A couple whose escape room business has boomed are about to launch their next venture – a family-fun entertainment centre with a "shocking" surprise.
Owners of The Panic Room in Gravesend have bought the 13,000 sq ft unit at the back of the old BHS store in New Road and are starting work on their first amusement, called Panic Stations.
Owners Alex and Monique Souter talk about their new venture
The futuristic, cyperpunk-themed laser battle will span across 2,500sqft and multiple levels to create different rooms and a "market place" atmosphere.
Groups of up to 10 people will be able to book an hour-long slot and play the classic combat game, or different modes such as catch the flag.
Putting their iconic Panic touch on the latest game, owners Alex and Monique Souter have incorporated an optional 'hyper shock' element. It will be just the sixth venue in the UK to have the tech.
Players will wear stick-on "plaster-like" pads on their shoulders and when shot will experience a 57 voltage electric shock.
Alex said: "It will be a lot of fun. We wanted to do something different that is very us. It is going to be good.
"It should be an interesting set up. We wanted something that has a bit more than other places.
An example of the Hyper Shock technology
"It is something we have wanted to do for a while, find something with a bit of an escape room and laser tag. We know there has been a lot of advancement so we wanted to see if we could utilise that."
The laser battle's technology has been bought from an outside company but the arena's design, theme, lighting and the extra unique game modes have all been created by the husband and wife duo.
Not straying too far from what they know, the pair have also created mini escape room-like games and puzzles which players can complete to win boosts such as more ammo or to play again if they get killed off.
Panic Stations is likely to set the couple back upwards of £20,000 but Alex said they are not letting budget restrict them as they work to make it the best it can be for their customers.
Their next business venture has come about after buying the back part of the former BHS building in New Road, Gravesend. BHS closed in July 2016 although the front part re-opened as home to other retailers selling items such as furniture and clothes.
They are creating a family-friendly entertainment centre in the 13,000 sq ft space where their popular Battle Masters axe throwing will also move to.
Alex added: "We want the new centre to be a greatest hits of modern and classic entertainment and have got a lot planned and cannot wait to get it open."
It is due to be completed by the end of July and open by the start of August.
The Panic Rooms Gravesend has three locations – in the St George's Centre, Milton Road and Berkley Crescent – and is currently offering more than 12 escape experiences.