DESIGNING A FASCINATING ESCAPE ROOM CAN BE RATHER TRICKY
The prevalence of escape rooms nowadays raises the players‘ expectations. Reviews about new escape room locations often mention specific rooms and their fun-factors. As a result, some rooms will be very popular and almost always booked out, while others stay unoccupied. There are many elements which affect the success and popularity of an escape room. Once the design was put into practice, it is very difficult to revert these changes. As such, one should examine a proposed design very carefully. The following factors are crucial to designing a successful escape room, which will drop players‘ jaws:
TARGETED AND FLAWLESS INTERIOR
Most escape rooms have a general theme, which is used to initially attract their potential players. Often these themes are based on specific movies, video games or other pop culture elements. An escape room should be decorated to the brim with creative details. Every piece of furniture, every book should support the general concept of the room. The players should feel as if every single object could be hiding the next clue.
A HEALTHY MIXTURE OF DIFFERENT PUZZLES
There should be no shortage of electronic gadgets in a room. Escape rooms are a relatively modern concept, and lots of technology can give a room a certain edge. However, a decent escape room shouldn’t solely rely on high-tech puzzles. A few physical and old-fashioned puzzles should also find their place within the room. A dynamic mixture between mentally and physically challenging puzzle helps to ensure that every type of player will enjoy a certain room.
AN IMMERSIVE EXPERIENCE
As soon as a person enters the escape room, they should feel like they are part of the story unraveling here. A good room should provide organic clues and be managed by a passionate operator who can deliver clues without ruining the fun.
COMPLEX, CONTEXTUAL CLUES
The best escape rooms have a clear narrative, which is consistent throughout from beginning to end. As soon as everything is over, and that exit door opens up, the player should have been able to recognize a connection between all those different clues. It can be very unnerving if the plot of specific movies contains elements, which don’t fit the story naturally. In the same way, it can be perceived as rather boring, when one goes from one clue to the next, without the puzzlings adding on top of each other.
ACTIVITIES THAT REQUIRE TEAMWORK
Teamwork and escape rooms go hand in hand. After all, there are many companies who invite their employees to play escape rooms together as part of a teambuilding exercise. Moreover, for a good reason, as it doesn’t get much better in terms of team building, than solving puzzles and overcoming challenges together, while scratching each other’s head. If an escape room consists of puzzles, that could theoretically be solved by a single person, then it’s not a well-designed room. An escape room should contain challenges, which require multiple players.
Once these aspects are considered and the brainstorming of new puzzles incomplete, one should ask themselves the following questions before grabbing the toolbox:
- Does the room excite the players right away?
- Is there a handful of „aha“-moments throughout the game?
- Do the players spend around equally as much time laughing and celebrating victories, as they spend feeling frustrated?
SOME PARTICULARLY DYNAMIC PUZZLE ELEMENTS:
Blacklight is used as a very popular mechanism in many rooms. Black lights are often hidden somewhere in the room and enable the player to search through the entire room in the hope of finding some seemingly invisible clues
A correctly placed object can open a new door thanks to magnetic locks. This object is usually fitted with an RFID-Tag or a magnet on the bottom. The surface, where the object needs to place, usually has a Reed-Switch or RFID-Sensor installed.
Extracting numbers from images
This is a very flexible element, as it can function as part of the decor and as part of a puzzle. It can be used to encrypt a number, which is needed to open a lock. Besides, this is very easy to implement.
Collection of physical objects
Elements can be integrated in such a way, that one puzzle will be part of the majority of the game. Many objects need to be combined to create a new object to activating a switch. For example: Putting money in a money counting machine, Placing a book in a bookshelf, or throwing a coin inside a vending machine.
A good escape room should incorporate all of the players five senses. Morse code is a great way to introduce rhythmic, musical clues into a room. Morse code is one of the oldest and well-known encryption methods of World War 2. As this code only consists of long and short sounds, it can be incorporated in many different ways.
There are many more fun elements, which make up an exciting escape room. We will mention more of this in our future blog posts. Stay tuned!