things being arbitrarily locked 'just because'. There were some nice 'ah-hah!' moments, and while we struggled with one or two puzzles that could be ambiguous, most of them were straightforward. 

The end-goal was also interesting, in that it wasn't to unlock the main door. But we won't say any more because of spoilers!

We did feel a number the hints came too soon. We didn't ask for them, but they were provided anyway, before we had a chance to really work through the puzzles in question. However, it was also a bit difficult to understand some of them (the language barrier?) which was a blessing in disguise as we could simply ignore them and continue puzzling as before. There were also times the game master didn't seem to understand what exactly we were having trouble with.

Overall it was a room we loved for the atmosphere and immersion more than the puzzles, and certainly one we'd recommend.

Hint system

The system itself was excellent - we were being observed the whole time by a dedicated game master. However, the experience was tarnished a bit because we got a lot of hints we didn't ask for or need. That could have been the language barrier, however!

Difficulty

Average. There are one or two layered puzzles.

Skills

Being able to add always helps! (We, uh, may have struggled a bit with this.)

What we liked

Realising that the 'outside' video feed kept changing as time passed. It was such a small thing but really added to the immersion of the room!
-lexi

One layered puzzle that also required teamwork. It brought together all the elements required for puzzle-solving so well!
-pyko

Visited on 18 Jun 2016 by pyko, lexi, friends

At a glance

A polished room with excellent theming and atmosphere, which sometimes got in the way of the puzzling.

Recommended?

Yes

Pros

  • Atmosphere, atmosphere, atmosphere. Wow.
  • Puzzles that fit perfectly with the theme

Cons

  • Atmosphere that can get in the way of puzzle solving
  • One or two ambiguous puzzles (language barrier?)
  • Too many unnecessary hints

You will like this if...

  • You love zombies
  • You want to be immersed in a doomsday scenario

You might not like this if...

  • You're easily scared
  • You don't like jump scares

Recommended number

Two to four people. There's a lot to search, explore and solve so you'd want at least two people. The puzzles are relatively linear so you wouldn't want more than four or some people might get bored.

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