“Are we really locked in the escape room?”
No. This is by far the most common question about escape rooms and one of the only questions that is not location dependent; absolutely not, you are “locked in” the room in-game only. If there is a real life need to leave the room for emergencies, urgent bathroom needs, or any other requirement, every escape room is outfitted with safe and easily accessed exits that will be clearly pointed out to you at the beginning of the experience. You will never be placed in any real-world danger.
“It feels creepy, like somebody is watching us. Do you feel it?”
Yes. That’s because they are watching you. Good escape room hosts are a large part of the experience by remaining the silent and unseen overseer. They have various ways of keeping up with your antics inside the room, most often by multiple camera angles, sometimes by one-way mirrors, and sometimes by direct observation into the room.
The hosts are watching you for progress status, interactive cues, and most importantly, for your safety. If anything goes wrong, your hosts will make their presence known.
How scary will the escape room actually be?
It shouldn’t be very scary, but this is one of those location-dependent questions that hinges upon the escape room brand and room theme selection. Every game runner is trying to make their mark by giving their customers what they want while offering returning guests new and innovative rooms to experience. Some of the themes can be scary to one guest while not to another.
While most escape rooms offer a suspenseful or thrilling escape, none of the escape rooms currently deliver “haunted house” jump scares so far. I believe if an escape room begins to offer a “scare” variation they will clearly announce it beforehand.
I can’t stand small places, will the escape room cause me to feel claustrophobic?
Probably not. Escape room operators are aware they are putting a wide variety of people into a stressful situation and the last thing they want is a full-blown panic attack.
There may be an occasional element that requires you to put yourself into a situation that makes some people feel closed in, but in that case there is often an alternate route that you can take if it’s too much for you. Most of the game happens in a large open room so the “trapped” feeling isn’t coming from the space constraints.
Do I have to play the game with strangers?
It’s likely you’re going to be paired up with other players in a room unless you have enough friends participating that you can fully flesh out a team and fill the lineup slots with your friends. Ask your game host what size the teams are and if your party is less than that number and the place is popular enough to have a lobby full of guests, odds are you’ll meet some new friends. Most escape rooms are happy to book private escapes where you can guarantee the room all to yourself.
What should I wear?
Casual clothing is the norm. Your standard daily wear should be sufficient, jean and a t-shirt is perfectly acceptable. There won’t be an assault team you have to run from or a zombie hoard you’ll have to defeat so no need to prepare by dressing in full combat fatigues but you do want to be comfortable enough to move around and fully investigate the room, sometimes that could mean lying on the floor or climbing a ladder. Some rooms allow you to dress for the theme and go fully cosplay for the occasion.
I’m not particularly strong, will there be lots of physical challenges?
No, you’ll be fine. This isn’t an obstacle course designed to demand players be in peak physical shape. Most of the “stretching” you’ll be doing will be with your imagination. There may be a few clues that require a range of movement such as reaching, bending, turning, pulling, etc, but nothing is going to be too exerting on your body. You’re here for the illusion of an escape, not to break the physical challenge of what may be required of a true life escape.
What happens if we can’t figure out the escape?
Time will expire and the doors will open at the end of the countdown. That’s the worst case scenario but most escape rooms won’t let your time expire to easily. They’ll keep an eye on you, see you’re having trouble and through either direct or indirect means, guide you toward the answer so you can move on and enjoy the rest of the encounter. They want you to enjoy the experience so they’ll assist you over the particularly troublesome spots if it hangs you up too much.