With a list of suspects you must investigate the crime scene and one by one rule them out to put the killer behind bars! Set inside the stunning set of an art deco Mafia club, it’s an extremely exciting experience.
With only 60 minutes on the clock, can you crack the case in time?
Our first experience of The Panic Room: Harlow, was an interesting one, this is the first escape room location we’ve been to that shares it location with laser tag and miniature golf, but why not?! It’s a great tie in as it’s all entertainment after all. When we arrived we were greeted by a member of the team for the laser tag who radiod to The Panic Room staff that we were there. A few minutes later, our GM Holly arrived (suitably attired) and welcomed us to the panic room.
The Panic Room: Harlow has a very comfortable waiting area that comprises sofas, fussball, pool, arcades, and a fully licensed bar – what more could you want? Anyway, we sat on the couch in the waiting area and Holly proceeded to play a health and safety/welcome to The Panic Room type video on the projector in the bar area and while this was playing we filled in the waiver (which we got very familiar with). With health and safety briefing out of the way, and lives signed away, Holly led us around the labyrinth of corridors and stairs up to the entrance to CSI: The Mafia Murders.
Holly gave us a further, more specific health and safety briefing outside the room and then took us into the room where a room specific briefing was played. This video detailed what had happened in the room and what we had to do to succeed. When the video was over, Holly wished us luck, started the timer and then we were on our own.
This room plays out like a massive whodunnit so it’s no surprise that you have to solve puzzles to find clues to help you work out who was the guilty party. With that in mind, the overriding theme of the puzzles in the room was logic – it was one big logic puzzle.
There was a lot of reading as you need to go through A LOT of evidence to make sure you don’t pin the murder on the wrong person, so if you don’t like a reading-heavy room then you may want to steer clear of this room.
The majority of the puzzles resulted in combinations which unlocked the evidence you needed to progress. The combinations were found by a mixture of observational puzzles and a little searching. There is decent signposting in the room though so it wasn’t too tricky to work out where to go to get your next combination. It was also nice that the room played out in a non-linear fashion and we were able to work independently of each other – although Liz spent most of her time working out who the murderer was while I just ran around trying to solve everything else (she’s good at logic stuff).
There was one puzzle, literally one puzzle in the entire room that we really didn’t like and needed a clue for. It guided you to do one thing but actually you had to do something completely different – it would have been fixed and less frustrating if they just changed one word on the clue. We spoke with Holly about it after our game and she said ‘most teams need a clue on that one’ – well if that’s the case then something is wrong with the puzzle, so Panic Room, please fix it!
I’m a bit unsure on what I thought about the room design here, but I think I liked it. It had a very art deco feel which didn’t feel out of place for the time and location that the room was set, although there were a few pieces in the room which felt like they should do something, but were simply set dressing.
I think this is likely an older room as some of the areas felt a bit run down and like they had seen better days. There was one item that we found a wire going to it and could see what we thought it was likely to do, yet it never came into play so it was likely once a puzzle but no longer is.
Looking back at this room, I think it was ok although there was nothing truly ‘wow’ about it, and that feels like The Panic Room missed a trick. There were a lot of padlocks, which did kinda work in the room, although a bit more tech may have helped make the room feel more impressive.
Like all of the other rooms we’ve played at Panic Room Harlow, clues were delivered via walkie-talkie. We only needed one clue (for the previously mentioned reason) and when we requested it we didn’t have to wait long before Holly came back with a response. Before starting the room we were asked how we wanted to do clues and we stated we would request them if we felt we needed them, but also if we were falling behind them we were happy to have clues. Holly took this on board and gave us enough time to work things out for ourselves, yet she was obviously paying attention and when we did request the clue we didn’t have to laboriously detail where we were and what we had done.
Plenty of space to move around and a non-linear design means this would be a good room for larger teams, although you may run out of puzzles to solve and some of your team will spend most of their time reading. It’s a fun room though just don’t expect anything mindblowing.
Team: Two players escaped in 36:07 with no clues
Address: 1-5 Harvey Centre Approach, Harlow CM20 1HF