In A Box 3 – “Chernobyl – Hidden Depths”

You know it’s not real. 

Seconds ago that grating underneath your feet, showing an elevator shaft disappearing into the earth farther than you can see, was the grey floor of a converted factory in rejuvinated Digbeth. But then the VR headset that’s been strapped onto you gets switched on and you look down.

You know it’s not real. 

But it doesn’t matter, that wave of vertigo still kicks in, sending your stomach to your throat as you start to plummet towards the bottom. The rumbling you can feel is coming from powerful subwoofers, but your brain is still fighting against its instincts to fly or fight, throwing an abundance of adrenaline into your system.

You know it’s not real.

And therein lies the brilliance of In a Box 3; its ability to suspend your disbelief just enough that it immerses you completely in the world around you. On what was about the seventh or eighth time I caught myself trying to step over a gap that wasn’t there, or to move around debris which didn’t exist, I had to stop for about a minute while I laughed and swore to myself in equal measure.

Presenting itself as a VR Experience, In a Box 3 is essentially a technologically advanced Escape Room, inviting players to travel back to the Chernobyl Disaster. On a mission for the mysterious UMBRA Partnership, it’s your job, in teams of two to four players, to complete the puzzles placed before you, working your way through the stricken station, collecting valuable datapads along the way.

VR technology has jumped forward leaps and bounds in the past few years and this is such a wonderful showcase for it. The world around you is transformed into a disaster zone. Structures fall around you, fires roar from all sides (with you feeling the heat thanks to the implementation of 4D technology), and the impending danger is ever present in everything you see. 

Showcasing an impressive understanding of how to harness the technology on hand, the utitlisation of story, something more difficult to achieve in a classic Escape Room, is very well handled. With a continuing presence in the form of your mission director and a story which evolves with what you see happening around you, it takes on the feel of a very well made video game, just one that you’ve been dropped physically into the middle of. 

It would have been easy to misjudge the script or performance. Something too serious and it wouldn’t mesh well with the fun you’re supposed to be having. Something too camp and it runs the risk of taking away that edge of tenson of which it seemed to rely on to be most effective. As it is, they walk the line between the two very well, helping to creative a particularly Hollywood spectacle sensation. If there is criticism to be made, they’re mostly centred on the difficulty of the puzzles. With no set time limit (if teams are struggling hints are relayed to a virtual communicator you keep on your left wrist) it means the puzzles have to be kept simple enough to keep people moving through the game. I experienced this as part of a team of two and we found the solution of the majority of the puzzles pretty quickly; most of the time spent was on us working through the mechanics of VR.

With that in mind, to get the most out of In a Box 3, where possible I’d suggest teams of four. The added complications of more players, moving round each other, exploring each room to the fullest, would be best enjoyed by a larger group. Not only will the practical application of of the puzzles mean more time is taken, trust me when I say you want to see as many of your friends as biohazard suit laden scientists as you possibly can.

Covered in striking art inside and out – with one wall outside a love letter to the outstanding Cuphead, a well stocked bar, attentive and friendly staff, and a fantastically fun experience which wears its Hollywood and gaming influences on it sleeve, In a Box 3 comes highly recommended.

You can book your visit to In A Box 3 now via their website: and also follow them on all the usual social media platforms

Article by guest writer John-Paul Kesseler who took on the challenge for us.

Our visit was provided free of charge as part of a preview week by The Relationship, however all views are our own. You can read our reciprocity promise here:

About outinbrum

Find out where to eat, drink, and be merry in Brum.
This entry was posted in Area: Digbeth, birmingham review, Uncategorized, Venue type: Entertainment. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to In A Box 3 – “Chernobyl – Hidden Depths”

  1. keithbracey says:

    BrummaGEM of a #BrumisBrill idea for a VR experience in #Birmingham in @Digbethisgood

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