Room Review: The Countess of Petrinjska Street @ ExitGames

***Recommended***

Where: Petrinjska ulica 7 (near Ban Jelačić Square), Zagreb

Website: https://www.exitgames.hr

Contactinfo@exitgames.hr 

How Much?: From 350k – 500k, depending on team size

How Many?: 2-7 players. I think you need at least 4. This room was absolutely chock-full of puzzles!

Difficulty: Intermediate 

First-Timer Friendly?: Yes, with a group of at least 4 

Kid Friendly?: Yes (but the room is a little creepy)

How we did: Completed September 2019. Team of 5. Success!

Required: Games available in Croatian and English  

Brief: 

Will you solve the mystery or will you become just another victim or her evil ways? Authentic setting creates a very distinct atmosphere that will take you on an emotional ride. Unleash your inner detective and follow the clues to reach a shocking conclusion.
Choose this ExitGames adventure if you want to find out more about local tales and history since it was inspired by the Croatian’s very first murder mystery novel.

The Experience: 

Having enjoyed the Nikola Tesla Legacy at ExitGames, we decided to return for another historically-inspired story – this one inspired by a murder mystery novel. 

We had a full contingent for this room – Meema, the Mechanic, myself and the two flowerchildren, who had been bugging us to do a room ever since we arrived in Zagreb! 

We did our briefing, paid our money and got into the room. The first room was furnished as a nursery. We’d been advised that this room was child-friendly, but be warned, it has an ominous feel and lots of creepy dolls. My two were okay in the ‘doll-house’ themed room, but the darker, parlour-room scared them. (Both are under 10, so older children would do okay). There are no jump scares in these rooms. 

The room was full – and I mean full – of puzzles and we needed all hands on deck. Even the kids had plenty to do, and we utilised them in the first room especially with some busy work to get to an answer. It felt like there was just lock after lock, but it was really satisfying to see them all come off! 

The second room had some more complex puzzles, physical puzzles, and one particularly difficult puzzle that had us stumped until the Games Master helped us (and was then obvious!). You really need to work together, especially in the second room. There was one point where we’d all found different puzzles and were yelling them out, but no one was working together. 

We finished the room and had the final reveal with a few minutes to spare.

ExitGames logo

 Location / Outside the Room 

ExitGames is located in a block of apartments not far from the main square of Zagreb. The Games Master was enthusiastic and friendly.

Overall Verdict

This room was fun, but very creepy with a LOT of puzzles. It would be an awesome room for a large group as there is just so much to do. Enjoyable room. You can read my review of one of ExitGames’ other rooms, Tesla’s Legacy, here.

Room Review: Tesla’s Legacy @ExitGames

***Recommended***

Where: Petrinjska ulica 7 (near Ban Jelačić Square), Zagreb

Website: https://www.exitgames.hr

Contactinfo@exitgames.hr 

How Much?: From 350k – 500k, depending on team size

How Many?: 2-7 players. I think you need at least 3. There are a lot of puzzles in ExitGames rooms!

Difficulty: Intermediate 

First-Timer Friendly?: Yes, if you have a group

Kid Friendly?: Yes 

How we did: Completed September 2019. Team of 3. Success!

Required: Games available in Croatian and English   

Brief: 

Don’t worry, you are not alone. You have one of the greatest minds in history on your side, Nikola Tesla. Tesla’s legacy adventure offers a rich setting intertwined with specially designed puzzles submerging you into a wondrous world of fascinating mechanical devices. Strange noises and lights, weird contraptions and fun gadgets will both guide and distract you on your way to becoming a hero.
Choose this ExitGames adventure if you want to learn about one of history’s most fascinating minds and uncover some of his secrets that enabled him to invent machines light years ahead of his time and literally bring light to the world.

The Experience: 

Mention of Nikola Tesla is everywhere in Croatia, so it makes sense to have a historically-themed Nikola Tesla room in Zagreb. I do enjoy historical rooms and was keen to check this one out. 

For this room we brought The Mechanic as well as Meema as the price was the same for 2 or 3 people and we felt we could use the extra brain-power. We’re glad we did. This room was chock-full of puzzles and we were flat out solving puzzles for the whole hour! 

We were greeted by our Games Master, who showed us to our room and got us started after the usual briefing and video. The room had some very lovely bespoke puzzles and some antiques, which we were asked to take care of as we played. Unfortunately, the group before us started very late, and with only one Games Master, our Games Master wasn’t available early on, leading to us wasting a lot of time with a very touchy antique machine (we probably spent 20 minutes on it easily with the correct answer). A quick hint from the Games Master, and we solved it in 20 seconds. 

