Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Updated Summary of all ten escape rooms I have been to in Sydney (as at February 2015)

I have now been to ten different escape rooms in Sydney, so I thought now would be a good time for me to give a quick summary of my thoughts on each room.   See the table below.  

It’s really difficult to compare all 10 rooms and rank them (as they are so different – it really is like comparing apples and oranges).  However:

  • for advanced players, my favourite rooms are PanIQ Room’s Supercell 117, Mission Escape’s Dr M and Parapark Sydney’s 9A Gateway; and
  • for beginners, my favourite rooms are Parapark Sydney’s 9A Gateway and ClockLocked’s Dexter.

I'd be really interested in receiving any feedback or comments that you have on any of the Sydney escape rooms (good or bad and whether or not they appear in this list). 

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

Room Theme
PanIQ Room
(The Rocks)
Click here.

Supercell 117
This room was fantastic!  It has a great mix of high-tech and low-tech puzzles, the theming and props are flawless and the room design is the best I have seen. 

I think this room is a little tricky for first-timers (that’s not to say that you wouldn’t enjoy it, but you might not get out in time).  Personally, I’d do a couple of other simple rooms before tackling this one.  It’s suited to kids and groups of up to say 6 people.  See my full review here.

Mission Escape (Sydney CBD)
Click here.

Dr M
I LOVED this room!  It is the most high-tech room in Sydney – the puzzles are largely home-made and very original and the theming is excellent.  It’s a little pricey (up to $45 per person) but definitely worth it.  They are ranked the number one escape room in Sydney on TripAdvisor for good reason.  The room is too scary for kids (probably best suited to say 12yo+).  I would try other rooms before tackling this one (as it was pretty tricky – I doubt most first-timers would escape in time).  See my full review here.

ParaPark Sydney (Macquarie Park)
Click here.

9A Gateway
This is another fantastic room.  The quality of the puzzles and theming were excellent (and many of the puzzles are home-made and very original). 

Of all of the rooms, I think this is a really good option if you are a first timer or an advanced player (both would enjoy this room).  It can be a little scary for young kids, so I would suggest not bringing kids who are under say 10yo here. 

Check out this room – you will love it.  Macquarie Park is only 15 minutes from the city – it’s definitely worth the trip!

See my full review here.

Mission Escape (Sydney CBD)
Click here.
Vampire Castle
This is a great room.  It was the first high-tech room we had done and I couldn’t stop thinking about it for several days after.  It was my first taste of a great escape room in Sydney.  We didn’t escape (we missed it by a couple of minutes), but I was well and truly hooked after this room.

As with Dr M, the puzzles are all high tech and the theming and props are excellent.  Again, it’s a little scary for kids under 12yo.

I think this is a good room for beginners and advanced players alike.  See my full review here.

(King Street Wharf)
Click here.
We all very much enjoyed the Forensic room, but jeez it was difficult (my group says it wasn’t that hard, but they are wrong – trust me, it’s very hard).  The game master told us that less than 5% of all groups escape this room!

There wasn’t much ‘hunt and seek’ in this room but instead it was all mind-bending puzzles.  Once we figured out a few puzzles, we got on a roll and we managed to escape with about 6 minutes left on the clock (much to the surprise of our game master).

They also only give you 50 minutes to escape (rather than the standard 60 minutes), which makes it that much harder.  The theming is great and the quality of the puzzles is excellent.

This room is definitely not for first-timers .  Don’t do this room unless you have first tried at least a handful of other rooms.  See my full review here.

Clock Locked
Click here.
We all really enjoyed Dexter.  The puzzles were all very original, the theming was great and there was a really great atmosphere in the room.  We got stuck on the ‘hunt and seek’ element, which my group always falls down on.

Personally, I was a little disappointed with one aspect of this room (but I can’t say anything more about it here without spoiling the room).  That being said, none of the other 3 people in my group were disappointed by this aspect.

The room is too scary for kids and it is not big enough for groups bigger than 4 people.

I would recommend either room for first timers and advanced players alike (and they are often on Groupon and Scoopon at 50% off).  See my full review here.

Clock Locked
Click here.
Da Vinci
We all really enjoyed Da Vinci, for the most part.  Our only disappointment with this room was that one particular puzzle has an error in it (the issue related to a difference of opinion as to how letters and numbers are written (this seemed to have been a cultural issue as I think European letters and numerals are written differently than here)).  I think this issue might have been rectified now.  Their theming is great and the puzzles are all fun.  The room is too scary for kids and too small for corporate groups.  I would recommend either room for first timers and advanced players alike (and they are often on Groupon and Scoopon at 50% off).  I wouldn’t do this room with a group of more than 5 people maximum.  See my full review here.

