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Best Escape Rooms In Spain: 2023 Update

I was extremely excited to play games in Spain as Barcelona was my favorite escape room city in the world. This was one of the most ambitiou...

December 10, 2019

Escape Room Enthusiast Survey Visualization

What a fun community!

The 2019 Escape Room Enthusiast Survey Visualization was created in an entirely different style when compared to last year's version. Last year's visualization presented Errol and Lee-Fay's results in a single interactive page. This year I tried to bring some excitement by focusing on the community aspect of the survey, rather than just the data. It was quite an effort to reach out to people via Facebook, Slack and other channels and I hope the escape room community enjoys the results! Note that it's best viewed on a large screen.

Remember the visualization is interactive, so you have to click on filters and charts to get the most out of it.

Select each question to unlock Easter eggs

For example, the filters will dynamically change the page content (results and images) when you choose a different survey question. You can even filter to see how the responses were like in your own country.

Not only will Survey results update, so will the image to the right

The page below allows you to see "who we are" with some demographic and geographic data about survey respondents.

I'm always trying to learn and improve so please let me know what you think of the visualization that you can find by clicking here.


November 20, 2019

The Perfect Escape: Mr. Wong's Chinese Restaurant & O'Bannion's Safe (Arlington, TX)

On a recent trip to Dallas, I only had time to play at one location and landed on "The Perfect Escape" based on some enthusiast recommendations. I played two rooms with a few new faces who were also first timers and they turned out to be cool teammates! Mr. Wong's Chinese Restaurant was The Perfect Escape's top room and O'Bannion's Safe was their first endeavor. From their website:

"Mr. Wong's Chinese Restaurant
The kitchen is buzzing! Celebrity chef Mitchell Nom is coming tonight to film and episode of his famous Food Escapes TV show and review Mr. Wong’s famous dumplings on camera. But Mr. Wong had a family emergency and had to quickly fly back to China.

After years of learning under Mr. Wong, it’s now up to you and your co-workers to make the perfect dumplings and save Mr. Wong’s chances of winning the coveted Mitchell N Star!

O'Bannion's Safe
We’ve lost contact with several agents trying to put away known local thug Franky “Sawed-Off” O’Bannion. Our informant has tipped us off that a large amount of evidence that could put O’Bannion behind bars for good is being held in a safe nearby. The issue? The safe is located in one of O’Bannion’s illegal storefronts that is participating in money laundering. Travel back to the 1920’s in this escape room experience! Find the clues to crack the code, open the safe, and put O’Bannion away before his goons come snooping."

Set Design, Technology & Puzzles 

Mr. Wong's Chinese Restaurant
At first I thought the set design was rather basic, but then I thought "this is exactly what a Mom and Pop Chinese restaurant looks like!". It looked like the real deal because of one good reason: The creator's parents actually owned a restaurant and the equipment was repurposed for this escape room. The dining area and the kitchen felt genuine and it was quite an impressive feat for a couple of people to build out on their own. There is always a hint of charm when you enter a room that has been crafted by someone with passion and in this case, their actual childhood surroundings.

The puzzles were varied and were for the most part thematic throughout the experience. The game served up a menu of puzzles that often had some funny nods to Chinese restaurants. The fun heated up as we entered the kitchen with quite a few challenging puzzles. There were some elements that could be tricky to solve if a team doesn't stumble upon some hints that were cleverly hidden.

O'Bannion's Safe
This game starts off in a barber's shop with some standard fare puzzling. Similarly to Wong's Chinese Restaurant, the second part of the game built up to a more unique scenery. The physical footprint of both games were large and unexpected which is always a pleasure. There are some cool elements that were mixed into the finale that made for a good time!

Memorable Moments 

Walking into a Chinese Restaurant and seeing the...oops no spoilers. :) O'Bannion's Safe had a great transition between acts.

Room For Improvement

For Mr. Wong's, there were a few puzzles that seemed to rely on unguided searching, which is always tricky because you don't know if you are missing something or if you already have everything you need. O'Bannion's had a lot of padlocks but it was understandable for a older room.

Overall Thoughts

If you are in the Dallas area, the Perfect Escape will definitely keep you entertained and wanting to come back for more. If you have time for only one location, you should try out Mr. Wong's Chinese Restaurant and O'Bannions Safe!

  • Set design: Good
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Price: $30/person, public
  • Number of players: up to 8-10 (recommend 4)
  • Duration: 60 minutes
  • Overall Rating: ★★★★½
See their website here: https://perfectescaperoom.com/

Disclosure: The Perfect Escape graciously comped these games

October 26, 2019

Sauve Qui Peut: Wrath Of Poseidon (Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Canada)

"Reussite = Success!"
Located about 40km (25 miles) from downtown Montreal, Sauve Qui Peut was a hidden gem in an otherwise remote and small town. There were quite a lot of games to choose from (nine) and we played "Underground Bar" (18+ theme with a lot of laughs) and, what many say was their best game, "Wrath of Poseidon". The review will focus on latter. From their website:

"The God Poseidon, powerful and undisputable king of the seas and oceans, deplores that for several decades now, humans have been heading towards disaster. They are all the same, unable to take care of the planet, they plunder forests, depopulate and pollute the seas. They jeopardize the survival of all species.

Poseidon is angry and now wants his revenge on humans who have betrayed future generations. He threatens to flood all lands to end the painful weakening of the planet. Your mission steal? Collect Poseidon’s trident before it’s too late…"

Set Design, Technology & Puzzles 

The set design was good with a lot of attention to detail. The start of the game took place in a submarine and was pretty standard as it involved opening quite a few padlocks. The later parts of the escape room integrated more unique puzzles with really clean game flow. There was a fun change of scenery towards the end that we appreciated and it connected well with the overall theme.

There were some sections in the submarine that seemed like a massive red herring but thankfully we were told from the start that they were purely for decor. One thing to note was that the physical space was tight so less players would be the ideal number, otherwise there would be a lot of running into people when navigating the room.

The overall quality of this game was far superior compared to many other small towns that we have played in.

Memorable Moments 

The final stage of the game tied extremely well with the overall theme. It was unique and something we have never seen before. We actually struggled a lot at this point when a child would have probably solved it rather quickly.

Room For Improvement

The start of the game was slow and ordinary. One of two padlocks are usually ok but when you have double or triple that amount in one room, it ends up being a lot. Also, the puzzles felt a bit forced, unlike the last stage where the puzzles felt more thematic.

Overall Thoughts

We had a fun time playing Wrath of Poseidon and highly recommend it if you are in the area. Work through the first part knowing that there is more to come and keep you numbers low in order to have the best experience.

  • Set design: Good
  • Difficulty: Medium-Difficult
  • Price: $30 CAD/person, private
  • Number of players: up to 3-8 (recommend 3)
  • Duration: 60 minutes
  • Overall Rating: ★★★★½
See their website here: https://www.sauvequipeut.ca/

September 29, 2019

13th Hour: Dungeon, Great Room, Grand Parlor (Wharton, NJ)

Guest post by Matt Kimmel:

13th Hour Escape Rooms (formerly The Haunted Scarehouse) began as a haunted house, but as escape rooms became popular, expanded and built five escape rooms, with a sixth opening soon. We were able to play three. The company has a unifying horror theme, weaving a story about the notorious killer, John Hayden, and his family through each of their rooms. From their website:

"The Dungeon
Our newest room, the Dungeon offers a unique challenge that is only for the tough. Faint of heart beware. You start your game blindfolded and led to your cells. You get chained and locked into your cells unaware of your surroundings. Do you have what it takes to escape?

The Great Room
This is the Hayden families room of murders. This section of the farmhouse is known as the Great Room. This massive section of the farmhouse will challenge your witts in all fashions. Multiple sections, secret passage ways and puzzles you never experienced before will have your team running mad. What terrible secrets lies within the Great Room. Just what were the Hayden family members up too. 

The Grand Parlor
You all have been chosen, chosen for a simple task of wit and courage. It seems someone has misplaced Bishop Hayden’s ashes. As uncaring as this may seem, it’s actually very important. Bishop and Edna Hayden were a killing team back in their time and they must be reunited in the afterlife. If you find Bishop’s urn and they are reunited, we will let you leave without harm. If not, you will all become part of the Hayden farmhouse forever!"

Set Design, Technology & Puzzles 

The Dungeon
This one starts with a split-team experience, where each group member is placed in their own cell after being captured by John Hayden and must escape. The dimly lit, derelict basement isn't visually stunning, but it does a very good job at looking like a dingy murder basement. The puzzles were straightforward, and often amounted to using information found across the room to translate a list into a 4 or 8 digit code. The set design included multiple levels and secret doors, with at least one puzzle taking advantage of the multilevel set. There are stairs, so if anyone in your group has mobility concerns, make sure to check with them.

The Great Room
The Great Room is a more ornate room which continues to take advantage of multilevel set design. The technology here is more impressive; the venue's roots as a haunted house are on full display, and they're not afraid to use moving elements beyond simple opening boxes and doors.

The Grand Parlor
This room is the venue's newest room, and it shows in the variety of technology and big set pieces used. It's another multilevel room which uses its space fantastically, letting players use certain areas by seeing them prior to the players gaining physical access to them. The layout is impressive and the games opens up wonderfully. There are a lot of puzzles to manage and our team of four had more than our hands full with this one.

Memorable Moments 

The Dungeon 
The item discovered upon winning is a great use of the initial room setup. You'll know it when you see it.

The Great Room
Discovering a puzzle that is mostly inside a secret passage.

The Grand Parlor
First accessing the parlor room. What a great set piece!

Room For Improvement

The rooms were overall very good, but The Dungeon repeated very similar puzzles several times. The Dungeon and the Great Room lack ceilings (if you look up, you'll see straight up to the roof), and as a result, you can hear groups in other rooms yelling back and forth to each other. At times, the rooms also felt a little heavy on padlocks.

Overall Thoughts

The Grand Parlor Room was a masterpiece, including a variety of puzzles, setpiece elements, and technologies. The Great Room was a close second, and in almost any other location would've been a strong standout. The Dungeon was the oldest and simplest of the three, but it still had a couple unexpected tricks and turns and was quite enjoyable.

  • Set design: Great! Less good if you don't enjoy a haunted house aesthetic, since all the rooms share a horror theme
  • Difficulty: Ranges from easy to medium, nothing that is unusually punishing
  • Price: $29/person +$/person to make the room private
  • Number of players: up to 6-10 (recommend 3-6) depending on room. Some puzzles benefit from multiple players.
  • Duration: 60 minutes
  • Overall Rating: The Dungeon: ★★★★, The Great Room: ★★★★½, The Grand Parlor ★★★★★
See their website here: https://13thhourescape.com/

Disclosure: 13th Hour graciously provided discounted tickets

September 3, 2019

Action 500: Kidnapping (Montreal, QC)

This post was written by Melanie and Jason, the latest contributors to EscapeRumors.com! This duo will rock your world with their reviews and help you find which rooms suit you best!

