Game Date: 24th September 2019
Game Number: 35
Price for Two: £50
It’s New Year’s Eve and Old Father Time – The master of the most powerful force of nature – has gone missing! Without him, the clocks won’t reset at midnight and the sands of time will run out – permanently!
The effects have already started – the forest creatures have started turning to stone, and in 60 minutes, the waves of time will cease to ripple and the rest of the world will follow suit! Start a new chapter and work together to explore a beautiful tree cabin straight from the pages of a fantasy novel to discover the secrets inside. A mystical fairy tale escape room awaits where time is more important than ever!
Arrival and Introduction
Unless you have been living under a rock for the past few years, The Panic Room Gravesend will be a venue well known to any escape room enthusiast. Boasting an impressive 21 difference experiences it is one of the biggest venues in the country and it had been on our list of venues to visit for ages! We were down in Kent visiting family and when the typical English weather put pay to our outdoor adventures we hopped in the car and headed down to Gravesend. The Panic Room is spread over 4 different sites and we were directed to site 1 at Berkley Square which had a handy car park just a few minutes away on Milton Place (though you enter it from Ordnance Road).
A nice bright waiting room awaited us with a warm welcome from the members of staff that were milling around. Waiver forms were singed on tablets and then we took our seats for the customary safety brief which was delivered via a screen. Having sat through many many briefs its nice when companies come up with something a little different and this was different and more enjoyable than normal. Definitely a positive start. We were given our game specific briefing in three parts, partly when we finished the stock briefing, partly by the door to the room and then finally a last set of instructions within the room. One of my least favourite things is briefings within the room as it means you lose that initial “wow” moment of the time starting and you opening the door and entering a completely different world.
It is such a shame that you start the game from within the room because it is a BEAUTIFUL room and some of that magic is lost when you stand a take further information from the GM. I get that some of the information is needed to keep the player safe and the game running smoothly but surely there must be a way of doing this whilst outside the room. There is a lovely centre piece to this room that is the focus of the first part of the game and gives a lovely idea of progress in the game. We took a good few minutes at the start just appreciating the effort that has gone into the themeing and decoration of the room – it was just stunning and such a pleasure to be in. I particularly enjoyed the running water element which I cant say i have ever seen in a room before!
This was certainly a padlock heavy room with an abundance of keys, codes and locks obvious from the start. However, there was enough signposting within the room to make sure that you knew which code or key belonged with each lock. There was lots to do in this room and the puzzles were mainly based around observation and searching but contained some really clever multi-layered puzzles that required good communication and teamwork. I can see one aural puzzle in particular being frustrating for teams but thankfully we made our way through it with no real issues. All the puzzles in the room flowed really well and felt logical within the setting of the game. The benefit of a lock heavy room is that the a-ha moments when you solve a puzzle come hand-in-hand with opening the lock and you are not relying on seeing/hearing things happening. Whilst not wholly an open game, there was plenty of time when we were both working on different puzzles but also times when we both needed to be working together on the same puzzles. We both found this to be a good balance for our pair.
We managed to complete the game (I wont spoil the exact task as it become apparent through the telling of the story) with just over 25 minutes left on the clock. There were two different ways of receiving clues in this room – a grandfather clock and also one that I wont spoil but fitted very well within the theme. We needed one major clue for something that was starting us in the face and we felt suitably silly after our GM pointed it out. Tunde met us at the exit door and then took us back into the room to chat through the bits that we enjoyed the most and so on. I do enjoy it when GMs take you back into the room and discuss the game with you – it is so much easy to give and receive feedback when you can actually look at the puzzles! Given our enjoyment of this game, Tunde recommended some of The Panic Room’s other games and it took approximately 30secs of thinking before we took advantage of the discount offered for rebooking on the day. The Wizard of Oz was up next.
This was such an enjoyable game to play through, mostly due to the room itself which is gorgeous but also thanks to some fun puzzles that whilst are not groundbreaking in their design still very satisfying and enjoyable to complete. Tunde was a great host who delivered our hints and nudges just when we were on the verge of getting frustrated and clearly is very passionate about escape rooms. Old Father Time does not have the biggest of footprints so I would say two players is about ideal. It is straightforward enough to be able to complete as a pair yet not too easy to feel like you have escape too quickly. Players in teams of bigger than 4 may find themselves superfluous at times.
Customer Experience: 4 out of 5
Theming: 5 out of 5
Enjoyment: 4.5 out of 5
Gameplay: 4.5 out of 5
Overall: 4.5 out of 5