Brooklyn 99 is one of the many television shows that I discovered during the Covid lockdowns in Melbourne. I had always been aware of the show, but just did not have the time to watch it all. So, with all this newfound time on my hands, I dived in, fell in love, and it quickly became one of my favourite shows of all time.
In recent years, I have also become a fan of escape rooms. So, imagine my excitement when I discovered that Rush Escape Rooms in Hawthorn had a 99 themed room that is based on the best episodes of the television show, the Halloween Heist. I had been looking forward to trying this room out for ages and finally, my time had come to give it a shot!
Titled ‘The Nine-Nine: Heist in the Precinct’, the room challenges you and your friends to solve a series of puzzles to find the three hidden trophies, break into Captain Holt’s office, arrange the trophies in order, and unlock the door to escape the room.
After an introduction and safety briefing from our Game Master, Stephanie, we were led upstairs to the entrance to the room. With a walkie-talkie for clues in hand, and a couple of flashlights, my team and I entered the Nine-Nine precinct and the timer began.
The Nine-Nine escape room is the first one I have attempted where there is no normal lighting, and the flashlights play an integral role into finding your way around the room. This not only proved challenging, but also ensured that teamwork played a huge part in your success. With only two lights in a team of 6, we had no choice but to work together to ensure that we could see what we were doing. I really appreciated this as some rooms in the past see people peel off to do their own thing.
The puzzles in this room were not overly complicated but challenging enough to make you think. Some of them were so simple that overthinking them would be your downfall. One in particular involved a map and a set of grid references to unlock a code. I overthought it big time until my friend stepped in and we started over. The solution was so much simpler than I made it out to be. Again, showcasing how this room proved teamwork was the path to success.
Many of the puzzles were multilayered and flowed through the entire room. Without solving the first part in the sequence, we wouldn’t have unlocked the evidence locker that then contained more puzzles that to the next. There was a lot of thought that went into the layout of this room, and it made it extremely gratifying solving each of the puzzles.
It was also by chance that we unlocked Holt’s office last, and I think that made for a better experience. While we could have done it at any time, doing it last meant that we were not wasting time going back and forth between the rooms. This also showcases how the room can trap you into getting hooked up on how you think it should be played. Not only does the room test your puzzle solving skills, but also the thought process of the brain, very clever.
You might be thinking that a pop-culture themed room is not suited for those that are not a fan of the subject matter. Well, not this room. Whilst it is themed on Brooklyn 99, the references to the show only enhance the experience and do not determine the outcome of the puzzles. As a fan, I definitely appreciated the whole theme and nods to the television show. Like the classic Backstreet Boys suspect line-up, a collection of Die Hard DVDs, pride flags in Holt’s office, and even pictures of his dog, Cheddar hanging on his wall. As a huge fan, I was in heaven. It felt like I was actually taking part in a Halloween Heist. But I can just as easily see how someone that has never seen the show can still have just as much fun!
Whilst any of the rooms that Rush Escape offer are fun to play to challenge the mind, there is some fame on the line with a monthly and all-time record to beat. We all screamed and jumped for joy so much when we solved the room with the Nine-Nine theme playing over the speakers, we forgot we were on the clock. It turns out, we were just shy of the monthly record by about 5 minutes with about 35min remaining! Considering some of the other rooms we have tried in the past that remain incomplete, we were just happy to finish it. Not going to lie though, being so close to the record hurt a little bit. Makes me want to try it again!
The Nine-Nine Heist in the Precinct is easily one of the best rooms I have ever attempted. The puzzles are great and the nods to the show made the whole experience really enjoyable. Our whole team, even those that had never seen the show, had the best time. I don’t really have any criticism aside from wanting to have more to solve. I never really wanted the experience to be over!
Rush Escape Game’s Nine-Nine Heist in the Precinct is available now at their Hawthorn location. This location also has Saw and Stranger Things themed rooms available. They also have two other locations in St Kilda and South Yarra, each with their own variety of rooms ready for you to try your hand at, with new rooms in the works.
For more information on rooms and locations, or to book, visit: