Are Escape Rooms Hard?
How hard are escape rooms, you ask? Let’s start by saying this — they’re no walk in the park. With only a set of clues and the problem-solving skills your team came in with, you are faced with the task of cracking the code to a thrilling puzzle as 60 minutes on the clock tick away. While the challenge is certainly part of the fun, no one wants to be stuck with something impossible. At Questroom no two experiences are the same. There are a variety of exciting story options that vary in difficulty. Maybe you prefer a room like Malediction or Red Giant that focuses on immersing you in another world. Or, if you really want to put your skills to the test, puzzle-heavy games like Da Vinci’s Challenge and Warlocked may be your go-to. At the end of the day, the level of difficulty in an escape room is up to you. But whether you’re a seasoned sleuther or someone brand new to the game, it is important to know the factors that come into play that can affect the difficulty of your experience.
What Affects the Difficulty of a Room?
Each room has its own unique characteristics that sets it apart from the others. There is no one factor that results in a room being harder or easier than another. Rather it is the combination of different elements that can alter the overall experience. What can affect the difficulty of a particular room?
Difficulty of the Room Itself
Our rooms are designed with a certain level of difficulty in mind. Each game is purposefully set up in a way that is meant to create an experience that can skew hard or a little bit easier. If you choose a room that is more complex with its theme and gameplay components, it is likely that you are going to have a more difficult time when it comes to escaping.
Not everyone is going to come in with Sherlock Holmes level detective skills — and that’s ok! Some people may find escaping to be harder if they are not used to this special form of problem solving. Here are some questions you may want to ask yourself to see how you might do in an escape room: Can you work well under pressure? Are you good at solving puzzles? Do you collaborate well with a team? If you answered “yes” to any or all of these you’ve got a pretty good shot at getting out before your time runs out.
Like anything in life, when it comes to escape rooms practice makes perfect. As you play more and more games of varying difficulty, it becomes a lot easier to pick up on the tricks and tips necessary to make your way through a puzzle. Even with how diverse the selection of different rooms and themes is there are still trends that can help you come up with a better strategy the next time you play. This means almost everyone will have a different perspective on how hard a room may be based on their prior experience.
The team element is one of the most important parts of a successful escape. If the group you came with can not work together well, it’s likely you’re going to run into some trouble. Having a bad dynamic between your teammates can not only make your time less fun, but it can also make it much more challenging to solve your puzzle before the clock hits zero.
Size (Team vs. Room)
Just like how rooms may vary with their themes and gameplay, the size and capacity of each room will differ as well. While an escape room’s size may not seem like much of a determinant of how difficult it’ll be, when you place a team in a room that is too big or small they are going to have a much harder time. Having the average number of players for the game is a big benefit; at Questroom we recommend four for most rooms though they can certainly be done with two people and are designed to be comfortable at capacity.
Some days are just unlucky. There is something in the air that made you miss that small detail that was the key to the whole puzzle or that caused you to make a misstep in an earlier clue. Even with all of the other aspects of the game going well, luck — or rather the lack thereof — can make an escape room a lot harder.
With all that said there are several steps you can take to make sure, regardless of the difficulty of your room, you are prepared to take on the challenge. Here are some of the best ways to come out victorious in any room!
Assemble a Good Team Like we mentioned earlier, making it out of any escape room is all about working together with your group. When the clock is tick, tick, ticking and the pressure is on you’re going to want to make sure you’re with a team that can keep their cool. A good tip is to have a good combination of people with different talents and specialties who can contribute in a way that complements the skillset of the rest of the team.
Learn the Rules of the Room Even if you’re a seasoned breakout professional, it's crucial to have a good idea of the rules of the game. Before your puzzle solving experience commences, you and your team will be provided with a set of rules to follow during your game. While these are in place to help everyone stay safe and have fun, if you pay attention, they may even give you some more clues to rely on.
Look Closely The clues are in the details! As soon as you access your escape room, be sure to take a mental note of your surroundings. The room is a puzzle itself which can be used to help point you in the right direction as you progress through the game. Search everywhere when looking for more clues — a lot of times they’re easy to miss.
Be Organized When you’re disorganized it’s easy to become confused. From our easier games to our most challenging ones, there are many different things that you will need to be keeping up with to piece together the final puzzle. A good strategy is to place all the items you’ve found in a central part of the room to make it easier for everyone in your group to have an idea of what has and hasn’t been used.
Pay Attention to Time If they had unlimited time, anyone could probably make their way out of an escape room; it’s the countdown that really sets the challenge. With just 60 minutes on the clock, there is no time to waste. Have someone from your group act as the designated timekeeper to stay aware about leftover time and alert the other group members.
Don’t Get Hung Up on One Thing In the excitement of the game, it can be easy to obsess over that one tiny detail or clue. As tempting as this may seem, it is important to keep moving along and make the most of your time. A good rule of thumb is to spend no more than five minutes trying to figure out any one item or clue. If it gets over this point, it’s probably time to call up the gamemaster for a little help.
Communicate with Your Team Escaping your room is a team effort, everyone should be on the same page at any moment throughout your game. Communication is by far the best tool to use while solving your puzzle. As soon as one member of the group is out of the loop, it is easy for everything else to fall apart.
Keep it Simple Just because the game is complex doesn’t mean it is complicated (or, at least, it doesn’t have to be)! Many people like to go with the solution that seems the most in-depth, but usually the answer is more simple than what is offered at first glance.
Look at Locks Pay special attention to the directions our gamemasters provide you with before you start your puzzle. Helpful instructions about complicated locks are usually given that can help you navigate the rest of the room more easily. See how the locks can be used to give you hints about other parts of the puzzle.
Look at Codes In an escape room it is smart to look into the things that may seem peculiar or out of the ordinary. This is especially true when it comes to codes and ciphers. From morse code to alphabet shifting, maintaining track of these unique enigmas can be a big help.
Watch for Patterns Just like with your codes or locks, noticing trends inside your room can help you make connections to other possible solutions. If you have experienced members in your group, have them take the lead on connecting the dots between similar shapes, colors, and other patterns.
Use your Hints Some teams try to make their way through puzzles without relying on any outside help. It’s important to remember that your hints are there for a reason. The best time to ask for a hint is when you’ve reached a stopping point or when your group is stuck.
Have your Gamemaster Help As the name suggests, your gamemaster is the key to escaping your room in time. Their secret information about your room and its puzzles can serve as a major tool to help you progress through the game. Be sure to listen closely to what they say so you can decipher what their clues may mean.
Keep a Positive Attitude Whether you’re here for company team-building, a day with the family, or anything in between your ultimate goal should always be to have fun. Focus on the parts of the puzzle you have solved and continue to keep a good mindset to help make your escape room experience exciting and successful.
Ready to Brainstorm?
Some escape rooms may be hard, but with these tips you and your team are sure to have a great chance at making it out. Put your skills to the test by booking a game online at Questroom.com or by phone at 310-707-1240 and email at [email protected]. To learn more about the most thrilling escape room experience in Los Angeles and San Diego, check out our other blog posts.