A high-level escape room can be hellishly hard, so it’s essential to bring your A-game should you have any hope to succeed. But how can you optimise your game? How can you and your team navigate your way through all those mindbending puzzles before the timer runs out?
Let’s take a look at a few pro tips the best players use to dominate the hardest rooms.
1. Form a squad
Try to gather up a team of likeminded individuals. If you’re all roughly the same age and have similar interests, then you’re much more likely to gel as a team.
2. Play together as a team
The more rooms you play together, the better your teamwork will become. Of course, you’ll occasionally need to sub players in and out for practical reasons. Nevertheless, try to form a core squad who play together as much as possible.
3. Divide and conquer
The worst thing a team can do is try to solve one puzzle at the same time. Instead, divide the room into zones before the clock even starts ticking and designate team members to work on specific sections. If you’re not quite sure what you should be doing, just attempt any puzzle that no one else is working on.
The obvious exception is when there’s only one puzzle remaining, at which point everyone should brainstorm together.
4. Pass the buck if you get stuck
Some team members will solve certain puzzles in a flash while others will waste precious minutes with zero progress. If you feel you’re getting nowhere, then don’t be afraid to ask your team if someone can swap roles. If the next person can’t figure it out either, that probably means you’re not supposed to be tackling the puzzle yet.
5. Update your progress
The moment you solve a puzzle, yell out what you’ve found to your team. Not only will it make you look super smart, but it’ll help the team progress as well. Escape rooms often rely on a team being able to combine the spoils from two smaller puzzles into one, such as a code and a key working together to unlock something.
6. Avoid playing at capacity
Two heads are better than one, right? Not necessarily in an escape room.
Having too many players can inhibit organisation and communication, not to mention cause overcrowding and a lack of puzzles to work on. The ideal number varies from room to room, although 70% of capacity is usually the sweet spot.
7. Hear them out
Always hear your teammates out, no matter how absurd their ideas may sound. Paying out your mates might come naturally, but the associated negativity will only serve to distract everyone from the task at hand.
On the flip side, be sure to complement your teammates on their successes. Even a minor confidence boost will leave them feeling better prepared to take on the next puzzle.
8. Don’t try to use a key twice
Keys are pretty much never used twice. Just discard them in the lock and move on.
9. Search everywhere
Keys are hidden in highly unusual places, so you’ll need to be meticulous when searching. Look between books, on top of shelves, behind cabinet doors, within secret compartments, an inside jacket pockets, and so on.
10. Not everything is a clue
After you’ve played enough times, you start to learn what’s part of the game and what isn’t. Power outlets, for example, shouldn’t be trifled with, and there’s no point trying to remove ceiling tiles from the roof.
11. Don’t try and break stuff
Force is never required to solve a puzzle, so don’t bother trying to smash anything open. And besides, you wouldn’t want to anger the game master by damaging their room, would you?
12. Listen up
The game master will often drop a few handy hints into the briefing. Pay attention to everything they say.
13. Skip the last number
Rather than solving a puzzle to learn the last number of a combination lock, you can cycle through the final 10 digits until you find the correct one. It only takes a few moments.
By keeping the above tips in mind, you’ll have a far better chance of beating your next escape room. So what are you waiting for? Grab your besties and start solving puzzles like a pro!