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September 7, 2020

The Escape Game: Ruins Forbidden Treasure (Online)

I have not played many online games and was debating whether I should play any rooms that were converted from a physical escape rooms to an online one.  Would I be doing myself a disservice by playing a top notch game (in-person) that was reduced for a virtual audience? Given the current state of affairs, I decided that I would play The Escape Game's latest room online with some friends who have not played many escape rooms before. From The Escape Game's site:

"You’re on a relaxing aerial tour of a remote jungle when everything suddenly falls apart. You’re stranded at the foot of ancient and mysterious temple ruins – home of a massive fabled treasure. Adventure has come knocking and the treasure could be yours for the taking! Fortune favors the bold. Will it favor you?"

Set Design, Technology & Puzzles 

This game was played via an in-game actor with a webcam. The actor would take directives from our group to solve various puzzles in a similar fashion to other online games we played. The main difference here was that once you entered a room, you had access to a 360 degree photo of it and could peruse the space at your leisure in order to determine what was important. That made a HUGE difference in terms of not getting motion sickness which basically forced me to quit games in the past. Having everyone search through this virtual interface was fantastic and an amazing way to recreate the escape room feeling at home. There was also a virtual inventory box where items would appear when the in-game actor found something, and then disappear when it was no longer needed. 

The set looked amazing, and did make me feel that I was missing out a bit on the immersion by not playing the physical room. There were some fun tactile puzzles and room transitions that would definitely have been better to play in real life but playing them virtually was still a great experience. 

The use of the technology was excellent, just like in their Special Ops game. We really did feel like the game took place on a movie set. Some enthusiasts might find the puzzles to be less challenging but for 98% of players, including myself, they were perfectly fine for the theme. 

If you are able to play this game in person, I would highly recommend that you do, otherwise playing this game online would be the next best thing.

Memorable Moments 

I love how The Escape Game perfectly immersed us into the world of adventure and the journey from room to room was seamless and exciting. Some of our teammates were in awe about what actually happened before our eyes!

Room For Improvement

One of the puzzles towards the end would have been much easier to perform in-person with multiple hands. Given this was adapted for online play, there wasn't much that could have been changed so it's understandable given the circumstances.

Overall Thoughts

I would think that this room is up there with one of the tops rooms I have played at The Escape Game (the other being Special Ops). I might actually even replay this room in person if I ever get chance!

  • Set design: Excellent
  • Difficulty: Average
  • Price: $28/person
  • Number of players: 3-8, (we recommend 3-4), private
  • Duration: 60 minutes
  • Overall Rating (For Online games): ★★★★★
See their website here: https://theescapegame.com

Disclosure: The Escape Game comped the tickets for this game

August 3, 2020

Escape Rumor's Vlog #1: Room Escape Artist + Special Guests

We are happy to present our first vlog with David and Lisa Spira from RoomEscapeArtist (REA)! Some topics covered:

- Escape Rooms in Athens, Greece
- Upcoming RECON event hosted by REA
- Us playing games and laughing...this is the best part :)

We also had some guest appearances by some personalities that escape room enthusiasts would definitely know about.

We are wondering what the next topic should be. Given this vlog was really fun to create, we'd like to create more and are open to suggestions in the comments.

July 7, 2020

Logic Locks: The Secret Of Eliza's Heart (Online Game)

This post was written by Daniel M., who we had the pleasure of playing this game with. He has played escape rooms all around the world and one of our best teammates!

This was our first experience doing an escape room remotely and it definitely scratched my escape room itch while sheltering in place! The physical room is in Amsterdam in the Netherlands and was completed via video call with our game master/companion holding a camera as we instructed him on what we wanted to do in the room. The game master was in character throughout the escape which really added to the experience. We played as a team of four from two different locations which worked well. From their website:

"Greetings Investigators! My name is Richard Fimblewood and soon we will meet face-to-face - or at least screen-to-screen. I am quite relieved you signed up for the task of helping me to explore the study chamber of the infamous explorer Elizabeth van Leeuwenhart. I do have to admit that I am still a bit nervous. We have only one shot and a limited time to make this work… However I'm sure that with your assistance it should all work out."

