2022, whilst a new year, still presents us with old problems. At TimeTrap, as with pretty much every other business in the world, we’ve had first hand experience of Covid interfering; whether phone calls from teams understandably having to reschedule their missions, or even staff members who have unfortunately been affected. But we’re here to help banish some of that doom and gloom, so let’s start the new year positively and look at some handy solutions that mean that, even if quarantining, isolating, shielding, or just enjoying time at home, you can still have fun escaping.
Escape room alternatives have, unsurprisingly, increased in popularity over the last two years as they offered a grasp at what we were all missing out on. With their non-location-dependent accessibility, as well as an attractive price tag, they’re a great alternative choice for having fun with friends and family remotely.
So if visiting physical escape rooms just isn’t possible for you at the moment, take a look at our other suggestions below…
Table Top Escape Rooms
Escape room box games are a superb option if you’re missing the challenge of some good tactile puzzles. With bits you can hold, turn, cut, fold or stack among many other actions, they allow your hands, and not just your mind, to be kept busy. There are many different themes on offer, so you can be transported to another place, time, and sometimes even dimension, and they usually have varying difficulties so you can tailor the experience to your group. If you’d enjoy an escape room crossed with a traditional board game then escape rooms in a box might be for you.
You’re not limited to playing with only your household either, as thanks to Zoom and other video calling platforms, you can get your teammates together no matter the distance. Moreover, due to their affordability, everyone should be able to get involved without breaking the bank.
There are a good few ‘Escape Room in a Box’ style games on the market but we have personally tried and like the EXiT series, as they have a large variety of themes and difficulties, and keep up a refreshing onslaught of unique puzzles that continue to surprise. You can view and purchase from our range of stocked EXiT games here.
Online Escape Rooms
If you prefer your games to come to you through a screen or you don’t have the table space for a physical game, then online, digital escape rooms are another possibility. They can cater even better for teams that are physically apart to allow some good ol’ teamwork, as everyone has access to the game and can see everything on their own screens. These games tend to depict a digitally created escape room environment which you can interact with using your mouse. While they may not be as tactile, they do create more of an immersive set than escape rooms in a box.
A lot of online escape rooms are made by existing escape room companies, so, not only do the creators know what they’re doing, it’s also a great way support the industry, especially the smaller independent venues. If you want to look for online escape rooms, Escape The Review has a great resource available for checking out both paid for and free options, which you can view here.
Avatar-led Escape Rooms
If you’re desperate to see the inside of an escape room again then this is the closest option. In avatar-led games, a person wearing a camera acts for you in exploring the room and solving the puzzles. Although you might miss the tactile elements, as you can’t touch anything yourself, you have a lot more variability in what you can direct the avatar to do, compared to online, digital games.
Although many companies allow people from different locations to connect in and play together, these games are better suited to smaller groups as the avatar can only look at and do one thing at once. If the set and real-life immersion is your favourite part of escape rooms, then you won’t have to miss out on it with an avatar-led game.
Apps and Console Escape Games
Whether you prefer apps or consoles, there are a lot of puzzle games on the market that are similar to escape rooms. If you prefer to play solo, many of these may be more suited to you. For example:
Agent A: A Puzzle in Disguise is a superb solo mission game and is available on multiple platforms including Nintendo Switch (great for those who got a treat from Santa last Christmas). You are assigned the mission of entering the secret lair of enemy spy ‘Ruby La Rouge’ to stop her evil plans. It has all the elements of an escape room, from the intriguing mission to the engaging puzzles you get to solve along the way. As with most alternatives, there’s no time limit so you can enjoy the solo mission at your own pace.
If you’re looking for a free option then Escape Adventure Mysteries is a fantastic app with a range of themed games, from horror escapes to murder mysteries. It’s particularly good if you’re only looking for something quick to pass the time – perhaps if you’re working from home and want a more entertaining lunch break. However, while initially free, there are time restrictions, so to be able to play non-stop you might want to invest a bit of pocket money.
And there are certainly more than just these two, so I would highly recommend a quick Google through the options to find the one that interests you the most.
Escape Wherever You Are!
So, no matter your preferences, one of the above options should be able to fill any escape room-sized gap you’re faced with. The best part about them is that they all have an integrated clue systems in some form or another, so you never have to worry about being completely stuck without a trusty Games Master.
Whilst many people have been able to return to playing escape rooms, we understand that it may not be possible for some people for a while. So while we at TimeTrap have our arms open for visiting teams, we hope those that can’t will find joy in our suggested alternatives!