By Betty Yu

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — How would you like to be locked inside a room, for fun? Some of the Bay Area’s biggest tech companies, including Google, Cisco and Hewlett-Packard, have used it as a team-building exercise.

At PanIQ room in San Francisco, one has to think outside the box. Participants have to solve puzzles, crack codes, figure out clues, to reveal more clues, open a chest, a door, or another mystery within another mystery. All of this happens while the clock is ticking.

KPIX 5's Betty Yu checks out the PanIQ Room in San Francisco. (CBS)

KPIX 5’s Betty Yu checks out the PanIQ Room in San Francisco. (CBS)

“It’s a very psychological game, it’s very immersive and we’ve done our best to put you on a full, live Hollywood set, and you will have to escape from your own movie,” said Jared Jens of PanIQ Entertainment.

The PanIQ Room has become one of the hottest activities in the city. In a few short months, its earned top ratings on TripAdvisor and Yelp.

“We’ve had everything from companies, to families, to bachelor parties,” Jens told KPIX 5.

First, you choose your own adventure: break out of a sicko’s apartment, hack your way out of a startup complete with office props, or escape from prison, all through logic, teamwork, and maybe even a little luck.

PanIQ Room said live-action games first popped up in Budapest in 2011. It’s become an insanely popular phenomenon in Europe and Asia, and only recently made its way to the West Coast.

On a Friday evening, KPIX 5’s Betty Yu joined a group of techies to break out of a jail.

After lots of confusion and dead ends, we escaped with a few minutes to spare.

“This surpassed any expectations I had,” said Sasha Obukhovskaya of San Carlos.

“Had a couple twists and turns, good challenge,” said Waleed Rashid.

The company also has location in Los Angeles. Future locations are planned for San Diego, Boston and Fort Lauderdale.

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