Everything else went pretty smoothly – puzzles were clever and required logical and lateral thinking and dexterity. Some puzzles dared you to try them, even though they seemed impossible (without the right piece). There were some good physical puzzles and more high-tech ones along with the usual lock-and-keys. 

The rooms were well detailed, with lots of lovely touches. We got out with a few minutes to spare! 

Exit Games Logo

Location / Outside the Room 

ExitGames is located in a block of apartments not far from the main square of Zagreb. The Games Master was enthusiastic and friendly.

Overall Verdict

This room was a lot of fun with some gorgeous, bespoke puzzles that really made it feel historical. There were plenty of puzzles to keep us entertained – an enjoyable room.  

Room Review: Robin Hood @ Escape Art

***Highly Recommended***

Where: Draškovićeva 53, 2nd floor (next to the Branimir Centre Entrance) 

Website: https://escapeart.hr

Contact: info@escapeart.hr

How Much?: From 300k – 550k, depending on team size and room played

How Many?: 2-6 players. Good sized rooms and enough puzzles for 4. 

Difficulty: 3.5/5 stars – intermediate 

First-Timer Friendly?: Yes. 

Kid Friendly?: Yes! . 

How we did: Completed September 2019. Team of 2. Success!

Required: Clues are in English and Croatian. At least one team member with physical co-ordination! (although the Games Master can step in to help if you require) 

Brief: 

The crown is stolen!

This is not the case of whodunit, because we already know who to blame for this – those two little weasels, Prince John and his shifty pal, Sheriff of Nottingham. Rumor has it that the crown is hidden somewhere in Sheriff’s office. Unfortunately, Robin is not in town at the moment, so it is up to you, his band of Merry Men, to fight this fight and make things right.
Luckily for you, those two are hungry little bastards, and they went out to the nearest tavern for lunch, to celebrate. But they’ll be back in 60 minutes! Get your detective cape on and jump into this window of opportunity! 

Find the crown, save the kingdom! No pressure.

The Experience: 

When I saw that Escape Art had a Robin Hood / medieval themed room, I immediately put it to the top of my list. I’ve never done a medieval-themed room, and boy, it was just what I needed in my life! I have to start by saying this room was stunningly decorated and so immersive. Wood-panelling lined the walls. There were beautiful lock-boxes and beer mugs and metal helms and a beautiful candelabra. The spears on the walls were removable, and I think I just carried one around for ten minutes because I could. Everything felt so fitting for the space. Instead of a digital timer, they gave us an hour glass. It was a lovely touch. 

The puzzles were also first rate. Many of the clues were little riddles that you had to solve, which I just found delightful. There were plenty of physical puzzles too. One which involved a famous piece of Robin Hood’s equipment was particularly fun! I think we got stuck twice but a quick hint from our Games Master got us right back on track. We solved the room with a few minutes to spare. 

Location / Outside the Room 

ClueGo is located on the second floor, just outside Branimir Centre. After our game, were able to go downstairs for a post-game beer. The Games Master was really lovely, talkative, warm and friendly. The reception area was cozy. 

Overall Verdict

For wow factor of thematics, this was my favourite room to date. I need more medieval themed rooms in my life! It was just so well put together and so much fun, I would almost go and do this room again just to experience it over again! Cannot recommend enough! 

Room Review: Mona Lisa Heist @ ClueGo

***Highly Recommended***

Where: Ul. kneza Borne 12, Zagreb (behind Hotel Sheraton), Croatia 

Website: https://www.cluego.eu/

Contact: +385 99 4563 099

How Much?: From 300k – 550k, depending on team size 

How Many?: 2-6 players. Very spacious rooms with plenty of room for a large group. 

Difficulty: Intermediate 

First-Timer Friendly?: Yes, but perhaps difficult for a first time. 

Kid Friendly?: Yes, so long as your children aren’t afraid of the dark. 

How we did: Completed September 2019. Team of 2. Success!

Required: Basic Maths and English 

Brief: 

Are you clever and brave enough to break into the gallery in the middle of the night and steal the famous Mona Lisa? 

The Experience: 

Meema and I chose ClueGo for our second room in Zagreb as we really liked that this room is 75-minutes, instead of the usual 60. That extra 15 minutes felt like it would make all the difference! We chose Mona Lisa Heist as it was the one that looked the most fun. 

We were greeted by our Games Master, who was also one of the two owners of ClueGo. It is always really lovely to meet the masterminds behind the games. 

While we waited, we watched a pre-recorded video of people inside the room we were going to enter (no spoilers!). It was funny to watch people wander around in the dark, knowing that would be us soon!

