How to Choose an Escape Room
Escape rooms are one of the best ways you can spend an hour with friends and family. They’re challenging, engaging, and memorable. But like with most things, choosing the right one matters. Here are 7 suggestions to help you choose the one the room that will be most fun for you!
1. Pick your teammates wisely
Who you partner with can make or break your experience. When I play, I’m thoughtful about who I’m going to play with as it impacts the other decisions such as theme or difficulty.
For instance, my parents and in-laws are…um…not good at escape rooms! So when we play together, we go find the easiest rooms possible. That makes it a little boring for me, but it allows them to contribute and have fun too.
It obviously matters how many people you play with. Most of the larger escape rooms allow 8-10 players per game. But others have max player counts of 4-6. That clearly matters when you’re picking a room.
If you put too many in a room, it will be too crowded, you may trip over each other, and you could solve the game too quickly. Conversely, too few players and you may have no hope of solving key puzzles.
At Escape Tactic, all of our rooms allow up to 10 guests (more are possible if booking private events). We constructed all of our games for this high player count so you’ll find larger rooms, more puzzles, and more intricate game play as a result. There are great small rooms out there too. We just took a different route.
2. Level of Difficulty
You’ll want to choose a room that has a difficulty level that matches the number of players in your group and their experience. Nearly all escape rooms list a difficulty rating for each room. Some will share escape rates, and others will provide additional insights into how hard the game is.
You may find descriptions like “perfect for beginners” or “non-linear game play.” That doesn’t always relate to difficulty, but it can help you make a decision.
3. Type of Escape Room
There are actually different kinds of escape rooms. So here are some questions to ask as you’re picking one:
- Do you want live actors or not?
- Do you want a scary theme?
- Do you want a simple “exit” goal or want to solve something more complex in the game?
- Do you want a single room game or a game with multiple rooms?
There are no right or wrong answers – only personal preferences. For our rooms, we don’t use live actors. We don’t have scary/horror themes, which we’ve written about before. Our games are more complex, and we always use multiple rooms.
We chose to build them this way because it’s what we love and what most people told us they wanted. But that doesn’t have to be your choice, and there are plenty of great games out there that do it differently.
This is a big one. If a room is built right, the theme will make your experience outstanding. (Though poor set design can really ruin an otherwise fun theme). The theme and backstory set the context for your game. You’re going to want to play something interesting to you. And in some games, the theme has elements you may love or hate.
For instance, I played a game while on vacation once where they handcuffed me to the wall to start the game. Many places do that. It wasn’t a problem for me, but if that’s not your thing, you don’t want that theme!
You also have to decide if you want a traditional theme or something more unique. The most common escape room themes include bank heists, prison escapes, space stations, creepy motel, and zombie escapes. They can be a lot of fun, but they can start to feel familiar if you play a lot of games. And you may run into duplicate puzzles, and that’s never fun.
On the other hand, unique themes can give you a different feel and a different game. Our games don’t follow the traditional model. The concepts in King Tut’s Curse and SEAL Team have been done before, but we tried to put a different spin on them. A few places in the country have tried things similar to Mine Trap. But Flight 282 and Amazon Survival are truly unique. Those are completely different themes/sets.
Oh, and our 6th game. Well, it’s truly never been done before. The theme is so different and so exciting we’re not even going to discuss the concept until it’s ready to open!
5. Booking Availability
You almost always have to book you escape games in advance. These are scheduled events so it’s unlikely you can just show up and play. Depending on when you want to play, you’ll need to book in advance.
For games with just a couple of people or a small group, booking 1 week in advance is usually enough. Thursday nights, Fridays, and Saturdays will book up fast. Then Sundays will fill up mid-week. So if you want to go at these times, plan ahead.
For team building, birthday parties, and large groups, you’ll want to book these a few weeks to a few months in advance depending on your own planning. It’s always easy to book online, but if you need help you can always call the escape room for help.
By now we’re all pros at this. If you want to know what’s good, see what others have to say. Check out Google, Facebook, or Trip Advisor to see what others have to say about the rooms. Traditionally, escape rooms get really high marks (nearly all of 4.5 stars and above). It shows how much people enjoy escape rooms, but if you’re trying to find the perfect room, you’ll have to dig beyond the scores.
Look at what people say about the games, the puzzles, the staff, and the customer service. That will give you insight into whether this is the right place for you or not.
7. Find a Premium Location
You want an escape room close to where you’re going to be, but you also want it close to other things to do. Find something close to bars, restaurants, breweries, and other entertainment venues. It’s particularly helpful if it’s all in walking distance.
Escape rooms are a great one-hour event, but they’re better when you can enjoy a good drink or a great meal with friends afterwards!
Use these guidelines to help you pick the right room for you. Then take the plunge and try it out! Then before you go, check out our 15 tips that will help you in your game.
Good luck becoming an Escape Master!