If someone had told us 10 years ago that people in the future would pay to spend their precious free time locked inside a dingy room filled with random objects…. well, we’d actually be pretty intrigued to learn more. Now back in the present, escape rooms are fast taking over the nation as one of the most sought-after group activities – and we can absolutely see why.
If you’re new to the craze yourself, you should know there’s a right way and a wrong way to do an escape room. And though failure to complete the task isn’t going to, you know, lock you inside a room forever (remember, you’re not in a Saw movie), if you don’t want to face the sinking feeling of disappointment, you’re going to want to read our tips to learn how to improve your chances of actually escaping.
Tip #1: Choose Your Team Wisely
To do this properly, we recommend forming a team of people you know well. Whether it be a group of good friends, a team building exercise between colleagues, or a fun family outing (preferably for the bigger kids). You want to work with a team of people you feel comfortable with under pressure. There’s not really time for social niceties, so don’t play with people you only share small talk with.
Tip #2: Play to Your Strengths
Got a friend who’s a massive maths nerd? Pass the logic puzzles to them. Know someone who’s annoyingly good at spotting those extra fine details? Make sure they check everything. And as for that one oddball who always thinks outside the box – they’re for when you’ve eliminated every other possibility and need a fresh perspective. Escape rooms are all about working as a team, but also playing to your individual strengths. And hey, you might even learn something about yourself while you’re at it!
Tip #3: Keep an Open Mind
Escape rooms are not meant to be as easy as finding a key and unlocking a door. That’s just a regular room. It’s up to you to realise that not everything is on the surface – and you’re going to need to try things that might seem a bit silly until they actually work. Don’t dismiss weird ideas, don’t make assumptions… just try it.
Tip #4: Cover All Bases
Time is of the essence, too many cooks spoil the broth… there are plenty of appropriate catch phrases to use here. What we’re trying to say is, don’t all huddle around one puzzle and try to solve everything bit by bit. You’ll have more success splitting up and exploring the room individually than by stepping on each others’ toes.
Tip #5: Stay Organised
Save wasted time by creating a ‘used’ and ‘unused’ pile of items. This way everyone will know what probably doesn’t have any value, and what’s left to work with.
Tip #6: Leave No Item Unturned
Take the time to search the room properly. You’re not looking for your glasses or your phone – you’re looking for unidentified items that you don’t even know are there. Run your hand along walls and over cabinets, check every nook and cranny you come across. It’s okay if you make a mess, since if done properly, you’ll be out of there soon anyway.
Tip #7: Be Clever, Not Clumsy
If you find a key that fits into a lock but won’t turn, don’t force it – it’s probably not the right key. Escape rooms are about puzzle-solving skills, not strength… and breaking the door open is the equivalent of rearranging all the stickers on a Rubik’s Cube. And that’s not really fun for anyone involved.
Tip #8: Save the Beers for Later
You’re out with your mates or colleagues, so it might seem tempting to knock back a few froths to get you in the mood. But you’ll only be compromising your sharp mind and wit. If you’re up for a big night, book your escape room for earlier in the night so you can head out afterwards for some celebratory (or pick-me-up, depending on how it goes) drinks.
Tip #9: Keep it Simple
This is probably the most important tip of all. Don’t overthink things. The whole experience is meant to be fun and enjoyable, not make you feel stupid. So the answers to your escape room puzzles are probably right in front of you – you just need to keep an eye out for them.
Inspired to try it out for yourself? There are loads of awesome escape rooms around the country… but the lucky ducks in Melbourne can try it for less with our exciting offer at Xcape in Brunswick.