After our initial briefing, we were advised that Mona Lisa Heist would be completed in darkness with only our torches to guide us. I was a bit hesitant at first – I’ve had bad experiences with dimly lit rooms, where it seems like lazy game development to slow people down with unnecessarily dim light, but in this game it made perfect sense and added to the atmosphere. You are, after all, breaking into a museum in the middle of the night! To aid us, we were given head torches, rather than handheld, and a bag of extra torches in case the batteries ran out (an excellent touch as there’s nothing that spoils your game more than the games master having to enter the room to change your batteries!) 

ClueGo utilizes ‘Voice of God’ and full cameras, so the games master can always see what you’re doing. 

The first few minutes inside the room were chaos as we tried to get our bearings and search for our first clue. We looked everywhere and found it in the last possible place. This pretty much summed my experience of the room – it was so well designed with such lovely elements, but I could never quite see the answer to the puzzle. Luckily for me, Meema blitzed this room and pretty much solved everything! Mostly lock and key puzzles. There was one puzzle in the second room we just couldn’t solve, but it was only a matter of thinking a little more laterally. There was also added pressure by that stage as we could hear the police sirens and radio chatter growing ever louder as our time neared its end!

We finished the room and escaped with our precious artwork with only a couple of minutes to spare!

ClueGo Logo

Location / Outside the Room 

ClueGo is located in a set of apartments just behind the Sheraton Hotel in the centre of Zagreb, not far from the main train station, and a leisurely walk from our apartment. It is on one of the upper floors, but there is an elevator available. 

The reception area is really funky, decked out with three-seater airplane chairs! It was a cool touch. 

Overall Verdict

This was a great room. The rooms were enormous, sparsely decorated, yet what decorations there were, were really well done. It gave the feel of being in a museum. I loved the added sound effects. Meema said this is her favourite room to date because she really enjoyed the puzzles. We will definitely be coming back here!

Note: It appears ClueGo has updated their Mona Lisa room with all new puzzles, and renamed it Mona Lisa II. I am sure it is even better than the original! 

Room Review: Kidnapped @ The Old Lock-Up

***Recommended***

Where: Vinkovećeva 6, Zagreb, Croatia

Website: https://www.theoldlockup.com

Contact: oldlockup@gmail.com

How Much?: 2-3 players 350kn, 4-5 players 450kn

How Many?: 2-5 players. We attempted this room with 2 but the space is large enough to accommodate larger groups. 

Difficulty: Beginner room

First-Timer Friendly?: Yes

Kid Friendly?: No. All of the rooms at The Old Lockup are horror themed – this is mildest room but not child friendly. 

How we did: Completed September 2019. Team of 2. Failed! 

Required: Basic maths

Brief: 

You are a victim of a serial killer, locked and chained up in a dark basement. The killer has been watching your every move, and it has been impossible for you to try and escape… UNTIL NOW! Something has gone horribly wrong, the killer has not been down to feed you for the past 3 days. This is your chance to try and escape… or DIE of starvation! 

The Experience: 

This was my 12th  escape room and my first in Zagreb, Croatia. Having only completed escape rooms in Sydney, I was really looking forward to my first European escape room. What would be different? What would be the same? I was lucky enough to have Meema come and visit me in Zagreb, and of course, we were going to do some escape rooms together! 

For our first room, we chose ‘Kidnapped’ at The Old Lock Up as I found a ‘100kn off’ voucher at the Zagreb information centre. As I’ve said in previous posts, I’m a chicken and not a fan of horror rooms but we thought we’d give this one a go. On The Old Lock Up’s website, they rate each of their rooms by ‘scare factor’. Kidnapped is only a scare factor 2 out of 5 – dark themed, but not scary and no jump scares. We felt we’d be okay. 

We went for an afternoon session, talking a scenic walk up by Park Ribjnak. The Old Lock Up is just past the park on a side street to the east, up some stairs. 

Our Game Masters were there to greet us at the door, enthusiastic, friendly and English-speaking. They ran us through the usual safety and pre-game brief, before blindfolding us and taking into the room where we were duly handcuffed! 

Inside the Room: 

With handcuffs and blindfolds on, I was still worried this was going to be a scary room but it wasn’t scary – just ominous. The initial room was beautifully thematic – dingy, dark, and sparse (but very large for an escape room!). There was the first puzzle which we solved very quickly, and then some search and find. Unfortunately, we not on our best game. We missed something we needed early on and overlooked something obvious which led to us wasting too much time on parts of the room we couldn’t yet solve because we hadn’t done other things. I’ll reiterate this was not the room design’s fault, but ours! The puzzles were all logical and followed on from one to another. 