Escape Hunt Sydney
(Sydney CBD)
Click here.
Murder in the Pub
I didn’t love this room, despite it being the first escape room that we did in Sydney.  They had some faults in their puzzles, we were given a bad “hint” by the game master and one of the chains came away in our hands (even though we hadn’t yet found a key).  That being said, we went on their opening weekend and hopefully some of the problems and issues we faced have been fixed by now.  However, their biggest issue is theming, which is amongst the worst we have seen in Sydney.   

Their rooms are aimed at corporate groups (as they have 6 rooms in total (ie 3 different rooms each duplicated).  These rooms are suited to first timers, corporate groups and those with kids (but not advanced players or those who appreciate fine theming and a fully immersive experience). See my full review here.

The Mystery Puzzle (Sydney CBD)
Click here.
My group had fun at the Pirate Adventure, but it’s a simple room and it isn’t suited to advanced players.

We escaped in 39 minutes and were told that this was the average escape time for all groups (which confirms my view that the room is too easy).  Pirate Adventure is a big room but it isn’t filled well.  There is too much “hunt and seek” and not enough puzzles. 

Most disappointing is that the theming and props are very poor.  They don’t make sense in the space – it is as though the owners have picked up cheap things at an op shop just to fill the space. 

I would however say that these rooms are suited to kids, first timers and corporate groups.  They are often on Groupon/Scoopon at 50% off. 

Steer clear of this place if you have done an escape room before (because I suspect you will find it far too easy and boring like we did).  And definitely don’t bother doing both rooms. 

See my full review here.

The Mystery Puzzle (Sydney CBD)
Click here.
Casino Revenge Thriller
I really didn’t enjoy this room at all.

It was an ok room, but again the theming and props were very poor and it was just too easy – there weren’t enough puzzles to fill an hour worth of escaping.  The props made no sense at all – lots of items were there just to fill the space.  There were errors in the puzzles too.

But what we found most disappointing about this room was that it was incredibly similar to their other room, Pirate Adventure (which we had already done).  Almost all of the puzzles and the various mechanisms were identical. 

We escaped in 26 minutes and left bored and very underwhelmed. 

Personally, in light of the lazy design between the 2 rooms, I wouldn’t recommend this place to anyone.   However, like the Pirate Adventure room, this is geared at first-timers, kids and corporate groups.   And with a groupon or scoopon, I’m sure many people would enjoy this room.

See my full review here.

Escape Club (aka Room Escape) at Kingsford

Also, although I haven’t yet been there, anecdotally I have been informed that Escape Club (based at Kingsford) is nothing special.  I have read a lot of consistently bad reviews on TripAdvisor.  I also know someone who went there who described it to me as dirty, run down and having poor instructions in some of the puzzles (perhaps due to a translation issue).  This person I know had booked to take his children to the Harry Potter room, but when they arrived they were told that there were lots of broken elements in the Harry Potter room so they instead were given a different room to do.  This left me with no confidence at all about this place, which is why I haven’t been there yet.

They often have Scoopons/Groupons for some of their rooms (but not their new rooms).  Although I haven’t been there, I have heard enough bad things about this place that I would not recommend it to anyone.  Read the reviews on TripAdvisor and form your own view though.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Review of PANiQ ROOM - Supercell 117 theme

My group of friends (4 adults) checked out PANiQ ROOM's 'Supercell 117' room in February 2015. This was our tenth escape room in Sydney so far.

We found the place pretty easily, but I can see how some people might get confused (because you have to be down on the correct ground level, which is lower than some of the nearby streets). We found it in about 5 minutes (and we were looking at 9:30 at night) - it is well sign posted when you find the front door.  We were given a briefing by the owners, Akos and Martina and a bit of a history of PANiQ ROOM, which was founded in Hungary.

They currently have two rooms, Supercell 117 and Abandoned Military Bunker on the Rocks.  

First off, I'll say what I enjoyed most about Supercell 117 at PanIQ Room:
  • it was truly excellent.  The design of the room is unlike anything else I have seen and is such a great concept (I would love to go into this more, but it would be too much of a spoiler so I won't - take it from me though, it's very clever);
  • they have a really good mix of high-tech puzzles and low-tech puzzles, many of which are home made and original (which I always appreciate);
  • every puzzle works perfectly, which is great (you would think that this should be a given, but after having done so many escape rooms, trust me when I say that not all rooms have puzzles that work properly - and there is nothing more annoying than puzzles that don't work or are ambiguous);
  • the theming couldn't have been better - the props were all perfect, they made sense and really added to the overall feel of the room.  Every single item in the room made sense - although they did have some red herrings, those red herrings still worked perfectly with the theme.  I really appreciated that there was so much attention to detail with the props and theme;
  • there were some puzzles and locks that we had never seen before and which we all really liked - it's always nice to see something new and different;
  • we got out with 9 minutes and 32 seconds left on the clock, which shows that it is not an easy room by any means.  I think some beginners would find this room challenging, which is a good thing in my honest opinion;
  • the owners are very passionate about their rooms and it shows from the quality of the room.

