How to Save the World: 25 Tips and Tricks to Dominate in Escape Rooms
What is an Escape Room?
An Escape Room is a themed room in which you solve a series of puzzles, find clues, and navigate through secret passageways to eventually escape the room you’re in. The theme decides your mission, which can be anything from stopping the zombie apocalypse to solving an ancient Egyptian curse. These Escape Room tips and tricks will prepare you for your first adventure!
What is an Escape Room?
Follow these guidelines and you are sure to win!
It doesn’t matter if the pass rate was 9% or 90%, these are the strategies that will help you get your game face on! We reached out to people who have successfully escaped an escape room and asked them what they would say to anyone interested in doing one for themselves. Here, we’ve compiled a list of the top 25 escape room tips and tricks from those master escape artists.
Tip #1 – Play with Friends and Family
Let’s face it- nobody wants to be locked in a room for an hour with complete strangers. Add the goal of getting the heck out of there into the equation and you are asking for a headache! If you can, offer up the extra cash and guarantee a room for you and your group! It is completely worth it to have a private room with those you love and it makes the experience that much more immersive.
Tip #2 – Listen to your teammates
It’s easy to get caught up in the heat of the moment when you’re in an exciting escape room scenario, but don’t forget to hear out you teammates thoughts on a puzzle! Even you are sure you have the right answer, your teammates could be pointing out a crucial detail. Relax and have a good time!
Tip #3 – Do not break the rules
The rules of the game are in place to make sure you are safe and don’t waste time on anything that isn’t necessary. Every escape room you will ever visit will begin by explaining the rules and regulations!
Rules for different locations and themes may vary. Common rules for escape rooms include:
- Do not run
- Don’t stand on or lift any furniture
- Do not take pictures or videos
- Don’t use your phone
- Do not remove items from the wall
Follow the rules closely to stay focused and on the right path the entire time!
Tip #4 – Split up
Split up the puzzles to cover more ground in less time. One of the things that take up the most time in escape rooms is having 8 minds working on a clue that only needs 1 or 2 people to solve. Delegate tasks to different people in the group depending on their strengths. Not only does this build teamwork in your group, but also gives everyone the opportunity to have that defining, “aha” moment we all love so much!
Tip #5 – Don’t overthink
Are you in a dark escape room with low visibility and finding it difficult to see your clues? Maybe all you need to do is power on the lights! Have to count a certain amount of squares in a picture frame? Don’t start counting all of the ceiling tiles because they are also square. You are wasting time! The game is probably as simple as can be, especially in games that have a lower difficulty rating.
People have a predisposition to see everything as way more complicated than it really is and look for patterns where there aren’t any. Be careful not to think too hard about it!
Tip #6 – Skip figuring out the last digit
Think outside the box. Think about any logical, alternate methods that can be used to solve a puzzle (without breaking anything or cheating!).
Time is ticking! There are 30 seconds left on the clock… You know this is the last puzzle to solve, and once you complete it, you are free! You will have won the game! But is there enough time?
You have followed the last puzzle correctly and have already solved 3 of the 4 digits required for the exit code. Quick! Input random numbers in the place of the last digit until you find the correct one.
1232… Not this one.
1234… You wish!!
Got it! Congratulations my friend, you just beat the system! Doesn’t victory taste sweet?
Tip #7 – Organize the items you use
Keep your space tidy. Clean space, clear mind! There are dozens of quotes on it.
The more organized your room is the easier you will find it is to think. You can focus less on the clutter around you and more on winning! Not only that, keeping your space clean and free of clutter helps organize the items in the escape room that you have already used. Create a pile for these items because most items only have one purpose. Just be sure to hold on to things like black lights as they are often used more than once!
Tip #8 – Yell out any possible solutions
And I mean really YELL IT!
Things can get hectic in an escape room as your hour ticks away. People are so focused on what they are doing that they develop tunnel vision. Use a clear and loud voice to make sure you grab everyone’s attention and be sure to articulate your ideas clearly and quickly!
