Date completed: December 2015 (2 players). Succeeded escaping!
Creativity: 8.5; Difficulty: 8; Atmosphere: 8; Fun: 8.
- 2-6 players.
- Good mobility/acute senses
- Basic English (for hints only)
In 9A Gateway, a seance has gone horribly wrong at an old abandoned building which left its participants trapped in the netherworld. As brave supernatural investigators, we had to breach the veil of the other world and rescue those souls.
Things quickly turned for the worse though and we soon found out that the door would only remain open for 60 minutes. Failure to escape was not an option. Unless we wanted to become one of them…
When we arrived at ParaPark, we received a very good briefing in a spacious and comfortable lounge, well illuminated, where we could cuddle the gamemasters’ lovely puppy. So contrasting with the dark and scary adventure that waited for us!
One interesting feature of 9A Gateway, among others, it that it has a “warm up” room. Before we entered the real deal, we started in a very small room with one task only. It was a simple task, but required a lot of our attention! Once we completed that, we entered the Gateway. We liked this simple preparation mechanism as it helps put the players into the right mindset for the game.
On entering the Gateway proper, we found a dark, well decorated room with furniture related to the story and a soundtrack that gives chills over your spine. ParaPark did a very good job creating the right atmosphere for this room. It looks, sounds and even feels creepy.
The puzzles are varied and plenty. You will need a good searcher in your team, as some items are well hidden. They are also not the common stuff you find in most rooms – some look like objects that were simply forgotten there. As the room advance, they become very important.
(Did it move? Source: ParaPark Sydney website)
At least one person in the team must have reasonable mobility. Depending on how you decide to solve a puzzle, you may have to move yourself in different ways and interact with pieces of furniture, decoration and stuff around you. Be prepared for some teamwork that will require good communication, association puzzles, basic computer use and to be very, very creative. Some puzzles do not have obvious answers and you will have to be aware of the resources available. Mechanical intelligence is another strong point of this room.
None of the puzzles actually require any language. All information is visual or non-language based. You only need English to talk to the gamemaster via walkie-talkie.
And then, when you least expect, all hell breaks loose in one of the most surprising endings of a escape room we’ve done. Being able to maintain focus will also be a key skill here, if you want to escape. The horror levels of the room kept escalating as we advanced through the game and the soundtrack as well as the effects played an important role in this. The atmosphere gave Pá a few jumps (mildly reduced when a piano version of a Sailor Moon song played on the background) and turning the final moments were really challenging.
We got out with only a few seconds to spare and we were still building stuff until the very end. But we survived! Our hosts kindly gave us some water while our heartbeats went back to normal.
ParaPark is a famous escape room franchise originally from Budapest, and the venue in Sydney is worthy of the name. This is an elaborate and well-built room and deserves the effort to travel there.
A quick note: ParaPark Sydney also has a room called 9B Gateway. It’s exactly the same room, built so that two teams can play at the same time.
Out of the room
Service: Gamemasters were friendly, briefing was very good and they were attentive to our movements during the game. Personal belongings are taken into the room with you – pay attention to where you place them!
Communication: You can get unlimited hints via walkie-talkie. The radios we used on the day were not very good and we had some issues with the sound, but the hosts said they were aware and would work to improve it.
Surroundings: ParaPark is within close driving distance of Macquarie Centre and Macquarie University on the north side of Sydney. Access to the location is best done by car. There are plenty of parking spaces available.