Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Review of Escapism Strike Bowling - The Garden theme

My group of friends (4 adults) checked out Escapism at Strike Bowling at King Street Wharf in April 2015.  This was our second time there, having previously escaped from their most difficult room, Forensic.

This time we tried their Garden room.  This was our fourteenth escape room in Sydney.
When you arrive, you hand over your credit card as a deposit (in case of any damage to the room).  We were early but because they didn't have a previous booking in our room, we were able to go in early (which was great).  

Unlike our previous 13 escapes, for the first time, we brought our 2 year old daughter with us to this room.  I knew people who had previously tried this room and they confirmed that it wouldn't be too scary for a toddler (and they were correct, the room is not too scary and our 2 year old had lots of fun).

We were blindfolded (except for my daughter and the person carrying her and were walked down to our room, where our 50 minute count down clock began with a slam of the door...  

First off, I'll say what I enjoyed most about Escapism's Garden room:

  • the theming was excellent - the props and room were very well detailed and suited the theme perfectly;
  • this room had a little more "hunt and seek" fun than their Forensic room, which I really liked;
  • the Garden room is bigger than the Forensic room - there was ample space for 4 adults and one child to move around without constantly getting in each others' way;
  • the quality of puzzles and challenges in the room was also excellent.  Although they were all low-tech compared to other escape rooms in Sydney, the quality was very good (everything worked well); and
  • we all had fun (even the 2 year old) and we all felt like we each contributed to the escape.

Now, for what I didn't like so much:

  • last time we were at Strike Bowling, the staff member looking after us was busy with other things (managing other escape rooms and the bar), and I felt that we were neglected (when we phoned for a clue, the phone rang out twice before I managed to speak with them). I'm glad to report that this time, we didn't have that problem (although to be fair, we didn't ask for a clue this time);
  • it's funny looking back at my review of Forensic, where I made the comment that Forensic was by far the hardest room we have done yet (and after 14 escape rooms, that remains true).  My criticism with the Garden room is that it was by far the easiest room that we have done so far.  They rate this room a difficulty level of 6, compared to their Forensic room, which they rate an 8. They tell me that only about 4% of groups escape Forensic room (because it is that hard), so I went into this room thinking it would be a little easier than Forensic but still a challenge. Unfortunately, it was too easy for our group;
  • there are far fewer puzzles in the Garden room compared with Forensic.  I also think that they give too many clues within the room in the Garden on how to solve the puzzles - compared to other rooms we have been to, it felt like we were being spoon-fed the answers;
  • there was one puzzle that I think should be changed (it's a simple jigsaw puzzle requiring several physical pieces to solve).  The problem is that you can make an educated guess for 2 of the 4 puzzle pieces before you find them (because they give you a little too much of the puzzle early on).  This allowed us to "break" the puzzle (ie we were able to guess the answer rather than solve it in the way that they had designed).  In fact, when we escaped the room, we left behind one box that we hadn't yet opened;
  • you are allowed up to 50 minutes to escape this room.  We escaped in 18 minutes and 48 seconds, which I think really does show that there are not enough puzzles in this room to fill out the full 50 minutes.  We were also slowed down by our 2 year old, who helped us to explore the room and wanted to read some books we found along the way.  We are the record holders for this room, which is nice, but we still left feeling disappointed; and
  • the price of the Escapism rooms is steep.  You only get 50 minutes instead of the standard 60 and their weekend rate is $150 per room.  This is one of the steepest rates of all escape room outfits in Sydney.  We managed to get a $50 off deal, so we only paid $100.  However, given that we were only in the room for <19 minutes, we paid more than $5 per minute for the privilege...

All 5 people in our group enjoyed ourselves.  However, I would only recommend this escape room to first time players or those with kids who are looking for a kid-friendly escape room.  More experienced players will only be disappointed with this simple room..  

Addendum:  I wrote a note on Escapism's Facebook page that I was disappointed with this room.  To their credit, they have invited us back to try out another room for free.  This has really impressed me.  Although I haven't altered my overall rating below as a result (because I still think this room is a 3.5 out of 5), this escape room outfit does seem to have good customer service and does seem to listen to feedback.

Where:                    22 The Promenade, King Street Wharf, Sydney

Duration:                50 minutes

Themes:                 3 themes 

Cost:                       $100 per team (Mon to Thurs) or $150 per team (Fri to Sun)
                                [2 to 6 players] (Watch out for deals on their Facebook page)

Overall Rating:       3.5 out of 5 stars

More details: 


  1. Out of interest, which other rooms that you've been to in Sydney would be ok to take a toddler to?

    1. Hi Richard. There aren't too many rooms that I would take a toddler to (because either the theme/props are too scary or it involves standing in darkness, etc). In my experience, toddlers also don't gain much from the experience (and they really only take your focus away from the escape). That being said, I also completely appreciate the difficulty of organising a babysitter for an hour (which is the reason why we brought our daughter to this particular room). To answer your question, those rooms that I have been to that would be ok with a toddler are PanIQ Room's Supercell 117, either of The Enigma Room rooms (but particularly In Memoriam) and either of The Mystery Puzzle rooms (although in my opinion, their rooms are nothing special so save your money). I hope this helps!

  2. I didn't mind this room but it was a bit small and having 6 people was too many!!
    And your right, $150 for a room regardless of numbers is really expensive, and why make us wait 30 minutes before we actually go in!!

  3. I agree with your comments completely. The 30 minute wait thing is way too much time and they definitely don't offer the same level of service as most other places (even though their price is about the most expensive around!)

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.