Monday, 22 December 2014

Discount vouchers and coupons for Escape Rooms in Sydney

I thought another useful page here on my blog might be a list of all known vouchers and coupon, scoopon or groupon codes that provide discounts for escape rooms in Sydney.   If you are aware of any new codes (or if you own an escape room and want to publish a code here), please feel free to post a reply below with the code.

Discount Code
Mission Escape Sydney
None that I am aware of.
Escape Hunt Sydney
Student 15% discount Monday to Thursday only use code “STUDENT15”.

Special 15% discount Monday to Thursday for anyone until January 2015 use code “MID15”.
Room Escape
They are almost always on Groupon at around 50% off (see here for current link).

You can also become a member on their site (it’s free, you just have to share/like them on Facebook) and you then get the members’ only prices.
The Mystery Puzzle
Special 30% discount (can be used any time) – use code “mystery30p”.

Also, they currently have a Groupon for $15 per person (valid to 4 March 2015 - click here).  

They also happen to have a Scoopon right now for $15 per person (valid to 3 April 2015 - click here).
Clock Locked
They are often on Scoopon at around 50% off.  Watch out for deals for this one (and if I come across any new Scoopons/Groupon releases, I will post an update here).
Special 50% codes (for a limited time):

-        2 players use code “pass2”
-        3 players use code “pass3”
-        4 players use code “pass4”
-        5 players use code “pass5”

[I think these codes only applied prior to Christmas, so they might no longer work]
No current codes.
Paniq Room
No current codes.
Enigma Room
No codes yet but look out for opening   specials when they open (probably January/February)

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Summary of all escape hunt rooms in Sydney Australia

I thought others might benefit from a table summarising all of the escape hunt rooms that are currently available in Sydney, Australia.  

See the table below (updated on 18 January 2015).  I'd be really interested in any feedback or comments that you have on any of the Sydney escape rooms (good or bad).  

Here's the table - I hope it is useful!

Mission Escape Sydney
My equal favourite in Sydney so far.  It’s pricey (up to $45 per person) but worth it.  See my full review here.
Escape Hunt Sydney
My least favourite of those I have tried so far in Sydney (mainly due to poor theming), but still lots of fun.  See my full review here.
Room Escape
I haven’t tried this one yet.  Lots of options and cheap prices (often on Groupon or become a member for free on their website for discounts). 
The Mystery Puzzle
I haven’t tried this one yet (but one   of the themes is “pirates” so you know it’s going to be good!)
Clock Locked
My fourth favourite (so far) of those we have tried in Sydney.  A couple of problems with puzzles in one of their rooms but otherwise excellent theming.  See my full review here.
This is my equal favourite escape room outfit in Sydney so far.  The quality of the puzzles and theming were excellent. I think this is a really good option if you have never done any escape rooms before. See my full review here.
We did their "Forensic" room, which was incredibly hard.  I would put this room at probably my third favourite in Sydney so far.  See my full review here.
Enigma Room
I’m really looking forward to checking this one out.  It still hasn’t opened (hopefully January/February 2015).
Paniq Room
I’m really looking forward to checking this one out.  It hasn’t opened (hopefully February 2015).

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Upcoming reviews

I've recently posted reviews of 3 recent escape rooms that my group of friends have checked out in Sydney.

I've just booked in the following future escapes, which we'll be doing mid January:

(a)          Mission Escape - Dr M theme

(b)          The Mystery Puzzle - Pirates theme

(c)          Clock Locked - Dexter theme

I also want to check out Enigma Room (when it opens), Room Escape and Escapism (which I'll do just as soon as I can organise a babysitter!).

I'll report back here in January with my reviews.  I'm really hopeful that all 3 rooms are going to be great.  Fingers crossed!!


Review of ClockLocked - Da Vinci Theme

My group of friends (2 guys and 2 ladies in our mid 30s) checked out ClockLocked in November, not long after it had opened.  We found a scoopon for $15 per person, so it was too good to pass up (in fact I bought 2 vouchers for everyone in my group, so we will be going back to to try their Dexter room).