Tip #9 – Bring a watch
Keep a close eye on your time! You are given 1 hour to complete all of the puzzles in most escape room games. When the game is designed, the puzzles are created with a very specific time-frames in mind. Let’s take a step back in history! Some escape rooms do not allow you to use your phone. Bring a wrist watch so you can closely keep an eye on how much time you have left (in the case they do not provide a timer for you) and how much time you have spent on each puzzle. Spent 10 minutes trying to open one box? Well, this leads us to our next 2 tips…
Tip #10 – Don’t be afraid to ask your game guide for help
If you have communication with your game guide, you should use it! It can be a little intimidating going over a walkie-talkie, but don’t be shy!
A huge pointer for escape rooms is to always ask your game guide as many questions as you can. This will weed out any potential problems in the room, which can sometimes happen. Most game guides won’t think twice about answering questions, and in fact, will be happy to give you a little nudge in the right direction! Here are some questions you can ask. The following may not count as one of your limited clues, depending on who your game guide is:
- “I’m pretty sure I have the correct code, but the lock won’t open. Is 1234 the answer to the padlock?”
- “How many digits should go in this keypad?”
- “How much time do we have left?”
- “Is the lever on the wall a clue?”
Tip #11 – Use your clues strategically
Escape Rooms will generally have a limited number of clues- use them wisely! View your clues as tools you have to complete the game. The amount of clues you get depends on numerous factors including how difficult the room is, how much time you have, and how many people there are.
Some participants want to test their own abilities and are set on using absolutely no clues the entire time! This can be a fun challenge, however, since this is 25 tips and tricks on how to actually escape the room… don’t do this! You are NOT a loser, YOU”RE A WINNER! Instead:
- Talk to your teammates and develop a time frame for using clues. (example, you have 6 clues and 1 hour- use 1 clue every 10 minutes).
- Don’t worry about saving clues for the end, as you could be left without enough time to complete the puzzle at hand.
- Be sure to pay close attention to the amount of time spent on a puzzle and use a clue when needed!
Fret not! Using clues will not stain your experience. Game Guides are masters of sleuth and know exactly what to say to move you along without revealing the answer!
Tip #12 – Don’t spend too much time on one puzzle
The #1 time killer in escape rooms is spending too much time on just one puzzle. There are a few things you can do to make sure your team avoids doing this.
- Keep the average amount of time spent on any given puzzle as low as possible.
- Consult other people in the room to get different perspectives.
- Make a point to use a clue if your team spends more than 5-10 minutes on one puzzle.
Tip #13 – Work on something others are not
Don’t be like everyone else! Step away from the crowd of 5 people working on a single jigsaw puzzle. Escape rooms can have up to 50 different puzzles to solve in just one room. If you want to escape on time it is wise to look around the room and focus on anything that hasn’t been touched yet.
For all you know, you could find the last and most crucial jigsaw puzzle piece!
Tip #15 – Keep any used keys in their locks (almost always)
Most escape Rooms require you to use keys only once. if you just lay it in the room somewhere you will get a million questions from your teammates asking who found it or where it is used. It takes time to ask about and answer these questions! It may surprise you, but all too often people are literally seconds from beating the game when time runs out. This still counts as a loss!
Save time anywhere you can.
Tip #16 – Prepare yourself by checking out escape room video games beforehand
Escape rooms have a certain flow to them. This is why someone who has done 20 escape rooms is more skilled in escaping than someone who has never stepped foot in one. They understand how games flow.
When I found myself doing my first ever escape room I noticed that I had a bit of an edge when it came to understanding the schematics of the game. As I said, it was my first room. What gave me that edge? Free, online escape room video games. Escape rooms are the product of this online trend that took off in 2001.
After passing a few levels you will have a better idea of how the room flows, what kind of items to look out for, and what kind of items to ignore. You will be the most prepared newbie in your group!
Tip #17 – If you are going with young kids, help them have a good time, too!