We really liked the hint system, too. There was a large screen which projected the ‘hint’, so you could read it rather than trying to listen over crackly speakers. Sometimes the hint was an image of somewhere you should be searching or an object you needed to locate. I laughed at one point, where I asked if I was on the right track. The Games Master wrote back: ‘not really…’ This was a really clever system, and the first time I’ve seen this done – it worked really well, especially for those like me who are hard of hearing. 

After bumbling our way through the first room, we aced the second. The second room was fun – more schlock than horror, which we appreciated! We were running out of time by the third room, but it was also beautifully decorated, with a big surprise at the end! 

This room had some locks and boxes, and maths puzzles, but they also made amazing use of physical and spacial puzzles, which were really enjoyable. 

Even though the timer ran out (and we died), we were given a couple of extra minutes to finish the final puzzle. The Games Masters were very enthusiastic as they debriefed us. 

The Old Lock Up logo

Location / Outside the Room 

Spacious waiting room and lockers to put your things in 

Overall Verdict

The Old Lock Up is not a franchise, and you can really tell with the level of design elements in the game. This game has been lovingly made. Super-enjoyable, even if this was our first fail! If all games at The Old Lock Up are this good, I’d love to come back! 

Room Review: Vampire Castle @ Mission Room Escape Sydney

***Recommended***

Where: Suite 202, 332-336 Pitt St, Fortuna House, Sydney and Suite 502, 724 George St, HSBC Building, Sydney

Website: https://www.missionsydney.com

Contact: info@missionsydney.com

How Much?: $35-$55 p.p depending on group size and room played (some rooms are +60 mins)

How Many?: Recommends 3-5. We completed it with 2 but the rooms are large enough to accommodate 4 comfortably.

Difficulty: 3/5 (Beginner room)

First-Timer Friendly?: Yes

Kid Friendly?: Recommended for 12 up. Brave youngsters would be fine and there are several puzzles and plenty of props for them to help with, but the mood is deliberately ominous and the lighting very low.

How we did: Completed March 2019. Team of 2. Escaped!

Required: Basic Maths, Good English, At least one member of the team with full mobility

Brief:

It’s a stormy night when you and a friend stumble upon a gloomy castle. You intend to use it as cover from the rain, but after entering, the door behind you creaks closed and can’t be opened. Suddenly, you’re transported to the middle ages and the clock is ticking…can you guys solve the mystery and escape the supernatural castle?

 

The Experience: 

This was my 11th room in Sydney. Having so far only taken Meema to Escape Hunt Sydney, I decided I really needed to show her some of the other Sydney outfits. Mission Escape has long had the reputation as one of the best (their Lost Mine has been on my radar for ages!) and I was really looking forward to seeing a high-tech room done well as I’d not had much luck (or enjoyment) with them to date.

Finding Mission Escape on Pitt St is definitely your first mission – they are inside an arcade near a phone repair shop, up an elevator and spread over two separate levels. Now that they also have rooms on George St, be sure to check out their website and make sure you know where you’re going.

We entered the mood-lit reception area and were greeted by our gamesmaster. She was very friendly, but her English was a little difficult to understand (which we realised might be a problem as Mission Escape still utilises the older walkie-talkie system). After securing our belongings in a locker and being given the obligatory briefing, we entered the room.

 

Inside the Room:

Being a bit of a chicken, I generally shy away from rooms with a horror theme, and I was very pleased that Vampire Castle is more dark-and-brooding than downright scary. The theming is excellent, and I really liked that each of the rooms grew more and more ominous as the quest continued. I love that ‘ah!’ moment when you step into a new room and it’s so immersive could almost believe its real – I definitely had that in Vampire Castle.

The puzzles were enjoyable too ( I’m a sucker for a black-light torch)! This room is considered high-tech, and it is done well. I never felt like the inputting was as hard as the puzzle, which I’ve sometimes felt in other rooms. For most of the puzzles it was obvious if it was wrong and clear when you’d done it correctly. I thought most of the puzzles in this room were clever, with a good deal of search-and-find (hampered by the low lighting), plenty of puzzles which required combinations of elements (all logical, if some were a little tedious), some physical puzzles (one in particular which really stumped us, but was so obvious after we asked for a hint that we did some serious forehead slapping). There was one physical puzzle in particular that I really enjoyed. The puzzles were all well-integrated into the surroundings and fitted the theme.

There weren’t a lot of downsides to this room except that the voice-overs were a little difficult to understand over the speakers. We also had a slight miscommunication with our gamesmaster, who we had trouble understanding over the walkie-talkie and it led to her bursting into the room towards the end of the game (I think she thought that maybe she had not set the room up correctly and that we were missing an item we needed even though we had the item).

Our gamesmaster made up for it though with her enthusiasm – she even spent a few minutes with us after the game, going over each of the puzzles, showing us what we’d missed (there was one puzzle we fudged a little bit), and explaining which puzzles other teams are usually stumped by, and which were normally done quickly. We found this really interesting and an added touch to an enjoyable game.

 

 

Location / Outside the Room

The waiting room of Mission Escape is fairly small and dimly lit. Mentos and water is available while you wait. The gamesmaster takes a Polaroid of your team after you escape which you can take with you as a memento which is very nice – mine is still on my fridge at home!

 

Overall Verdict

I haven’t done a lot of high-tech rooms, but this was my favourite ‘high-tech’ room to date. The theming and puzzles were both of an excellent standard and I would definitely come back to Mission Escape to do one of their other rooms. I really loved the level of immersion I felt with this room. Definitely one to check out!

Room Review: The Bank of Australia Heist @ Escape Hunt Sydney

 

Where: Level 4, 393 George Street, Sydney

Website: https://sydney.escapehunt.com/

Contact: sydney@escapehunt.com

How Much?: $36-$44 p.p depending on group size

How Many?: Suitable for 2-5 people (I think a 3rd person would be helpful for this room)

Difficulty: ‘Level 2’ – for those who’ve played before, or like a challenge

First-Timer Friendly?: I’d suggest this room for seasoned players

Kid Friendly?: Nothing scary, but the puzzles would be too complex for little players

How we did: Completed February 2019. Team of 2. Failed by a few minutes as we got stuck on the last puzzle.

Required: Fluent English, Basic Maths.

 

Brief:

Solve Sydney’s most mysterious bank heist and catch the thieves before they flee the city. Sydney 1828 – it’s the middle of the night and a heist has occurred at the Bank Of Australia. The Bank Manager is shackled and the criminals have fled. As Sydney’s elite police, use your investigative skills to find the thieves before they flee the city for good! This room is great for those who like more of a challenge or who have played escape rooms before. It is a newer room and has a higher amount of technology.

 

The Experience: 

This was my 10th escape room.

We entered this room immediately after finishing Robbery in the Cottage. If you’d like to read more about Escape Hunt Sydney, please check out my reviews of Secret Service Mission or Robbery in the Cottage.

Inside the Room:

After a quick tea break (provided for free at the venue), we let our gamesmaster know we were ready to begin our second room, Bank Heist of Australia. We locked up our valuables in a crate on the other side of the room and read our brief.

Before we started, the gamesmaster asked us, ‘Who’d like to be the bank manager?’ Meema and I looked quizzically at each other, before I offered to play ‘bank manager’ for the game. Without wanting to give too much away, at the beginning of the game, the ‘bank manager’ is really going to rely on the other players in the room (which is why I’ve suggested 3 players instead of 2).

Meema on her own was struggling to work out a way to help the bank manager, which was okay as there was a complex maths problem to get done before help came to the rescue. In the end, we might have cheated a little bit, thanks to my having narrow wrists!

This room is considered ‘high tech’ and there were no lock and keys to be found (except on the door leading out of the room!) I generally find ‘high tech’ leads to an extra level of difficulty – inputting the answer can often take just as long as solving the puzzle – and sometimes you’re not sure if you’ve got the right answer and entered it incorrectly or have the wrong answer. Some of the puzzles were devilishly difficult, a few easy, and a few seemed to us needlessly convoluted. There were some red herrings, and there was one puzzle in particular which we felt was a bit of a ‘guess what I’m thinking’ from the room designer.

We made liberal use of the walkie-talkies towards the end of the room – I think two-room fatigue was setting in by that point. Our gamesmaster was very helpful and gave good hints, but once again the problems of the walkie-talkie system as opposed to the video-camera system were apparent – every time you wanted a hint, you had to explain what you’d already done. Bogged down by the last puzzle, we didn’t quite make it out in time. We were given a little extra time to finish and made it out only a couple of minutes past the hour. Our first fail!

All in all this was an enjoyable game, nicely furnished, although a little frustrating at times as the puzzles were quite hard! Not a lot of search-and-find was required for this room, but lots of lateral thinking was, and some interesting combination of objects from various rooms.

 

Location / Outside the Room

For city-based organisations looking for walk-in team-building activities, you can’t beat the location of Escape Hunt Sydney situated on George St directly opposite Dymocks in the heart of the CBD. They have purposely mirrored 2 of their 4 rooms so that larger groups of up to 12 can split into two teams and go head-to-head, which is, of course, another draw for the corporates.

They have bathroom facilities and offer tea, coffee and water which was nice for debrief at the end of the game. The games master we had on the day was competent and friendly. There’s even a large space where you can grab a Sherlock Holmes cape, hat and pipe, and take silly / serious selfies.

