Led into a room blindfolded and handcuffed, you’re asked to sit on a bench. “It’s just behind you. Feel for it. Ok, sit.” You’re doubting yourself already. Can I do this? Heart is pounding. Where am I? In a prison cell. That’s about as much you know. “Begin. Good luck. You have 60 minutes,” are the last words you hear from your captors as they slam the door shut. Blindfold off. You look around the room. Your mate is in the cell next to yours. Newspapers, books, chess, gym equipment and locked chests. And don’t forget about those locked cells and handcuffs.
Paniq Room – tucked away in the historic part of Sydney’s The Rocks – is atmospheric and HARD. Modeled from the best escape rooms of Budapest, this company has a reputation for a reason. First of all, you’re inhabiting a building that convicts would have actually been imprisoned in during the 1800s…can’t get much more creepy than that. Secondly, the room is deceivingly small and the clues fed to you by the control room can only do so much. If you want to escape Supercell 117 within 60 minutes, you have to buckle down and start problem solving.
The first 15 minutes are the hardest as you start finding potential clues and codes but are still searching for the first big break that will catapult you closer and closer to the finish line. Clues are fed to you at the right moments to keep the pace up, and the variety of solutions within such a tiny room is thrilling. We escaped with a few extra, lenient minutes on the clock. 60% never escape, even with extra time, we’re told.
Two people in Supercell 117 worked well as the communication channels are at its most simple. Get locked in a neighbouring cell with someone you struggle communicating with, though, and there’s only frustration and a ticking clock awaiting you! This is very much a team room and you cannot escape without help from your inmate. A few extra people would have helped to work through the puzzles quicker but extra hands and mouths can muddy the water and often stifle progress through confusion. Pick your poison but whatever you do, share everything with each other.
Paniq Room rates high for atmosphere and complexity. It’s also a stressful environment where you have to bring your A Game. No walk in the park or respite here. This Sydney escape room is in a prime location for tourists exploring Sydney Harbor (you just have to weave through some back alleys to get there) but also perfect for a night out, weekend adventures, or even some old-fashioned company team-building. Grab a meal afterwards in any of the neighboring bars and cafes. Paniq Room’s Supercell 117 offers an intense but highly stimulating 60 minutes of fun! We want to come back and tackle the other room – Military Bunker.
Creativity of puzzles: 9/10
Value of money: 8/10
To book, or for more information, visit www.paniqroom.com.au or call 0414 468 430. Paniq Room is open Monday to Sunday, 10am to 10:30pm. It’s located at 40 Glouster St, The Rocks NSW 2000. Nearest bus stop and train station is 10 minutes walk at Circular Quay.