As well as the escape boxed games and escape books, another way we have been scratching our escape room itch during lockdown is with online escape games.
This one by The Panic Room was the first professional online one that we tried and we were very impressed.
First of all, the buying process was easy and it was straight forward to set up. Having been given a link and a password, we were ready to go. We did this one as a couple with one computer but you are able to play virtually with other people using the same code and a video calling app such as Zoom.
The puzzles and story are very well made and work seamlessly. They use a good mixture of videos and documents with a range of clue types. We did find that some clues were extremely easy whilst others were quite tricky but overall this made for an appropriate game length.
Overall, we would highly recommend this online game.
To access this game, as well as other games by The Panic Room, visit
As well as escape box games and online escape experiences, one other way to recapture the enjoyment of escape rooms at home – especially during this period of Covid-19 lockdown- is with escape books!
This was bought as a present for me and I had no idea what to expect.
You start at the beginning, reading the context of the story until you are faced with the first puzzle. Once solved, the numerical answer that you arrive at is the page number to turn to next. There are pages at the back for clues but it is much more satisfying when you can solve them without any hints.
There are a good variety of puzzles including hidden numbers, optical illusions, mazes, logic and even practical ones.
Overall, this book took me about 2 hours to complete but it was an enjoyable activity to keep me occupied whilst sat in the sun during the lockdown.
The theming of this game is brilliant if you love a historical, period setting.
This game follows the investigation of a criminal gang on the Starline Express. Following clues that have been left, you solve puzzles which open a series of doors, each leading to a different carriage or section on the train.
An added touch is that each puzzle is available in duplicate which works well if completing this with more than 2 people. Each carriage comes with an optional hint tab. We found that the puzzles were the right level of challenge and we didn’t need to use the hints at all. They all use logic and do not rely on guess work which helps the game to flow well.
As a relatively cheap game in comparison to some of the others on the market, this is good value for money.
These escape room box games are great fun. There are three games in this set which makes it good value for money. Each game is then split into three parts which need to be worked through, each with their own 4 digit code to find. Unlike the Exit games which do not have a time limit, this one gives you only 60 minutes to solve each 3 part game. It mainly makes use of picture clues and decoding puzzles but follows a clear logic.
Another unique aspect of this boxed game is that it comes with the chrono decoder. This works as a timer, holds the decoding information and most importantly, is where the code keys are inserted in order to complete each part of the game.
Overall, I would recommend this game if you are a fan of escape rooms.
Game information: Players: 3-5 Age: 16+ Difficulty rating: varies between games Length: 3 x 60 mins Approximate Price: £30
We discovered Exit games on a slightly disappointing escape room weekend break we had taken. The rooms, which we were really looking forward to, we’re good but did not blow us away and so we were left feeling a bit dissatisfied. At the hotel, they sold Exit games and so we decided to buy one to fill our evening.
Giving ourselves a bit of a baptism of fire, we bought The Catacombs of Horror which is not only a 2 parter (and by definition twice as long) but it also has a high difficulty rating.
We started off quite ambitious and confident but soon realised that it was not going to be as easy as we first thought.
The series gives you hint cards (3 for each clue) in case you get stuck and for the first game, we needed to use a lot! Some of the clues were logical yet difficult; however, I did find that many of the others relied on a lot of guess work about how to solve the problems. This first game we were playing until early hours of the morning.
Since then, we have tried several others and enjoyed them more. This has included The Stormy Flight and The Mysterious Museum. The difficulty ratings have been lower but we have found them to be far more logical and flow much better.
Our favorite so far has been The Haunted Rollercoaster which had a fantastic range of puzzles that made us think outside the box. It also flowed well and used logic meaning we didn’t need to use many hints at all.
Overall, I would definitely recommend these games. Unfortunately, they are one use only as parts of the game are folded or cut but at between £11 and £15, this is affordable as an occasional treat.
We have found that during the Coronavirus lockdown, they have helped to fill a part of the escape room gap.
Game information: Players: 1-4 Age: 10+ Difficulty rating: varies per game Length: 1- 2 hrs (4+ for Catacombs) Approximate Price: £11-£15
We enjoyed this escape room. The set and puzzles were well designed and brought the Mayan theme to life. The story was clear and hints were only given when we asked for them. The best quality of this room is that it incorporates clues that use all of the senses. A very enjoyable room that was suitable for our team which included two teens.
Game stats: Allocated game time: 60 mins Players: 2-8
Escape room number: #35 Completed: March 2020 Team: 2 adults, 2 teens Escaped?: yes Time: 43 mins 13 secs
This was a brilliant room with excellent theming, props and puzzles. It has the perfect mix of historical and modern, using technology to enhance the experience. As well as the aim of escaping within 60 minutes, there is the added challenge of working out which artefacts to steal for the biggest financial gain. We would highly recommend this escape room – it was a lot of fun to complete.
Game stats: Allocated game time: 60 mins Players: 3-8
Another really enjoyable room by MacGuffin. As with their other rooms, they create a fantastic atmosphere with their setting. The puzzles followed a clear logical sequence and there were a nxjd range. The quality of the puzzles varied – some were well made but others were on the cheaper side. We did enjoy this room but preferred the other ones Macguffin have to offer.
Game stats: Allocated game time: 60 mins Players: 2-6