Old Father Time – The Panic Room – Gravesend

Present, in February 2022, were: The Ant, Aunty Ant

To The Panic Room then, for my 100th game. Somewhat ironically this had ended up being Old Father Time, which felt slightly pointed – was it really six years since I did my first Escape Room? And this room did make me feel old in several ways…

We wanted a gentle game for the last of our Kent Escape Room binge. We knew there was a strong possibility our brains would be dribbling out of our ears by this stage. Old Father Time has a reputation as a sweet, child-friendly game, so we thought this was a fairly safe option.

The Gravesend location for this room is slightly off-putting, away from the main Panic Room hub in an otherwise deserted commercial crescent, the architecture the definition of faded glory. The shabbiness of the entrance area is more than compensated for by the production values clearly on display in the room itself though, there’s a definite feel of correct priorities. Our very patient GM Curtis took us down to the basement to enter a whole other world.

This really is a pretty room, very fairytale. I loved the level of detail on so many things, particularly the elaborate keys for the giant storybook. There is a Disney-style narrator, some anthropomorphic animals (no pandas, sadly) and a general air of twinkly woodland magic. Not a huge space and although the game does open out a little I imagine it would be quite messy with more than three or four in a team. Possibly not the best for claustrophobics or those with mobility issues. One of the chief ways this game made me feel old – oh my knees! oh my back! – was the amount of crawling and stooping. Great for nimble kiddies, maybe less so for our team of two after a tough weekend escaping…

Kids would enjoy lots of the nature of the quirky puzzles too – very on-theme and with a sparkle of fantasy. Some I would say are quite tough though, maybe more just involving patience and concentration, so I think proper adult help would be required for a team of children to get the most enjoyment out of this game. There were a few puzzles we found a bit ambiguous or slightly illogical, but then our brains were tired (again, feeling old!). A sound puzzle caused us particular grief, not playing to our strengths and we got hung up on that for a while in a bottleneck. And some of the colours involved in other tasks were difficult to distinguish in the twilight gloaming. (Maybe just old ears/eyes).

We did just about scuttle out in under the hour, maintaining our 100% record for the trip, mainly due to the perseverance of Curtis helping us through our frustrations (and occasional abject stupidity). So, rather more fraught than we anticipated. It is a very pretty, sweet game, with a sprinkle of magic. Unfortunately, some of that magic must be an aging spell, as we came out feeling considerably older than when we went in, leading us grumpy curmudgeons to decide that this was one of our least favourite games of the (very high quality) trip.

  • Storyline: Restore the time crystals, something something. Brains so addled, no idea what we were doing at the end.
  • Theming and Set: Quite special, although be prepared to scrabble about in the gloom.
  • Searching: Couple of search fails for us, but not search heavy.
  • Puzzles: Lots of observation (with different senses). Maybe more conventional padlocks than I was expecting.
  • Physicality: To get the most out, all the team would need to be physically able to crawl.
  • Scare factor: Only maybe if you’re not keen on bugs, but they are quite cute.
  • Company Age Guidance: “10+”.
  • Age suitability: This would be a really good room for tweens with a little bit of adult support. Cynical teens might find it a bit twee.

The Panic Room website

Other games from The Panic Room: Loop