Monday, 6 March 2017

Escape Rooms Central Coast - Review of Espionage

Hi all

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. 

Espionage 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 – things like:

·        strengthening the back story and tying it together with all of the props and theming throughout the experience, to add to the immersion;

·        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! 

Where:                   Unit 6, 132 Chelmsford Road, Charmhaven  NSW

Duration:               60 minutes

1 theme so far (but several more planned) 

$35 each (4 players) (We played at the invitation of ERCC)

Overall Rating:      A fun, family-friendly room with a nice mix of puzzles and tech

More details: 


  1. Just did this,didn't escape in time but still enjoyed ourselves,central coast is lucky to have a escape room like this

  2. My only criticism is the red dots because I thought don't touch at all but one puzzle that we had too