May 18, 2019

The Escape Game: Special Ops (Minneapolis, MN)

On a recent trip to Minneapolis, I found myself arriving at the airport late at night. With not many options available to me, I decided to solo a room at "The Escape Game" (aka "TEG"). TEG is a franchise with locations in 12 cities and plans to expand to another nine cities. I played all four games at their Houston location which were pretty solid. There were some worries in playing my first solo room because it's not as fun to miss out on parts of the game but I decided going hint heavy would help a lot. I played "Special Ops: Mysterious Market" and the below is from their site:

"It started as a routine operation. You and your fellow field agents were sent to investigate the area’s local market. It’s late, it’s quiet… but something’s not quite right. Just as you are about to wrap up your inspection, you encounter a twist you never expected. Should you have seen this coming?"

Set Design, Technology & Puzzles 

As a side note, TEG was located on the third floor at the "Mall Of America", right beside the airport. This indoor mall was huge and had a theme park situated in the center of it all! They even had a Tim Horton's and restaurants offered poutine so I guess Minneapolis has a lot of Canadian tourists.

The set, like other TEG games I played in the past, was spot on. There were nice touches that made the environment look realistic, all packaged in a physical space that was definitely above average in size.

The technology that was woven into the room towards the end of the game made me feel like I was in a movie. A few of the puzzles throughout the game were familiar to me and one of the final components was pretty novel. Puzzles varied from searching, mathematical and of course logical. There was no need for any physical exertion at all so players with any physical limitations would be fine in the room.

I really enjoyed how the game ramped up from a very ordinary start to a fun and cinematic-like final act. Knowing that I would need to leverage the help of the GM quite often, I decided to call her "operator" (this was a first for me). It felt a little like an episode from the TV series "24" where counter terrorist agents search for clues to stop the baddies from blowing up stuff. Think Jack Bauer liaising with Chloe for various intel on how to solve things. Playing solo, I had to make it unique! The GM was great. She was super helpful and knew exactly how to help me. I used to take customer service for granted but in a solo game, you really need a GM who is attentive.

I just watched the trailer for the room on their site. My suggestion (I also do this with movies) is DO NOT WATCH THE TRAILER. There are some spoilers like when you watch a movie trailer!

Memorable Moments 

The technology enabled final sequences were a blast! If you're into secret agent movies, you will love it even more!

Room For Improvement

There were a few puzzles that were common and while not inherently "bad" and perhaps even novel for beginners, those who have played a few rooms will likely have seen some of the elements in other places.

Overall Thoughts

Special Ops was a fun room that was polished and made excellent use of technology. This room was my favorite out of the five rooms I have played thus far at The Escape Game and I highly recommend playing it if you have the chance!

  • Set design: Great!
  • Difficulty: Above average
  • Price: $39.99/person
  • Number of players: 1-10, (we recommend 3-4), public
  • Duration: 60 minutes
  • Overall Rating: ★★★★★
See their website here:

Disclosure: The Escape Game comped the ticket for this game.

April 29, 2019

Exit2Escape: Wild Western Jail Escape (Dublin, CA)

We heard that EscapeTheRoomers were in town so we teamed up with them to play Exit2Escape's newest room, the "Wild Western Jail Escape". This is Exist2Escape's last room before moving out of their Dublin location and into a new place in Pleasanton which is about 15 mins away. From their site:

"You and your gang of bandits have been terrorizing the town of Tumbleweed for years! You’ve managed a clean get-a-way on all your wrong doings… But it looks like the Sheriff has finally caught you! He claims he has evidence to prove it was you and your gang that robbed the Bank, and he has you locked-up behind bars! You want out of jail fast, and you want to know how he got his information.

While the Sheriff and his Deputies are out celebrating your capture, you decide it’s now or never… You have 60 minutes to break-out, find and dispose of the evidence, then uncover the yellow-belly who ratted out your gang!."

Puzzles, Technology & Set Design

Similar to their other rooms, the puzzles were smart and creative. The build was not quite as elaborate as the other games due to the fact that they are going to be moving location but the puzzles were satisfying and logical. The game started off in split groups, which can be polarizing but given you can see the other group and help out, it was fine.