Melanie is an architect and became an escape room enthusiast this year! Having an eye for creativity,  details, and construction, she offers a very interesting perspective on the quality that each room offers.

Jason is a chartered accountant and his skills with numbers and puzzles allows him to explore and analyze rooms with a different point of view.

It is important to mention that all the escape rooms in the Action 500 Montréal location are constructed from storage containers. The games are either half the size of a container or the full size. Either way, the physical space of the rooms are SMALL. They also have air conditioning units hooked up in the rooms because it can get pretty hot inside!

When we played the games, there were no camera in the rooms so hints were given by the GM who basically popped in to see how we were doing every 15 minutes. It was not thaaaat bad, but it took a bit away from the immersive quality of the experience - just imagine a guy with their Action 500 uniform popping in every few minutes asking if you need hints.

Kidnapping was one of the newer themes (horror) that opened in the Montréal location. Here is a description and video from their website:

"It’s 1989 and finally time for your big camping party with your friends to a cabin in the woods. As soon as you arrive, you find out a legendary mass murderer has  escaped from prison and turned your vacation spot into his forest of death.

With a killer outside your cabin and stranded without cellphone service, you and your friends must solve clues and riddles and get outsmart a serial killer.

Can you survive the night and reach the police before the killer reaches you?"

Set Design, Technology & Puzzles 

The decoration in the room related well to the theme, and we definitely got a creepy vibe. The puzzles were actually pretty good and flowed well. I would say it was a low to medium difficulty and people with less experience will probably be able to get through it. It was mostly lock-based, but there were some other simple mechanisms as well. The big issue was that when we finished the game, the thing that was supposed to appear didn't, so we were not 100% sure if we actually escaped! We later found out that there was an electrical issue that they have to fix. A little bit disappointing and hopefully it will be fixed soon!

Memorable Moments 

There was a scare component in the room that was incredibly memorable!

Room For Improvement

The ending of the game would have been more obvious if there was no electrical issue. We all wait for that big climax and unfortunately we didn't get it this time around because the video screen was not fully functional.

Overall Thoughts

The room was pretty good, we liked it. Story was creepy and puzzles were decent. We played the game with 6 people, which was way too many. For the physical size of the room and the puzzles involved, 2-4 people is better. I would say that it is a very good room for beginners, but still a fun flowing game for mid-level experienced players.

  • Set design: Fine, but small
  • Difficulty:  Easy-Medium, good for beginners
  • Price: $24 CAD
  • Number of players: 6 max, (recommend 2-4), public
  • Duration: 60 minutes
  • Overall Rating: ★★★½
See their website here: https://www.x-cape.ca/en/ (renamed to Action 500)

August 26, 2019

California State Escape: Wizard's Redemption & Trespassed

(Right to left) The Red Wizard, The Purple Sorceress, Cory in blue bathrobe
It had been a few years since we played any rooms in Sacramento and it was due for us to revisit the area. One of the locations that we visited was California State Escape which had quite a few games to play. We played Space Sector the last time around and this time we played Wizard's Redemption and Trespassed. From their site:

"Wizard's Redemption
Welcome future apprentices to the Thaumaturgy Preparatory School of Magic! Upon entering for your tour of the grounds, the institution falls under attack by evil sorcerers, determined to breach the walls and break the protective enchants. It is now your job, along with your fellow apprentices, to make a passage through the halls, communicate with the outside world to get more aid, and find your way to safety!

You will have many tasks that challenge every aspect of what is to come of your time at the school. From geography, potions, and alchemy to history and much more. This will be your greatest test as magicians and it’s only the beginning!

You haven’t participated in Devil’s night since you were a kid, but your roommates haven’t stopped with the rumours of this old mansion on the outskirts of the city that they found geocaching – let’s do it! Laughing and steering per the GPS along the side roads, you look to find the vague break in the bushes, and a sign catches your eye, “Pembroke Dr.” This house, it has to be the Fitzgerald’s. Your nerves begin, it was only a myth. After all, nothing was ever found."

Set Design, Technology & Puzzles 

Wizard's Redemption
People who like Harry Potter would definitely appreciate this 90 minute game. The set was a well done Wizard's study and definitely a step up from the set of Trespassed . In terms of footprint, this game (and Trespassed) was above average in size. It was also a linear room so small groups would be best and three players felt like the perfect size.

Puzzles revolved around finding and associating elements. There was a lot of reading and puzzles more than often unlocked laminated hints. Out of all the rooms we played, this was one of the games where we had to do the most reading.

This game was billed as a horror experience but there were no jump scares at all.  There were creepy props and blood on the wall but nothing scary at all. This escape room was not for kids but one of our players who jumps in Disney movies didn't flinch at all. The set design was fine for a creepy home.

The puzzles were search heavy and involved unlocking padlocks. Standard first generation escape room puzzles were executed appropriately and good for entry level players. Seasoned enthusiasts will likely play through this room quickly.

Memorable Moments 

Wizard's Redemption was more memorable and there were some nifty  effects that made the setting magical.

Also, the celebration that this location gave after completing any of the rooms was probably one of the most exciting post game experiences we have lived! We didn't see it the first time we played a few years ago so it might have been a recent addition.

Room For Improvement

Both rooms relied on laminated paper with a lot of text and there were some parts where no one on the team wanted to read or review them.

Less reliance on padlocks, especially for Trespassed, would have been more interesting. In Wizard's Redemption, black light was extensively used and it would have been more convenient if everyone had their own light.

Overall Thoughts

Both the games we played were great for beginners as the set designs were high quality and the puzzles had single level complexity. There were a few things that stumped us in the Wizard but asking for hints at the right time should be enough for most people to make it through.

  • Set design: Good
  • Difficulty: Wizard's Redemption: Above Average, Trespassed: Easy 
  • Price: $35-$40/person
  • Number of players: Wizard's Redemption: 3-6 (we recommend 3-4), Trespassed: 4-10 (we recommend 3-4), private
  • Duration: Wizard's Redemption: 90 minutes, Trespassed: 60 minutes
  • Overall Rating: Wizard's Redemption: ★★★★, Trespassed: ★★★
See their website here: https://www.californiastateescape.com/

Disclosure: California State Escape graciously comped these games

August 1, 2019

Best Escape Rooms In Barcelona: A Traveller's Guide

Sagrada Familia view from the Ayre Hotel Rooftop
This summer, we were lucky enough to make it to Barcelona to play 10 outstanding games. Combined with the two escape rooms that we played earlier in the year made for a dozen in this beautiful city. Each of the games we played could have been a stand out in many other cities and we can confidently say that Barcelona is our favorite escape room city so far.

Our Spanish skills are: nada for myself and basic for Sarah. We worked tirelessly to coordinate games with owners to see who could provide translations and scoured a ton of Spanish-only blogs to source the best rooms (Google usually translates the page). When companies were not able to translate their game, we brought along some locals to help us out. We were lucky to hit all the escape rooms that we wanted and we noted the quality of translations further down in this post.  We hope that enthusiasts who don't speak Spanish (and speak some English) can benefit from our research to be able to enjoy these world class games.

Note that all the games we played had amazing set designs so we'll refrain from commenting on that aspect.

Special thanks to the Barcelona bloggers Victor and Maria from El Quinto Elemento and Eulalia from Die Helden for recommendations and translations. Also, local enthusiasts Francesc, Eugenia, Carles, Jonatan for playing with us. You saved us so many times!

Impressions & Observations During Our Barcelona Escape Room Trip

The Start Of The Game
For many of the games we played, you can not enter the building until your start time. More often than not, there was no lobby to wait in and no one will take you in early which almost never happens in the US. At your start time, you ring the doorbell, enter the building and boom... the game begins! This method was much more immersive than sitting in a lobby but also makes logistics tougher on the escape room company given they need single game locations. Also, this probably wouldn't work for corporate crowds so this might not be as practical to implement in America.

Getting Around
The metro system is excellent. It was very quick, clean and we didn't have to wait more than 5 minutes for a train to arrive. However, there are a lot of games that are within 20 miles (30km) of Barcelona that are outside of the metro system but worth doing. For those, you could rent a car or use taxis (what we did). Uber no longer exists as we know it in Barcelona but there are a ton of taxis in the city and you could also try the Free Now app (formerly the myTaxi app) . We did have an issue returning from Badalona which was 8 miles (13km) away where Free Now had no drivers. It was 12pm on a Friday and we waited 30 minutes to get a taxi back to the city.

English Translations
All but one location had Game Masters who spoke pretty good English. Even the place where the game was not translated, the GM spoke English so we were lucky. Puzzles were generally decently translated, most videos had English subtitles and a only one video and audio track was in Spanish only. While our guide should be accurate for when we played the games, you should confirm with the escape room about the current state of translations.

Cash Is King
We also experienced this in Italy but most places accepted a deposit online (20%) and then would ask for the rest of the balance in cash after the game was over. If you want to play a ton of games, make sure you have enough cash for your entire group. We tried to take money out at an ATM but our US-debit and credit card was not accepted so we were lucky to have a local friend with us to help out.

More Action, Less Puzzling
If you want to feel like you're in a movie and appreciate the sense of discovering new spaces, book your flight to BCN right now. Actor interaction was great and often times the climax at the end did not disappoint. However, if you are more puzzle-centric (i.e. you do puzzles outside of escape rooms for fun and prefer mental challenges), don't like actors or crawling, then you might not be so gung ho about all these games.

Physical Nature of The Game
While I am not expert in European Law, I am pretty confident that there are less litigation risks in Barcelona than anywhere in the US. This may be the reason why there were quite a few more physical tasks like climbing, crawling and using heavy tools which are not dangerous at all, but perhaps avoided in the US.

Private Bookings
Like most of Europe (outside of the UK), all the games we played had private bookings. You could probably get away with two players but for economic reasons they require you to book for three or four.

Horror Themed Games
In our research and from talking with local enthusiasts, it seemed that there were a lot of top games in the horror genre. We did not try any of these because it's not our cup of tea, but if you enjoy a good scare you can make an entire trip with just horror themed rooms. You can even get kidnapped from a parking lot and hurled into the back of a van, getting tased in the process. Or have to drive out for an hour in the middle of the night to an abandoned shack in the forest (without knowing beforehand).

Do Other Things 
If you are visiting Barcelona for the first time, please try not to stuff only escape rooms in your schedule. I started off doing this and eventually kept half my days free to see the city. Some ideas:
  • Sandeman's 2.5 hour Free Walking Tour: I've done this in many European cities and they are normally great. Get to see the city and learn some cool things about the Catalan people.
  • Sagrada Familia: Large unfinished Gaudi church and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Construction began and 1882 (!) and anticipated to be completed in 2026. Buy your tickets ahead of time and maybe go to the rooftop of the Ayre Hotel for the best view (a local secret I'm told). It's worth the 15 euro drink.
  • Food: Of course you will eat amazing local food such as jamon serrano and paella, but like any metropolitan area, there is great food from all over the world so don't try to only eat local food 3x a day.

