Location: The Rocks, Sydney
Date played: 6 April 2015
Players: 2 (Paniq Room recommend 2-8)
Hints: Unlimited via in-room telephone
One of Australia’s best escape rooms that’s jam-packed with puzzles.
Lured into the bunker…
Your investigative team is tasked with locating a red file containing confidential data. You enter the bunker in search of your quarry when you detect it is a trap – the door locks behind you preventing escape, and you find a bomb. You have to think your way out of this trap, and fast.
Abandoned Military Bunker on the Rocks is a trap we were more than happy to be lured into. Our long weekend in Sydney naturally included escape rooms, and after playing this room, we wished we had time to play Paniq Room’s second scenario, Supercell 117, too. It was, in a word, sensational.
The room is massive and crammed with puzzles. It takes our team of two a full five minutes to survey the room and take stock of everything. It took us a little longer to find the first puzzle and get us on our way, but once we did, it all flowed pretty smoothly from one clue to the next. Before we commenced playing, the owners told us there were more than 25 puzzles in the room, and we can definitely believe it! What they lacked in difficulty, they certainly made up for in quantity and quality. Everything worked: while that may sound like an odd thing to say, we are often left surprised (as well as confused and dismayed) by clues that don’t work properly. For a room of this size and the number of clues involved, full credit must be given to the game masters for making a room that just works.
On entering the room, you certainly feel as if you could be in an abandoned military bunker. Tense music playing in the background makes you feel like you are the star of a spy movie, while props and room decorations create a great atmosphere. There is nothing to detract from the sense of the drama, even asking for a hint: a phone on the desk connects you to the game masters. At a press of a button (or a ring of the phone), you can get the help you need to keep you on track while maintaining the theatre of the room. It’s the small details like this that make this room so excellent.
This room has more puzzles than you can poke a stick at. There aren’t any tough brain teasers or challenging maths, but instead some excellent physical puzzles and objects to find and retrieve. We needed two hints to progress through the game (one was doubting our searching abilities, and the other was our aversion to moving stuff on walls due to previous escape room briefings) but you could conceivably complete the room without hints. Clues follow each other, requiring one to be solved before you can progress to the next, but given how many objects are hidden around the room, there is still plenty for large groups to do.
Abandoned Military Bunker on the Rocks creates an excellent atmosphere for an hour of code-cracking fun. Background music, wall dressings, furniture, props and even smoke add to the drama. There are lots of red-herrings in this room, but they all fit the military theme, making it feel relevant while also signposting that reading reams of information might not offer the benefit you hope it might. As mentioned above, picking up a phone on the desk to call for help means the atmosphere is not broken by knocking on a door, pressing a doorbell, swiping a tablet screen or using a walkie talkie that doesn’t fit the context of the room.
The owners were incredibly friendly and generous with their time. It was really nice to chat with them about the room and their games before and after playing, and find out a little more about their business and where they came from. Their enthusiasm for guiding people through escape room games became readily apparent and their adeptness as tailoring experiences to each group makes for a great game. Rooms are actively monitored and their focus is on giving every team the best chance to succeed rather than chase records.
About Paniq Room
Paniq Room opened their Hungarian doors in 2012, and have since spread to the US and Australia. Paniq Room in Sydney has been part of the family since January 2015, and has a strong local flavour. Located in The Rocks tourist precinct of Sydney, Paniq Room offers two experiences, Abandoned Military Bunker on the Rocks and Supercell 117.