Locked behind an Escape Room’s door, you’ll find a hidden time capsule. The walls are adorned with authentic props. There are plenty of nods to pop culture references of the day and the sounds of a bygone age play.
Yes, it’ll take you a minute to adjust to your surroundings – they are spectacular. But time is pressing, and you have a mission: to solve the mystery before the last-minute strikes on the clock.
Step over the Games Master’s threshold and enter a thrilling world of adventure. Here’s what to look out for to give you your best chance of making your escape:
Games aren’t designed to catch you out
Standing face to face with your Games Master is really when your game truly begins. So listen carefully. They are about to give you the run down of what the game involves:
- General plot points
- Character details of note
- What your overarching goal is, e.g. solve the case to let a man go free or crack the code to pull off a heist etc.
- What you can and can’t do in the room
Hold on to the fact that games aren’t designed to catch you out. If the clues you find are as simple as they seem, the likelihood is that it’s just that. Don’t overcomplicate the task ahead of you – it’ll only slow you down!
The little details
You’re in the room, and your senses are bombarded with a host of different colours, lighting and sound. Take a breath, and look a bit closer.
Walk around the room and take it all in. Look at the walls and think about all the more minor details. It might be a particular painting or writing on a map. Do these clues resonate with the synopsis of the game?
Is there a lamp on a desk or a particularly dark corner of the room? Spot a torch? Use it! Notice a lit up piece of paper? Read it!
Communicate, communicate, communicate!
We can only stress this so much! Communication is your most powerful tool to beat an Escape Room. As soon as you spot a clue, tell your team about it. Gradually, the more clues that everyone is aware of, the more likely you can string everything together.
Plus, it doesn’t matter where the clues are found as long as they relate to each other. There might be a series of numbers you need to find to unlock a door to another room or a safe. They might be on the other side of the room. So keep your eyes peeled. Look along book spines, and rifle through the pages.
The more information you have as a team, the better chance you have of success.
Don’t take anything for granted
Everything in your game is there for a reason. While clues will be scattered around the room or hidden in plain sight, they are there for the taking, as long as you take the time to seek them out.
Everything in the room is placed strategically. Even red herrings can be vital clues.
Listen to the music!
Remember point number 4 above: don’t take anything for granted! That even means listening carefully to the music and soundscape played throughout your game.
Take note of:
- Voices – listen out for specific words or emphasised song lyrics
- Sounds – from dripping taps to rustling behind doors
- Numbers – these could be relevant for cracking codes
Drawers are there for rummaging
As long as they open, drawers and cupboards are usually there to hide essential clues. Feel along and under edges. Pull out documents, maps or oddities hidden within for a closer look.
If they don’t open, don’t force them. Instead, look for a lock. If there’s one there, you likely need to search for a key. Look along picture frames – see if there is anything hidden behind them. Notice a pot or container? Does it open? You get the gist!
Telephones, morse code and all the whizz bangs
First off, there is always a way to contact your Games Master. So if you’re stumped, feel free to dial them up and ask them for a clue. They will tell you all this information before you step into your game.
But, the fun doesn’t stop there. If you find a morse code machine, there will be a means to decipher its code nearby. It’ll be there, whether there’s a board on the wall or you have to physically look for a book, a pamphlet, or even an etched wooden board.
All puzzles in the room are solvable. Look for helpful clues such as highlighted letters in texts, phone numbers of significance on posters or page numbers from a book.
The writing’s on the wall
Escape Rooms love to embrace quirky techniques found throughout the ages. A particular favourite is invisible ink.
Now this will either be made obvious by a dark room, where you either have to find a light switch, a black light or a torch to find what you’re looking for. Or, it could be even more playful. The information you are looking for could be found in a trunk in the corner of the room or a Narnia style wardrobe!
But sometimes, the clue you’re looking for is even more apparent as long as you don’t overthink it!
Get lost in the story
Most games are driven by a plot. They will involve characters and will be set during a specific time. But more than that, there is a theme holding the whole narrative together.
For instance, if you’re in a detective story, look out for tropes that fit the bill. Is there a wrongly accused suspect? Has evidence been suppressed, and you’re the only one who can find it? Do you need to uncover hidden secrets that cast out the theory that this was a perfect crime?
Take your time to creatively think from the perspective of the story that is being told.
In the end you’ll want to make sure that your next escape room experience is everything you want it to be. Once you are ready to step into the Game Master’s lair, solve puzzles, crack codes, and smash the case wide open, you can book your next escape with us.