The Escape Hunt Experience has a pretty attention-grabbing premise; you and some friends get shut in a room and have an hour to work your way through a series of clues in order to earn your way out. In order to dress the task up a bit, you're cast as detectives trying to solve a crime.
There are three different mysteries to choose form: Robbery in the Cottage, Extortion in the Dockyard and Murder in the Pub (the last is slightly harder). Armed with little more than the vague outline of what to expect mentioned above, I recently completed Robbery in the Cottage and the experience was much more fun that I had expected.
From very beginning, The Escape Hunt goes to great lengths to give you a complete experience, with complimentary snacks and a themed waiting room. Inside the rooms, you're made to feel as if you're in whatever type of setting you chose; my cottage was complete with a cupboard, trunk etc (notice these items all have locks that need to be opened).
The big blind spot in my knowledge of what would happen at The Escape Hunt had been the clues. Would they be so easy they were boring? (I wasn't sure about the age targeted by the attraction.) Or perhaps they would be too hard or designed for just one person? The detective element reminded me of Cluedo and I only ever did well at that by copying someone else's strategy.
It turned out that that the game is exactly the right amount of challenging, and perfect for adults (prices are based on the numbers in your group, not your age). The clues (once you've found them around the room) are in the strain of brain teasers and a certain amount of everyday skill and knowledge is required. My group mainly fell down in communication though, such as a clue not being mentioned in the chaos of searching a room.
We managed to make it out with six minutes to spare, after wasting a lot of time on the first clue as we got the hang of what was expected of us. When you do struggle, you are able to call in help from the Game Master (the staff at the desk), which stops you wasting too long on one task and increases your chance of escape. We had a lot of communication going between us and the Games Master at the end, sometimes initiated by him, which made me think we were running behind and wouldn't finish but was still helpful.
Playing dress ups after successfully escaping the Cottage
Between two to five people can do The Escape Hunt Experience at a time, but three or four is the optimal number. Booking online is the cheaper option, but you can walk in too. The location is very accessible in the CBD and you can get to it via George Street, though you'd never guess it was there. The sign outside the discreet door just says Jenny Craig (which is on another floor).
I can't say I actually paid any attention to who the robber of the cottage ended up being (there was too much excitement as we tried out the key) but I loved the challenge and hope to be back again; I'm determined to complete a room without hints.