Set Design, Technology & Puzzles

One of the biggest downsides of doing a physical escape room remotely is that you lose a bit of atmosphere by not actually being in the room. That said, our game master’s narration (and trepidation!) as he interacted with the room and puzzles, and his quips and humor did help keep us fully engaged. Technology and set design were similar to what you’d expect in higher end generation one rooms. The puzzles were clever but overall there weren’t very many of them. However this is probably required since you can’t divide and conquer different tasks or even search due to the remote aspect of the game.

Memorable Moments 

This room will always stand out for me as our first endeavor with remote escape rooms. It's amazing to be able to experience an escape room halfway across the globe from the comfort of your home. Additionally the finale of the room definitely built suspense and left me satisfied.

Room For Improvement

The only slight complaint was how the video was filmed. While the GM tried their best to keep the camera steady one of our team members became nauseous and wasn’t able to complete the game. However, the rest of us felt ok.

Overall Thoughts

Eliza’s heart was a great introduction to remote escape rooms and I love the fact that we can now play rooms that we probably would never get the chance to go to. One other pleasant surprise is that they mail you a few additional puzzles for completion at home.

Envelope with a bunch of goodies!
These were fun and on par with upper end puzzles from box escape games. These were a great way to revisit the theme and have some more fun!
  • Set design: Fun and in line with Gen-1 rooms
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Price: 23 Euros per person/private
  • Number of players: 2-7 (recommend 2-4)
  • Duration: 80 minutes
  • Overall Rating:  ★★★★ (½★ bump for extra gameplay at home)
See their website here:  https://www.logiclocks.com/live-video-escape-rooms

Logic Locks graciously provided complimentary tickets

June 13, 2020

The Escape Game: Unlocked (Online Game)

The Escape Game is one of the largest corporate escape room companies in the world. Over the past two years, I played five of their games and if you are ever in one of the 17 cities they are present in, you should make an effort to stop by.  My favorite rooms were Special Ops and Playground and both were some of the top rooms I have ever played. We jumped at the opportunity to play a brand new, digital only game: TEG: Unlocked VOL 1 & 2. From their site:

"The Heist - Vol. 1: Chasing Hahn 
Work as a secret agent to thwart the infamous art curator and suspected art thief, Vincent Hahn. You’ll need to uncover his true identity, connect him to a crime, and work with the International Police to finally exact justice. With the help of your Intelligence Agent, you’ll need to stop Hahn before another masterpiece goes missing. *This volume, “Chasing Hahn”, is a continuation of The Heist story, but you don’t need to play The Heist escape game first. The experience will be the same whether you’ve played The Heist or not. 

The Heist - Vol. 2: The Silk Road: 
Vincent Hahn just barely escaped, but Intel has noticed some suspicious activity in Hong Kong. According to reports, Hahn is dealing with artifacts related to the Silk Road. Your mission is to go there, find Hahn, and capture him before he can get away. "

Design, Technology & Puzzles

The format of these games were as per the below:

The dossier was comprised of PDF files that acted as the evidence from the heist. There were quite a few files to go through and the game utilized an online terminal to verify your solutions to various puzzles. As you correctly determine answers to the mission, things opened up and you are granted access to more material to study. 

The Dashboard interface was slick and it reminded me of the what I have seen in one of their physical escape rooms. Think of it like something that you would see in a Mission:Impossible movie. Here is their trailer to give you an idea of how the game looks:


Vol. 1 was actually a physical kit that went sent out to people and then digitized and offered online.  The puzzles were focused on examining evidence from a crime scene and somewhat similar to what you would find in a standard escape room that had paper puzzles. The overall gameplay was definitely not as exciting as a physical room and going into it knowing this would help set expectations.

