PANIC ROOM - ONLINE & PLAY AT HOME GAMES

The Panic Room, based in Gravesend, have created an absolute multitude of fantatsic online, print and play and puzzle books for the family! I have had the pleasure of playing a vast array of them. Take a look...

To purchase any of these experiences, visit; https://www.thepanicroomonline.co.uk/

PANIC ROOM - MY DEAREST EMILY

PADLOCK RATING; 5 - OUTSTANDING 

 

This online experience is really like nothing else. You will not be disappointed!

 

My Dearest Emily is based on the love letters between John and Emily, as John departed to secure their future during the 1889 Land Rush in America. You follow their relationship during their separation with an ever evolving love story and series of riddles. Not the kind of story line you would expect with an escape game, however stop your judgement right there! 

Being so used to being pressured in escape room games this was a refreshing break from the norm. The calm, relaxed atmosphere of this game, provides a sense of empathy with the characters. As a player you become attached to their story. Never did I think that you feel a real sense of emotion playing an online game, but the guys at The Panic Room have really nailed it.

 

In addition to their love letters, further emotion is applied by a beautiful soundtrack which provides for an atmosphere like no other. Sitting calmly in the background, this well written orchestral acoustic score accompanies the puzzles perfectly. In addition, you have the option to listen to Emily reading the love letters which is a lovely touch.

The puzzles in this game vary in complexity, however fit very well with the story and stay strictly on theme. First timers may find a handful of the games tricky, however well placed hints sit nicely at the bottom of each page and provide the right level of guidance without spoiling things too much. If completely stuck, you can reveal the answer in order to move on, however please only do this as a last resort! The sense of achievement in answering the riddles will add to your joy in this game. 

In terms of who I would expect to play, this is really not aimed at big groups of friends. I would expect this to be for couples wanting to sit down, enjoy each others company and exercise the grey matter! Likewise, newcomers and experienced gamers alike will certainly enjoy this ever-evolving love story. 

As ever for an online experience, I was worried that their would be no real pay-off at the end of the game. No spoilers, however, I am pleased to say in this game I was wrong. The finale completes this experience beautifully and leaves you with that warm fuzzy glow that I didn't think possible with an online game. 

Its safe to say, I was hugely impressed with this experience and there was very little I could fault. A beautifully appointed, atmospheric experience, with well placed puzzles, great flow and very individual yet interesting theme. 

PANIC ROOM - CLUE KINGDOM - THE ENCHANTED FOREST

PADLOCK RATING; 5 - OUTSTANDING 

 

Think, Lord of the Rings meets Disney's Tangled  and you wont go far wrong with this epic online adventure! 

In respect of story line, The Enchanted Forest is the first part of a 6 part epic online escape room. Following the journey of heroes as they make their way to The Spire to defeat the evil wizard who controls the Clue Kingdom. Within In The Enchanted Forest, you follow the quest of Sir Cadogan as he explores the enchanted forest to find the Faery Village and finally the hidden temple where the earth element awaits.

Now this really is a story of epic proportions! I am a huge fan of major film franchises where good meet evils in battles, with big budgets and never ending supplies of magic, mystery and mayhem - so this escape room series hits the mark for me for sure! 

The first thing of note, is the opening video to this game. A beautifully told, animated journey to the kingdom. Now when I say animated, don't expect some over the top "cute" Disney animation. Think more classic design, coupled with a soundtrack of huge structure which, in my eyes, plays a major role in providing atmosphere to the game. (As a musician, I get very excited by the role music plays in setting an ambience and this one smashes all others out of the park). Please - make sure you download it when prompted at the start of the game, you'll be amazed! 

Anyway, music fan boy out of the way, moving onto the puzzles. These sit wonderfully on theme as you work your way around the Enchanted Forest. All games have an earthy feel to them and certainly pull on the theme of nature and your wonderful surroundings. The games are of medium difficulty and are all certainly achievable, if for the occasionally well placed hint, which I called on from time to time! I really enjoyed the puzzles in this one. They were certainly taxing and no walk in the park however, at no stage did I feel overwhelmed or have the sense of "I have no idea what I'm doing here!"  

