The concept sounds simple - you look for clues, solve puzzles, accomplish tasks within a set amount of time in order to progress through a story and ultimately break out of a room.

Easy, right?

Maybe, but not always, says Tinaka Stewart, co-owner of Napier backpacker accommodation Archies Bunker, and one of the brains behind the "Enigma Escape Rooms" which can be booked online from July 20 onwards.

Tinaka and Lynne Stewart spent the lockdown brainstorming ideas to keep the business afloat.

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Eventually she and her mother, Lynne, came up with the idea of creating the "Enigma Escape Rooms" by transforming some of the hostel's inner windowless rooms into entertainment venues.

The escape rooms will "hopefully" be open by July 24, Tinaka says, and will cater to adults and children alike, with five stories for all age brackets.

"The opening of the escape rooms took a little longer than expected," said Tinaka.

"But we will be open for online bookings from July 20. They do need to be booked in advance, so we can prepare the rooms."

The escape rooms feature five different stories, a "collaborative effort of really active inner-minds", Tinaka said.

"We have All Aboard the Wizard Express loosely based on Harry Potter, and The Orient Express Murder, a more adult version, and both happen in one room," she said.

"We have the Pandora Box Heist for which you have to book into our accommodation, we have the Gemini Killer which features a corpse but I can't go into too much detail.

"It's the only one where you start in one room and end up in another.

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"And one room which will be the challenge room - it will be in the dark, the time limit will be 30 minutes and it will be very complicated. The room will only be able to accommodate up to three people."

Each room can accommodate a different number of people.

"Wizard Express and Orient Express can accommodate up to eight people while Gemini Killer and Pandora Box Heist can accommodate up to nine people," she said.

"All rooms are playable by one person."

Wizard Express and the Orient Express Murder take an hour maximum to complete while Gemini Killer and Pandora Box Heist take around 90 minutes to complete, she said.

She said anyone booking into the escape rooms would need to keep one thought at the forefront.

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"Don't compare these escape rooms to others, approach them with an open mind," she said.

"Treat it as a different experience."

She said the escape rooms could be booked for corporate functions and parties as well.

"We are applying for a special licence so we can provide alcohol and food," she said.

Archies Bunker took advantage of Napier City Council's Business Response Fund, which was set up to help firms get through the pandemic recovery period.

It was successful in being granted funds because their idea met all the requirements of the Response Fund and was a way to offset lost income while also providing a unique offering for Napier.

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