Barcelona Escape Room Recap

We gave five rooms the highest possible rating of 5 gold stars. This is the most we have given for any area in the world that we have played (which is skewed towards North America but includes some major cities like London, Rome and Hamburg).

Unreal Room Escape: La Mina
First, prepare to get dirty. Second, there are a LOT of things to do with some nice surprises. The excitement of doing a million things was extremely fulfilling and oh so much fun. The set was on the larger side and they really, really maximize the space that they have to an impressive level. Show up only at your timeslot.

See the full review here
  • Translation: The intro video and a few clues were not translated but we were told they rectified this after our feedback
  • Difficulty: Easy/Medium
  • Price: 16€-33€ ($18-$38)/person 
  • Number of players: 2-7, private (we recommend 2-3)
  • Duration: 90 minutes
  • Overall Rating:★★★★★

Escape Barcelona: Alien Origen
You wanted a movie-like experience? You got a movie-like experience! The fantastic start and strong finish will forever be in our memories. The tasks were more video game-like which may not be favored by puzzle-centric players. Still, it was a blast to play if you want to run around a spaceship.

See the full review here
  • Translation: Perfect 
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Price: 17€-25€ ($20-$29)/person 
  • # of Players: 4-10 (we recommend exactly 4)
  • Duration: 60 minutes
  • Overall Rating:★★★★★

Abduction 4: Enterprises
Holy Batman! Yes finally a Batman room! The atmosphere was great and there were some moments that Batman fans will love. This was also one of the most physical games we have played and wished that more places incorporated this style. We cheered each other along the way and the ending was frantic and so fulfilling. You could get away with two players if you are fit but it would be tough for one challenge.
  • Translation: Not offered in English (we got by with locals but the GM spoke perfect English so ask before booking)
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Price: 23€-32€ 
  • Number of players: 3-8 (we recommend 4)
  • Duration: 70 minutes
  • Overall Rating:★★★★★

Open Mind: SWAT
SWAT thrusts you into the action the moment you begin and you get to do things that you don't normally do in American escape rooms. This is a great game for two players that starts off with a lot of physical tasks and transitions to more cerebral puzzles. Show up only at your timeslot.
  • Translation: Great (intro video had subtitles)
  • Difficulty: Easy/Medium
  • Price: 17€-33€ ($18-$38)/person 
  • Number of players: 2-7 (we recommend 2-3)
  • Duration: 80 minutes
  • Overall Rating:★★★★★

Chronologic 2: El viaje continua ("Life Continues")
Time travel theme with some very fun moments. There were a lot of sci-fi Easter eggs throughout the game and the ending was spot on. Communicating with the computer and reading some articles required Spanish while everything else was language agnostic. They owners did such an amazing job building and decorating the place to make it immersive that you forget you are in a normal building.
  • Translation: Not offered in English (we brought a translator)
  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • Price: 18€-30€ ($18-$38)/person 
  • Number of players: 2-5, private (we recommend 4)
  • Duration: 75 minutes
  • Overall Rating:★★★★★

Unreal Room Escape: Narcos
Thrown right into the game from the start, the actor got real chummy chummy with me. Perhaps I instigated with some ribbing so he made me uneasy which was on point with the theme. There were some nice props and role playing in this game that we hadn't seen before. Fun start and ending and like La Mina, a great sense of opening new areas to discover. Show up only at your timeslot.
  • Translation: Perfect 
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Price: 16€-33€ ($18-$38)/person 
  • Number of players: 2-7, private (we recommend 2-3)
  • Duration: 90 minutes
  • Overall Rating:★★★★★

Abduction 3: The Exam
Everyone says, the less you know the better. Also much more physical than most rooms. You should make sure you get to play this when you visit the city because it was real fun and different.
  • Translation: Fine
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Price: 17€-42.50€/person 
  • Number of players: 2-6 (we recommend 4)
  • Duration: 60 minutes
  • Overall Rating: ★★★★★
Connecta Escape: Atrincherados ("The Trenches")
One of the most immersive war games with a clever use of space. You will get dirty and you will have to crawl more than you would like. The actor was screaming at us a lot, which i guess simulates what it would be like in a war. Located 10 minutes south of Sabadell in Cerdanyola Del Valles and also the same company as Escapem.
  • Translation: Average, 90% of the game is translated
  • Difficulty: Medium/High
  • Price: 20€-40€/person 
  • Number of players: 2-6 (we recommend 4)
  • Duration: 90 minutes
  • Overall Rating:★★★★★

Chronologic 1: La creación ("The Creation")
The first room created by the company and, although older, it had some nice moments. I struggled with this one since there was a lot of Spanish reading required but could appreciate the puzzles after they were explained to me.
  • Translation: Not offered in English (we brought a translator)
  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • Price: 16€-30€ ($18-$38)/person 
  • Number of players: 2-5 (we recommend 4)
  • Duration: 60 minutes
  • Overall Rating: ★★★★½

Escapem: Bajo Zero ("Below Zero")
You start off in a helicopter and transition to a snowy setting which was a first for us. They even had the AC blasting to make the temperature drop. Some fun concepts and the spacing was a bit tight so two player groups are best. Located in Sabadell.
  • Translation: Good except one hint seemed to be wonky
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Price: 16€-30€ ($18-$38)/person 
  • Number of players: 2-6 (we recommend 2)
  • Duration: 70 minutes
  • Overall Rating: ★★★★½

Golden Pop: Catacombas
The lobby looked exactly like the cinema area with popcorn for you to eat but strangely enough we could only enter when it was our time. The intro video of Spanish Indiana Jones was well done with English subtitles (although they blasted the volume so loud it hurt our ears) and the huge cavern had some nice reveals. The game has apparently gone through major changes since the ownership change so the version we played might not be the same that you will play. I was also a little lost due to all the audio being in Spanish and I followed the lead of my teammates.