I would suggest families with slightly older children would enjoy this game. Its soundtrack and animated elements will warm the coldest of hearts and the puzzles within this game are a great one to "gather the family" with - I think many hands would work really well with this game.  

As the game evolves you find yourself heading deeper into the forest in your quest to find the earth element - the puzzles seem to just keep coming which is a real plus in this game. Its a really strong start and would certainly invest me in carrying on playing the rest of the series (which The Panic Room plan on releasing monthly). As well as being great as part of a series, this is also a brilliant standalone game - however, when seeing the end of this game, you certainly get a taste of whats to come so my attention has certainly been caught! 

Its safe to say that we really enjoyed this epic adventure and if this sets the tone of whats to come over the series, I am very excited. Some great puzzles, beautiful animation and a soundtrack which captures the imagination like no other. Great fun, taxing yet achievable, I would certainly recommend this one! 

PADLOCK RATING; 4.5 - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED 

PANIC ROOM - CLUE KINGDOM 2 - THE DWARVEN MINES 
 

So, you have played part 1 and now your journey continues. More of the same? Yes please! Your epic "Lord of the Rings" styles adventure continues in part 2 as you make your way into the mines.  

In respect of story line, this chapter follows on from The Enchanted Forest, however we now join Ophelia, the Mage, as she tries to locate the next element as the heroes attempt to make their way to The Spire and defeat the evil wizard who controls Clue Kingdom. 

If you enjoyed part 1, you are sure to love this too! And also, never fear... even if you hadn't played part 1, this can be played as a standalone game (although, you'd be mad to miss it!).

Again, where this online game series sets itself apart, is with all those big budget style videos and outstanding soundtrack. It provides an epic feel to the game and gives you the feeling that you are indeed on a huge adventure. Digital animation, video clips, believable yet mystical characters, all build the tension and atmosphere of your journey. The Celtic/orchestral-styled soundtrack gives great depth and aides this epic feel.    

In respect of puzzles, these were very enjoyable. They sit perfectly on theme as you work deeper into the mines. Without spoilers, the early puzzles within this game all have a consistent theme/style around them. The common theme works really well in starting you on your mission and gives you chance to "find your feet". However, don't get too comfortable! Just as you find your stride, boom, the game mixes up and you find yourself with some much trickier puzzles! We may have used the well positioned clues to aide us on the journey in its latter stages! 

 

In a similar approach to part 1, I would suggest families with slightly older children would enjoy this game. Its soundtrack and animated elements certainly got my attention and the puzzles within this game allow everyone to be get round the screen and get involved.   

The game certainly continues to build the Clue Kingdom journey, and those that have invested in the entire series will not be disappointed. The game continues to be very well rounded and demonstrate the outstanding passion and talent that the team at The Panic Room have. They continue to develop great puzzles, accompanying soundtracks, beautiful animation and a well designed platform which allow for care-free game play. Another highly-recommended online game.  

PANIC ROOM - CLUE KINGDOM 3 - THE FORGOTTEN CITY

PADLOCK RATING; 5 - OUTSTANDING

 

Make no doubt about, I am a big fan of the online games presented by The Panic Room. And the Clue Kingdom series is something special. But this chapter (at point of writing) is my absolute favourite of the series thus far.

 

For those that haven't checked out the series, let me set the scene... The Clue Kingdom is under the control of evil magic at The Spire. In order to regain control of the Kingdom, you follow the journey of different characters in their bid to obtain a collection of different elements Think epic "Lord of the Rings"  and you have nailed it! In this chapter, we follow the path of Aldred the Apostle in his quest to secure the air element from deep within the bowels of the Cathedral of Divinity, in the Forgotten City. Yep, you got it folks, our quest continues and the series of puzzles that lay ahead will certainly get your adrenaline buzzing and the grey matter working for sure! 

 

As with the other chapters in this series, The Panic Room have cleverly devised them to also be standalone games. Yes, purchase on their own if you must, however I would highly suggest buying the series, so you get that little surprise in your inbox once a month! The journey certainly unfolds when combining all chapters and for families and enthusiasts alike, having that online get together once a month to see where the adventure is taking you, is well worth it!     

