Since around 2011 escape rooms have been taking off all over the world in various shapes, sizes and formats. Consisting of a series of puzzles, riddles and clues, escape games require teams to put their problem solving skills to the test and complete challenges in a set period of time in order to ‘escape’ the room.
The beauty of escape games is that they don’t have to be limited to stand alone venues; they can be created for various audiences in many different locations across a number of different sectors. From entertainment venues and museums to offices and conferences, variations of escape games are a fantastic way to engage, immerse and interact with audiences. But are there certain common characteristics that all good escape games require? From our experience in designing, building and managing escape rooms for a number of clients, here are our top 5 suggestions for success:
1. A compelling story
Unsurprisingly, an engaging story is the glue that holds the experience together. It should be something that the creator cares about, whether that’s based on a time in history, a location or a specific theme. Some escape rooms take their influence from the historic building they’re housed in or the city their based in. If it’s a visitor attraction, the story might have an educational element, and businesses have booked escape games for team building or for conferences, with stories that tie in with the services they offer. Whatever the tale, consistency is key.
2. An immersive setting
Speaking of consistency, the setting is also critical in building the ‘world’ of the game. The scenery has the role of immersing players into that world and ensuring that nothing pulls them out of the story. Teams of designers, builders, artists and scenic finishers all work together to create a final ‘set’ that makes the game memorable and immersive. Our lifelike creations have included an international space station, a submarine, an undercover spy agency, superhero headquarters, a scientist’s study, Edwardian servants’ quarters and a medieval jail to name but a few!
3. Interesting puzzles
Escape games are made up of a series of interactive challenges that teams of players complete by solving puzzles and clues. The challenges ultimately help them achieve their goal of escaping against the clock. The puzzles therefore have to be pitched at the right difficulty level and ideally be adaptable to suit players’ needs. They might also have an objective of their own; we’ve created an escape game in an attraction to educate visitors and we’ve also used them to engage employees and to encourage team work and problem solving within companies.
4. A clear game flow
In order for the game to run smoothly and so as not to confuse the players, the game should flow in a clear way. It should be obvious to the player how to move through the challenges and how well they’re doing at any point in time. The game doesn’t have to progress in a linear fashion, with one puzzle leading on from the other, but there has to be a clear goal and good communication with the players whether that be through the help of a timer or visual and audio updates.
5. An engaging Games Master
Behind every successful escape game, there’s an engaging and effective Games Master! They have the task of introducing the game to the players and looking after them throughout the challenge. Clear communication of the story and the goals of the game are important and a good Games Master will also keep a close eye on things, offering additional clues where requested and adapting the game to players’ needs. As they often have a role assigned to them in the story, many Games Masters are keen performers and easily get in to character! These are all traits that we look for when providing this role for clients.
To find out how we can help you create an unforgettable escape game that meets your objectives, please get in touch for a chat. We’d love to bring your story to life or help you invent one!