Friday, 25 September 2015

Review of Labyrinth Escape Rooms' Insane Asylum

My group of friends (4 adults) checked out Labyrinth Escape Rooms’ Insane Asylum room in September 2015, about 2 weeks after they opened.  This was our eighteenth escape room in Sydney (so far!).

We found the place very easily.  They have plenty of off-street parking right in front of the premises, which was great.

They currently have just the one room, but they are putting the finishing touches on their second room, Mad Scientist, which should open very shortly.  They also have plans to open a third room in the future, the theme of which sounds really cool (and unlike any other theme we have heard of in Sydney).  I'll leave it to the owners to announce their third theme in due course.

First off, I'll say what I enjoyed most about Insane Asylum at Labyrinth Escape Rooms:
a)    we had an awesome time, which is always the most important measure of a great room.  It had been a while since we had tried a really good quality room, so we were all really pleased with this room;
b)    the room design is clever.  The theming is spot on – all of the props make sense in the space, the eerie music is really effective, the vibe suits the theme precisely;
c)    they did the simple things really well, like good website design, excellent service, all torches worked well, etc (you would think that this is a given, but so many places ignore the simple stuff);
d)    they have a heap of home-made puzzles, which I always appreciate.  All of the puzzles were of an excellent quality and many of them were of a type we had never seen anywhere before;
e)    whilst difficult, the puzzles were all clear and worked as they were designed to;
f)     there was a lot of attention to detail in the design of the props and the puzzles, which was great;
g)    their communications system is easily the best that we have seen.  There are no walkie talkies, phones or iPads – you simply talk and listen.  They have a state of the art communications system.  After we escaped, they showed us exactly how good their cameras are (particularly the infrared cameras in very low light);
h)   the owners, Joan and Frank are very passionate about their business and it clearly shows.  Their front of house was excellent and they took the time afterwards to take us through the room and explain every single puzzle (and answered my many, many questions).  This level of service is something that only the very best escape room outfits provide.  Their enthusiasm for their rooms is infectious.

As for some of the improvements that could be made to Insane Asylum, there really is very little to report here. We had some issues with a multi-directional speed lock in one of the puzzles (which just wouldn’t open for us despite us having the right combination).  This was a shame because it slowed us up in the early section of the game (and caused me to panic and ask for more clues than I otherwise might have).  Speed locks are always temperamental (although it certainly didn't ruin our experience).

My only other comment is that this room is pretty challenging, so first timers would be pretty hard pressed to escape without a hint or two (we had 3 hints so don't feel bad in asking for them - better that than to only progress part way through the room!).  

This is a great room and I'm really pleased that western Sydney has such a great escape room outfit on offer now.  We loved the room and I’ve received feedback from 3 other people (friends and readers of this blog) who all agree that this is up there with the best rooms in Sydney.

Where:                    Suite 3/85-93 Victoria Road, Parramatta

Duration:                60 minutes

1 theme (so far) 

$35pp for a team of 4 (although there is currently an opening special)

Overall Rating:      5 out of 5 stars

More details: 

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Break the Code Plus - Groupon deal on now

Hey all

A week or two ago I posted about a new escape room outfit that had opened up recently at Haymarket, called Break the Code Plus.

I contacted the owner recently who told me that they would be doing a Groupon campaign this month and true to their word, they are (thanks Kiara and Andi for forwarding me the link to the Groupon campaign!).

The deal is a good one too - around $20 per head (which equates to around 50% off).

You'll have to be quick though, as the Groupon runs out this Sunday night!  Any unlike many other Groupon campaigns, the vouchers are good through til 31 January 2016 (which is really generous).

Click here for the Groupon.


Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Upcoming reviews...

Hi all

I haven't been to too many escape rooms in the last couple of months (mainly because we have tried so many in Sydney that there aren't that many left to try!).

That being said, in the next month or two, I plan on trying the following rooms:

  • ParaPark's new Crimescene room, which will open up any day now
  • ParaPark's Gateway 9A (this time from behind the scenes)
  • Labyrinth Escape Room's Insane Asylum room, which I hope to try in about 2 or 3 weeks
  • Paniq Room's third room, which will hopefully be opening up very soon
  • Break the Code Plus - I want to try either their Indiana Jones or Lost themed rooms (or both!)
My 4 person escape team have also decided to venture further afield and check out what other cities have to offer by way of escape rooms.  So, I've just booked our flights to Melbourne in early November, where we hope to check out about 10 escape rooms in 3 days(!).  I've spent a heck of a long time researching what Melbourne has to offer and I think I've picked the best 10 rooms to try.  