Although easy to compare chapters, this review will focus solely on chapter 3. So where to begin? Well, the opening video really sets the scene for the adventure that follows. An epic, orchestral, beautifully designed and animated opening provides the senses with a shot in the arm, and gets your excitement pulsing. 

The puzzles then begin, which tend to follow the well trodden path that The Panic Room have used before - page by page puzzles, accompanied by some cool download documents along the way. A great bonus on this adventure is that there isn't the need to read through masses of text - the start of every puzzle commences with a well scripted audio opening. 

When it comes to puzzle content, this game is packed with them, all of which stick strictly to the theme. I would suggest that this game is medium difficultly - some games kept me guessing for a while however the penny dropped in most cases. Although there are a selection of hover boxes at the foot of each page where you can get some well pitched clues, and, if your really stuck, reveal the answer. 

A huge positive in this online game, is the use of more interactive puzzles. Not only does the game include beautifully designed games (and I mean really beautifully designed), which appear throughout the game series, this chapter includes games which get the user even more involved in the surroundings of the puzzle and will need you to interact with the content in front of you (that's me being as cryptic as possible without giving any spoilers!)

This outstandingly epic adventure builds superbly and certainly utilises the strengths already seen in the previous chapters. Accompanied with a well appointed soundtrack to download, packed with superb games and beautiful graphics, this is one that all the family will enjoy. 

 

Yet another brilliant example of a well-rounded online adventure, brought to you by the expertise of The Panic Room. Certainly up there with our favourites. Every chapter keeps the hunger for the next - and I'm already starving for the next one! Unlike the city, this adventure will not be forgotten!   

PANIC ROOM - CLUE KINGDOM 4 - THE HIDDEN VILLAGE

REVIEW COMING SOON..

 
PANIC ROOM - CLUE KINGDOM 5 - SECRETS OF THE OCEAN

REVIEW COMING SOON..

 
PANIC ROOM - CLUE KINGDOM 6 - THE SPIRE

REVIEW COMING SOON..

 
 
PANIC ROOM - CSI: GROUNDED

PADLOCK RATING; 4.5 - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED 

Put your detective hats on in this high-tech online murder mystery! 

The story... A murder, a mystery. The suspects 30,000 feet in the air. Someone killed Avery Stone on flight 9201 - but who and how? Everyone on board is a suspect. Solve your way through the clues, unravel the mystery and find the killer. 

A real solid storyline gets this game off to a strong start. The depth of the story is pretty unbelievable with attention to detail which no other online game could dream of - particularly as the game evolves. 

 

Another major plus to this game is the level of tech involved. Numerous embedded and online videos, plus the use of QR codes add something different to this game. It really does make you feel like a detective. The video and audio quality is very strong. The use of different audio techniques really adds to the style of this game. (coupled with a tension building hour long backing track which really adds to the pressure!)

In terms of puzzles these vary vastly. There are a couple of some very easy self-explanatory puzzles which we got in a matter of seconds. On the flip-side, there were some which will test even the most experienced escape gamer. Some well places clues will certainly guide you in the right direction (and yes, we did use them!) 

A pen and paper coupled with an extra mobile phone with a camera are a must in this game. With the volume of puzzles and evidence involved, coupled with some extra downloads on clues etc it can become easy to get bogged down, so take your time, write down the clues and your will be certain to succeed. 

All round, a very impressive online experience, which uses audio and visual clues in a modern way, yet still clinging onto the traditions of a murder-mystery game. Invest your time and your patience and this is one you wont forget in a hurry! 

PANIC ROOM - CSI: MAFIA MURDERS

PADLOCK RATING; 5 - OUTSTANDING 

 

A top-notch online murder mystery experience, where your inner detective will be tested and your enjoyment will thrive. 

 

Your mission - a robbery and multiple murders have occurred and "the family" wants to know who it was. It is your job to help the family (said in my best New York Italian accent) work out who did the job before the cops track them down, so you can handle them in your own special way! An old friend managed to gain access to the evidence locker at police HQ and now with it in your hands its time to track them down! 

