You’ve heard it time and time again; the devil is always in the detail. All good mysteries at their core have something obvious at their centre. Whether it’s a letter written from the victim or the murder weapon left in plain sight, the first one to crack the case is usually the one that pays the most attention.
An Escape Room is no different.
Relying on your problem-solving skills and intuition is all part of your gaming toolkit. But so is keeping your eyes peeled for seemingly insignificant clues. With that in mind, here’s what to look out for in an Escape Room:
The writing on the wall
The best Escape Rooms create a narrative that goes beyond simple relics, puzzles and tangible items. From the sounds you hear to the intentionally placed frame on the wall, the very fabric of the game’s design is there to add to your experience. So take a closer look.
Be sure to:
- Search for hidden clues in the pictures hung on the walls: Sure, the creepy family photo or the 1920s film poster adds to the aesthetic, but there could well be something out place that gives you information or points you towards the next clue
- Look closely at baseboards and wall edges: We’re all big fans of the hidden room, and so are your games masters. Take note of any suspicious patterns, dashes or dots – it could well be Morse code for you to figure out later
- Wait that doesn’t belong here! You’re standing in a 1960s French bank vault, and yet there’s a Renaissance-themed painting on the wall. First off, that’s a bit odd, and secondly, that might be the clue you desperately need to solve the case!
You’ll find the best-laid clues are the ones that are hidden. Find them, and you can start to solve the case. So look under desks, picture frames, bookshelves, inside books, test to see if drawers open – you get the picture. In short, leave no surface untouched, no object unturned.
Don’t stop there either. Just because you’ve discovered one clue on the spine of a book, such as a handwritten Roman numeral, it doesn’t mean you should end your search there. Check out all the books. Look at the titles, see if any pages are missing and do any of the authors relate to the characters in the game’s story?
If an object or drawer won’t budge, it’s likely that it’s not supposed to open. Rather than force it open, move on. It may be that you need to crack a clue elsewhere before it opens, or it really is just part of the room’s decor.
Symbols, numbers and texts
You can’t play an Escape Room and leave without solving a common puzzle. From Ancient hieroglyphics to cracking a Sudoku, sometimes it’s all about patterns rather than relying on the degree in mathematics you forgot to get!
- Missing letters: Redacted case files or missing words may make you stumble in your game, but you can rest assured the information you need is in the room somewhere. Remember those books or the posters on the walls you looked at earlier? Do they relate to the puzzle? Think about what you have seen already, and look around the room again with fresh eyes
- Basic maths puzzles: Just when you thought all those maths lessons would never pay off, think again! Whether you need to solve an equation using symbols or numbers or enter a formula code to unlock a door, nothing is beyond your team’s set of skills!
- Take note of hidden symbols, numbers etc.: Spot a random symbol on the wall or scratches on a desk, write it down. You may need to come back to it later!
Atmospheric sounds and moody lighting sure add to the drama of an Escape Room. When you listen carefully, you may notice whispering, deliberate song lyrics or sounds from a hidden room. Sound can be as intentional as the physical evidence dotted about the room.
If you notice a series of long and short beeps, you may need to find a Morse code sheet to help you figure out the message.
Then, there’s the lighting. Anything from a desk lamp illuminating an object to a dark corner can all be there to draw your attention. If anything is suspiciously dark, look out for a torch!
Always remember – everything within an Escape Room is intentional. Nothing is there to trick you, and every clue you discover points to the bigger picture. Are you ready to put your sleuthing skills to the test?