I believe that Vol. 2 was conceptualized as a digital only game which was why we felt that it was a lot stronger in terms of immersion and gameplay. There were some interesting puzzles that involved multimedia elements that really made it a lot of fun. We enjoyed the presentation and the flow quite a bit.

Memorable Moments 

Vol. 2 was definitely an improvement on its predecessor and the way that the story unraveled with the use of video was very clever. It seems so real despite not having a live person acting in the game! The feeling of being a remote secret agent and working with field agents was fantastic!

Room For Improvement

There was an instance in Volume 1 where outside knowledge was needed and it was not known to the group until we were forced to take a hint. I think we spent a good 20 minutes trying to figure it out and it was pretty frustrating to find out that we had to Google the answer.

In Volume 2, we almost missed a critical segment of the story by pressing the "back" button on the browser. We tried to go forward but the story was gone and we were able to get it back by going into incognito mode. Phew!

Overall Thoughts

Online games are definitely not the same as physical but for $10, we highly recommend playing Vol 2.

  • Design: Clean Input Interface
  • Difficulty: Above average for Vol. 1, Below average for Vol. 2
  • Price: $10/game
  • Number of players: 1-4
  • Duration:  Play at your own pace but likely 60 minutes
  • Overall Rating: TEG Vol 1 ★★★, Vol. 2 ★★★★ 
See their website here: https://theescapegame.com/unlocked/

May 13, 2020

Mad Genius: The Truth About Edith (Online Game)

This post was written by Melanie R. from Montreal, Canada.

This online escape room is perfectly suited for the current circumstances of the COVID-19 quarantine. It was a 4 player game and we played it as 2 players from Montreal (Melanie/Jay) with 2 players from California (Randy/Sarah). We were unsure of how an online escape room would work, but we were pleasantly surprised, to say the least! Randy and Sarah played the precursor to this game, The Cat Lady (a physical escape room in Portland OR that won the honors for a top Escape Room in 2018) and they loved the comedic elements and creativeness of it all. From the Mad Genius website:

"You may recognize Edith Humphreys, your sweet neighbor with 24 cats. You may have even helped her out, snooped around her apartment. But there's something about Edith that doesn't quite add up... she looks way younger than she is, she says she was born in 1902 but that she's 97 years young... and she lives at a business called Mad Genius Escapes?! What is going on here... "

Set Design, Technology & Puzzles

The game takes place over a Zoom meeting and even though my husband and I were in the same room, it was necessary to have separate computers to complete certain puzzles. It was truly a game for exactly four players who all need their own computer in order to play. 

There was a wonderful mix of prepared content, online navigating, dynamic puzzles and live online interactions. The game flowed extremely well, and with all the technology involved, there were absolutely no malfunctions. Mad Genius' description of "an eccentric mix of a video game, an escape room, and a great who-done-it story" was spot on and because it was created as an online game (versus adapting a physical room for online play), there were absolutely zero "shaky camera" elements. 

Memorable Moments 

The whole experience was very memorable. You can tell that there was a significant amount of energy that was put into preparing all the components of the "room" in order to give people an original and fun experience. It was fun to be able to play this with friends out of town, without hopping onto a plane! If we had to single out one part, it would be the finale where the more you play along, the more fun it is!

Room For Improvement

It is hard to suggest areas that would require improvement because it was such a different type of escape room experience. It probably would have been better to know in advance that players living in the same household should play in different rooms to avoid echoes and feedback. Some components were also meant to be played without seeing each other's screen.  

Overall Thoughts

We thoroughly enjoyed this experience. Within the category of online escape rooms, as of now we can't imagine anything better than this. This game was very well organized, challenging and highly interactive. An effort was made towards the teamwork component, which was very fun and interesting. Bravo!
  • Set design: Excellent for an online game
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Price: $80/team, private
  • Number of players: 4
  • Duration:  60 minutes
  • Overall Rating: ★★★★★
See their website here:  https://www.madgeniusescapes.com

MODIFY Disclosure: Mad Genius graciously provided complimentary tickets

April 26, 2020

Jackbox Party Pack 3: Online Game

Online fun at it's best!

