Salzufler Unterwelt – The Hidden Chamber – Escape Room Bad Salzuflen
This review is also available in: Deutsch (German)
Bad Salzuflen / 2 – 6 Players / Price: 27.50€ – 45€ per Person / Rating: 9.6
Location: Bahnhofstraße 41 (Station building, entrance on the platform), 32105 Bad Salzuflen
Date of Play: 21.10.2021
We went to the Salzufler Unterwelten and searched for old, long-lost treasures in The Hidden Chamber. The provider advertises with the fact that The Hidden Chamber is from the creators of the award-winning The Room. Read here whether this expectation can keep up with reality and how we liked The Hidden Chamber.
The Salzufler Unterwelten are located directly in or rather below the train station building of Bad Salzuflen. A journey by train is therefore practical, but also the arrival by car is no problem. The health resort is only half an hour away from Bielefeld and can be reached via the A2. We were able to park directly on a Park & Ride – parking lot next door free of charge. If you also look closely at the homepage of the operators, you will find pictures at the bottom that visually describe the access to the location. We have not done that and due to lack of signage just took a little longer. On the station grounds, right next to the rails, we then found the way into the vaults.
The reception area is comparable to many other Escape Rooms and offers everything that is so common: drinks, storage space for things, as well as advertising and information material about the rooms. Salzufler Unterwelten currently offers two Escape Rooms – The Hidden Chamber and The Alchemist’s Workshop – as well as three Outdoor Adventures.
In an extra lounge with a cocktail bar the gamemaster told us to take a seat, because she wanted to prepare some things.
We were positively surprised when we were suddenly greeted by a completely different gamemaster in his role as excavation assistant, including costumes, and were led by him to the assignment. In the eyes of the gamemaster we were researching students and thus cheap labor and on behalf of Professor Berkemann. We received the briefing and equipment for our work assignment directly before the entrance to the catacombs in a game-owned briefing room. Our mission was to see if there were any valuable works of art and sculptures from times long past in the recently discovered vaults, and if a particular object could even be recovered.
The Hidden Chamber
An old masonry, a forgotten cellar, an abandoned platform: Perhaps one could have guessed that something hidden had been slumbering deep beneath the train station for decades. But it’s also possible that this precious secret has been closely guarded. There would certainly be good reasons for this: if the indications of the suspected treasure prove to be true, then history would have to be rewritten. And some museums around the world could mothball their “best” exhibits. Do you still want to try to uncover the secret of the hidden chambers? Then get ready for something. Because if you bravely dive into the catacombs of the train station, you will at times hardly believe your senses. And whether your courage will actually be rewarded is anything but certain.
Our expectations were admittedly pretty high if the creators of The Room were at work in creating it. After all, the themed Lost Treasure is one of our all-time favorite rooms.
And indeed, we’ve rarely experienced a more immersive room than this one. Because The Hidden Chamber does exactly what you would expect from good storytelling: using the given circumstances – a basement under a train station – to create a scenario that could actually happen like this in reality. The art that has been created here is not an art of spectacular, big sceneries or overwhelming details as you can find in The Room. Rather, it’s the art of using just the right level of detail, impressive objects, perfect timing and audiovisual background to make the players feel like they are part of a real adventure. The setting is coherent and doesn’t feel contrived.
A real amount of work goes into the atmosphere of the room, but that work is not visible. And that’s meant as a compliment. And the story is driven to its climax primarily by the use of background music and technology – which is only subconsciously perceived by the players – with a bombastic interlude just before the finale.
The number of puzzles in The Hidden Chamber is quite manageable. With large groups of players, this can lead to the fact that perhaps not everyone actively contributes to the solution of a puzzle. Nevertheless, no one stands bored in the corner, because on the one hand there is a lot to discover in the rooms, so that the exploration does not come up short. For another, some puzzles are cooperative and require more than one pair of eyes or hands.
The puzzles are primarily logical-cognitive, and feel like point-and-click adventure games. Each puzzle feels just right. A highlight for us was a creative, visual yet mechanical puzzle that sparked true joy in us when the solution to it was discovered.
The story was very successfully driven forward by the puzzles and were not just decorative accessories.
Our gamemaster was in his role all the time – from the moment of greeting, at the briefing and also within the game. The hinting during the game worked on several levels.
With the help of a prepared smartphone we were in contact with the professor, who gave us necessary hints about various artifacts in the room. Only with these obligatory clues we could progress further in the room
When we actually got stuck on a puzzle, there were initially recorded sounds to get us to the correct spot. Only as a second stage there was a direct communication with the gamemaster via the walkie-talkie, in which he brought us totally fitting in the context of the story back on the right track.
Even though many effects are triggered automatically, it depends on the perfect timing of the gamemaster in some places.
After the game there was a very detailed de-briefing which we would like to recommend to all players.
There are certainly other rooms in Germany that seem obviously larger and more opulent. But there I just also know that I’m standing in an Escape Room with a great backdrop, but where the sequences or incidents sometimes don’t make sense or seem contrived.
The Hidden Chamber the atmosphere is so real that you know where you are – under a train station – until the end, and yet we are in a real adventure that could happen just the same. There is a great attention to detail and also spectacular effects for the players. Time flies in this room and we wished we could have discovered even more in the vault.
The Hidden Chamber is absolutely doable for beginners due to the nature of the puzzles. But even frequent players will get their money’s worth here, if only because of the dense atmosphere.
For me, The Hidden Chamber is a hidden champion away from the big cities.