The atmosphere there is pretty cool.  When you arrive, you sit down in a waiting room and are given instructions on the rooms.  

Our group did the Da Vinci theme.  This was the third escape room that my group had done (although my wife and I have done others overseas).  First off, I'll say what I enjoyed most about ClockLocked's Da Vinci theme:

  • it was well run - they utilised an iPad for the delivery of hints throughout the escape, which was really useful (and the best system I have seen so far across all of the escape outfits in Sydney);
  • the theming was really well done;
  • the atmosphere in the warm up room was really good (although at times it was really hot and stifling in the escape room itself); and
  • the quality of most of the puzzles and challenges in the room was really good and were the right level of difficulty.

Now, for what could be improved:
  • it is tricky to find (and get into).  We were the first group of the day and when we arrived, we couldn't access the building.  However, the owner did however come down and let us in so all was well - I think they definitely need signage downstairs though;
  • one of the puzzles in particular contained an error (in my humble opinion).  I have thought about this afterwards (and have tried to be objective about it) and have discussed it with our group.  We all genuinely think that one of the elements of the puzzle is wrong (I won't go into this too much so as not to spoil it, but if towards the end of the escape you find yourself scratching your head, then ask for lots of clues because without them, it's pretty tricky).  This particular puzzle could be clarified very simply and this would remove the ambiguity;
  • we gave some feedback immediately after our escape about this puzzle and were told that we weren't the first people to raise our issues about that particular puzzle.  This confirmed for me that the puzzle should be changed to remove this issue - a very simple tweak would make all of the difference); and
  • this particular puzzle was made more difficult by the fact that it was linked to a safe that had a code that had to be entered.  What we didn't know was that if you enter the wrong code 3 times, the safe jams for 5 minutes and won't let you try any more codes during that time.  I think it would have been better if players are warned about this before trying codes (or better yet, if a different safe were used which doesn't lock you out after 3 incorrect guesses); and
  • there were also some accessibility issues in the escape room.  Again I won't spoil anything, but different access points in the room were way smaller than they needed to be (and I honestly think this would mean that many people (larger people, older people and disabled people) wouldn't be able to play this room, which is a real shame (and completely unnecessary).

Over all, for $15 per person, we definitely got our money's worth (although if I'm being completely honest, this particular puzzle put a downer on our over all experience).  It's a real shame too because otherwise, I would have scored this room probably a 4 out of 5 because everything else was done very well.  

We will be back in January to try out Dexter, which we are really looking forward to. 

[I note that we did this room when ClockLocked had just opened, so some of the above issues that we had might have been rectified by now].

Where:                    Suite 101, Level 5, 330 Wattle Street, Ultimo 

Duration:                60 minutes

Themes:                 2 themes (although I understand a third "Cleopatra room is planned)

Cost:                       $30 each (4 players) (But watch out for coupons - we got 50% off )

Overall Rating:      3.5 out of 5 stars

More details:

Review of Mission Escape - Vampire Castle Theme

My group (of 4 adults) checked out Mission Escape Sydney back in September, not too long after they had opened.  We had all previously tried out Sydney Escape Hunt and were excited to see what other escape room outfits had to offer in Sydney.

Firstly, they can be a little tricky to find (although we had no problems).  You enter through glass doors on Pitt Street into a small foyer area between a hairdresser and a Vodafone store.  You then take the lifts up to level 3.

The atmosphere there is cool.  When you arrive, you sit down in a small waiting area where you are given instructions.  We did the Vampire Escape theme.

