Escape rooms have long since been the crown jewel of virtual real-world play, and with good reason: they’re fun, they’re challenging, and most importantly, they provide a great way for socializing with like-minded people. For escape rooms, adapting to corporate America during the 21st century has meant finding new ways to bring games online, including creating puzzle designs to share with fellow players and putting webcams in various rooms. Instead of the typical instructions, such as telling players not to opened items by force, host provide hints on how to safely use Google Drive and share files. Puzzles can be anything, from virtual versions of national parks to Rubik’s Cube creations.
But not all puzzles are made equal. A virtual escape room is just that: a virtual real-life simulation of an actual room where players solve a variety of puzzles to escape from the premise of the room. The only way to “escape” from these virtual rooms is to find all the hidden clues and puzzles within a certain time limit. This time limit can often be figured out simply by following a trail of breadcrumbs leading back to a secret entrance. Some escape games may have more complex puzzles requiring multiple pieces to be combined before a solution is found.
Puzzles can either work individually or in groups, either using virtual real-life clues (as in a virtual treasure hunt) or using digital ones (like making a digital journal to track down hidden clues in a virtual mystery adventure game). The latter is better because it allows players to work together to solve puzzles while communicating with each other – something that doesn’t happen when you’re solving a puzzle alone in front of your computer monitor. It also allows the player to come up with creative ideas for solutions to puzzles (provided they meet the requirements of the puzzle creator). There are literally thousands of different escape games available online for players to play, and many more are being added each week.
Most escape rooms are designed around a central theme, although you’ll likely be able to find a puzzle which uses any number of different elements. Common themes include monsters, spaceships, animals, gardening, cooking, and racing. Different rooms will use different elements to fit their theme. For example, the rooms that feature animals in them may contain foxes hiding, or puzzles where planting vegetables takes place in upside-down rooms may require you to balance a tomato on your head while crossing a bridge.
To enter any virtual escape room, you generally need to provide some form of identification, usually a smart card or physical item such as a keypad. This identification usually serves as a way to save your progress so that you don’t lose anything in the process, and the clues are generally printed out on a virtual piece of paper where you can find them later. In many cases, you’ll have to solve a riddle, or work through a sequence of increasingly difficult clues which eventually take you to the final destination of the game. Sometimes the clues are written in code, and you’ll need to decipher them in order to move forward and continue your escape.
The typical escape game will require you to solve a riddle, or create a logical chain of events in order to complete each room. In more elaborate rooms, you might also have to solve puzzles in order to access the next area, or use a power source to activate switches, etc. Most rooms also contain a variety of objects which can be used to interact with the environment, including switches and objects which activate hidden switches, for more options. In most cases, a game’s objective is to solve a bigger puzzle which will eventually lead you to the next area. However, depending on the style of game, the objective may be something entirely different.
A lot of people who play escape room games online are looking for a puzzle-solving experience, and hence the game developers are coming up with increasingly challenging puzzles as time goes by. For example, one popular game on many online escape room sites is the treasure hunter theme. In this room, players will have to track down a number of items which are listed in a list, and then use these items to solve a series of puzzles, in order to complete the room and win the game. In this particular game, you have a limited number of clues to use in your quest; therefore, if you want to solve the room successfully, you must carefully select which clues to use, and ensure that you do not miss any. If you make a mistake, all your efforts could go down the drain.
Another popular theme on online escape room sites is the mystery theme, in which players must piece together clues to solve crimes, and acquire secrets to get higher scores. This is quite a bit more involved than simply finding items and solving puzzles – there are no time limits, and the room is often quite large. As well as a number of different themes, players must use skills such as deduction, critical thinking, and memory in order to solve crimes, and acquire the information they need to help solve the puzzle. This is an addictive game that many people enjoy playing, and can provide tense moments for those who are stuck for action during playback.