 

Overall Verdict

I’ve now completed three rooms at Escape Hunt Sydney. While they vary in theme and level of technology used, I still think they lack the level of finesse of some of the other rooms in the Sydney market. Of all their rooms I’ve done so far, I’ve preferred their oldest, lowest-tech room, which I think goes to show that flashy lights and gizmos aren’t nearly as important as a well-designed, cleverly thought-out room. I would still say that Escape Hunt Sydney is geared towards the corporate and first-timer market. They also offer the ‘escape challenge’, giving you a discount of up to 20% off full price when you come back to do more rooms and frequently have offers on discount sites. If you’re booking for a large corporate group and planning to come after a long lunch for a bit of team-building, rest assured they’ve built these rooms with you in mind. For experienced players, I’d suggest making use of a groupon if you’d like to get your money’s worth.

Room Review: Robbery in the Cottage @ Escape Hunt Sydney

 

Where: Level 4, 393 George Street, Sydney

Website: https://sydney.escapehunt.com/

Contact: sydney@escapehunt.com

How Much?: $36-$44 p.p depending on group size

How Many?: Billed as suitable for 2-5 people.

Difficulty: House rates it beginner which I’d agree with.

First-Timer Friendly?: Yes

Kid Friendly?: Yes, and plenty of nice little props for the kids to play with in this room!

How we did: Completed February 2019. Team of 2. Escaped!

Required: Fluent English, basic maths.

 

Brief:

The entire gold coin stash of The Rock’s largest workers’ cottage has been stolen! As world famous detectives, use your keen eye, logic and quick thinking as a team to solve the mystery in an hour before the thief disappears forever!

 

The Experience: 

Having done my first room at Escape Hunt Sydney (Secret Service Mission) a few months ago and finding it a little lacklustre, Groupon in hand, I decided to return to attempt Robbery in the Cottage and The Bank of Australia Heist, back to back. With Meema in tow, we headed to George St and took a lift ride to the 4th floor to Escape Hunt Sydney, ready for our next ‘escape’.

Once again, we had the leisure of visiting Escape Hunt Sydney on a mid-week morning and, far from the bustling crowds which other reviews have been reported on weekends, had the place to ourselves! After being greeted by our gamesmaster, we took a seat on one of the many chesterfields that fill the large, now-familiar waiting room and drank in the atmosphere of brick wallpaper and dim lighting while we filled in our disclaimer and awaited our instructions.

Unlike Secret Service Mission, there was no fancy video this time. Instead, we received a written mission brief that advised us we needed to discover the culprit of the robbery in a cottage in The Rocks. We locked our valuables up in a wooden crate and off we went to the room!

 

Inside the Room:

The rooms were nicely furnished and fitted well with the historical theme of The Rocks. Robbery in the Cottage is not a high-tech room – instead it contained lots of combination locks, and puzzles with physical pieces which need to be combined with other components of the room. Low tech actually suits us well as Meema and I tend to enjoy these rooms best – our experience is that sometimes the ‘high-tech’ mechanisms add too much difficulty.

The room was looking a little worn in places, but nothing that lessened our enjoyment of the game. The puzzles were logical and somewhat linear, with some elements of search-and-find, and lots of items that need to be combined together. Children, I think, would really enjoy this room as there are several puzzles where they’d really be able to help. Good English is essential for this room with quite a lot of reading as you get closer to discovering the identity of the thief.

Experienced escapers will not see anything new, but I must say I enjoyed it in spite (or perhaps because) of this – I found this room relaxing, familiar and rarely frustrating, but still with a few challenges thrown in. Even without a major wow factor, it was everything a basic escape room should be and a pleasant way to spend 40 minutes!

We immediately followed this room with another Escape Hunt Sydney room, The Bank of Australia Heist (which you can read about here).

 

Location / Outside the Room

For city-based organisations looking for walk-in team-building activities, you can’t beat the location of Escape Hunt Sydney situated on George St directly opposite Dymocks in the heart of the CBD. They have purposely mirrored 2 of their 4 rooms so that larger groups of up to 12 can split into two teams and go head-to-head, which is, of course, another draw for the corporates.

They have bathroom facilities and offer tea, coffee and water which was nice for debrief at the end of the game. The games master we had on the day was competent and friendly. There’s even a large space where you can grab a Sherlock Holmes cape, hat and pipe, and take silly / serious selfies. These guys know how to market.