First off, I'll say what I enjoyed most about Mission Escape Sydney:

  • to be honest, I had some initial concerns (based primarily on their website) that language barriers might have been an issue for us.  However I can confirm that I worried for nothing and this was all fine;
  • the atmosphere was really cool.  To be fair, this place was not run nearly as "professionally" as Escape Hunt Sydney in that they had much less staff members than other outfits (but I found this a plus).  We had a lot of fun.  We were blindfolded and had to walk from the waiting room into the hunt room - which was both silly and fun (and a nice way to start the room);
  • the quality of the puzzles was far better and more high tech than I had envisaged.  In fact, we spent too much time thinking about the puzzle mechanisms (and how they worked) rather than just getting on with the puzzles; 
  • we had a heap of fun even though we didn't escape in time.  What I really liked was that the owners let you keep playing beyond the clock and give you hints so that everyone can see how to escape the room; and
  • the theme was incredibly well done.  I can't overstate this enough.  It was eerie, at times scary and the high tech puzzles made the over all theming 100% perfect.  

Now, for what could have been improved:

  • to be honest, not much could be improved here;
  • the only item we had issues with was one puzzle, which has a delay before it activates.  This was confusing for us because we had it all correct, but when we didn't get an immediate reaction, we assumed we were wrong and tried different things.  After some time, we realised that we had it right all along, but there was about a 10 to 15 second delay before the puzzle reacted.  This was frustrating, because it was the very last puzzle and if we had not taken so much time on this one, we would have easily escaped in time; and
  • the only other negative here is the price, which is the highest of all escape rooms in Sydney. The price of the Dr M theme in particular is very steep (at $45 a head).  It is a little hard to justify $90 a couple for a 70 minute escape.  I think if their price on each room dropped by $5 to $10 per person, they would increase their patronage.

This outfit was my favourite escape room in Sydney, hands down (at least of those that I have tried as at 18 December 2014).  I've already booked in for their next room, Dr M in January and can't wait!

Their tripadvisor reviews also rank them as the best escape room in Sydney, which was completely unsurprising to me.  

If you think that you might only ever do one escape room, then I would choose either this one or ParaPark (although I bet that if you try Mission Escape, you will get the bug and will come back too!)  

Where:                   Suite 301-303 Pitt Street, Sydney

Duration:               60 to 70 mins (depending on theme)

Themes:                 Currently 2 (Dr M and Vampire Castle)

Cost:                       $35-45 each (4 players)

Overall rating:      4.5 out of 5 stars

More details:

Monday, 15 December 2014

Review of Escape Hunt Sydney - Murder in the Pub Theme

My group of friends (2 guys and 2 ladies in our mid 30s) checked out Sydney Escape Hunt the weekend that it opened back in August 2014.

The atmosphere there is pretty cool.  When you arrive, you sit down in a large room and are given a series of different puzzles and games to play to warm up for the hunt.

Our group did the Murder in the Pub challenge, which is their most difficult room.  This was the first escape room that my group had done (although my wife and I have done others overseas).  First off, I'll say what I enjoyed most about Sydney Escape Hunt:

  • it was really professionally run - there were a lot of staff members;
  • given that they have so many rooms (3 themes but they have several identically themed rooms), they are a good option for corporate events where you have large groups;
  • the atmosphere in the warm up room was really good; and
  • the quality of some of the puzzles and challenges in the room was really good.

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

  • one of the puzzles in particular was incorrect.  Due to poor print quality, certain shapes didn't align correctly and this made the puzzle very difficult to solve;
  • we asked for a hint for this puzzle and the hint that we were given was wrong (it actually made it more difficult to solve than if we had not asked for a hint at all).  The staff member gave us a bum steer;
  • although some puzzles were of good quality, many of the locks were not (one of the locks/chain fell off in our hands even though we had not found or used the key); 
  • the theming was very weak.  The plot was about a murder in a pub, but it mattered very little to the escape (in fact, even though we escaped just in time, nobody in our group knew "whodunnit"); and
  • the pricing is a little steep.  They don't seem to have many coupon opportunities, unlike many of their competitors (although they did have an opening special).  

We did have a lot of fun and I suspect some of the negative issues above may have been due to the fact that they had just opened (and hopefully have been fixed up now).  

Where:                   4/393 George Street, Sydney

Duration:               60 minutes

Themes:                 3 different themes (but multiple rooms of each theme)

Cost:                       $38 each (4 players) (But watch out for coupons/midweek specials))

Overall Rating:     3 out of 5 stars

More details: