Something very secret has been uncovered, and the one who discovered it has paid the price; with his life! Now it’s up to you to learn the mysteries before they are buried once more forever!
A crazed conspiracy theorist has been found dead in the middle of his mansion. The man devoted his life to the supernatural, and for years has been bombarding the newspapers with all kinds of insane nonsense about the government, but he may have been right about something… Uncover the truth and spread the word before the police turn up. Snooping around a dead man’s home makes you a prime murder suspect after all!
Room three of the day at Panic Room Harlow was The Panic Room, the company’s first game and namesake. This time, our GM, Mitchell, met us in the bar area, looking exactly like he was ready to join a private detective agency, or possibly MI6 in the 80’s.
After filling out the oh so familiar waiver, it was back up the stairs for us, straight to the door of The Panic Room. The health and safety briefing was a bit more involved this time around, for reasons that become apparent almost immediately, and then with our mission brief firmly in mind, Mitchell departed, leaving us with only the sage advice, “Don’t Panic…”
As one might expect from the original game that gave its name to the entire company, The Panic Room is a highly traditional escape room, full of logical and observational puzzles, with a good mixture of padlocks and tech, plus one of the more unique search tasks I have come across.
Unfortunately the health and safety briefing gave away the solution to one of the puzzles immediately. It’s a shame, as the solution requires just a bit of lateral thinking and I imagine without the warning in the briefing, this could possibly stump a number of teams, or at least provide just a moment of, “That was cool,” but the nature of the task is such that people cannot be expected to not behave foolishly, and must be forewarned.
More often than not, Gord is the one arranging our escape adventures, so I very rarely know what the theme is going into a room, unless it specifically says “Pirates.” When we arrived for The Panic Room, I was honestly expecting it to be more of an Escape the Serial Killer scenario, than a room full of conspiracy theories. But, while the name doesn’t actually give you any clue to the story, there is more of a story behind this game than I typically expect from one of a similar age, although there is certainly opportunity to expand the narrative to drive the game forward. The puzzles were all loosely related to the theme or the story, and while I can’t say that there were any stand out “Wow!” moments, the game flowed well, with parallel puzzle paths, that eventually culminated in one final piece.
The Panic Room had one of the easier sets to pull off, after all, you’re essentially in someone’s house, and it was believable enough that we were in the mansion of a conspiracy theorist, though truth be told, there was nothing awe inspiring, and the decor swiftly faded into the background as we set about solving the mystery.
Mitchell was a lovely host. The Panic Room limit clues in this game to three, and while we didn’t require any, if we had, I’m sure they would have popped up in the screen quickly.
I think it says something about the quality of a game when the original game that launched a company with as many games as The Panic Room is still around. Is it the most amazing game I’ve ever played? No. Is it fun, and a reminder of the sort of experiences that I had at the start of my escaping career that made me fall in love with this crazy hobby in the first place? Absolutely.
Team: 2 players – escaped in 24:36 with no clues
Address: 1-5 Harvey Centre Approach, Harlow CM20 1HF