After hearing so many good things about ‘The Panic Room’ we finally made the pilgrimage there to complete one of their “Enthusiasts’ packages” (a genius business move on their behalf). After quite a few emails back and forth with the wonderful owner Alex we finally came up with our list of 5 for the day.
We began our visit with Old Father Time, followed shortly by Wizard of Oz. We then took a lunch break before Ten Fathoms Deep and The Loop. Another break (and cake) before finishing off with Espionage.
This was the most basic set of all the rooms we did during the day – on the surface just a plain office room. However, there were lots of things to do and find. Admittedly there were a few surprises, which suited the room brilliantly without being anything outlandish. My only criticism is that I would like to have had whiteboard markers if they were going to give us a whiteboard!
As mentioned, the game appears to be a simple office room, but there was enough to do and find that we immediately split up. Indeed, we were able to split up and keep out of each others’ ways until close to the end, which was nice. You are advised to complete the first ‘half’ of the room within 40 minutes, which we accomplished in around 30 (I believe). (When I say ‘half’ I mean a narrative half, rather than physical half!) Throughout this section, there was a common theme/puzzle running throughout, which I loved. It’s not something I see often in Escape rooms, so love when it does occur.
There were a lot of hidden things in this room, which can either be a blessing or a curse. Personally, I love it, especially when mixed with plenty of puzzles. I enjoyed the majority of the other puzzles, and it was a really great way to end the day.
The hint system was a screen (yay!), although I don’t think the cameras were particularly well placed – the GM gave us a couple of hints for things we’d already done! That being said, it did fit nicely with the room, and it remained immersive.
There are a couple of steps in the room, as well as in the venue. However, the room is spacious and does have somewhere to sit, with no physical puzzles. There is good lighting throughout, which is necessary as there is a fair bit of reading required.
What I would say is that this is the ‘loudest’ room we were in, but I’m sure the music could be turned down slightly. There is also a small area you will need to pass through, although you shouldn’t be there too long.
Pros – Immersion, puzzles (number, variety, theme)
Cons – Puzzles (clarity & linearity towards the end), set
Outside the rooms
The customer service here was fantastic! Our GM’s were; Sim for Old Father Time, Jimjam for Wizard of Oz, Remie for Ten Fathoms Deep, Drew for Loop and Adam for Enigma. They were all amazing, so shout out to them!
My favourite has to be Drew for Loop – he was fantastic at weaving humour and friendliness into his briefing, as well as messages we received during the game and even our debrief. We had a fantastic time talking to him – possibly the best GM I’ve ever had! We invited him to share cake with us afterwards, and although he couldn’t stay he did supply us with plates and cutlery, and even a rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’. He was utterly charming and a really top notch guy.
Our second favourite was Jimjam – mainly because we have to apologise to him for boring him with our lack of hints! However he really got us psyched up to play, even dressing up as a scarecrow, and again was really friendly. When discussing other rooms, I mentioned my real fear of mannequins (yes, I know it’s weird…don’t @ me.) He took his time to discuss their other rooms with me (as much as he could) and ask his colleague about other rooms. He also organised a certificate for our teammate after finding out it would be his 50th room – a really lovely touch!
I’m not going to go into the others, as they were all fantastic and a testament to the company they work for. It’s clear that everyone who works there loves what they’re doing, and is passionate about ensuring you have a fantastic experience.
Other than the staffs, all three locations have great waiting areas, enough space to store your belongings, have water available, and are accommodating for cake! I also noticed they all had various boardgames, which I think is a nice touch, particularly for anyone who is tagging along but not doing an escape room themselves.
One other thing to mention is the customer service preceding our visit! Rather than just booking us in for whatever rooms we wanted, Alex took his time to discuss our likes/dislikes with us to ensure we put together the perfect day. I’m not sure if it was planned or not, but Alex also had the rooms booked in order of difficulty, so we really did feel the build-up as the day progressed. This was a fantastic customer experience, and again a testament to the care put into the company as a whole.
Was it worth the money?
We booked the enthusiasts package, which cost us £420 rather than £475, including a customised schedule. For a team of 5 this worked out at £85 for the day each, or £17 a room.
This was absolutely worth the money. Firstly, the rooms were worth far more than £17 each – I would have paid between £20 and £40 for these rooms!
As a whole package, I think £85 for a day was very generous. With the rooms and customer experience, this was definitely worth more.
If you are an enthusiast, I definitely recommend a visit to The Panic Room, and would definitely suggest going for the enthusiast’s package. Even if you’re a novice and in the area, you should still try out a few of their easier rooms.
This goes down as one of my top escape room experiences, and I cannot wait to return.