Save the easier puzzles for the kids! Things like jigsaw puzzles and mazes are great fun for older kids. Some escape rooms even include the need to find various pieces to something (like a ripped up note with a riddle on it) hidden around the room. Save this for younger participants and even toddlers. They have fun helping, and you save on time. Win-win!
Tip #18 – Tell others when and how you solved a puzzle
Generally speaking, in escape rooms numbers and codes you uncover will only be used once. Not only that, the method you used to find the code is not likely to be used for any other puzzles in the room. Be sure to use a clear and loud voice and indicate to your teammates any items or codes that no longer need to be utilized. You could say something like,
“Got the lock on the wall open! Used the code 1234.“
Now that your teammates are aware the code 1234 has already been utilized, they can focus their energy on something else that is crucial to your mission and help in moving you through to your goal of escaping efficiently! Teamwork makes the dream work.
Tip #19 – Listen to your Game Guide
Pay close attention to what your Game Guide says to your group before the game begins. Game Guides will sometimes sneak in little clues for you. Listen up for an exaggerated change in tone and watch out for extremely cheesy smiles!
You will need to pay close attention to the rules because they will offer you some tips for the particular game you are playing. For example, they may tell you there is no need to mess with the ceiling tiles or move furniture.
They are there to help and love doing so, so listen up!
Tip #20 – Search EVERY inch of the room
Do not leave ONE INCH of the room unchecked! Game creators like to hide small items, large items, and even codes all over the place in the most unsuspecting places. Make sure you look:
- Behind picture frames
- In every corner of the room
- Behind books or items on shelves
- In the very back of drawers/safes
- On top of Door Frames
- Anywhere else you can imagine!
One small clue or item if often crucial to a puzzle and not having it will cost you loads of precious time. Keep in mind though that Escape Rooms are designed to be enjoyed by anyone ages 9 to 90, so don’t strain yourself too much! Everything is easily within reach.
Tip #21 – Bring the Recommended Number of Players
Having too few people or too many can be a real challenge in an escape room. The recommended number of players is between 4-8. If you have too few people, it can be difficult to cover a lot of ground. Have too many people and you could find yourselves tripping over each other and hogging clues like a pack on hungry wolves! Don’t get me wrong, if you have a large family it can be loads of fun and great for building connectivity and teamwork. But if you are serious about winning, try and keep it around 4 players.
Have a large family and do not want to crowd up one room? Consider having a friendly competition and splitting your team between two games at the same time! You can race each other to the finish. This extra competitive component will make your experience even more enjoyable!
Tip #22 – Do not Move any of the Locked Boxes
Game creators want their creation to make sense to anyone who finds themselves locked inside. Almost always, locked boxes will be placed on the around the clue used to find the code or key. Even though it is tempting to pick up every item and examine very closely the second time starts ticking, be very mindful of what you picked up and where it was! Every item in the room is closely connected.
Tip #23 – Don’t use excessive force
Physical force is never necessary for an escape room puzzle or prop. Most anyone can participate in an escape room adventure! Do not force any items bolted to the wall down, or pry any boxes open. If something is bolted to the wall then there is no need to take it down. In fact, it’s placement is likely part of the clue!
And prying open boxes? Really?
To find the codes for things is the whole point! That is why you are here- in this room, trying to escape. Try your best to understand the room and the puzzles! It is way more fun that way.
Win if you can, lose if you must, but never cheat!
Tip #24 – Know what kind of items in the room should be ignored
There are certain common items found in any escape room that is a waste of time to bother. just to name a few:
- Ceiling tiles usually aren’t a clue.
- Do not stick objects into wall outlets- this can be dangerous.
- do not unplug anything or pull on any wires, you could stop your game completely!
Remember, you can always ask your game guide if an item is a part of the game!
Tip #25 – Relax and enjoy yourself!
Whether you escape in record time or not at all, having a good time is totally up to you. Remember that life is to be lived in the moment. At this moment, you just so happen to be formulating a cure for the zombie outbreak or escaping from a murderous clown. Enjoy yourself!
Good luck and happy escaping!
Did these tips help you escape? Tell us about it in the comments!
We would love to hear from you.