Times are tough due to the covid-19 pandemic and escape rooms are no exception to the shut down of all "non-essential" services. Quite a few online escape games from all over have popped up and to the surprise of many, I have not played any of them. I avoided online escape rooms because I love the physical nature of a normal escape room and I feel that playing an online game would ultimately be underwhelming. I know I will eventually play one of these virtual experiences and to ease into it, I started off with a party game: Jackbox Party Pack 3. Why this party pack out of the six that exist? Because Sarah played Party Pack 3 at work and that's what I wanted to try. From their site:

"The threequel to the party game phenomenon features the deadly quiz show Trivia Murder Party, the say-anything sequel Quiplash 2, the surprising survey game Guesspionage, the t-shirt slugfest Tee K.O., and the sneaky trickster game Fakin’ It."

Set Design, Technology & Puzzles

The set took place...in my apartment. Experienced players might find this set to be on the smaller side but all the props were authentic and it truly felt like you were in someone's living room. The environment was quite immersive and the sound of honking cars and screaming people on the streets was perfectly executed. You might even think you were in San Francisco or some other downtown metropolitan area. Some of the furniture had wear and tear but you could tell the decorators really tried to make the space as cosy as possible on a limited budget.

The experience in setting up the actual Jackbox game was interesting. The owner of the game opens the software and selects one of the party games to play. The game generates a code to be used by all participants in a web browser on their own mobile devices. The mobile devices become the "controller" to the game but each player must still be able to see the main game screen for instructions and questions.

If everyone was in the same room, they would all be looking at the same screen but when playing with remote players, you need to somehow share your game screen and see their faces (the latter for the fun aspect). Zoom video has this feature if you pay for it. Some friends only had a mobile device and that made it really difficult for them to play the game properly. My advice: play on two devices (i.e. a laptop to stream the main game, mobile device to the answer inputs to the game) or get a paid version of Zoom for $14.99/month until this quarantine is over.

As with most party games, the "puzzles" were more like random questions or coming up with witty phrases. We played three games:
  • Trivia Murder Party: A "Saw"-themed (the horror film), comedic trivia game with some funny one-liners and random questions. Almost everybody "dies" in this game and it was definitely the one game that could be dominated by trivia experts. I'm looking at your Rich Bragg :)
  • Quiplash 2: Involves coming up with funny "fill-in-the-blank" words or making up the meaning of acronyms that make for some good laughs if you are with creative people. It also seems to be more funny if you play with friends who can throw in some inside jokes.

  • Tee K.O.: Everyone draws funny images, then everyone comes up with funny tag-lines and the the two are combined to make funny t-shirts. The person with the most votes wins and you can apparently even get these t-shirt printed! Tougher for the less imaginative. 

Sarah takes the lead!

Memorable Moments 

There were numerous outbursts of laughter. I think Quiplash was probably the most enjoyable of the three games.

What's also a standout is the game design and overall polish. Everything flowed smoothly with great humor and fantastic aesthetics. This game was great online and it would be even better with everyone in the same room.

Room For Improvement

We only played the three games in two sessions (four hours in total) and there were already a handful of questions/phrases that were repeated. When I think of trivia type games, I would hope that there would be hundreds or even thousands of questions that help with replay-ability.

Overall Thoughts

Jackbox Party Pack 3 was loads of fun. We heard Party Pack 5 was the next best expansion and are looking forward to playing that as well!

