Horror Hunter Rating
Let me tell you the tale of the Grimaldi Brothers, one kind and one kinda evil. Percevil made a deal with the devil for the Carnival to run forever but all deals come at a cost…that cost was his brother.
The Panic Room Hub is based in a nondescript tower block in the centre of Harlow, with a few signs outside advertising both The Panic Room and Lazer Quest. The room itself is located up around 4 flights of stairs, and with no obvious lift access is not the easiest place to get to.
The ‘waiting area’ is a large space shared with some arcade games and a bar. Our game master appeared in full costume with a character to match! For a weekday booking (these are usually the b-grade teams) the commitment was fantastic.
Led on a small journey to the room we were given an in-character background to the room and sent inside. As we have experienced many escape rooms we knew what to do and immediately began searching for clues and picking apart minor details. The rooms theming was brilliant, set up as a carnival it looked the part, right down to the squashed straws and cups on the faux grass floor.
With all escape rooms the puzzles that leave you saying, “that is so obvious” are the best and one of those stumped us from the very beginning, but after a slow start we opened up the main area and the daunting task of completing all of the ‘games’.
Where Carnevil stood out was its innovation in what an ‘Escape Room’ should be. Although there were obligatory locks and keys, the carnival games added a novel twist to the room and we laughed our way through the buzzers and hook-a-ducks. One physical puzzle in particular was almost too difficult even for our crack team, this could definitely be modified as we went from fun to frustration quickly.
The room has us moving from place to place and new areas opened up within the space, we loved the small side rooms but some prop issues confused us along the way. Continuing the subject of confusion the final puzzle was in our opinion just too convoluted. It achieved the purpose of us re-visitng areas of the room again to search for items but just didn’t seem to fall into place as we could not get our head around the solution.
The room was different and immersive, and the puzzles were a fun change to normal locks and keys. The room did start to grind on our senses near the end, with the constant clown laughing and frustrating puzzles, but as the story goes the everlasting circus was created from a deal with the Devil!