Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Review of Escape Hunt Sydney - Assassin in the Pub

Hi everyone

Almost 2 years ago, my team and I tried out our first escape room in Sydney.  It was “Murder in the Pub” at Escape Hunt Sydney.  You can read my review of the room here.  

In summary, we thought the room was middle of the pack (and that was before we even knew what the pack looked like).  Looking back some 45 rooms later, I’m pleased to have learned that my instincts were bang on.  Escape Hunt Sydney is a sleek outfit that caters well to first-timers in corporate team events.  That is their market.  The quality of their rooms and puzzle designs are however middle of the pack at best.

I was contacted by Escape Hunt Sydney because in my recent reviews of the escape rooms we tried in Adelaide, I had made the comment that there are only 2 escape room outfits in Adelaide and the choice of which outfit to check out was made easy by the fact that one of the outfits is Escape Hunt Adelaide, which I was happy to miss based on our experience in their Sydney operations.

Long story short(ish), I agreed to come back to Escape Hunt Sydney to try out their latest room in our (shared) hope that their rooms had improved. 

We checked out Assassin in the Pub this time around in November 2016, which replaced Murder in the Pub back at the start of 2016.  We were a team of 3 this time (as my wife was at home with our newborn and kindly gave me a leave pass one evening to head into the city).  This was our 34th room in Sydney and our 46th room in Australia.

As always, I’ll start off with what I liked most about the room:

·        the front of house is up there with the best escape rooms.  It is very professionally run – they offer tea and coffee facilities and really comfortable couches;

·        the game master was really enthusiastic;

·        they use walkie talkies for their hint system – it’s not the best method I have seen, but it is effective and it did work well enough for us;

·        they have had an improvement overall in the quality of puzzles.  When we were last at Escape Hunt Sydney, their puzzles were 90% locks.  There has been an improvement in the variety and quality of puzzles; and

·        Murder in the Pub, which has been replaced by this room, was based around figuring out who the murderer was.  However, it had no bearing on how you escaped from the room, such that we escaped but had no idea whodunnit . This time identifying the assassin was central to the escape, so this was a large improvement.

And now for what I didn’t like so much:

·        whilst the variety of puzzles was definitely better than last time, many of the puzzles just didn’t make sense in the space.  One puzzle, for example, requires you to thread a metal ring around a piece of wire without the two touching in order to turn on a telephone and open a drawer (think of the 1980s game of Operation).  This just made no sense at all (whether in a Pub or anywhere else for that matter);

·        the whole theme didn’t really work well for me.  The concept is that a murder has occurred and from a list of about 7 or 8 suspects, you have to figure out who the assassin is.  A friendly good samaritan has left clues for you throughout the pub.  It doesn’t make much sense to me why a good samaritan would leave clues in various ciphers and codes, nor have access to confidential police dossiers.  Maybe I am being overly picky here (and I have done some really great rooms lately with great theming, which did affect my views on this room);

·        there was an error with one of the puzzles.  Escape Hunt Sydney has 3 different room themes and they have 2 of each of those rooms (so 6 in total).  The rooms are identical so that if you have large groups, you can split and go into identical rooms.  For some silly reason, one of the puzzles in the rooms is slightly different and when resetting the room, they accidentally used a piece from Room A in Room B.  Accordingly, the puzzle failed (it meant that it was physically impossible to solve the puzzle without breaking it, which we did);

·        there were some elements in the room that detracted from the immersion of the experience.  For example, one door mechanism had signs all over it requesting that we seek permission from opening the door (presumably via walkie talkie).  This was just weird; and

·        there was no “wow factor” in this room.  There was one puzzle (or maybe two) that we liked, but the rest were either pretty common amongst escape rooms or just didn’t work in the space.  It felt like some of the puzzles were just there for the sake of it, rather than being tied to the story line.   

I gave the above feedback to Escape Hunt Sydney after we tried Assassin in the Pub.  It’s really difficult to explain simple reasons why one escape room is not at the same level as the competition.  So I asked if they had tried other great rooms in Sydney like Enigma Room, Paniq Room, Mission Sydney, etc.  The response I received was that yes they had tried them – some they liked and some they didn’t.  I found this really surprising because I would have thought that if Sydney Escape Hunt had truly tried a great room in Sydney, they would have had a light bulb moment and realised the shortcomings in their own rooms. 

Escape Hunt Sydney targets corporate teams, which are often full of first timers who have never been to truly great escape rooms before.  I have yet to speak to a single person who has been to both Escape Hunt Sydney and other rooms in Sydney who has preferred Escape Hunt Sydney’s rooms over the others.  Not one.  First timers might give positive feedback (which explains why Escape Hunt Sydney has reasonably strong TripAdvisor feedback), but first time players simply don’t know the quality that exists in other rooms in Sydney. 

For me, each of the rooms at Enigma, Paniq and Mission Sydney (and others, such as Cipher Room, ParaPark, Next Level Escape, Labyrinth, etc) are head and shoulders better than the rooms at Escape Hunt Sydney.  Better theming, better immersion, better puzzles and a more enjoyable experience.

As always, the main consideration for me when reviewing a room is how much fun we had.  My team agreed that Assassin in the Pub was “just ok”. 

Escape Hunt Sydney has the space and the staff that could make for truly great rooms.  They need to not merely target corporate groups and instead invest in great room and puzzle design (perhaps from third parties). 

If they invested more in storylines and immersive game experiences, they would be a force to be reckoned with.  Until then, give them a miss and spend your money instead on one of the many better outfits in Sydney.

Where:                   4/393 George Street, Sydney

Duration:               60 minutes

3 different themes (but multiple rooms of each theme)

$38 each (4 players) (We played at the invitation of the owners)

Overall Rating:      Improved but still very average – give them a miss

More details:        


  1. There's currently a deal on Groupon about this escape room:

    Basically it's Two ($59), Three ($87), Four ($109) or Five People ($129). At approximately $28 for four people do you think this is worth it?

    1. Personally, I would go somewhere else. They aren't awful rooms, but they just aren't at the same level as many of their competitors. I say spend a little more and guarantee a great experience...

  2. Agree with Scott,been to 2 rooms here and there is better out there though I love the space they have while waiting,it's huge!