This is likely the purest form of a first generation escape room that isn't fancy but executes on the basics really well. It was surprising to learn that this was their most difficult room but we still think it's good for all players.

Memorable Moments 

There were multiple "a-ha" moments that make for some real fun and that will make an impression on you!

Room For Improvement

The set design was average so perhaps if this game were to be updated in the new Pleasanton location, it might be more polished.

Overall Thoughts

Exit2Escape always has solid puzzle design with a homemade feel. If you are in the area, you should check out this room!

  • Set design: Average
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Price: $30/person
  • Number of players: 4-10, (we recommend 5-6), public
  • Duration: 60 minutes
  • Overall Rating: ★★★½
See their website here:

Disclosure: Exit2Escape comped the ticket for this game.

March 5, 2019

The Spacetime Travel Agency (Sebastopol, CA)

I answered a last minute call to join a group of escape room enthusiasts on a day trip to the Sebastopol (about 90 minutes north of San Francisco). We headed to a new escape room that no one had heard about called "The Spacetime Travel Agency". From their website:

"The year was 1969. In the midst of the Cold War, while the United States and the Soviet Union raced to put a man on the moon, the US government also funded a covert study into time travel: The Kronos Initiative. 

Everything was going to plan until a test went awry, leaving the time machine inoperable and its inventor lost in the far reaches of time and space. Afraid that news of this would get out, the government buried the project, and no one has set foot in the lab since…Until now.

We’ve received a strange transmission from the inventor, and electromagnetic inconsistencies around the lab suggest something is amiss. It’s up to you and your group of specialists to figure out what went wrong and fix it, before time runs out…"

Game Play, Set Design, Puzzles

This game was built by Sebastopol brothers, Galen and Aiden, who fell in love with escape rooms while touring London. The two decided to create a game of  their own using their background in filmmaking and robotics.

The set was well crafted with some nice decor and props all within decent sized physical space. There was a good amount of technology built into the room that helped convey the storyline in an entertaining and fun manner. The atmosphere had a polished feel with good puzzle flow and we appreciated how everything came together. The game was made up of both process driven puzzles and "aha" moments which was well balanced throughout the escape room.

Memorable Moments 

There was a unique science-based puzzle that was not common in escape rooms. It had us scratching our heads for a moment but a "eureka" moment saved the day!

Room For Improvement

The game started off in a setting that would be very familiar for experienced players. This wasn't necessarily a bad thing, especially for beginners, but there are many puzzles elements that would be instantly recognizable by enthusiasts. The game certainly becomes more interesting after the first portion of the game which was actually a good way of ramping up.

Overall Thoughts

The Space Travel Agency was a family friendly room that was enjoyable and charming. While it may be on the easier side, it was still incredibly a fun experience and one of the best rooms that we played in the area!

  • Set design: Good!
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Price: $35/person
  • Number of players: 3-5, private (we recommend 3-4)
  • Duration: 60 minutes
  • Overall Rating: ★★★★
See their website here:

February 18, 2019

Magic Escape Room: Fuga da Azkaban / "Escape from Azkaban" (Rome, Italy)

Magic Escape Room's "Escape From Azkaban" was touted as one of the best escape rooms in Rome. It seemed like all their games were available in English so it was easy for us to book without having any language concerns. Note that in Rome, most escape rooms take payment in full in cash, a stark contrast to what we see in North America

"As you are returning from a party with your friends, in the middle of the night, you become distracted and lose control of your car. The car swerves, breaks a fence and you find yourself facing what appears to be an old abandoned country house. Under an incessant storm, decide to seek shelter ...Will it be a good idea?

Game Play, Set Design, Puzzles

There was a good mix of puzzles ranging from riddles, search and correlations. The story took place in the Harry Potter world with significant references throughout the game. The game succeeds in creating a fun atmosphere without having to resort to high tech elements. There were more padlocks than the latest rooms we've played in America but the group still ran around as if they were students in Hogwarts. The hint mechanism was pretty creative and also had a strong nod to the Harry Potter movies.

Memorable Moments 

For Harry Potter fans, being in the universe is quite the delight. For me, as a muggle, I would say the GM interaction was fun and thematic.