 

Safe to say, we loved the story. A real true crime case, which doesn't just tick the "you are a detective" box; its adds this brilliant twist of actually beating the cops to crack the case. It evolves brilliantly and as the evidence stacks up, so does the tension.  

The first thing to mention is the brilliant opening video. It sets the scene very well, tells the story, adds some great imagery and really gives the game its feel. Then add in the New York Italian soundtrack to your game and your atmosphere is complete. 

The puzzles within the game are also very strong - each evidence pack is a puzzle on its own however, don't just read it as an answer to open the next lock - read a little further into it. Why? Well lets just say, in order to solve the mystery you need to have your detective hat on and not just look at things at face value. The puzzles aren't hugely difficult on their own for more experienced gamers,  and the experience lends itself well to families with older children (I would say 10 years plus given the subject matter) and keen enthusiasts who love a who done it mystery. Likewise, getting your friends and work colleagues together over video conference software for this would be brilliant.

Another great point in this game is the quality of the evidence which vary vastly from puzzle to puzzle. Some are audio clues, others visual, others are video based. The written documentation is clear yet detailed enough to provide just the write amount of red herrings, so keep a clear head and you will be bound to succeed. If stuck some well structured clues are sat on each web page and you also have the option to reveal the answer - only use this as a last resort - everything is achievable and you'll certainly get a much greater sense of fulfilment! 

The finale builds the game very well and pulls on all your powers of deduction from the previous puzzles to work out what has unfolded during the robbery. From your exhaustive list of suspects, who actually did it?! We really enjoyed this detective element in the story and makes the game more like an experience than just a set of online puzzles to answer and move on to the next. You can click back and forth through all the evidence once open just in case you have missed anything, but a keen eye will certainly be able to deduce the suspects as you progress through the game.  

When all is said and done, its safe to say we loved this game. Its a very well rounded, well produced online game, with stacks of strong puzzles and a great story line. A great game for enthusiasts and new comers alike, this online experience certainly put the bullet in our gun!  

PANIC ROOM - CSI: DEADLINE

PADLOCK RATING; 5 - OUTSTANDING 

 

The Panic Room have done it again with a brilliantly strong CSI style murder mystery, with an impressive story line and great engaging puzzles.

 

 

In terms of story, you are an employ for Gen Win Solutions - a pharmaceutical giant. Upon your arrival to work, you are advised by police that the company boss, Jerry Hoskins has sadly taken his own life in his office. Knowing Jerry better than most, you feel that this would not be possible and have your suspicions. You and your group of fellow employees take it upon yourself to investigate further, as the police feel that this is clearly an open and shut case. 

Instantly I was hooked - the CSI series of games by The Panic Room all have really strong stories and this was no different. A believable story line, which as it evolves, gives great depth and further realism. Much like all other CSI games, the opening story is easy to understand and grasp and then as the case deepens, you find yourself unravelling subtleties and niche information. 

The first point of note in this game is that it feels much smoother in terms of game play that the other CSI games (and I am a big fan of all of them!).  A new and improved password system has been a real boost to game play and the interaction with on screen documents is much smoother.

Being the music geek I am, I loved the soundtrack to this game. Certainly not as intense as the rest of the series, however packed with subtle sound effects, giving a great office ambience, coupled with some well placed background music. 

As ever, no spoilers, however I really enjoy the opening video to this game as you are met by another Gen Win employee. It plays a great balance in being able to understand the company as well as giving you some hints on how the game works - I found the actor in this very believable and it is a very cute opening touch.

I found the puzzles within this game the strongest point of all. They are well produced, neatly presented and given the "office" environment you are working in, surprisingly varied.  An added element within this game is the use of slightly more interactive images, so there are aspects of "point and click" coupled with the more traditional "here's a set of pictures, now solve the puzzle" games. This makes you feel like you are a little more involved with this "detective" case and actually rummaging around to find evidence of what actually happened. 

That being said, there are a number of evidence items you come across throughout the game will help you solve the case! You may not think it at the time, but I would certainly suggest jotting down what you see,hear and read - much of it will come in handy later! This all adds to the detective feel of the game.  