As for some of the negatives with Supercell 117 at PanIQ Room, I have had a think about this over the past 2 days and my group of 4 who did the room have spoken about it since at length.  None of us could come up with a single negative aspect of this room.  Their price is around $35 per person, but I honestly think that this is very good value given the quality of the room and the amount of fun that we all had. 

I can't fault Supercell 117.  It was incredibly well designed and constructed and the theming and props are the best I have seen so far.  My group enjoyed every minute of it and we really can't wait to try their Abandoned Military Bunker on the Rocks!

Try their room - I promise you will love it. 

Where:                    40 Gloucester Street, The Rocks (entry Cambridge Street)

Duration:                60 minutes

2 themes 

$35 each (4 players) (We got a 20% off opening special)

Overall Rating:      5 out of 5 stars

More details:         

Review of The Mystery Puzzle - The Casino Revenge Thriller theme

My group of friends (4 adults) checked out The Mystery Puzzle's 'The Casino Revenge Thriller' room in February 2015. This was our ninth escape room in Sydney over all.

The building is easy to find and this time, because we were there during business hours, the building was open and we were able to go straight up to level 1 without having to be let in. We were then given a briefing before starting the escape.

They currently have two rooms, The Pirate Adventure and The Casino Revenge Thriller.  I understand that they have 2 identical Pirate Adventure rooms (which cater for larger corporate groups), although I'm not sure if they have more than one Casino Revenge Thriller room.

We had already been there a few weeks ago and escaped their Pirate Adventure room.

First off, I'll say what I enjoyed most about The Casino Revenge Thriller at The Mystery Puzzle:
  • the room was about average in terms of quality and level of difficulty; and
  • the price was good (we got a Groupon voucher for $15 per person)

As for some of the negatives with The Casino Revenge Thriller at The Mystery Puzzle, my honest feedback is that:
  • the room is simply too easy over all.  We escaped in 26 minutes and 39 seconds and that included getting stuck for a few minutes on one puzzle.  If we had not been stuck on this puzzle (which was entirely our own fault), we probably would have escaped in around 20 minutes.  This is far too fast for an escape room - it confirms that there is not enough to do in the room;
  • my team agreed that any one of us could have escaped this room single-handedly within about 30 minutes.  I am not saying this to brag (far from it), I'm just commenting on how there weren't any puzzles that required a team to solve;
  • the theming was pretty poor and of not of good quality.  The props did not match the room and again, there were 80+ books thrown just for the sake of it - they had no purpose being in the room, which is supposed to be a casino room theme?  There were also other props that served little purpose and I didn't feel that the rooms had a clear link between them (or an explanation of what each room was).
  • I think a lot more thought needed to go into the design of both this room (and in hindsight, the Pirate Adventure room);
  • without spoiling the room for others, the puzzles in this room are very similar to their Pirate Adventure room, which is a real shame and in my honest opinion, a bit of lazy design.  When you have two rooms, you have to assume that customers will do both rooms.  The two rooms should therefore be very different - there was no creativity here between the two rooms, which was a true disappointment.  Given that we had already done the other room, we all found this room to be predictable and therefore a little boring;
  • some of the puzzles are a little clunky and don't work perfectly (we figured them out in only a few minutes but they were ambiguous and didn't fit perfectly);
  • there weren't enough puzzles and there was way too much 'hunt and seek' (compared to the number of puzzles).  They really need to work on coming up with more creative puzzles and there should be at least twice as many puzzles in the room to make it more of a challenge;
  • there wasn't a clear way to communicate with those running The Pirate Adventure while we were in the room.  In fact, once we got out of the room, we opened the door to find a completely empty reception room.  It wasn't until around 5 to 10 minutes later that the owners returned to the reception room (they had been busy setting up another room).  I found this a bit annoying because if we had been in the room and were waving at the camera for clues, there would have been nobody there to help us.  As I have said in other reviews, there needs to be a dedicated person on the outside of the room watching your every move and available to help when called on.  

Over all, the price was good and it's a fair room.  Personally, I would only recommend this outfit to those who have never tried escape rooms before or those with kids (as both rooms are very kid-friendly).  However, that being said, there are other rooms in Sydney I would recommend to those groups ahead of either room at The Mystery Puzzle.  

To be fair, I'm being a little harder on this place than it probably deserves.  But the fact that both of their rooms are so similar and have the same types of puzzles and mechanisms has annoyed and disappointed me, and it really affected our time in this Casino Revenge Thriller room, which is reflected in my score of this room.  My score is also affected by the other brilliant rooms that I have done elsewhere in Sydney lately, which are far superior to this one.

Where:                    Level 1, 37 Bligh Street, Sydney

Duration:                60 minutes

2 themes 

$36 each (4 players) (But watch out for coupons - we paid just $15pp)

Overall Rating:      2.5 out of 5 stars

More details:         

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Escape of the Werewolf - Fully immersive scare experience - Sydney (Updated)





Hi all

I thought I would post about Escape of the Werewolf because it looks like it might be fun and might appeal to other escape room lovers, even though it is not a true escape room.

It is a "fully immersive scare experience".  It is only running for one week in mid July 2015 in Sydney and will be located somewhere near Sydney Olympic Park.  The theme is as follows:

"Your tour begins in the labs of Lycadine Industries, where, as your guide is showing you the facilities, things start to go very wrong.  As people around you get slaughtered, you have to find your way out of Lycadine, before you too fall prey to the Werewolf.  The lights WILL go out, there WILL be screaming, and you WILL get sprayed with blood."

I've been to a couple of Hollywood Horror Nights in Universal Studios and if this experience is like that, then it is going to be incredibly scary.  It's not for the faint of heart (seriously, I bet you'll be grabbing the stranger beside you for the whole experience and will probably have nightmares afterwards).  I've actually downplayed the scare factor to my group of friends and I've already booked the tickets (so they can't back out when they find out more ;-)

Check out their website here if you're interested.  Tickets for the Sydney experience went on sale this morning and given that it only runs for a week, I'd bet they will run out fast.

This experience is either going to be really naff or awesome - fingers crossed.

Sydney's latest escape room outfit, Enigma Room, opens on Valentine's Day

Enigma Room, Sydney's latest escape room outfit will open its doors on Saturday 14 February 2015.

Check out their website for pricing and booking details here.

They have a special opening discount of 25% off (using the code "OPENINGENIGMA").  And if you get in quick and subscribe to their email mailing list, you might get access to even greater discounts (but you have to do so this week only!).

I've been looking forward to checking out Enigma Room ever since their website went live last year. It looks like they have taken a quirky, tongue-in-cheek approach to their rooms, which I'm really looking forward to trying.

I've booked my group in for both of their rooms in mid-March and I'll report back here then with reviews of each room.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Parapark discount voucher - February 2015

Hi all.

Parapark Sydney is such a great room escape outfit that I thought I would post a separate blog entry here to let you all know that they have a special discount offer on at the moment.

It is a Valentine's Day special, but I had a play on their website and the voucher seems to work for most days in February 2015 (not just Valentine's Day).

The discounted price with the code 'Love' is just $70 for groups of up to 5 people.  This equates to as little as $14 per person.  This really is insanely good value, given that they are one of the best escape rooms in Sydney.  Their room, 9A Gateway would suit first-timers as well as more experienced escapee-wannabes.

I can't recommend this place enough.  Get in quick - I understand the deal runs out on 15 February!


Tuesday, 3 February 2015

February 2015 Update - Discount vouchers and coupons for Escape Rooms in Sydney

This is the updated page listing 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.  I'll try to update this list once each month. Thanks.

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 use code “MID15”. [This may have run out in January]
Room Escape
They are commonly on Groupon and Scoopon at around 50% off (see here for a current Groupon offer). 

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
They had a special 30% off discount (code was “mystery30p”), but I think that this may no longer work.

Also, they have been on Groupon and Scoopon before @ $15 per person (see recent expired offer here - click on "More Info" and you can sign up to receive an email when another offer is available).
Clock Locked
They are often on Scoopon and Groupon at around 50% off @ $15 per person (see recent expired offer here - click on "More Info" and you can sign up to receive an email when another offer is available).

Watch out for deals for this one.
They have a Valentine’s Day special (although the code seems to be valid not just for Valentine’s Day but also for other days in February).  The price (after the discount) is only $70 per group of up to 5 people.  This is insanely good value for such a high quality escape room outfit.  The code to use when you book is “Love”.  Get in quick - the discount only lasts until 15 February.
No current codes that I am aware of.
Paniq Room
20% opening offer discount if you try their rooms before 13 February.  Check out their website for details and for bookings.

They also have a 15% off weekday special for students.
Enigma Room
25% off opening special, use the code "OPENINGENIGMA".  If you join their mailing list, you might also get your hands on other opening codes (but act fast, they only apply until 12 February).