Unleash your inner Sherlock Holmes. You don’t need to be obsessed with watching crime mystery TV shows to enjoy this murder mystery online escape room. The Panic Room CSI Stranglehold is a fun way to connect with friends online as you attempt to solve the case.
Finding time to stay connected with friends can be challenging. But this virtual game makes it easy to enjoy the escape room experience from the comforts of our home.
In my review below, I will explain what to expect and if I think it is worth purchasing. But I will keep my review spoiler-free as possible. There will be small screen captures to give you a sense of what to expect, but it won’t give away any of the answers or solutions.
The Panic Room Online Escape Rooms
The Panic Room started as an in-person escape room company. Over the years, they have expanded to have four locations in two countries. But now, they are making it easier to enjoy their puzzles from anywhere in the world.
Their business now has a website with a vast assortment of online escape rooms. Currently, there are nine options, with several others available for pre-order.
The games range in price from £10.00 (approx. $16.80 CAD) to £20.00 (approx. $33.61 CAD) per team and are instantly delivered. Considering a regular escape room costs that much per person, it is budget-friendly activity.
The rooms range from allowing 6 to 8 people, so each person would pay less than a latte of coffee at Starbucks.
In CSI Stranglehold you play the role of a detective and need to identify the ‘Eastside Strangler,’ a serial killer leaving a trail of victims in London.
The game is for up to 8 people and costs £20.00 (approx. $33.61 CAD) per team. It is listed as “medium difficulty” and says it should take roughly 1-2 hours to complete. But there is no time limit on how long you can play.
How To Play
In this story, you are taking over the case. As such you get access to the previous detective’s notebook, suspect profiles, deduction board, and video recordings about the murder.
Using the information provided, you’ll need to need to work to find the passwords to unlock all the evidence packs. For example, to open evidence pack one, you’ll need to figure out a four-digit code.
As you progress, you gain access to more information, which will slowly help you determine which of the seven suspects committed the murders.
To play this game collaboratively, you’ll need to use voice/video chat to communicate with friends. Such as Discord, Zoom, Facebook Messenger etc. Or you can play together in one house.
This game should be played on a computer, as on a phone or tablet. On a phone or tablet, it would be challenging, as you would need to zoom in a lot to view everything.
CSI Stranglehold Review (Spoiler Free)
Right away, the game does an excellent job of setting the story through the first video.
You’ll feel like it is your first day on the job, as you puzzle over the series of strange drawings in the notebook. And are left wondering where to begin, as you examine the deduction board just like you see in police shows.
The first puzzle is by far the hardest, so don’t give up. But at the same, figuring out the first password was my favourite moment of the entire game.
For that one, you won’t have much direction where to start aside from needing a four-digit password. In our case, it had our team puzzling over it out loud when we suddenly had our “eureka” moment.
We spent the longest on this section, roughly 15 minutes, while all the other parts took us just a few minutes each as they are rather straightforward.
In total, you’ll need to unlock nine evidence packs, and there are 11 challenges to solve.
We completed the entire game in 50 minutes, without the aid of any clues. But if you ever get stuck, there are clues available for each section.
You’ll get two different clues per section, or you can give up and click to get the answer so you can move onto the next part. I appreciated the help option was so easy, as you aren’t left waiting for The Panic Room to email you back with a hint.
Creating an online escape room that is just as enjoyable as the in-person experience is a nearly impossible feat. But The Panic Room succeeded.
The puzzles are diverse and well crafted to enhance the cohesive story. You’ll get to flip through PDFs, watch news recordings, listen to “phone calls,” and examine eye-catching graphics.
I also loved all videos. As you are interviewing suspects you’ll get to watch their interview. It really helps the story come to life.
With so many different sections, it is also effortless to navigate. At the top of the website, there are links to all the sections. Which means you aren’t stuck needing tons of tabs open in Chrome.
I also appreciated your browser will save the password, so you aren’t stuck re-entering it every time you want to flip between casefiles. It saves so much time.
Another wonderful aspect is there is no time limit. You are free to time yourself for an extra challenge, but you don’t need to. So if you want to do it solo or stop to take a coffee break, you can.
My team was of six escape room experts, and it took us roughly 45 minutes. I found the first puzzle to be challenging, while the other problems to be straightforward.
Even though my team raced through the puzzles (after the first one), we loved the experience. Immediately after our victory, they wanted to break out their wallets and buy another game from The Panic Room. Which clearly shows how much everyone loved it.
I can’t praise my time with CSI Stranglehold enough. It is such a budget-friendly but high-quality product that made for a memorable evening.
Buy CSI Stranglehold now.