Since 2012/2013 (give or take) Escapes Rooms have exploded across the country going from a mere 7 to over 1,500 rooms (give or take) in just under 10 years but that doesn’t really explain why have we become addicts to them. Well in todays blog we look at the reasons why we have and hopefully you may learn a bit more about escape rooms from our point of view.
THEMES, LOCATIONS AND STORIES
When it comes to a room's theme the possibilities are endless. There are so many out there which means there really is something for everyone. From full on horror to witches and wizards to caving to heists and even a supermarket, there really is an escape room to suit any taste. Because there is so variety, every room is a completely new adventure and the escape room industry is full of so many imaginative and talented people that they are constantly coming up with new, weird and wonderful themes for rooms. Throw in a unique location and you already have an atmosphere for a game before the game has begun. Take Lily of Lumley in Durham for example. Its set in a real freakin' castle or Cave Escape in Nottingham whose rooms are set in actual caves. A unique location isn't required obviously but it certainly adds to the feel of a room. As long as a room has a good story that's all that really matters. A good story can really immerse you into a room and if all three come together than its something truly special. But a room doesn't need to have a special location to be magical.
THEMING AND SET PIECES
I love a good piece of theming and some escape rooms have theming that puts some of the theme parks to shame. There is just so much love and attention to detail that nothing gets overlooked. From vast jungle environments to horror chambers, escape rooms have this level of detail that just blows your mind. I’ve walked into many escape rooms and my initial thought is just wow that’s stunning. Some rooms are completely fictional and just have theming based on what the theme is but Houdini’s HMS Titanic room is based on the Titanic (not shit given it’s called HMS Titanic) and actually has so many little nods and Easter eggs to the actual ship including a corridor built to the same actual size as the original corridors on the boat. It’s small little details like that that really make an escape room an experience.
There really are no escape rooms without a wonderful team behind them and the game hosts are THE single most important thing to a room for me. A host really can make or break an experience. A host who is passionate, energetic and enthusiastic are usually my favourite type of host but I do also have a soft spot for those who just take the piss out of you. It’s usually in character but it just makes it feel more fun and personal if they get involved in the banter. The hosts at Hounds in Crawley are exceptionally good at this, especially with their Questionable Ethics room. Obviously this kind of humour isn’t for everyone but I’m trash and enjoy it. Hosts also play a huge part in how your game will play because they are your ‘god’ when you play rooms because they are the ones that are giving you the clues. Be nice to a host and they will want you to succeed. Be rude or stuck up and they will subconsciously want you to fail without telling you they want you to fail. If you get a host that isn’t really there for it it really does impact your experience and i’ve learnt that the hard way.
Puzzles and Locks
(But not the fucking directional locks)
I’ve left this one until near the end because it’s a pretty obvious one really. You go to an escape room to solve some puzzles, duh. Puzzles really do come in all shapes and sizes including actual puzzles but I just have this love of the unexpected so I love a puzzle that has a surprise solution or an unexpected result because you solved it. I also have a love hate relationship with obviousness. You know the ones, they are so obvious to everyone that you just don’t get it straight away (The Watcher at XScream Escapes I’m looking at you here). Puzzles in escape rooms make you think differently and there is just a huge buzz from solving a puzzle, especially if you solve it straight away and your friends are looking at it like they haven’t got a clue. It’s such a rush. With escape rooms becoming more common the humble padlock is becoming less used in some locations because rooms are evolving into digitally run games but there really is no other simple joy than sticking a key in a lock or twisting the numbers on a tumbler. It’s so satisfying. And it’s not just simple locks, there are places that have very unique variations on a normal lock that adds a new level of excitement (god I must sound like such a nerd).
Now this isn’t a deal breaker as to why I love escape rooms but I want to mention it because it’s a bloody amazing feeling when you make a leaderboard. I don’t play rooms to make the leaderboards so whenever I do make one it’s an amazing feeling. Word of advice is don’t play a room to make a leaderboard (unless you’re that team that is pretty much number 1 fastest time on most of the Uk rooms than you continue doing you). Play a room because you want to, because you’ve heard good things about it, because you like the theme, the story. Just play a room because it’s what you want to do and don’t ever worry about the time unless you have like 30 seconds to go and one small puzzle to solve to complete it in which case panic about the time, but generally don’t.
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed my ramble about why I love escape rooms. I plan on playing many more rooms so I’m sure I will find more reasons to love escape rooms as I keep finding them. Thanks for reading!