Escape room games have become very popular in recent years — but did you know that you can participate in one live, virtually?
Ever since the COVID-19 lockdowns started in March my family, like pretty much all others, started to go a little stir-crazy at home, as well as connecting a lot more remotely with tech tools such as Messenger and Zoom. We started doing Friday night virtual family game nights via Zoom.
The whole family has always loved to play games, and when we’re together in real life we sit around the table and do a lot of that. Seeing everyone from their various cities all Brady Bunch style on the screen and playing games together was not only a way to keep up that tradition during quarantine and have some fun, but also connect from our various cities and states. I have a group of women friends, as well, with whom I have weekly Monday virtual happy hours, all logging in from various states and even outside the country.
These virtual connections are often the highlight of my week, and whether it’s my family nights or friends nights, we often find ourselves asking the same question:
“Why did it take a pandemic for us to do this? Since we aren’t all located in the same place in real life, why don’t we do this all the time?
Then I found out about The Escape Game, and their Remote Adventures.
It had never really occurred to me to look at escape games, because they are typically played on location — sites are outfitted with the “scene” that players escape from, be that a jail or a gold mine or a bank vault, and teams work to figure out the clues needed to escape.
Then The Escape Game set it up as a Remote Adventure, and I didn’t hesitate to sign my family up. The night came, and we all got online and logged in via the link sent to us. Here’s the lowdown on how it went.
It’s pretty easy. You just click the “Book Now” button and make sure the drop-down arrow is set to Remote Adventures. (The others are the actual, physical locations where traditional escape games are done). Then you pick your date and time, choose your adventure, fill out some basic info and pay ($25 per person). Each game can accommodate 3–7 players.
There are currently 3 games available to play remotely.
Ruins: Forbidden Treasure
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?
For nearly two centuries, the hope of gold has lured people to the hills of Northern California. No one was captivated more than Clyde Hamilton, a greedy gold prospector who loved to gamble. Clyde made too many bets with the wrong crowd and now he’s missing. You’ve been tipped off to where he stashed his gold.. but so has the mob. Find it first!
Your world-class espionage outfit has landed you inside a prestigious art museum. A recently stolen masterpiece is presumed hidden within the office of the museum’s egotistical curator, Vincent Hahn. With the help of your intelligence agent on the outside, you have one hour to find your way into Hahn’s office, recover the painting, and slip away before Hahn returns.
Playing the Game
Once you’re signed up, you receive a Zoom link via email that each participant clicks on a few minutes before the allotted time. Once you’re all in, you are greeted by an Escape Game host who explains how the remote game is played, and is there during the entire adventure to guide you through the process.
The first thing you do is watch a short video that sets the scene for your game with some background. My family signed up for Gold Rush, and the video told us about a gold prospector who hid his gold in a remote cabin. We were to use clues to find the gold, but others were also on the way to the cabin (aka, the Bad Guys) and we had to find the gold and get out before they arrived.
The host then introduces you to the person who will actually be in the physical game as your guide. They act sort of like an avatar — your team of players guides them and tells them where to look, what to pick up, and what to do. Ours was the Prospector, and once everything was explained, it was time to go.
Your team has one hour to find all the clues needed and reach the escape exit. At this point, the host asks if everyone is ready, and the timer is set.
We started in the “woods” outside the cabin, where between our family group we had the Prospector look around for clues, and began putting things together. First we had to find the keys for the cabin, then once inside, continue finding clues and solving puzzles to get to the next thing we needed.
It took a few minutes to get used to the idea of playing with, and directing, a real-live avatar from our living room sofas. But once we did, it was fast and furious gaming as well all tried to put the clues together. You can also ask for hints throughout the game when you’re really stumped.
In the end, we found the gold and the keys to unlock the final exit with only 24 seconds left on the clock! Couldn’t cut it much closer than that, but we were VICTORIOUS!
A family screenshot photo after we completed our Gold Rush Remote Adventure
You can find an FAQ on The Escape Game website, and they have a lot of other free fun and resources as well. The Monthly Mystery, for example, is part online scavenger hunt, part mystery game, and it’s 100% free! And there are YouTube videos for things like tips on playing the game. For example, check out the video below that tells you all about playing a virtual escape room.
All in all, we had a blast and decided at the end of the very first game that we are definitely going to do it again. I highly recommend it!