Escape rooms are awesome cooperative team-building experiences—for friends, families and even workplaces! With escape room board games, you can bring all the puzzly cooperation to the comfort of your living room!
But with so many different brands out there, how do you know where to start? Which escape room game is best for you and your group?
With this quick guide to escape room games, we’ll give you a quick rundown of some of our most popular brands/series!
Unlock escape room games are less escape room and more timed adventure full of puzzles! The free Unlock app is essential to play and acts as a timer, investigation tool, hint provider, and immersive soundtrack!
What’s unique about Unlock is that the whole escape room is essentially a deck of cards (plus the occasional leaflet here and there)! Yet somehow, every different adventure (as they are officially called) manages to capture its theme in innovative new mechanics!
Without spoiling anything - the app provides a lot of fun new ways to utilise what at first appears to be a simple deck of cards!
Plus, because most of the investigation and discovery is done through simply looking through the cards for clues and interacting via the app, none of the components are damaged in the process of playing meaning that you can pass the game onto a friend or resell it once you have played through all the adventures!
In regards to theme, the Unlock stories tend towards the fantastical and fictional, rather than the gritty and realistic—often drawing inspiration from fiction like Alice in Wonderland or Jurassic Park.
The Unlock games are offered in either a three adventure box or a single adventure box.
Unlock Exotic Adventures (three adventure box) -https://www.gameology.com.au/collections/unlock/products/unlock-exotic-adventures
Unlock The Adventures of Oz (single adventure box) -https://www.gameology.com.au/products/unlock-the-adventures-of-oz
The Exit games are another hugely popular escape room game created by husband and wife, Inka and Markus Brand.
Where Exit differs from Unlock is in its tactility. Where Unlock relies on just a deck of cards and an app, Exit is an experience full of ripping, cutting, scribbling, and overall destroying. In order to solve the puzzles, components must be destroyed—there’s no way around it.
However, this is what gives Exit such thrilling tangibility. If you’ve ever played a legacy board game and felt the joy of permanently altering the board with a sticker or tearing up a character sheet, that’s the feeling you get from an Exit game.
Unfortunately, this glorious permanence of the Exit puzzles mean that these games are not replayable or resellable in any way. Once it’s been played through once—into the recycling bin it goes.
Additionally, the themes found in the Exit games are a lot more realistic and horror/thriller based, compared to the more fantastical Unlock stories.
However, with their relatively cheap price point of around $20 each box/room plus a good variety of difficulties, it’ll give you and your friends an awesome escape room experience for a fraction of the price of a real life room!
Exit The Enchanted Forest (Level 2 Difficulty) - https://www.gameology.com.au/collections/exit-the-game/products/exit-the-game-the-enchanted-forest
Exit Theft on the Mississippi (Level 4 Difficulty) - https://www.gameology.com.au/collections/exit-the-game/products/exit-the-game-the-theft-on-the-mississippi
Escape Room: The Game
If you want something closest to a traditional escape room experience, you’ll want to check out Escape Room: The Game!
In terms of experience, what makes Escape Room: The Game unique is the Chrono Decoder (included in the 4 player base game). This battery operated device comes with a variety of plastic keys that you physically insert into the device in order to enter codes and eventually escape the room!
The device also helps you decode puzzles and acts as an atmospheric timer to add to the pressure. However if you don’t have this device, the app acts as the Chrono Decoder!
Though some components must be written on or destroyed throughout the game, you can download, print and repack the game following instructions on the official website should you wish to resell it or pass it onto a friend in the future!
The Escape Room games are available in either 3-5 player (3-4 rooms) or 2 player (2 room) versions and there are also expansions that offer new exciting rooms to explore and escape from! If you are looking to play with kids (10 and up) there is even a Family Edition!
Escape Room: The Game (3-5 player base game) - https://www.gameology.com.au/collections/escape-room-the-game/products/escape-room-the-game-4-room-plus-chrono-decoder
Escape Room: The Game Family Edition - https://www.gameology.com.au/products/escape-room-the-game-family-edition-jungle
Quite different from the other games on this list, the Adventure Games are more like point and click adventure video games as board games—much slower paced.
Though the Adventure Games come from the same publisher as Exit, these story-driven experiences are less about solving puzzles under a time limit, and more about discovering an interesting story. Each box contains one story, divided into three chapters, with each chapter requiring about 75 minutes to complete.
The Adventure Games do not require the destruction of any components, so the game is resellable! Additionally, unlike every other game on this list, since there are multiple branching paths and endings, you yourself can play the game multiple times!
If escape rooms are a little too high stress for you, but you’re still after a cooperative team-building experience, the Adventure Games will be perfect for you!
Adventure Games Volcano Island - https://www.gameology.com.au/products/adventure-games-volcano-island
Adventure Games The Dungeon - https://www.gameology.com.au/products/adventure-games-the-dungeon
In summary, if you’re looking for something...
App-driven and resellable with a variety of thematic mechanics? Unlock.
Highly immersive and tactile that lets you rip up cards? Exit.
Classic and code-driven with a fun decoding device? Escape Room: The Game.
Fully replayable and focused on story and discovery more than speed? Adventure Games.
Hopefully this helps you figure out the best escape room game for you and your gaming group! If you’ve played any of these escape room games, which one is your favourite? Have any recommendations for fellow escape room lovers? Let us know in the comments below!