As always, I'll post reviews of all of the rooms. 

You can probably guess that I'm pretty stoked about this trip...


Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Labyrinth Escape Rooms - Opening 14 September - Parramatta

[Opening special has been extended through until 18 October 2015!!!]

Hi everyone

Further to my earlier post about Labyrinth Escape Rooms in Parramatta, I have learned that they are officially opening on Monday 14 September 2015.

They are having an opening special but you will need to get in quick!  Through until 18 October, they have a special price of $20 per person to try their first room, Insane Asylum.  Their second room will open a little later.

For more information or for bookings, click here for the website.


Sydney's latest escape room outfit - Break the Code+

Hi everyone

I have learned (from Andi, a reader of this blog) about a new escape room that has opened up in Sydney recently.  

The outfit is called Break the Code Plus.   They are located on George Street in Haymarket.
They opened on August 22.  They currently have 6 rooms, as summarised below.  Their website mentions that they plan to change up their rooms "every few months", which is something that other escape room outfits don't currently offer in Sydney.  

They also describe themselves as having bigger rooms and better codes than their competition.  They also suggest that their rooms are full of high tech puzzles.

Julia at Break the Code Plus sent me a short email telling me how the owners are avid escape room junkies and thought they would try their hand at opening up their own rooms in Sydney.  I hope to check them out shortly and will of course post a review!

If anyone has tried out any of their rooms (or does so in the future), please either send me an email to or post a comment below to let me know what you thought about their rooms (particularly compared to other escape room outfits in Sydney).

To find out more or to make a booking, click here to go to their website.


1.  Indiana Jones - Journey to the Secret Chamber

Incredible stories were told about an ancient relic which possessed special powers that can change the entire world. The Meso clan buried it in an undisclosed location to avoid it from the hands of evil men. For 2000 years, countless warriors fought to obtain this rare treasure in order to rule the world. Fascinated by the stories, you set sail for this rare treasure. With the clues given, you stumbled upon the entrance of a hidden chamber… (Difficulty Rating - 4/5)

2.  Avatar - The Secret of Pandora

Discover more about Pandora island to help you escape. In year 2090 , the human race invented Avatar helping them to explore the environmental life and rich minerals of Pandora Island. Your task is to discover more information and explore the way back. (Difficulty Rating - 4/5)

3.  Lost - Survivors of the Crash

You and your comrades ventured into the Amazon to execute a special mission. Your pilot loses conscious after being poisoned by a rare flower during the journey back home. The plane crashed deep into the jungle leaving you clueless about the location. Your task is to retrieve the black box and return to civilization.(Difficulty Rating - 4.5/5)

4.  Mission Stealth - Biohazard Virus 

Operation Stealth received information about the terrorist invented a new virus as weapons of mass destruction. The virus is a threat to the federal government and might alarm the civilians across the world. Your mission is to investigate, steal the virus and nullify their objectives. (Difficulty Rating - 3.5/5)

5.  Da Vinci - The Secrets Beneath

You are being invited by the Florence museum curator to study the renowned artwork of Leonardo Da Vinci. Soon your research reveals which believe to be secret maps and hidden clues in his amazing artwork. You have decided to trail the clues and uncover the secrets of Da Vinci’s paintings. (Difficulty Rating 4/5)

6.     Ghost Bomber - The Unsolved Crime Mystery

Aspired gaming elements of the Amazing race, running man & crime investigation. A serial bomber is on the loose for a long time and aims to kill innocent lives at all spots at major cities in Sydney. Many feared of his activity, causing panic among civilians and is a national threat to the country. The identity of the bomber remains unknown and the authorities are in the search for the notorious Ghost Bomber. The Ghost Bomber loves leaving trails of riddles for detectives to trail. Recent news confirmed that the Ghost Bomber will be planting a bomb in Lvl 1, 741 George St. Your tasks are to locate the bomb, defuse it BEFORE it explodes and identify the suspect. You have 60 MINUTES to solve the case.  [Note this is an outdoors escape]

Sunday, 6 September 2015

New TV show about Escape Rooms!

Hi everyone

I month or two ago, a friend of mine (who is a member of my 4 person escape room team) told me about a new show that had started in the USA on the Science Channel called Race to Escape.