You can enter only during your time slot
  • Translation: Not great (intro video had subtitles) and audio was Spanish only
  • Difficulty: ???
  • Price: 22€-25€/person 
  • Number of players: 2-8 (we recommend 2-3)
  • Duration: 80 minutes
  • Overall Rating: ★★★★
Thanks Eulalia (local blogger from "Die Helden Room Escapers") for translating!

Cinemaescape: Barum Dum
This Lord Of The Rings inspired room was fun but we expected more action and suspense. There were no words in the game so it is fine for English speakers - the intro was only in Spanish but consisted of mostly trailers for other escape rooms. We almost didn't get to play due to a tech issue but after about a 45 minute wait the issue was fixed!
  • Translation: No Spanish needed except for intro
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Price: 13€-31€/person 
  • Number of players: 2-6 (we recommend 4)
  • Duration: 90 minutes
  • Overall Rating: ★★★★
Carles and Eugenia, some local enthusiasts and me doing a grumpy Gimli pose

Other Escape Rooms In The Area

Some other rooms that we heard great things about during our research and talks with local but did not play were:

In Barcelona:
  • Horror Box: Catelepsia, a 2-player game in coffins
  • Maximum Escape: Refuge 27 and Spaceship Ulysses, Russian games similar to 60out in the US
  • Fear: Zombie Outbreak

In Mataro (20 miles east of Barcelona)
  • Cubick: The Interview and The Exam, TERPECA winning games
  • Mystery Box: Ghostbusters
  • Roomanji, Jumanji-like game

In Pineda de Mar (34 mile east of Barcelona)
  • Futura, Bioshock like world

We hope this post helps out anyone who is hoping to venture off to Barcelona to play world class escape rooms!

July 30, 2019

USA Today: 10Best Escape Rooms 2019

Escape Rumors is honored to be part of the nomination panel for the top escape room in the US for the second consecutive year. We played at 13 of the 20 escape room finalists and they can be found on our ratings page. You can also find full reviews for some these games below.

13th Gate, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Palace Games, San Francisco, California
60out, Los Angeles, California
Maze Rooms, Los Angeles, California
Quicksand Escape Games, San Diego, California
Hatch Escapes, Los Angeles, California
Boxaroo, Boston, Massachusetts
Enchambered, Sacramento, California

We are joined by fellow bloggers from EscapeRoomTipsRoomEscapeArtist and others below:
Vote for your favorite escape room on the 10best site here!

July 28, 2019

Locked In Edinburgh: The Cutting Room (Edinburgh, Scotland)

After attending our first cèilidh (KAY-lee, traditional Scottish line dancing), we of course decided to play a few escape rooms. One of the most recommended rooms for the area was "Locked In Edinburgh" which we didn't know much about but were happy to check out their latest game, "The Cutting Room". From their site:

"In 1987 a series of bizarre murders plagued the city of Edinburgh. Over a span of a few months, 6 victims were found in various closes in the city.

The victims were all male, in good physical condition and in their twenties. When dissected it was clear they were all missing an organ but a primitive replacement was found in it’s place.

Just as swiftly as they had started the murders stopped.The police never found out who was behind it all and eventually gave up the case after years of searching.

But last night there was an unexpected development in the case, 5 new victims. we don’t know why he’s back, why he’s taking organs but let’s be clear. If we don’t find the missing organs in the next hour 5 men will die. We’re counting on you."

Set Design, Technology & Puzzles 

Locked In Edinburgh was located in a former university and the game we played was also a former laboratory used by the school. It was such a unique feeling to walk through the lobby, which felt just like my old university, and to walk across "campus". This all somehow made the setting feel more authentic and appropriately set up the mood. The game took place in a spacious lab with some fun elements that we haven't really seen in the past (and we have played in a lot of lab themed rooms).

Puzzles could be solved in parallel and this was perfectly suited for larger groups. There were many lab gadgets and related info in the room, which at times could be interpreted as red herrings. The game flowed nicely and the puzzles built up into unlocking the five missing organs.

All the rooms we played in Scotland seemed to be of the older generation in that padlocks were  abundant and perhaps a little over relied upon. While padlocks were also prevalent in The Cutting Room, there were some clever ways to recover some of the missing organs which we thought were pretty funny.

Memorable Moments 

The unlocking of each organ included props integrated with authentic medical school material and we had some funny moments figuring out how to use them.  The finale was great, with some heart pumping elements that left us in panic!

Room For Improvement

The hint mechanism was thematic, so we really enjoyed it but we felt that hints were far and few in between, even for our team which did not go hint heavy. Perhaps this was by design (they give you hints rather than you asking for them) and also country specific as Scottish games had much lower success rates compared to Spanish or German ones where they make sure everybody gets to the final puzzle.

Overall Thoughts

The Cutting Room was a standout for the Scottish market. The set utilized a former laboratory which made the atmosphere that much more immersive. There were plenty of puzzles to go around and be prepared to work fast!

  • Set design: Fine, setting in a former university makes it special
  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • Price: 60£ -110£/team
  • Number of players: 1-10, (we recommend 3-4), public
  • Duration: 60 minutes
  • Overall Rating: ★★★★
See their website here: https://www.lockedinedinburgh.com/

Disclosure: Locked In Edinburgh graciously comped this game

July 15, 2019

Room Escape Divas Podcast with Escape Rumors!