  • Set design: Cute apartment, could use some soundproofing from street noise
  • Difficulty: Everybody's a winner!
  • Price: $24.99 (cheaper on sale), only one person needs to purchase the game
  • Number of players: 8 max, the more the merrier
  • Duration: 15 minutes
  • Overall Rating: ★★★★½
See their website here: https://www.jackboxgames.com/

March 24, 2020

Escape Room LA: Atlantis (Los Angeles, CA)

Escape Room LA is known for having some pretty great puzzle content in a really beautiful space. The first game that we played there a few years back was "The Alchemist" and the parallel puzzle tracks kept the four of us busy until the end. Last year we played "The Pyramid", which had a much more elaborate environment and once again we were busy puzzling right up until the end. I'm glad to say that the progression from their oldest to their newest room has continued to improve as both the immersion and puzzles were fantastic for Atlantis. The one thing that could vary your experience is the fact that these are public rooms. From their website:

"An invitation from an eccentric professor leads you through a secret portal into the fabled lost city of Atlantis. As you search among the ruins, you’ll solve mysterious clues and puzzles, while discovering the long-lost pieces of Poseidon’s fabled trident. Find all of the pieces and escape before your air supply runs out! Set out on the adventure of a lifetime as you explore the spectacular underwater world of Atlantis!"

Set Design, Technology & Puzzles

The game started off in an ordinary study but the escape room is called Atlantis so it's not really a spoiler to say that your journey will become much more exciting. As we delved into Atlantis, it was apparent that the creators had some great ideas on how to create a convincing "underwater" environment in a rather large footprint. Like other Escape Room LA games, there were parallel puzzle tracks so if you play with strangers (we were lucky no one else booked) you might not know what went on for a good chunk of the game. The puzzles consisted of a lot of symbol matching and were thematic with the storyline.

Memorable Moments 

Walking into Atlantis was such a joy!

Room For Improvement

The first act of the room is extremely ordinary. While this can make the latter part of the game much more exiting, it would be nice to have the start of the game to be as impressive as the rest of the game.

Overall Thoughts

Once again Escape Room LA has created a really fun experience with some solid puzzling in a great environment. If you can book an early slot with your own group, you will have a great time with the variety of puzzles and the cool theme.

  • Set design: The second half stands out a lot
  • Difficulty: Above average
  • Price: $29-$39/person, public
  • Number of players: 4-8 (recommend 4)
  • Duration: 60 minutes
  • Overall Rating: ★★★★½
See their website here: https://www.escaperoomla.com/atlantis

Disclosure: Escape Room LA graciously provided complimentary tickets

February 8, 2020

Breaking Point Escape Games: Whitmore Estate and Patient 17 (Rancho Cucamongo, CA)

Breaking Point Escape Rooms was the new guy in town when we played their adventures. Not many enthusiasts had played any of their rooms and we decided to try them out despite being quite out of the way in Rancho Cucamonga (+40 miles from LA). The focus of this review will be on "The Secret At Whitmore Escape" and some comments on "Patient 17". From their website:

"The Secret At Whitmore Escape
An award winning crime novelist inherits his family's mansion after their untimely demise. Soon after, he is reported missing. Residents throughout the local community are on edge as they witness strange events on the property. Can you uncover the secret at Whitmore Estate?

Patient 17
An undercover agent is working for a doctor who has ties to missing women. A disturbing series of video updates reveals that her cover may have been blown. Do you have what it takes to save her? Or will you become the doctor's next patient?"

Set Design, Technology & Puzzles

The Secret At Whitmore Escape
The set takes place in house which was a really common theme and something we have seen many times before. While an appealing environment is key to having a great room, what sets this game apart from the others was the impeccable execution. The game flow was smooth and everything was polished to the point where you can't help but appreciate the effort that went into the entire game. I dare to say that the level of polish rivaled some Disney sets but homemade by only two talented individuals. There were no red herrings, no heavy searching and a good variety of puzzles. The rooms were bright and clean which often isn't the case for games that take place in an old mansion. There were also large physical contraptions that made inputting numbers fun!

Patient 17
The clean style game play was also evident in the first room that Breaking Point released. While not as intricate as Whitmore, this game still provided some great puzzles and clever use of spaces.

Memorable Moments 

The Secret At Whitmore Escape 
There was one moment that made some of us jump...just a little bit :)

Patient 17
Some great "aha" moments make this room really fun!

Room For Improvement

I'll be nit-picky and say that I wish the themes were more unique.