Overall Verdict

Sydney Escape Hunt is geared towards the corporate and first-timer market. If you have a Groupon or a two-for-one, by all means, use it. Bring a newbie along and introduce them to escape rooms. Escape Hunt Sydney also offers the ‘escape challenge’, giving you a discount of up to 20% off full price when you come back to do more rooms. If you’re booking for a large corporate group and planning to come after a long lunch for a bit of team-building, rest assured they’ve built these rooms with you in mind. For experienced players though, I’d suggest you could spend your money on one of the more boutique Sydney outfits.

 

Note

We were sad to hear this room has now closed and been replaced by a brand new room, The Young Wizard’s Quest.

If you’d like to read more about Escape Hunt Sydney, you can check out my review of The Bank of Australia Heist or  Secret Service Mission.

Room Review: Indisposed @ Room Eight Escape Rooms

***Recommended***

Where: 2B The Corso, Manly

Contact: info@escaperoomeight.com.au

Website: https://www.escaperoomeight.com.au/

How Much?: $40 p.p

How Many?: Billed as suitable for 2-5 people (I’d suggest 2-3 for experienced, 3-5 newbies)

Difficulty: House rates it Beginner / Intermediate. As with Entombed, I’d rate it intermediate, but see my comments regarding the hint system that makes it first-timer friendly.

First-Timer Friendly?: Yes

Kid Friendly?: Yes. Several puzzles the kids could assist with. One element that may scare young children (or they might find it funny!)

How we did: Completed May 2018. Team of 4, including 2 children. Escaped with a few minutes remaining.

The Brief:

Trapped in the outhouse of famous, if somewhat deranged Aussie celebrity Huge Axeman, can you free yourself before the Axeman returns. In an Escape Room like no other, you’ll need to think and act quickly as a team to solve puzzles and challenges as the clock ticks down. Even if you can escape the Dunny, you’ll still need to survive the Australian wild, and contend with an array of deadly Australian fauna.

The Experience:

This was my eighth room in Sydney.

If you’ve read my review of Entombed, you’d know how much I enjoyed the first Room Eight escape room I attempted a few months back, so I was really looking forward to trying Indisposed and having a chance to compare the two rooms. This time, I brought Mechanic and the two flowerchildren, who were all ready to help mum and dad crack another escape room!

Due to some gusty weather, we forwent the ferry ride this time and instead drove into Manly and were lucky enough to find parking nearby. A cup of strong coffee for the adults and hot chocolate for the kids, and we were all ready to go!

As I mentioned in my previous review, Room Eight is conveniently situated on The Corso across the road from the ferry terminal. Once again we were greeted warmly and given a safety chat before watching another cool opening video, this one about Huge Axeman and his outback dunny. The same playful humour we’d encountered in Entombed was apparent from the outset – the owners of Room Eight really appreciate a good joke, and so do we! It definitely lightened the mood of the room – and took away from a ‘wolf creek’ feel. (I was initially worried from the pictures that this room would be too scary for the children, but after communicating with the owners I was assured it was far more ‘humour’ than ‘horror’ and that’s exactly what it was!)

We put on our blindfolds and were lead into the first room which was, of course, (and I don’t think I’m giving away spoilers here) the toilet! We got off to a bit of a shaky start with a pretty hard puzzle first up, but I have to mention the theming of the first room which was just spectacular – so well done!

As I mentioned in my previous review, Room Eight uses a hint/point system, with an Ipad offering a series of clues for each puzzle in a linear sequence. The first clue is cryptic, with easier clues available if you get stuck! I really liked this system in Entombed, and  Mechanic loved it in Indisposed. It made some very difficult puzzles just that little bit easier!

Once again, the rooms were fairly low-tech with lots of padlocks, but they contained a good mix of physical and spatial puzzles which everyone really enjoyed, especially the kids. There were some really innovative puzzles, and several I haven’t seen before – you will need to use several of your senses to escape this room, and definitely bring your lateral thinking skills and teamwork!

There were so many elements of this room to love, but above all, I really appreciated that this room didn’t take itself too seriously – that playful element permeated the entirety of gameplay – and there were plenty of moments of laughter along the way! The theming remained consistent throughout, and the puzzles were well integrated into the storyline, giving this room a really enjoyable sense of immersion.

If I was going to compare Entombed to this room, I’d probably say Indisposed is just that little bit better – I think it’s the tongue-in-cheek gameplay of this room which made it just that bit more fun

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Location / Outside the Room

Room Eight is located almost on the corner of the Corso, across the road from the ferry terminal. They’ve got plenty of signage outside and are easy to find. Being Manly, cafes, restaurants and drinking holes abound in every direction for your post escape room debrief. While you can park in and around Manly, I’d suggest if you’re coming from the city and the weather is good, make a day of it and head across on the ferry.

