Escape rooms are among the fastest-growing sources of entertainment across the globe.
With thousands of unique locations, puzzle lovers of all ages can find an escape room to enjoy. But what exactly makes for a great escape room, in the first place?
To find out, make sure you keep reading. We’re outlining five key elements that separate the okay escape rooms from the great ones.
1. A Great Narrative
An escape room without a compelling story is just a room full of puzzles. What’s the fun in that?
A great escape room takes a scenario and brings it to life through an interesting backstory that provides context for your overall goal. It’s also a great way to sneak in some quick clues.
While the story isn’t as important as great puzzles, it does set the tone for the experience.
2. Great Decor
A good setup is half the equation. A great escape room experience doesn’t tell a good story—it tosses puzzle enthusiasts headfirst into it.
Room dressing is the most efficient way to do that. Take the Breakout escape room, for example.
Their casino experience looks like a fully-functional casino. Because of this, it’s more engaging for the players.
3. Clever Puzzles
An escape room lives or dies by the quality of its creator’s puzzle ideas. With that said, striking the right balance can be difficult.
Make the puzzles too easy and people won’t feel challenged. But if the puzzles are too difficult, players may get frustrated and feel like giving up.
So what’s the right solution?
Ultimately, the only way to make sure puzzles work is to test them before letting the public take a whack at it. That way you can make sure your room walks the line between difficulty and fun.
No two escape room fans think exactly alike. To compensate for these differences a good escape room needs to have a good mixture of puzzle types.
If a room contains nothing but math puzzles, it’s only going to appeal to people with strong math skills.
Tossing a math puzzle in alongside a detail-oriented or logic puzzle, on the other hand, gives other team members something to do and makes for a more satisfying experience.
5. Fair Clues
Most experiences allow guests to periodically get clues from the staff. However, if a host says something unhelpful like, “It’s in the room,” or “It’s something with color” you’re better off not giving clues.
On the other hand, a clue can’t be too easy or it’ll give away the entire solution.
A good clue provides a little bit of context while still keeping an air of mystery.
The Makings of a Great Escape Room
Whether you’re looking to create an escape room or you’re just wondering what you can expect, these five elements are among the most crucial for a great escape room. Without each of these, an escape experience falls apart and loses its entire appeal.
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