During out trip to Toronto, we met up with the Room Escape Divas (Errol, Manda, Margaux) to play Mindshaft at Escape Games Canada.

We also decided to do a podcast about nothing! Check it out here and thanks Room Escape Divas for having us!

July 5, 2019

Tulleys Escape: Dodge City, Nethercott Manor & Mutiny (Crawley, England)

Located 10 minutes from Gatwick Airport, we dragged our jetlagged brains straight off the plane to play three games at Tulleys. It was raining quite heavily when we landed so perhaps this idea ended up being a smart move rather than just a crazy enthusiast's ambitious schedule.

Tulleys Farms started off with haunted house and corn maze attractions and just like many other similar establishments, have expanded into the escape room world. Their cozy lobby with a fire place was perfect for a cold rainy day (in June might I add). From their site:

"Dodge City
Dodge City in 2127 remains a stronghold of the wild west. The constant tussle between the Sheriff and local gunslingers means there’s opportunity abound for some creative bank robbery for those with wits and courage.

As a member of the Notorious ‘Barn Door’ Gang you’ve been caught by the local sheriff breaking into the bank. Locked away with little hope, hired by an unnamed outlaw and facing the ruthless justice of the old west you’re left with only one option.

As the sun sets the race is on to break out, reclaim your supplies, pull off the bank job of the century and get out of Dodge City.

Nethercott Manor
The old manor house is entwined with local legend, the living don’t remember the Nethercott’s, the family’s hay day was long ago. Local folk talked, whispers were heard, rumours began, lights were seen within.

The Nethercott’s are long gone but something remains, an essence, a smell, a feeling, it’s in the fabric, in the walls, under the floor boards … it ticks, it creeks … take a trip into the past, uncover the family’s many secrets and glimpse their fleeting souls?

It's the year of our Lord 1672, and you be right in the height o' the golden age o' piracy…After years of sailin' the high seas, you and your crew have succeeded in your fair share of ambushes, and as a result – your ship is teamin' with bounty.

Yet you're still suffering beneath the cruel wrath o' Captain Starling - a notoriously bloodthirsty buccaneer, and your shipmates have decided you all shall take matters into your own hands. After all… you fought for the gold, so the gold is yours for the taking, aye?

Once the old seadog has retreated to his berth for the night, you make your move. Get in, get the treasure and get out. You won't have long before he starts to stir – and Starling shows no mercy to ANY soul…

Set Design, Technology & Puzzles 

Dodge City
One thing you'll notice is that all Tulleys escape rooms have huge and sprawling set designs. Dodge City was their newest release that took place in a western themed world. Although the story was set in the future (year 2127), the environment was predominantly based on a western world of the past and thematically, mostly void of any futuristic elements. The game started off with split groups in a normal setting and then ramped up to a larger world where a splendid space awaited our arrival. The rush of discovering new areas did not disappoint one bit in this game. Just watch your head as you go back and forth between some areas!

As for the puzzles, there were a lot of things to do. We rarely ever recommend more than four people but extra bodies would definitely help with the amount of parallel puzzle solving needed. There was a lot of searching and careful observation required throughout the game and the more eyes, the better. One of the styles that I enjoy the most fit in perfectly with this room: a ton of "aha" puzzles that kept it a fast paced game with a lot of quick wins. The puzzles were on the easier side so the challenge was the sheer amount of things that we needed to solve.

The theme was also light hearted and the set was bright, in contrast with the darker and creepy Nethercroft Manor game.  Dodge City was Tulleys most robust escape room and you can see the the improvement over their previous efforts in both design and game flow.

Nethercott Manor
The style of this game was similar to Dodge City in that the environment took place in a very polished and large space and the game play was centered around an abundant amount of relatively quick-to-solve puzzles. Nethercott Manor seemed to have have even more things to do than Dodge City which was already an action packed game. The game has enough content for a 90 minute session so we highly recommend bringing as many people as you can to complete it within the allotted 60 minute time slot.

An additional unique aspect about this room was that when we thought we were close to the end, another secret room popped open. This constantly occurred which kept us in the dark of how much we had left to complete. We admired how the game and set unwinded as we progressed and combined with a magnificent recreation of a house made for a really fun experience. The setting was on the dim side (not too dark) and there were some jump scares but the vibe was more creepy and never scary.

This was one of the first rooms that Tulleys opened in 2016 and it was pretty impressive with some large physical custom contraptions. While not as grand as their newer rooms, it was definitely larger than almost anything you could find in London. There were a few cases when we weren't sure if we had solved a puzzle but overall it was an excellent entry level game. Expect to see some nice effects rarely seen in other escape rooms.

Memorable Moments 

Dodge City/Nethercott Manor
The overall experience of traversing the sets while solving so many things was incredible! It's an amazing adventure with splendid custom contraptions and a lot of fun moments.

The really big physical puzzles are impressive and amazing to see for the first escape room creation by Tulleys.

Room For Improvement

For all the games, there was good amount of tech but also quite a lot of padlocks/keys, which was fine given there were so many things to solve, but there's always that extra magic when a room is void of padlocks.