A reader on my blog recently asked me if I knew about the show, which made me think that I should write a post on here about it so that other avid escape room lovers could check it out (thanks Alistair!).

The premise of the show is that a team of 3 strangers are blindfolded and placed in a room.  Nearby, another team of 3 strangers are blindfolded and placed in an identical room.  The teams then need to solve a series of puzzles to escape their room (for a cash prize) before their opponent team beats them.

It is an incredibly addictive show.  Given that it is on the Science Channel, they provide commentary on errors made by teams with a scientific/sociological bent, which I find fascinating.  It's really interesting to see how strangers work together - who becomes dominant (often the loud, more aggressive personality type), who walks around stressing the whole time and not really adding any value at all, the self-professed "smartest person in the room" who often is as thick as two bricks, etc.

It's a compelling 60 minute show.  Anyone who likes escape rooms will love it.

The website for the show is here.


Review of NoWayOut / One Way Out - The Body Shop theme

*** Note:  This outfit has now changed its name to One Way Out***

My group of friends (4 adults) checked out No Way Out’s “The Body Shop” room in September 2015. This was our seventeenth escape room in Sydney so far (and we have now tried at least one room at every escape room outfit in Sydney).

We had previously booked in to try out this room about a month ago.  However, the owner (Mike) has had a lot of problems with the tech in this room (raspberry pi system has been plagued with stability issues) and they have had some bad luck (power outages, escapees accidentally breaking items, etc), so we had to reschedule. 

I can confirm though that we didn’t have any technical issues at all and I understand from Mike that about 100 groups have now gone through the room in the past couple of weeks without any technical issues.  So it seems that everything is back on track.

Having been there before, we found the place very easily.  But the first time it was a little tricky to find (primarily because they do not have any external signage at the moment).  The entrance is via a small car park off of Denison Street – look for the large metal green door.

They currently have just the one room, but Mike has plans to open up a second room (or possibly a consolidated special 2 hour experience room (or series of rooms), which would make it the longest experience available in Sydney).

First off, I'll say what I enjoyed most about The Body Shop at NoWayOut:

  • it was a lot of fun.  The room design is simple but clever – there is a good mix of high and low tech puzzles;
  • every puzzle worked properly – we had no issues with ambiguous or unclear puzzles;
  • some of the puzzles were really creative and different to what we had seen elsewhere;
  • the theming was very good - the props all made sense, many of which were bespoke/home-made (which I always really appreciate);
  • there was a lot of attention to detail in the design of the props and the puzzles – the puzzles were all challenging but not impossible.  My team managed to escape in about 46 minutes (of the permitted 60 minutes) and we only asked for one clue;
  • the use of a walkie talkie for communicating and obtaining clues was simple but effective; and
  • the owner is passionate about his business.  Mike also took the time after our escape to run through each of the puzzles, which is something that not all escape room outfits do.

As for some of the improvements that could be made to The Body Shop:

  • as I discussed with Mike, I think every escape room needs a countdown clock on the wall.  This really helps with the suspense and it gets the adrenalin going.  Mike’s current system involves him giving the players (via the walkie talkie) a time reminder every 15 minutes.  This is completely adequate, but for a fully immersive experience, there should be a clock in the room;
  • I think some more background information on the theme and setting would be good (as you are about to go into the room) – this would help to make this a more immersive experience;
  • there were a couple of puzzles that had been excluded from the game due to technical problems.  I understand that these will be reinstated in the future – it was a shame that we didn’t get to try these puzzles though (as they both looked high tech);
  • due to the design of some of the puzzles, it was possible to “break” your way through to the solution (eg trial and elimination, etc).  My personal opinion is that the best designed puzzles are not capable of being broken;
  • I think this room could do with an extra couple of puzzles – with 4 people, we escaped in about 75% of the allowed time, so I think the room needs a couple of extra puzzles to fill out the full 60 minutes (although I appreciate newb teams would not agree).  The extra couple of high tech puzzles would have further improved our experience I think; and
  • they have had a Scoopon campaign with great opening specials (50% off), but I think their standard pricing going forward is high (and certainly more expensive than their competitors).

Over all, I think this is a really good room.  With a few tweaks and a couple of extra puzzles, I think it has the potential to be an excellent room. 

Where:                    Suite 3/57 Denison Street, Camperdown 

Duration:                60 minutes

1 theme (so far) 

$50 to $60 each (4 players) (although 50% opening special)

Overall Rating:      3.75 out of 5 stars

More details: