Monday, 30 November 2015

ParaPark Sydney - Crime Scene '95

My group of friends (4 adults) checked out ParaPark Sydney’s Crime Scene ‘95 in November 2015, some 10 months after we had first been to ParaPark to try their Gateway 9A room (which was a truly superb room).  Parapark is a world-wide franchise and is known as the original escape hunt room operator (the original being based in Budapest).

They have a great atmosphere at ParaPark.  When you arrive, you sit down in a waiting room and are given instructions on the room and the background story of the room you are about to embark on.  Noemi and Laszlo, the owners of ParaPark Sydney were our game masters for this room, together with the lovely FiFi (their adorable dog). 

They currently have 2 different themed rooms - Gateway 9A (which also has an identical room Gateway 9B for larger teams of up to 12 people who like to go head to head), and Crime Scene 95, which has only recently opened.

This was out 22nd room in Sydney (and our 32nd room in Australia) so far...

First off, I'll say what I enjoyed most about ParaPark Sydney’s Crime Scene ‘95:

·         it was really well run - they utilised a combination of TV screens and walkie talkies for communicating while in the room.  This was really effective and it really helped to maintain the immersive nature of the room’s theming;
·         without giving away and spoilers, the back story to this room was awesome - it was truly original and ingeniously simple;
·         the theming was excellent - the puzzles and props in the room were great (they were not too scary and I think they would be suitable for kids from say 10 years of age, with parental supervision);
·         the quality and variety of puzzles and challenges in the room was also excellent - there was a great mixture of low and high tech puzzles and they used some elements that we have never seen used before by other escape room outfits.  I also really liked that they used very different puzzles in Crime Scene ’95 compared to their Gateway 9A room.  The quality of the puzzles was again excellent - clearly many hours of work had been spent in designing and making the home-made puzzles, which we appreciated;
·         we got stuck on one particular puzzle and we all gave ourselves a forehead slap when we realised what we had missed (again, this was an awesome puzzle); and
·         the owners of ParaPark Sydney were really enthusiastic about their business (as they have been for the past year) and as always, they are genuinely receptive to our feedback.

We again had a great time at ParaPark Sydney.  I don’t have anything negative to say about Crime Scene ’95.  When we tried their Gateway 9A room, I made the comment that it was a little on the easier side for our team.  I’m really pleased to say that Crime Scene ’95 is significantly more difficult than Gateway 9A.  Our team managed to escape with about 3 minutes left on the clock – so it is definitely a pretty challenging room.  We also had to ask for a couple of hints.  That being said, I do not think this is the hardest room we have tried in Sydney (personally I think Enigma Room’s Dr Disaster and Escapism’s Forensic for example are much more difficult – but again, this is REALLY subjective).    

We had a heap of fun once again at ParaPark Sydney.  For new players, I would definitely suggest that you try Gateway 9A first before working up to Crime Scene ’95.  ParaPark Sydney has another room scheduled to open at some point in 2016 – we can’t wait to go back and try what will no doubt be a third great room from ParaPark Sydney.

One other thing I thought some of you might find cool.  They have Christmas gift vouchers currently available on their website.  Not only do I think they’d make a great Christmas present, but the gift vouchers themselves have an awesome design, so that you can hang them on your tree (like a cool mini pyramid)!  See below photo.  You can purchase gift vouchers on their website!

Where:                    2 / 119 Wicks Road Macquarie Park

Duration:                60 minutes

2 themes (one of which has 2 identical rooms)

$140 per team (4 players)

Overall Rating:       A truly excellent and challenging room!

More details: 

Melbourne reviews all uploaded!

Hi all

I've now (finally) finished writing all of my Melbourne escape room reviews.  

Check them out here.

I also recently tried ParaPark Sydney's new Crime Scene '95 room (which was awesome).  I'll post my review here in the next couple of days.


Thursday, 26 November 2015

Newcastle gets its own escape room outfit

Hi all

I'm still working my way through preparing my Melbourne escape room reviews - I hope to finish them this weekend (see

I've just learned (from a Novacastrian cousin) that a new escape room is opening tomorrow in Newcastle.  I happen to be going to Newcastle tomorrow (but sadly, not with my awesome foursome team of escapees, so I will have to head back there soon to check out their rooms).

The outfit is called Unexpected Exit - they are situated in Hunter Street, Newcastle. 

They have 2 rooms opening up tomorrow, summarised as follows:

Deranged Scientist

Professor Skoda has finally been captured, Professor Skoda the mad genius behind the deadly outbreak of virus X, a virus that as you know has in just under 100 days claimed millions of lives across the bloe, with a cure still yet to be found.  With the location of the Professor's lab now known, your team has been selected to search the Professor's lab in order to find the antidote.  You and your team arrive at the location and enter the dimly lit room but as soon as you enter the room, the door closes and locks, the same time a cloud of gas fills the air... You notice a note on the ground....The not reads "enjoy your last 50 minutes on earth"...

The Terror Cell

You and your team has been sent out to a suspected extremist's house in suburban Newcastle to gather enough evidence to make an arrest and stop the terror cell's progress on Australian soil.  On entry to the house, your team was captured and you were knocked out.  You wake u pon the floor of a room - it is dark and there is a sack over your head and you realise your hands are handcuffed....and so the fun begins...

Hopefully I will get up there in the next couple of months to check out their rooms.  In the meantime, if anyone tries their room, let me know what you thought.

Check out their website here.


Tuesday, 17 November 2015

PANIQ Room adds another room!!! SEN3ES

Hi all

I was very excited to read on Facebook today that Paniq Room at The Rocks is about to open a third room!  Due to open in a few weeks, the room, called SEN3ES, is summarised on their website as follows:

You enter the mysterious house of a famous magician, in search of his lost secrets. As you continue through the rooms of the house, the doors close behind you and there doesn't seem to be a way back. Is the magician still around? Don't let yourself be tricked or let him screw with your mind. You need to overcome the magician's tricks and escape using your senses. You may lose your sense of time, but remember that you only have 60 minutes to get out! If you don't, the magician will be stuck in your mind forever.

Can't wait to check it out!


Discount coupon for Mission Sydney's rooms

Hi all

A reader of my blog (didn't leave their name) recently informed me that Mission Sydney currently has a Groupon for both of their rooms, Vampire Castle and Dr M.

Beware though - you need to read the fine print!  There are only VERY limited times that you can use the Groupon (particularly for Dr M, which can only be used on 2 specified time slots on a Tuesday only (and even the Vampire Castle is only valid for some mid-week days)).

They are great rooms though, so definitely worth it if you can get there mid-week.  If you grab a Groupon, I suggest immediately booking your timeslot to avoid disappointment!

Click here for the Groupon!


More Melbourne escape room reviews

Hi all

My next 3 Melbourne escape room reviews are up on my Melbourne room blog.  They are reviews of an outfit called Xcape at Brunswick and 2 of the Escape Room Melbourne rooms.  

Click below to see the reviews:  
  1. Jurassic Lab at Xcape
  2. Mine Escape at ERM South Melbourne
  3. Magic Kellar's Room at ERM South Melbourne



Thursday, 12 November 2015

Break the Code Plus - Avatar Review

A bit of a different review this time.  My usual fellow escape room buddies in my usual team did not try this room with me, but instead I tried this room with work colleagues.  We booked a corporate afternoon with 4 teams trying different Break the Code Plus rooms simultaneously (Avatar, Indiana Jones, Mission Stealth and Da Vinci rooms).  This was my twenty-first escape room in Sydney (and my thirty first room in Australia so far!).  

First off, I'll say what I enjoyed most about the Avatar room at Break the Code Plus:

1.    Their front of house and online booking system were excellent.
2.    The theming was ok - not the best, but better than most.       
3.    They had one puzzle mechanism that I hadn't seen before, which is cool.
4.    We were handed a photo of our team after our escape - this is a nice touch and by memory, Mission Sydney is the only other room that hands out photos after the escape.

And now for what I didn't like:

1.    They have a really bad communication system, which involves players hitting a button and then the game master walking into the room.  This really ruins the immersion aspect and detracts from the flow of the game. 
2.    The puzzles are largely very clunky.  There are one or two puzzles that are reasonably well done, but the majority are not well designed.  A couple of the puzzles use cool mechanisms, but the input data used to solve the puzzles is vague, ambiguous or has multiple interpretations.  This was really annoying and unimpressive.
3.    Some of the puzzles are examples of lazy design. Without giving any spoilers, one puzzle involves hunting down a tiny code that has been hand-written in invisible ink in the room.  This is not clever - it's really uncreative and disappointing.
4.    My team this time consisted of myself and 3 other first-timers.  We did not escape within the allowed 60 minutes (I think it took about 65 minutes all up).  We needed help on the final puzzle and when the solution was explained, I rolled my eyes and thought it was pretty poor (and again, ambiguous).
5.    Their price (without a discount coupon) is $180 for 4 adults.  This makes them the most expensive escape room outfit in Sydney (equal with Mission Sydney's Dr M, which is a far superior room).  Their rooms are not good enough to justify this price tag.  

This room was below average in my honest opinion.  Their Indiana Jones room is much better (although not without its faults as well).  This escape room outfit is pretty cheap and cheerful - most aspects of their rooms are average or below average.   
We still have another 2 Groupon vouchers for Break the Code Plus, so we will be back soon to try their Da Vinci and Lost rooms.

One other aspect of their rooms that REALLY annoyed me today was that the staff had not correctly reset one of the other rooms being undertaken by another of our corporate teams.  Without spoilers, one of the doors between rooms in one of the other themed escape rooms was accidentally left open before the escape began, so that team walked straight through the door and then were really confused by the various puzzles in the previous room which didn't seem to do anything.  This is truly inexcusable and is a sign of a poorly run outfit. 

Overall, this is a below average room - don't waste your money.

Where:                        Level 1, 741 George Street, Haymarket, NSW

Duration:                    60 minutes

Themes:                     6 themes (which will apparently change often)

Cost:                           $180 (for a team of 4) (although we had a Groupon for $80)

Overall Summary:     Disappointing and very overpriced.    

More details:     

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Melbourne escape rooms reviews

Hi all

My first 3 Melbourne escape room reviews are up.  They are reviews of each of Rush Escape Game's 3 rooms.  Rush Escape Games is currently ranked No.1 on TripAdvisor.

Click below to see the reviews:  

  1. Da Vinci Down Under
  2. Lost in Paradise
  3. Mission:Possible


Monday, 9 November 2015

Melbourne escape rooms were awesome :-) :-) :-)

Hi all

If you have read my blog recently, you probably know that I was planning on heading down to Melbourne to try out a few escape rooms.

Well, I went down there this past weekend (actually, it was a 3 day long weekend) in which we tried 9 rooms and beta tested a brand new room.

The rooms were awesome and met (or exceeded) my pretty high expectations.  The room owners/game masters were all great too and provided awesome experiences.

I'm tired now (we only flew back a couple of hours ago), but I'm keen to get cracking on my reviews.  It will probably take me another week or two to write them all, so watch this space.  Or more correctly, watch this space:

I figured it's more logical to set up a separate escape room blog for the Melbourne rooms.  I'll post updates here though to let you know once I've posted each of my Melbourne reviews.

I'm also trying another room at Break the Code Plus later this week (with my colleagues at work, which is a first for me).