With the above in mind, I think that, given puzzle difficulty and interactivity, this game would suit families with older children/teens as well as enthusiasts. There are certainly some trickier puzzles within this game which will get the grey matter working, however if a little stuck,  a quick click of the hint button will get you back on track. Two or three puzzles in this game were real highlights, where the innovation of creating puzzles never ceases to amaze me!

Again, this game builds nicely as you pull together all the evidence and clues to work out actually what happened to Jerry. Using your powers of deduction, gathered clues, puzzle answers, subtle hints you've found along the way, this is a great finale to your hard work.  

Yet again, The Panic Room have pulled it out the bag with another outstanding CSI game. Stacked with puzzles, well presented, neat soundtrack and a very nice game play flow, this one will not disappoint. Gather your friends and family for a day in the "office" you will never forget - but don't forget to meet your Deadline!    

 

 
PANIC ROOM - CSI: STRANGLEHOLD

PADLOCK RATING; 5 - OUTSTANDING 

An outstanding example of what a great online detective game should be. A game which will test your powers of deduction which is guaranteed to be a winner with everyone! . 

Your mission, if you choose to accept it - A string of murders have been committed throughout London, known to have been carried out by the mysterious Eastside Strangler. In an unrelated event, the detective on the case has passed away. You will be picking up his case files, reviewing the evidence and seeing if you can solve the crimes!

 

We really love the story line. One of the great things that The Panic Room manage to do in all their games, is have an overarching simplicity to their stories. They then build in fantastic detail which provides believable characters and makes their games an experience as opposed to just a series of puzzles - this game is certainly proof of all this!

 

Another huge positive to this game is the level of audio and video content. The quality is very strong, the characters are given an extra dimension and

all of the audio/video clues serve a great purpose in building the game

experience. Be sure to download the audio soundtrack to play in the background for this game - it adds some great tension! 

In terms of game puzzles, these certainly vary in difficulty which mean that this game can certainly be a real favourite for family, friends and enthusiasts alike! The games are based around the detectives notebook as the primary focus, where he has scribbled and jotted notes. These notes are subsequently reference points throughout the game. We really enjoyed this aspect, as on their own, the notebook "scribbles" mean absolutely nothing - when coupled with the various evidence files, you begin to unravel the crimes and you find yourself with a good number of light bulb moments! All puzzles are brilliantly compiled and stick strictly to the theme. 

As with the other Panic Room CSI games, there are on screen clues available to be revealed if you get stuck or need a subtle nudge in the right direction. The first hint is normally more cryptic, followed by others which are a little easier to follow. This is a great way of pushing you along the game without spoiling it. If you are still really stuck, you can also reveal the answer - but try not to, everything is possible to answer and you will get a much greater sense of achievement!

An honourable mention certainly goes to the finale of this game. Using all your powers of deduction you have to work out the culprit. Over the final few puzzles, the tension certainly ramps up into the finale crescendo. The "pay off" finale video is brilliant and pulls the story together perfectly. 

We think that this a real masterpiece of an online detective game. Filled with great puzzles, stacked with outstanding audio/video content with a fantastic simple, yet highly detailed, story line. Be sure to have a go at CSI:Stranglehold as this is not one to miss! It will leave you gasping for air!  

  

PANIC ROOM - MAINSTAGE MAYHEM

NOT A REVIEW - I HELPED CREATE IT!...

 

So here's the deal on this - I cant give you an honest review on this game, because well, I helped to create it! However I can certainly give a few pointers about the game and how it works!...

The story - After day 1 of a weekend long music festival, the production manager has made a bolt for it with the profits, leaving all the main festival documents locked in flight cases. Your job is to unlock the cases and set the music festival back on track.

The puzzles - The game was designed with families in mind. A real mix of easier and trickier puzzles. Not too heavily written so that it easier for younger players to also follow. 

The game play - You work your way through the flight cases and slowly make your way towards the stage - eventually trying to get the show back on track. 

Extras - A really enjoyable visual and audio element to the game, with a fun opening and closing sequence. Also, be sure to download the backing soundtrack to the game - its 1 hour long and provides both the rock and the tension!

Do me a favour and check the game out. I am really proud of it, and the work that the team at The Panic Room have done to perfect it is something to behold. 

