I have made this blog to provide my thoughts on the various escape rooms that have opened up recently in Sydney, Australia. I have been to all escape room outfits currently open in Sydney and a total of 51 different rooms so far in Australia (Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide), as well as others around the world. Hopefully others who are interested in trying escape rooms will benefit from this blog.
Monday, 6 March 2017
Escape Rooms Central Coast - Review of Espionage
I first learned about
Escape Rooms Central Coast via another escape room blog last year. Since then, I have been following the
progress of the room build and I got in contact with the owners, Geoff and
Wendy towards the end of last year. They
run an enormous laser tag operation in the same complex (something like 600m2
of dedicated laser tag space, which is awesome) and have recently added the
escape room side to their business.
They invited me to
come and check out their room, entitled Espionage, a while back but it has been
was challenging to find time to head up to the Central Coast. They are near Toukley/Gorokan, around 1 hour
and 20 mins’ drive from Sydney.
I was up at the
Hunter Valley at a work conference a couple of weeks ago and I managed to
convince some of my work colleagues to stop on the way back to Sydney and try
our hand at Espionage. So, unlike my
usual team of 4 very experienced players, this time we were a team of 5 players
- 2 experienced players and 3 newbs.
When we arrived (on a Friday afternoon), there were a heap of school
kids there who were playing laser tag for school sport. I was immediately jealous of them all because
laser tag was never on offer at my high school…
We were greeted by
Geoff, the owner who took us upstairs to where the escape rooms are (they are
on the second level and are quite separate from the laser tag and other gaming areas).
This was my 52nd
room in Australia and my 40th room in Sydney (or surrounds).
First off, here’s
what I liked most about Espionage:
·the puzzles all worked well and we didn’t
have any technical issues or hiccups of any kind;
·the puzzles are also pretty challenging – we
were a mixed team of newbs and more experienced players, but we only escaped
with about 9 minutes left on the clock (by memory), which shows that it is a
pretty challenging room;
·Espionage is a “non-linear” room, which means
that the various puzzles do not need to be solved in a particular order (ie
first a, then b, then c). The biggest
benefit of a non-linear room is that players can break off and solve puzzles
separately, whereas linear rooms typically require players to all move together
as a team through the puzzles (picture a team of 5 year olds playing soccer and
following the ball). The puzzle flow is
done really well at Espionage, where the non-linear aspects converge at one
point for the ending;
·much of the theming in Espionage is done
really well – there are some aspects that are really immersive and where the
props and set decoration perfectly meet the storyline;
·there is a nice mix of low and high tech
puzzles in Espionage, as well as some fun hunt and seek fun;
·the owners are passionate about their
business. We were lucky enough to have
Geoff as our game master. He was an
excellent game master – he had very good intuition as to when (and more
importantly, how) to give subtle hints throughout the game. They operate the “voice of God” hint system,
where players simply speak and the game master responds over a loud speaker –
this is the best system for providing hints that I have come across;
·Geoff also walked through the room with my
team after we escaped, explaining each puzzle and the room flow. This is always nice (as it gives players who
might have missed some of the puzzles an opportunity to see how they are
solved). It’s also the sign of a
business that cares enough to take the time out to make sure players can ask
any questions that they might be sitting on.
We were also emailed a team photo after the escape, which was nice;
·there was a high tech puzzle at the end of
Espionage that I have not seen in over 50 escape rooms, which was awesome;
·Geoff and Wendy have included some hidden
“easter eggs” within the room and puzzle design, which is always cool;
·their pricing, which is $35 per head (for
teams of 4 or larger) is great value.
Most rooms in Sydney are heading towards the $40 per head mark; and
·Espionage is a really family-friendly room –
it’s not scary.
is a strong room and there isn’t much on the negative side to report. The kinds of constructive feedback I have
given to the owners are more along the lines of tweaks or minor improvements –
·strengthening the back story and tying it
together with all of the props and theming throughout the experience, to add to
·consider having some different lock types or
mechanisms (to add some more variety); and
·consider adding some additional elements
(such as sound) to further add to the immersion.
And that’s about it. My team really enjoyed Espionage. As always, the biggest deciding factor in my
room reviews is the fun factor. I’m
happy to report that we all had heaps of fun.
The newer players in my group all loved the high tech aspects of the
room the most (which are pretty visually spectacular) – they all want to try
more escape rooms now, so clearly they have been bitten by the bug!
132 Chelmsford Road, Charmhaven NSW
Themes: 1 theme so far (but several more
$35 each (4 players) (We played at the invitation of ERCC)