Overall Thoughts

Dodge City was quite the treat for us and a definite highlight in the greater London area. Nethercott Manor was a close second, perhaps due to the theme as we typically prefer light hearted games. We are happy to award Dodge City our highest rating of 5 gold stars! It's rare to see an escape room with so many things to accomplish in such an immense and wonderful environment!
  • Set design: Excellent! Expansive and polished
  • Difficulty: Easy puzzles but twice the norm for 60 minutes
  • Price:  18£ - 30£ person 
  • Number of players: 2-8, (we recommend 4-8 and frr Nethercott, as many people as possible!), private
  • Duration: 60 minutes
  • Overall Rating: Dodge City ★★★★★, Nethercott Manor ★★★★★, Mutiny ★★★★
See their website here: https://www.tulleysescape.com

Disclosure: Tulleys Escape Rooms & Games comped the tickets for these games

June 27, 2019

RevoEscape: The Lab Lockdown & AI Martyrdom (Toronto, ON)

RevoEscape opened their doors in early 2019 and we got to play both their games in June. Their escape rooms are designed to be as authentic as possible (see the Escape Room Divas podcast on "mimesis") in that you can use whatever is around you to escape the room without, of course, destroying things. If you think about it, it doesn't make sense to solve riddles to open a cell unless the theme was a serial killer toying with you. There was no searching for a key in a secret location or random texts on the wall to decipher a secret code, everything was meant to be solved as if it were a real life situation. You could imagine how stumped we were when were started out in our jail cells in our first room. From their site:

The Lab: Lockdown
"I've been here for...I don't know how long it's been. There are no clocks and no windows in my small room. I'm alone in my cell, but not the only captive here. We speak to each other through the walls. None of us knows why we're here, but our last memories before waking up here are the same: we were interviewing for a job, gas filled the room we were waiting in, and then...we woke up here. 

All I know is they've been testing something on us. I have needle punctures and suture scars all over my body...Security ran in as Steven escaped from his cell. The guard opened fire but Steven was an unleashed beast and smashed the guard's head against the wall and fled...I was shocked trying to figure out what happened...the alarm went off. "Code red, code red, all personel evacuate from your labs immediately, the research center will self-destruct in 75 minutes."

After calming down, I now realise this is it: our only chance of getting out of here. Or die."

AI Martyrdom
"You and your friends were camping in a remote forest to enjoy the quiet of being away from civilization. One evening while you were chatting after supper you got a radio broadcast message thru your walkie-talkie.

You responded to the call and started a conversation with the woman and was told that they were looking for volunteers in the area to assist them to resolve the issue, which should be as easy as turning off a switch.

You also figured that the coordinate of the station was just a few kilometers away. You arrived at the coordinate and realized that it's apparently not a transformation station but a military base.

The woman in the radio said she lied to you and this building is indeed a military base, a nuclear missile launch facility to be more specific. However, one thing was true, that is they were in trouble, big trouble."

Set Design, Technology & Puzzles 

The Lab: Lockdown
The environment took place in a realistic prison setting and everyday tech was utilized in order to maintain the feeling of a "real" life scenario. There were no weird gizmos or placing objects to reveal secret doors in this game, which was hard to believe for an escape room!

The "puzzle" highlights were when we had to think of physical solutions in a way we never had to in previous games. There were a few instances where I thought "I could really get hurt if I did this" which of course was because I was thinking of doing something stupid. Also note that people with limited mobility would not be able to fully enjoy this game and we're not even sure if they would be allowed to play

We played the game on a high difficulty (we usually don't) as one of our teammates was gung ho about it so we played along. There were some game elements that can be modified to increase the difficulty in two ways: By solving things in a smarter physical way (cool) or by adding tedium to elements. One example of the latter would make transversing the space, back and forth, significantly more time consuming.

There was one solution in particular where our idea would have worked for a lower difficulty, but not on a higher one, which is interesting because you essentially have a completely different solution to what is basically the same task. There was also a scoring system which rates how well your team performs.

AI Martyrdom
Similarly to The Lab: Lockdown, the game was built to be as realistic as possible. This was quite a difficult game, possibly because we were tired after the first experience. The story line was rather complex and hard to follow but nonetheless interesting after learning about it in the walkthrough.

The set was also extremely detailed and well done. The physical puzzles varied from tough but fair, to some which seemed unfair. Unlike the Lab, where we didn't have the right concept on how to solve something on a higher difficulty level, there was an instance where we knew what to do but a timer constraint made it almost impossible to accomplish. After struggling for what felt to be quite a while, the GM lowered the difficulty to something more achievable.

Memorable Moments 

The Lab: Lockdown
The physical nature in the latter part of the experience was awesome! I realized that there was a slight spoiler on their website but we had no idea about this element going in.

AI Martyrdom
Another challenge which required physical interaction between teammates that you never see in other rooms.

Room For Improvement

The Lab: Lockdown
The hint delivery system (walkie-talkie) was the only thing that was out of character. If it were to be integrated such as an outside contact helping you, that would help make it more in theme.

AI Martyrdom
A challenge that becomes tedious because of a time constraint really sucks the energy out of a team, especially when it last over 10 minutes. Introducing a lower starting difficulty, or lowering the level more quickly would be ideal.

Overall Thoughts

The Lab: Lockdown was a standout in the Toronto market and a must play. We are happy to award it the highest rating of 5 gold stars! The game stayed true to being realistic and had some novel physical game mechanics that we want to see more of. My uncle joined us for the game and I will forever see him in a different light. Although he is not a big man, I learned he has the strength and agility of Spiderman.
  • Set design: Great!
  • Difficulty: Very Difficult
  • Price: $30-$40 person
  • Number of players: 4-8, (we recommend 4+), private
  • Duration: 75 minutes
  • Overall Rating: The Lab: Lockdown ★★★★★, AI Martyrdom ★★★★
See their website here: https://www.revoescape.com

Disclosure: RevoEscape comped the tickets for this game.

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: https://theescapegame.com

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: http://exit2escape.com

Disclosure: Exit2Escape comped the ticket for this game.