Room For Improvement

There was more than one puzzle that used some of your senses other than sight and touch. One puzzle would have taken me, and it seems many others, forever to do because not everyone has an ear for certain things. Other than that, experienced players may fly through this room.

Overall Thoughts

This family friendly room was fun for our entire group and even if you aren't a Harry Potter fan, you will still have a great time.

  • Set design: Great
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Price: 30€-110€ ($34-$126) for 1-6 people
  • Number of players: 1-6, private (we recommend 2-4)
  • Duration: 60 minutes
  • Overall Rating: ★★★★½
See their website here:

January 15, 2019

Escape Room Roma: The Ring (Rome, Italy)

This Ring girl shrieked like the real deal

Escape Room Roma has something called a "Real Movie Experience" and these games, on their site, are separated from their regular escape room games. There is no clock as the goal is for you to experience the complete session and teams typically take between 50-85mins to get through it all. We requested if we could play the room in English and they obliged which we are extremely grateful for. We were also the first non-Italian players to play the game so once again not a simple task for their staff and actors. The translation was pretty much spot on. There were no issues except for one minor detail with a book that was not translatable but we were able to work it out.

I played with two other people who jumped at everything and we had one person who decided not to play a few minutes before the start time because of the theme. Special thanks to Sarah for being a good sport and playing even though you jumped at everything. The scariest parts for me were my teammates literally jumping across the entire room when something spooked us. From their site:

"As you are returning from a party with your friends, in the middle of the night, you become distracted and lose control of your car. The car swerves, breaks a fence and you find yourself facing what appears to be an old abandoned country house. Under an incessant storm, decide to seek shelter ...Will it be a good idea?

Game Play, Set Design, Puzzles

The start is great as you are thrust into a very believable world of the Ring. The game is largely played in the dark and featured the creepy AF little girl from the Ring. There are a lot of jump scares and loud sounds that will scare anyone and I applaud the actress for being able to shriek like an actual demon girl. There was one room where a light would sometimes turn on and off but 80% of the game is in the dark where you have to use artificial candles to light the way.

If you enjoy horror, you will like this room. If you don't, you will be stressed out to the point of exhaustion. The actress played a huge role. She was great. The puzzles were mostly average but of course you're not going to play this game for the puzzles.

Memorable Moments 

You wanted a movie-like experience? You got a movie-like experience! The fantastic start and strong finish will forever be in our memories.

Room For Improvement

There was more reading than I would have liked for a room that takes place mostly in the dark. I prefer not having to read more than two sentences and could be just me. It's especially difficult to read multiple pages of text when your trying to brace yourself for when your teammates dig their nails into your arm every few minutes.

Flashlights might have made things a lot more convenient but that might also lower the immersion because it wouldn't have been so dark so not sure how well this would work out.

Overall Thoughts

We are not horror fans, we don't watch the movies and didn't even see the ring. Yet, because of my affinity for escape rooms, we've played Zoe and Murder Co in Los Angeles which are some of the most intense and scary games in the US so some great references to benchmark against. Zoe was perhaps a tad scarier whereas Murder Co. was more twisted than scary. For horror fans you will truly be delighted at this Real Movie Experience.

  • Set design: Excellent
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Price: 90€ ($103)/ for 4 people +18€-20€ ($21-$23) per additional person 
  • Number of players: 4-10, private (we recommend more than 4 to make it less scary :D)
  • Duration: 55-80 minutes
  • Overall Rating: ★★★★½ (★★★★★ for horror fans)
See their website here:

January 13, 2019

Unreal Room Escape: La Mina / "The Mine" (Barcelona, Spain)

Get ready to get dirty

A good could a game about a mine be? That was my first thought when I heard about the game and given it was one of the top recommendations from Spanish bloggers, we were happy with try it out. A lot of games in Barcelona also seem to be 90 minutes in duration and La Mina was one of them. From their site:

"For more than a hundred years, the St. Louis Mine was used as a source of mineral resources, until an unexpected explosion caused all its workers to be trapped inside. Since then many have speculated on all kinds of hypotheses about the event ... The Dunklerde company has managed to reopen the Mine and has expressed its commitment to take charge of the recovery of all the victims who were trapped in the place. However, its real purposes are not entirely clear, since according to expert voices, the mine no longer has as many mineral resources as before. This situation has revived the old rumors of the existence of a strange and valuable source of minerals in the mine, which is why some say that the real objective of this company is to find them. Will the rumors be true? What mysteries does the St. Louis Mine hide?"

