Escape Room!

Escape Room!

I heard about the idea of Escape Rooms from our friends Tom and Kate who did one in Prague. I had a quick google about it and it sounded like excellent fun – Crystal Maze meets murder mystery! After some further searching it turned out one was going to open up in Sydney in August, so I subscribed to their newsletter and got an email one day saying they were opening soon and the first 100 people got a big discount off the entry fee.

How it works

We booked online, and got a 30% discount for being one of the first 100 people to go in,. You go in and meet your ‘game master’, who is on hand outside to give you hints if you get stuck, at the expense of 1 extra minute of time. You get ‘locked’ in the room, and have an hour to solve the mystery, unlock the last padlock to press the buzzer. You can press to get the game master in if you want, and there’s a big countdown timer on the wall showing how long you have left, to crank up the pressure. You can play with between 2 and 5 people.

The venue 

While we were waiting the venue had some cool puzzles on the tables for us to play with, as well as Sherlock Holmes style detective outfits you could dress up in and have your picture taken. I did do this, but can’t find the evidence! There are 6 rooms (2 lots of three different puzzles), with computers so the staff an monitor how you’re doing. We were there on the opening day so it was a little bit chaotic, but nothing they won’t sort out with some practice. Two of the room themes are ‘extortion in the dock’ and ‘murder in the pub’, which is an advanced version.

The room 

We went for the ‘robbery in the cottage room’. It was styled like a cottage from the Rocks are of Sydney (the old bit), from the 1900’s. There were lots of period pops like pictures, trunks, dressers, old kettles, old books etc. In the room there were a lot of padlocked things, so you gradually had to solve puzzles and get clues to find keys and open them one at a time. There were a lot of cryptic clues, a whiteboard for working things out and cards with profiles of the different suspects. Along the way there were lots of little surprises, like when we unlocked something and found it actually led to a whole other room!

How did we do?

We got really stumped by one of the puzzles right at the end, which was actually written badly – booo. We were about 1 minute away from getting out and totally could have done it if they tweaked that puzzle.

It was really good fun though, with a nice balance of feeling the pressure of time ticking away and good senses of achievement when you solved a puzzle and got it right. It made our brains work which was good, we worked together well and was interesting becasue its quite a different thing to do.

There is more info about the Sydney one here. There are also ones called Hint Hunt in the UK. I’m keen to go back and try the harder room soon!

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