Overall Verdict

This was a really fun room, and definitely humour not horror, with a wide variety of interesting and challenging puzzles. We had plenty of laughs as we solved this room, and the children really enjoyed the physical aspects of several of the puzzles. Highly Recommended, especially if you’re looking for a room you can bring the kids to.

Room Review: SuperCell 117 @ Paniq Room

***Highly Recommended***

Where: 13 Cambridge St, The Rocks

Contact: info@paniqroom.com.au

Website: http://paniqroom.com.au/

How Much?: Sliding Scale $30-$40 p.p depending on group numbers

How Many?: Billed as suitable for 3-6 people (I’d suggest 4 minimum and up to the maximum 6. This is a great room for a bigger group).

Difficulty: House rates it 4/5 difficulty with a 40% escape rate.

First-Timer Friendly?: At least 2 experienced players.

Kid Friendly?: No. Puzzles are too complex, and the theme isn’t suitable for children.

How we did: Completed April 2018. Team of 4. Escaped with 30 seconds on the clock.

 

The Brief:

You find yourselves in a cell hand-cuffed and blindfolded, with stifling smoke. You have no idea how you got there. You are locked away from each other at the beginning in 2 separate neighbouring cells, and the situation is not looking good at all.  One thing you know for sure: you have to get out in 60 min! Would you save your own life only, or would you care for your TEAM as well? If you wanna make it you should work as one TEAM! The choice is yours, but time is running out, and the guards are arriving soon.

 

The Experience

This was my 7th room in Sydney.

If you’ve read my review of Paniq Room’s Sen3es, you’ll know that this was my second room for the day. After a quick coffee, I headed back to Paniq Room with one of the players from Sen3es, and was met in the Paniq Room foyer by two other members of the Sydney Escape Room Meetup group. I was a bit worried about mental fatigue going into this room, but was bolstered by the fact that all four of us entering SuperCell 117 were experienced roomers. We just hoped we could get out in time!

The fun started straight away – our games master was enthusiastic and funny, and had us all laughing. She explained the backstory and theme (you’ve got an hour to get out before the guards come and torture you!) and also the ingenious hint system (hints are delivered in the form of hand-written notes, lowered in by a clanking metal bucket). This really added to the immersion of the gameplay, as I’ll discuss later in my review. We were also told we were going to be split up into two teams and put into two cells. We’d need to escape our cells, and escape the prison, but first we’d need to escape our handcuffs! Yes, we were put in real metal handcuffs and blindfolded before being led in to the darkness of our prison cells!

When the timer started, we removed our blindfolds to pitch blackness and billowing smoke. This really felt like a matter of survival – find a light switch! Get the lights on! Find everyone else! Our early searching was hampered by the handcuffs (although it is amazing just how much you can do in handcuffs!) until we finally located the key.

The necessity for communication was paramount in this room, as well as teamwork. Most tasks could only be performed if people in both cells talked and listened to the other. To that end, it was a really fun, enjoyable room, with people calling ‘I’ve got a _____. Does that make any sense to you?’ ‘I’ve got a picture of _____.’ ‘Any chance you’ve got the other half of______?’ and so forth, back and forth. There was also lots of search and find fun.

The theming was absolutely spot on, the dark atmosphere of the cells, the ominous clanking of the clue bucket, the small, claustrophobic space. There were padlocks, oh, so many padlocks, but again, it fitted so perfectly with the theme.

We got stuck a couple of times and needed a few hints, but the games master was quick to lead us in the right direction and get us back on track. Usually it was because we hadn’t looked hard enough! We got the last clue with less than a minute on the clock, and you’ve never seen four grown adults run around like such headless chickens trying to solve the final puzzle! We got out with only thirty seconds to spare. There was jubilation and hi-fives all round!

I cannot recommend this room highly enough, it was just so much darn fun. Even writing about it puts a smile on my face. Everything about this room was perfect, from the handcuffs and theming to the flow of the puzzles. It never mattered that you didn’t go from room to room because it was such a great concept, and defeating the room felt like a feat you’d only accomplished because of teamwork. If you haven’t attempted SuperCell 117, get a group together and go book it right now!

 

Location / Outside the Room

Paniq Room is located in the Rocks, on Cambridge St. It can be a little tricky to locate as Cambridge St looks like an alley and there’s not a great deal of signage. The best way to locate it is to head up from Argyle St. Being so close to the city, public transport is your best bet, but there is parking on Argyle St. It’s worth going on the weekend so that you can enjoy the Rocks Markets. Also be sure to grab a cup of coffee and a cake from the delightful French patisserie just down the road.

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Overall Verdict

My favourite room to date. Exceptional puzzles and immersive theming, everything about this experience was exactly what I want from an escape room!

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