Game Play, Set Design, Puzzles

First off, prepare to get dirty. Yes the set feels like a real mine so you will get dusty. Second, there are a LOT of things to do. The excitement of doing a million things was extremely fulfilling and oh so much fun. The set felt on the larger side and they really, really maximize the space that they have to an impressive level. You will not realize that you are in an office building once you start the game.

There were a few elements that required more than usual physical force (we were so gentle with props) and when we asked the GM for approval and she replied with "yes c'mon!". There was lot of gathering of items and everything was logical and fair. The flow and progression of the game was natural and each section had something unique and charming to do.

Also, if you stumble upon a door to the toilette during the game, rest assured it is just an ordinary toilette.

Memorable Moments 

The variety of effects, while not large in scale, perfectly immersived us in the environment. There were multiple  "wow that's really cool" moments when we solved a puzzle or saw a reveal that made the game come together and feel realistic. The ending was great and suspenseful and you will be in for a ride when you play this game. Two experienced players are enough for this game.

Room For Improvement

We did see a couple of exposed screws that should probably be shaven down or covered. Those who are touchy feely may have an unpleasant surprise.

There was one Spanish-only clue and one incorrectly translated English clue. Sarah knew basic Spanish so we were fine, otherwise we would've asked for a hint. The intro videos were also only in Spanish so I didn't get the storyline. [UPDATE] We were informed that English subtitles were added to the videos and that the other two clues will also be updated

Of course, we were in Spain so it's like saying a room in America only had English intro videos. We were grateful that the game was playable in English.

Overall Thoughts

The pace of the game and the look and feel was perfect. The props and the transitions were excellent and vast tasks to accomplish (when two players at least) made us happy. We loved this game and it is a must play in Barcelona!

  • Set design: Perfect for a mine
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Price: 16€-33€ ($18-$38)/person 
  • Number of players: 2-7, private (we recommend 2-3)
  • Duration: 90 minutes
  • Overall Rating: ★★★★★ (The future of entertainment)
See their website here:

See Room-Escaper's review (in Spanish but Google translated into English) here.

January 11, 2019

Escape Barcelona: Alien : El Origen (Barcelona, Spain)

"They're everywhere!"
Touted by a few Spanish bloggers as the "top escape room in Barcelona", we were ready to see this game for ourselves. We were the first players from outside of Spain to play this game and this should really help the accuracy of stack rankings for the TERPECA project. Two locals accompanied us for the game in case we needed translations but all essential portions were in English so we didn't need any help. We also learned that it took over a year to create this escape room with a full time building staff.

From their site:

"Forma parte de la tripulacion de la USCSS Escape y viaja al planeta Thedus./ Be part of the crew of the USCSS Escape and travel to the planet Thedus."

Also, special thanks to Victor from the Spanish blog Room-Escapers for all his recommendations in the city!

Game Play, Set Design, Puzzles

The immersion was great and the feeling of being in an "Alien" movie was pretty darn good. Those who have played the official Alien VR game in Anaheim will see some similarities in terms of the environment and the intro to the game. The start was stellar and there was a good variety of puzzles that required dexterity and some video games like elements. The puzzles were fun and on the easy-medium scale of difficulty and the overall experience was superb.

The game branches off with split teams and four players was the minimum needed as there were some puzzles which require at least two people per track to complete. Event though the teams are split, the tracks are 90% the same so that should alleviate FOMO concerns which some enthusiasts may experience.

Several independent decisions were made by both teams that not only affected the other team's gameplay, but also the ending of the game. Of course, the other team made a decision that made our tasks significantly more difficult, which often happens as Sarah is a little devil.

There were nine possible outcomes in "Alien : Origen" which goes to show how much thought when into the creative process. There are some frantic moments that recreated scenes from the movie and our performance had consequences in terms of the final outcome. One of the tasks was daunting with just two players but that's just part of the game play so there was no need to panic too much.

