The people living in the city have been whispering about the inexplicable phenomenon’s circulating around the old abandoned building. They say that sometimes people hear strange sounds coming from beyond the walls. Long ago, a conjuration of spirits went wrong and the darkness held them captive.
Your mission is to drag them out and free them from within the darkness’ grasp. As the clock starts ticking you can hear the verses of the parchment that were uttered by the members of the last séance. The walls whisper the words of a secret and ancient language: from now on the game is not just a game, everything changes and the passage opens... So now your team has a problem to solve: get into the passage and come back to your own world within 60 minutes! If you can...From the ParaPark website
9A Gateway has a time limit of 60 minutes. We successfully completed it with three people, a few hints and 10 to 15 minutes to spare.
Going into the room, we didn't know what to expect. The first room is small - a warm-up room, we were told by hosts Amy and Laszlo. This involved finding a key to get into the main room. It sounded simple, given the room had almost nothing in it, but is made considerably harder when you realise the wallpaper is patterned with - you guessed it - keys. But find the key we did, and off we went!
At the start, the creepy-factor wasn't too bad. There were elements that gave us pause, but nothing too scary. The puzzles were pretty straightforward - find the keys, find out what to unlock, gather clues. We also got quite a few items we had no idea what to do with, and spend a while puzzling over them.
Then we hit the next part and everything kicked into high gear. One person in our group was so freaked out she was too scared to go anywhere alone. The room's decor, the sounds, the lighting - everything was straight out of a paranormal horror movie and you could believe you were in one. For all that we told each other it was just a room, it was terrifying. (lexi says: I may have screamed a few times but there is no evidence of the fact.)
The puzzles, too, went to a whole 'nother level. Items we'd found at the start suddenly started to make sense, but working out how to use them to solve the puzzles was something else. There was one particular puzzle involving a computer and an item we'd found earlier, that had us stumped for quite a while. The solution was very smart, and it was satisfying to solve. There was a great variety of puzzles to solve, and it never fell into a predictable routine of "find clue, unlock lock, get next clue, unlock next lock".
There was one puzzle which we solved in the wrong way, by missing something that appeared on the computer, but it was still clear enough what we had to do. It just took us more effort. And another very smart one that could be solved if you just thought laterally about the items on hand, that we thought even more laterally on and solved with a completely different item and some frustration. Also, the puzzling worked on more than one level. Literally.
(Incidentally, we learned that we are shocking at finding things. Absolutely shocking.)
The final puzzle to get out of the room was a surprise. Let's just say there was more to it than first met the eye. We enjoyed this room a great deal and are definitely going back for the newly opened room!
Excellent. We were constantly monitored, and hints came through a walkie-talkie. Not too much, not too little. Just right. Which is how you know the big bad wolf is coming to get you...
Just saying, a crackling walkie-talkie is scary as hell when there's already a lot of other creepy ambient noise.
Medium. It's generally pretty clear what clue links to what puzzle, though how to use the clue will likely stump you.
Basic digital image manipulation skills help!
What we liked
I don't want to spoil anything, so let's just say one point where I saw something out of the corner of my eye, turned slowly, screamed, then laughed my head off.
When we solved what we thought was the last puzzle, and [redacted] happened as we were scrambling to solve the last puzzle.
I also really liked the different types of puzzles & use of technology. We were a bit silly and didn't actually use the technology as we should have, but had we been smart, that would've been really good.
Finding the key in the first room. It was really smart!
An incredibly atmospheric room that had us too scared to walk around alone! Oh, and a great variety of puzzles too.
- Atmosphere, atmosphere, atmosphere
- Wide variety of puzzles keeps things changed up, with some we'd never seen before
- Exciting ending
- One part near the end is more pixel-hunting rather than puzzle-solving
- No lockers to store your bags
- Location is far from the city and harder to get to than many other Sydney escape rooms
You will like this if...
- You've always wanted to be in a horror movie
- You like variety in your puzzles
- You don't mind a bit of pixel hunting
You might not like this if...
- You get scared easily
There's enough puzzles to keep three people occupied but I think it would be too crowded with more than four.