Tonight I went along with a dozen of my co-workers to PaniqRoom, an escape room here in Sydney. I’d heard of them before but never done one. The idea is that you’re locked in a room and have to solve puzzles to escape before a clock runs down (sort of like a real life video game). My team tackled the “Abandoned Military Bunker” challenge. We had to find a secret file, disable a bomb, and unlock the door in under 60 minutes. Apparently it only has a 40% success rate, and the record is held by a couple who finished it with only two hints. (There’s a phone you can use if you get stuck and need some help.) Obviously we were all gung-ho and quite sure we’d solve it easily. After some instructions from our host (basically telling us what not to touch and that we didn’t need to smash anything), we entered and the game began!

I didn’t know what to expect at first, but I ended up loving it. The first 5 minutes reminded me of Finders Keepers. We all ran around like crazy investigating the room and digging into things. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but there were lots of puzzles, codes, and keys. At one point, we opened a box and were confronted by a game that I’ve played thousands of times, and THIS WAS ME. We made fantastic progress for about 40 minutes before getting stumped and having to resort to a hint. Then we got one more hint 10 minutes later that pointed us towards the final stage. We ended up escaping with about six minutes to spare.

I highly recommend PaniqRoom. The staff were great, and the puzzles were interesting without being too hard or random. Well worth a visit!