The ending was great with everyone scrambling to complete the final few tasks. If we were more than four it would have been overly crowded in some tight corridors so we recommend playing with exactly four players.

Memorable Moments 

You wanted a movie-like experience? You got a movie-like experience! The fantastic start and strong finish will forever be in our memories.

Room For Improvement

There was an instance where we completed a task but were not aware that this was the case. This is being very nitpicky, it wasn't a big deal at all. On a separate note, puzzle snobs may feel that the challenges may be a little straight forward for their tastes. It was so fun we wanted more!

Overall Thoughts

The adventure of playing this game was a real treat. We suggest playing with exactly four players in order to maximize the game play as it's not possible with two and would be crowded with more than four. While not the most puzzle heavy game, the thrill of running through a nicely sized alien spaceship and the overall experience was top of class.

  • Set design: Awesome Alien spaceship!
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Price: 17€-25€ ($20-$29)/person 
  • Number of players: 4-10, private (we recommend exactly 4)
  • Duration: 60 minutes
  • Overall Rating: ★★★★★ (The future of entertainment)
See their website here:

See Room-Escaper's review of Alien (in Spanish but Google translated into English) here.

January 6, 2019

2018 Achievement unlocked Medalists & Year in Review

We are proud to announce the Escape Rumors Achievement unlocked Medalists for 2018 along with our Year in Review Infographic! 

2018 Escape Rumors Achievement unlocked Medalists

Achievement unlocked medals are given to the top escape rooms played by Escape Rumors every year. On top of being solid escape rooms, these rooms also distinguished themselves in the following categories. There is no limit in which we award rooms and they are sorted by alphabetical order.

The escape rooms with direct links in the name were reviewed by us and for some other rooms we provided links to other reviewers (EscapeRoomTips = ERT and RoomEscapeArtist = REA).

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at

Best Immersion
Alien : El Origen ("Alien: The Origin", Escape Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain)
Cutthroat Cavern (13th Gate, Baton Rouge, LA)
La Mina ("The Mine", Unreal Room Escape, Barcelona, Spain) - Review coming soon

Best Storytelling
Stash House (Stash House, Los Angeles, CA) - ERT review
Steampunk Airship (Portland Escape Rooms, Portland, OR)
Strange Bird (The Man From Beyond, Houston, TX) - ERT review

Best Puzzles
Conundrum Museum (Boxaroo, Boston, MA)
The Laboratory Escape Room (Dystopian Entertainment, Los Angeles, CA) - REA review
X-Child (Dare To Escape, Phoenix, AZ)

Best Set Design
Condemned 2 (Norcal Escapes, Yuba City)
Escape From Alcatraz (North Valley Escape, North Valley, AZ)
Spellbound (Rise/Mindspark, Tikfaw LA / Phoenix AZ)
Tomb Of Anubis (13th Gate, Baton Rouge, LA)

Most Creative
AI (Exit Game, CA) - ERT review
Cartel (60out, CA) - REA review
Clock Tower (Escape The Room, Boston, MA) - REA review
The Experiment (Get the F Out, Los Angeles, CA)
Game Museum (Clue Carré, New Orleans, LA)
Lab Rat (Hatch Escapes, Los Angeles, CA)
Playground (The Escape Game, Houston, TX) - REA review
Super Bomb Squad: Commandos (Doldrick's Escape Room, Orlando, FL) - Review coming soon
Vampire Hunter (Springfield's Great Escape, MA)

Funniest Moments
Hyde & Seek (60out, CA)
Cat Lady (Mad Genius Escape Rooms, Portland, OR)
The Morgue (Evil Genius Escape Rooms, Los Angeles, CA) - Review coming soon
Party In Vegas (Clockwise Escape, CA)

Most Shocking
The Courtyard (The Basement, CA) - ERT review
Murder Co. (Black Market Escape Rooms) - ERT review
The Ring: Real Movie Experience (Escape Room Roma, Italy) - Review coming soon

Congratulations to all the winners and we look forward to a great 2019!

2018 Year In Review

Click on the preview below or this link to see the entire infographic. Some stats include:
  • # of enthusiasts met via social media
  • # of countries visited for escape rooms
  • Distribution of themes of escape rooms played..
  • ...and more!