Escaping School Panicore
Screenshot: PC Invasion

All ways to escape the school in Panicore

School's out!

Volga Middle School is the first level of Panicore, throwing players into a dark and dreary hallway with nothing but a flashlight and a hideous monster lurking around the corner. Here’s how to escape the school and beat Panicore’s first level.

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There are two different methods of escaping Volga Middle School in Panicore: building the ladder or fixing the car. The ladder escape is typically the fastest and earns you an achievement, but the car method can be an option if you find the necessary items first.

How to build the ladder and escape the school in Panicore

Players can escape the school in Panicore by crafting a ladder and bringing it to the top floor to escape. It sounds simple enough, but surviving the terrifying entity roaming the building doesn’t make it easy.

Ladder Recipe Panicore
Screenshot: PC Invasion

To craft the ladder in Panicore, you need to bring three pieces of wood, one rope, and a saw to the crafting room. To escape, you also need a hammer to break the glass containing the emergency door key.

How to get wood, rope, and the saw

In the full release of Panicore, the locations of almost all items are entirely randomized. To find the wood, rope, and saw needed to craft the ladder, explore the school and open every cabinet you find.

I had the most luck finding items for the ladder in rooms opened with keys, which conveniently always have another key inside. Make sure to also look out for a hammer and note down the location of the Emergency Door Key if you happen to see it.

How to build the ladder (Carpenter achievement)

A screenshot of the spawn location in the opening level of Panicore. A red arrow is pointing to the location of the room used to craft the ladder
Screenshot: PC Invasion

With the materials in hand, head to the workshop directly across from the spawn point. This door can be locked, so you may need a key.

In the workshop, you’ll find a vice and a handy crafting recipe on the board. This room also has a handful of cabinets in the back, so I recommend visiting here at the beginning of every playthrough.

In the workshop, place the rope in the area highlighted in the game. Then, open the vice and place the wood inside. With the wood in the grip, use the saw to cut all three pieces.

Saw Wood Panicore
Screenshot: PC Invasion

Be extremely careful here, as sawing makes noise, and the crafting room only has a single exit. You do not want to get stuck in the doorway defending your friend with just a single brick. Trust me.

If you’re playing co-op, work with your team to do this as efficiently as possible. You can place the materials down at any point, and your teammate can saw away while you’re busy looking for other pieces (or dying!).

How to escape using the ladder in Panicore

With the ladder in your inventory, you need to use it on the broken ladder above the gym to successfully escape the school. The only way to get there is to use an emergency door key on the emergency exit doors upstairs.

How to get the emergency door key

Emergency Door Key Location Panicore
Screenshot: PC Invasion

Unlike the other items needed in this guide, the emergency door key is found on a wall at random. You need to use a hammer (again, found randomly) to break the glass and take the key.

Use the key on the emergency doors upstairs and place your ladder where the incomplete ladder is. Why the player character can’t just jump and grab onto the bottom, we may never know.

Quick recap

To recap, here’s everything you need to do to craft the ladder and beat Panicore’s first level:

  • Search throughout the school to find three pieces of wood, a rope, a saw, and a hammer.
  • Open the vice in the crafting room and cut the wood with the saw.
  • Place the rope down near the vice and collect the ladder.
  • Use the hammer to break the glass containing the emergency door key.
  • Use the Emergency Door Key to unlock the emergency doors upstairs.
  • Attach the crafted ladder to the broken ladder and escape!

How to escape the school using the car in Panicore

Car Exit Panicore
Screenshot: PC Invasion

An alternate escape route from the school is by fixing the car. To do this, you will need a car key, motor oil, a tire wrench, and a tire. You also need a hammer to retrieve the emergency door key to unlock the garage.

Like building the ladder, the items needed to fix the car are randomly placed throughout the map. I found that the car items are far less common than those needed for the ladder, however.

How to fix the car

Garage Door Panicore
Screenshot: PC Invasion

With all items gathered, head to the stairwell to the right of the spawn point. Here, you will find an emergency door that can only be opened with an emergency door key. As always, the emergency door key is hidden in a random spot in the school and requires a hammer to acquire.

Behind the emergency door is the broken car. Follow these steps to get that bad boy running again:

  • Open the hood of the car and use the motor oil to top it up fully.
  • Place the tire in the missing slot and use the wrench to fasten it in
  • Use the car key on the door and jump in to escape!

If you find your inventory is full or you happen to be passing by, you can perform any of the steps above throughout any point in the run. There’s no specific order, and it can be useful to drop items off to free up space.

Quick recap

To recap, here’s everything you need to do to fix the car and escape the school in Panicore:

  • Search throughout the school to find a car key, motor oil, a tire wrench, a tire, and hammer.
  • Use the hammer to break the glass containing the emergency key, which is randomly placed on a wall within the school.
  • Use the emergency key on a door in one of the stairwells.
  • Pop the hood of the car and use the motor oil.
  • Replace the missing tire and use the tire wrench to fasten it in place.
  • Open the car door with the car key and escape!

Once you’ve cleared Panicore’s first map a handful of times, the next stop is escaping the hospital — a far larger location with an entity that can actually see you. Good luck! You’ll need it.

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Thomas Cunliffe
Thomas has been a writer in the games industry since 2021 and considers himself a connoisseur of all things Nintendo, Blizzard, and Marvel. Since amassing 152,000+ followers on a Facebook page about Diddy Kong with a backward hat, Thomas has become a trusted voice in the gaming community across publications such as PC Invasion, AOTF, and Gfinity. His greatest achievements include catching every Pokémon, completing (almost) every quest in World of Warcraft, and naming his dog 'Mass Effect 3.' Thomas is extraordinarily passionate about the video game industry and its community. He enjoys writing about a wide variety topics, including popular games like Destiny 2, Fortnite, and WoW, as well as the latest Indie titles.