No blindfolds this time, but, with a tartan skirt that would make Watson jealous, five mini-detectives jumped back in time to the Dockyard of Sydney’s historic Rocks district.
Extortion in the Dockyard is Escape Hunt’s medium difficulty escape room that tasks you with tracking down potential crime suspects to solve who blackmailed captain of reputable ship, Hercules. The room’s greatest feature is its seamless flow from puzzle to puzzle. There are less misnomer un-puzzle-related objects in each room that tear up valuable time and add stress. For that reason it’s easier to keep track of where you are heading next, and is a good start room for newbies who may find some of Sydney’s other escape rooms more intimidating.
The puzzles themselves are fun and varied. They rely on a combination of mathematical prowess, thinking outside the box, deduction and the good old ‘take notice of your surroundings’ trick. Only code and key locks are used, but we get to progress into multiple rooms that open up in curious ways, which keeps you on your toes. Take note though, five is certainly enough of a crowd to fill the small space. You could easily complete the room with two people. In fact it may be faster that way. If you have more people, you may want to separate into two groups and race each. The Escape Hunt can cater for six groups, with two double ups of each three room variations.
Dockyard is kid-friendly and less frightening and atmospheric than some of Sydney’s other escape rooms, but don’t let the bright surroundings and light scenescape lull you into a sense of complacency, you have an ultimate key to unlock and that clock is ticking away. Nonetheless, it’s a good room for younger escapees, work mates that scare easily or newbies who want to ease into the experience.
We ended up only asking for two clues (via two-way radio) and nailed down the culprit with 30 seconds left on the clock. Extra points for Escape Hunt’s waiting room that is spacious and luxurious, and the staff that keep a good eye out to make sure you have a lovely experience. More bonus points for the prime CBD location, situated on the same block as the Apple store in between Town Hall and Wynyard train stations.
One, final unrelated side note for escape room newbies: if you ever find a lock opens automatically without trying a code, it’s best to check in quickly with HQ to establish whether this is intentional or a fault of the staff that refresh each room. If it’s the later, we recommend not taking the easy option out because it becomes harder to track the relevant information that will progress you into the next room. Same goes for wall markings you think past escapees have made. Resetting and quality control is one of the hardest parts of an escape room business.
Creativity of puzzles: 6/10
Value of money: 6/10
To book, or for more information, visit www.sydney.escapehunt.com or call 02 2 9299 3929. Escape Hunt is open Monday to Sunday, 10am to 8:30pm. It’s located at Level 4, 393 George Street, Sydney, NSW 2000. Bus’ and trains both within a 5 minute walk away, including Wynyard and Town Hall train stations.