Overall Thoughts

The Secret At Whitmore Escape was an exemplary room in that it had a great aesthetics that were matched by some clean game flow and some clever puzzles. It's quite rare to see all these aspects come together, especially for newcomers in the space and we highly recommend this room for all levels of players!

  • Set design: Spot on
  • Difficulty: Average
  • Price: $35/person for public, more for private
  • Number of players: 2-10 (recommend 4)
  • Duration: 60 minutes
  • Overall Rating: The Secret At Whitmore Estate: ★★★★½, Patient 17 ★★★★
See their website here: https://breakingpointescaperooms.com/

Disclosure: Breaking Point graciously provided complimentary games

January 12, 2020

2019 Achievement unlocked Medalists

We are proud to announce the Escape Rumors Achievement unlocked Medalists for 2019! In 2019, we played rooms in the US, Canada, England, Scotland, Italy, Spain and Germany and have played over 300 games over the years (almost 100 in 2019).

Achievement unlocked medals are awarded every year to the top escape rooms played by Escape Rumors. On top of being solid escape rooms, these rooms also distinguished themselves in the categories below. There is no limit in terms of rooms awarded and they are sorted alphabetically.

The escape rooms with direct links have in-depth reviews. Feel free to contact us at info@escaperumors.com for any inquiries.

Best Immersion

Atrincherados (Trenches) (Connecta Escape, Cerdanyola Del Valles, ESP)
No other game throws you into war like this one.

Enterprises (Abduction, Barcelona, ESP)
Batman and all the greatness that comes along with him.

El viaje continua (Life Continues) (Chronologic, Barcelona, ESP)
A fantastic sci-fi journey with an inspiring cinematic feel to it.

Grand Immersia Hotel (Immersia, Montreal, QC)
You've played hotel games before but you haven't had the fun actor interaction of this game.

Best Storytelling

SWAT (Open Mind, Cornellà de Llobregat, ESP)
Another great Barcelona game, this one thrusts you into the world of a SWAT team.

Whitmore Estate (Breaking Point, Rancho Cucomongo, CA) - Review Coming Soon
One of the best flowing games with a cohesive story.

Wizard Four Rise of Lord Thulsa (Escaparium, Montreal, QC)
A nice reveal and some great Harry Potter like interactions.

Wrath of Poseidon (Sauve Qui Peut, Montreal, QC)
An escape room with a strong message for the world today.

Best Puzzles

The Lab: Lockdown (RevoEscape, Scarborough, ON)
Everything is based on what you would find in real life (so no riddles to open locks).

Project Delta (AI Escape, London, ENG)
The puzzles will stump all enthusiasts, even those with +1,000 games under their belt.

Reflection of Madness (Codex, Laval, QC)
The best, by far, of many "Stranger Things" inspired rooms that we have played with a lot to do.

Best Set Design

Dodge City (Tulleys Escape, London (Crawley), ENG)
An incredibly expansive set that continuously opens up new spaces to discover.

The Grand Parlor (13th Hour, Wharton, NY/NJ)
A beautiful multi-floor game that will likely never be repeated.

Neptune's Curse (Hidden In Hamburg, Hamburg, GER)
Based on an actual boat where you realistically descend into the lower decks in search of the trident.

Ghost Hunter Ernie Hudson and the Wailing Woman (Skurrilum, Hamburg, GER)
Intricately detailed game with some astonishing reveals.

Most Creative

Atlantis (Escape Room LA, Los Angeles, CA) - Review Coming Soon
A solid game that has a great atmosphere and feel to it.

Mad Rapper (Scenario Escape, Brea, CA)
This music themed game is so unique and different from everything else.

Narcos (Unreal Room Escape, L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, ESP)
A sprawling house with some great elements that will get your adrenaline pumping.

OriGENES (ClueQuest, London, ENG)
Finally, a "Honey, I Shrunk The Kids" room with a cartoony twist.

Special Ops: Mysterious Market (The Escape Game, Minneapolis, MN)
One of the best spy themed games we have played with a memorable finale.

Congratulations to all the winners and we look forward to a great 2020!