Rock On! After all, the show must go on!  

PANIC ROOM - MANSION IMPOSSIBLE 

PADLOCK RATING; 4.5 - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED 

 

This child friendly online game is sure to be a hit with all the family, with some spooky challenges and ghastly goings on! 

 

Trapped within a huge mansion, you stumble upon a friendly helpful ghost! He knows the secrets of the mansion and the clues hidden inside its walls. Escape before the clock strikes 12 or be locked inside forever! 

The first thing that strikes you is the child friendly appearance of the audio and visual elements of the game, however still providing enough substance for parents to really enjoy the game too. The story line sits brilliantly with children, and the ghost is a great touch to add a little drama to the game without being scary or adding too much tension! Also, be sure to download the backing track to the game - it provides that extra atmosphere which the family will love! 

Similarly, the game play is also very simple to follow - work your way through the rooms of the mansion, solving the riddles and puzzles in each room. Don't be fooled - just because this game is aimed at a younger audience, doesn't mean that your own grey-matter is going to be tested! For more experienced gamers many of the puzzles are self explanatory (although, like me, I am sure you will find yourself over thinking them!). The whole family are sure to bring something to the table with this game as the puzzles are well varied and created with the user in mind. Some well placed clues provide just enough of a hint to get you through should you need them! 

There are some particularly strong puzzles in this game which I really enjoyed - a personal favourite is the final puzzle which really pulls together the rest of the game and gives a solid resolution to what you have found in order to escape the mansion - it is also very different to most other online puzzles in not being the normal "enter number/word" answer.    

All-in-all, a beautifully created, well thought-out online game, which provides a great atmospheric experience for the family all to enjoy! 

PANIC ROOM - SHERLOCK HOLMES

PADLOCK RATING; 4.5 - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED 

 

Time to bring out your inner detective, with this brilliant online game, with classic styling, challenging puzzles and great story telling. 

The year is 1912. The location, London Town. Think yourself to be a crack team of detectives? What better than to work on a case that Sherlock himself has been trying to solve! Try and catch up with Sherlock and crack the case of the missing Mrs Haversham.

 

As stories goes, this is a classic and it hit all the right notes. As the story evolves there are also some great twists, which aide in providing a great sense of reality.  Once again, the Panic Room team have it nailed with an overarching simplistic story, coupled with some outstanding in game detail, which give the characters depth and realism.  

The game starts with a brilliant, black and white stylised video which sets the tone beautifully, It is evident from the get go that this game has a very different feel to the great CSI series of games by The Panic Room. The tension and urgency is replaced by a classic, stylised game which is more fitting to the era in which the game is set. It combines the feel of of their My Dearest Emily game with the detective puzzles of the CSI series- a real match made in Heaven!   

In respect of puzzles, these are really strong. Cleverly,  all the games have a similar theme throughout, by using both a visual and audio clue for each puzzle and working on locations around the streets of London. Trying not to give away spoilers -  it amazes me how well this game has been designed in spite of these features - it adds to the realism of the game and makes it feel like a proper detective case.  

 

When it comes to difficulty, I would suggest that these sit in the medium to hard range. First timers might struggle on a handful, but don't be dismayed - a great on screen clue system is in place which provides just the right level of helping hand without spoiling things. Firstly you can choose a more cryptic clue and then if that doesn't guide you well enough, a clearer clue then follows. If worst come to worst you can reveal the answer - try not too though - everything is achievable. Just put your mind to it, sit back and think of the obvious!   

This game has a real sense of charm brought on by some brilliant interviews with the characters, including some nicely inserted subtle musical aspects. The combination of the charm and the strong puzzles makes this a really enjoyable prospect. 

In spite of the less pressurised experience, the finale of this game culminates nicely, bringing together all your evidence gathering skills and naming the culprit. 

We really enjoyed this game, in particular with the slightly more relaxed feel, some really strong puzzles, brilliant theme and awesome story telling!  Playing this game is Elementary my dear Watson!   

  

 
PANIC ROOM - CSI: CHRISTMAS SCENE INVESTIGATION

REVIEW COMING SOON...

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