Date completed: August 2016 (2 players). Succeeded escaping!
Creativity: 6.5; Difficulty: 6; Atmosphere: 6; Fun: 7.5.
- Intermediate English
- 2-6 players
It was just another day at the Mystic Hotel, until a bomb threat was unveiled. You are part of the bomb squad and have one hour to disarm the bomb. The big problem is: where is it? Your wits will be your best ally in this mission!
Escape Room 51 is located in Penrith, approximately 1 hour’s drive from Sydney city centre, but near other radical adventures: sky dive simulators, go kart races and jet skis. It was just a matter of time until the first escape room popped up in the area – and the mind behind it is surprisingly young!
Escape Room 51 was idealized by Holly Masters, who was only 18 when the venue opened its doors this year, in a partnership with her cousin Kieran. It is an impressive effort of entrepreneurship for one so young and a worthy foray into the escape room market.
The escape room itself was very spacious and resembled a hotel lobby and room, which could easily accommodate 6 players (4 being probably the ideal team size in our opinion). The puzzles concentrated on the logical side with a focus on deduction and sometimes combined with basic mathematics. A team with good searchers and focused thinkers is the best combination to complete this mission – don’t overthink! Escape Room 51 does not have red herrings and everything you need will be available. Some puzzles also used the physical environment to test coordination.
The structure of Escape Room 51 begins in a linear fashion and diverges to become very non-linear in the later part of the game. The puzzles are nor too layered and the flow of the game is smooth and very consistent. Puzzles link well with each other, mostly involving elements you would find in a hotel room. The ones that are not that related to the setting are still quite fun.
Escape Room 51 was a fun, light-hearted room and we were amused to recognise some furniture: we have the same at home! (IKEA, we all love you! :D) The setting was well-lit and well-maintained which made the place very family friendly and will cater well for beginners, while still placing a few challenge for experienced players. The leaderboard featured a team of 6 people that escaped in 37 minutes, wow!
We disarmed the bomb after 48 minutes, but as we needed hints, we had minutes added to our final score. In Escape Room 51, you have 60 minutes to complete the room, but every hint used will add 3 minutes to your final exit time (the ‘final score’). Our gamemaster, Lachlan (I hope I spelled his name right!), was very attentive and gave us very fun hints, which sounded a bit like puzzles themselves.
The cost for Escape Room 51 is quite high for teams of 2 people, but teams of 3+ will pay within the average range of Australian prices. Travelling to Escape Room 51 requires some effort if you are not from the local area, but it is great to see escape rooms spreading out of the main centres.
Out of the room
Service: Escape Room 51 has lockers for player’s belongings and water at the reception. Lachlan did a brief and professional introduction. We had contact with Holly by phone and she was also very kind and enthusiastic about the game.
Communication: You do not talk to the gamemaster during the game. If you need hints, press a button on the wall and a hint will appear in the countdown monitor. If you like to do speed runs, be aware that each hint will add 3 minutes to your final time.
Surroundings: Penrith is approximately one hour from the centre of Sydney and concentrates a large range of activities, such as kart racing, a water sports park and sky diving. Driving is probably the best way to get around, and you will find plenty of places to eat in the area.