Want the inside scoop on how to solve an escape room and strategies for doing so?
If you’re getting ready to book your first escape room, chances are that you’re not really sure what to expect. Keep reading to discover effective escape room strategies, tips, and tricks!
Common Escape Room Mysteries
1. Decrypting Secret Messages
Secret messages are extremely popular in escape rooms because of their versatility.
- If you see some strange symbols, start looking for a cipher. Those symbols might be a clue or the answer to a puzzle.
- Listen carefully to any sounds in the background of the room. Do you hear faint spoken words, or maybe even Morse code?
- Take a look at any decorations. A binary code could be hidden around the edges of a painting, or an encoded message could look like abstract art.
2. Double Meanings in Text
Whenever you find a piece of text in a room, you’ll want to analyze it for any extra clues.
- Look at pieces of art in the room to see if there’s any text on them. Dates and names can end up being cleverly-hidden clues.
- If there’s a bullet list or a poem with many lines, try reading the first letter of every line. It may be an acrostic with important hidden information.
- Pay attention to anything that’s bolded or highlighted. Are there multiple individual letters that have been highlighted? You may be able to unscramble them into a password.
3. Clues Hidden Using Blacklight
Blacklight ink is invisible until someone shines a UV light on it, which makes it perfect for secret messages.
- When you’re given a blacklight specifically for an escape room, remember to use it as frequently as you can. That’s a dead giveaway that there’s something hidden.
- Sometimes, you’ll end up finding a blacklight by solving other puzzles. Then, you can scan your room with it and see if you’ve missed anything.
- Don’t just stick to obvious places that blacklight may be hiding. Try shining the light over the inside of drawers and underside of desks.
4. Finding a Combination
With a combination lock, you’ll have to find multiple items to piece together the answer.
- Try to think about what the combination could represent. A six-digit lock could be a date, or a word might be connected to the theme of the room.
- Make a note of the numbers or letters that were on the lock when you first saw it. Although it’s unlikely that it will be a necessary piece of solving the puzzle, it could contain a sneaky clue that will help you find the combination more quickly.
- If you have all but one of the pieces of the combination lock, you may be able to get the last one with just trial and error. With a traditional combination lock, you can input each letter or number individually, and just try to unlock it after each one.
5. Strange Places for Clues
Not all of the clues will be laid out on a table. You’ll probably find the next solution for your escape room in an unexpected place.
- Book safes, which are hollowed-out sections inside large books, are one of the most popular methods of hiding items. Most of the time, you’ll want to at least open every book that you come across, just to check.
- Always open drawers and cabinets. You may simply find the key that you’re looking for when you open the desk drawer, or you could get a clue to find the next item. Either way, it’s a quick way to find hidden items.
- If your game master mentioned that you may have to move the room around, you’ll want to be on the lookout for items that seem like they’re adjustable. Does a floorboard creak when you step on it? Is a cabinet unexpectedly light? Get your team together and try to move things around a bit.
General Escape Room Strategies and Tips
On top of knowing the common puzzles that escape rooms use, you should learn some tips that can help you with any escape room. Here are some of the most important things to do when you’re trying to solve an escape room, regardless of the puzzles you’re facing.
1. Keep Your Team In Mind
- Let team members take over sometimes. It can be tempting to try and lead your family to victory but allow your team to pitch in. One of your kids may be able to work out the answer with a different style of logic. A taller member of the family might be able to see things you can’t.
- Tell everyone when you find something that may be important. The feeling of excitement that comes along with an escape room is only heightened when you’re letting everyone know what you’ve found. It’s easier to match up multiple pieces of the same puzzle when everyone is yelling out their newest discoveries. This is one of the best escape room strategies.
- Spread out. After all, you have the whole family there! Instead of having everyone work on one puzzle, help everyone assign themselves to a puzzle that they find personally interesting. That way, multiple puzzles get done at once.
2. Arrange the Items You’ve Found
- Keep tabs on everything you’ve already used. If you found the key for a particular lock, keep it in the lock and place it aside. If you untangled a secret message on a record, put it next to the record player, rather than on top of it. Keeping track of what’s already been used and what is still unused helps you stay organized.
- Group related objects together. For example, if you’ve found six different copies of the same book in different bookshelves, that’s probably a clue of some kind. Putting them all in one stack can help you remember that you’ve noted the abnormality.
3. Take Advantage of the Help You Have
- Don’t try to force anything too hard. An escape room is built to easily open once you have the right information or items. By design, this is meant to be a helpful clue. If you try to force a key into a lock, you’re much more likely to end up with a broken key than the right answer.
- Pay attention to the introduction and rules your game master gives. That introduction could hold some sneaky clues that you’ll want to remember later. The rules could also help you remember what’s not important. If the rules don’t allow you to move things in the room, important clues won’t be hidden behind big dressers.
- Ask for hints if you need them. The game masters want to nudge you in the right direction! If you haven’t made any progress in a while, you might want to ask for a hint. It’s always smart to use the tools at your disposal, especially if it makes things more fun.
- Have fun! At the end of the day, you’re there to have a fun family outing. Don’t get too wrapped up in worry that you won’t end up finishing the escape room. Instead, enjoy the bonding time with your family. That way, you’ll have a good time whether or not you escape.
At 60OUT we want you to be successful in solving your first escape room, and these strategies will help you solve the room!
In addition, we want your family or team to have a great time.
There are three easy escape rooms that you can start off with and many more for your future escape room experiences. With seven locations spread out through the Los Angeles area, it’s easy to find an escape room near you.
Book your escape room experience today!