Team building is very important, now more than ever. A dispersed and remote workforce needs something other than work to bond over. I personally believe in mixing things up so that the team has a different virtual team building activity to look forward to come Fun Friday. So when Dylan from TheEscapeGame reached out to me with an intriguing offer to try out their virtual escape room, the team and I said yes! And as we raced against the clock, I knew I’d want to do The Escape Game review to relive the experience in writing!
Judging by how all of us were glued to our screens for that hour, I’d say the game was quite engrossing. In this Escape Game review, I’ll take you through our experience and the fun we had along the way. Enjoy!
1. About The Escape Game
The Escape Game is a U.S based company that offers remote and in-person adventurous experiences. The Escape Game’s founders launched the firm in 2013 and opened their first physical escape room in Nashville, Tennessee in 2014.
With the rise in remote workspaces and employees who were distributed, The Escape Game reworked some of their games for a virtual audience across the globe.
The result? Online Escape rooms,like the one we were recently sent into!
The Escape Game’s M.O is that corporate groups, families and friends have a great time bonding over challenges, puzzles and games of varying complexity. They offer both physical and virtual experiences. The latter involves an experienced and friendly guide and host who will be in the actual escape room with your team of staff on a Zoom call.
The Escape Game’s Remote Adventures accommodate both small (upto 8) and large (25+) groups.
We were asked to try a demo, but if you want to book your team in for a virtual team building activity,it’s going to cost you $32-35 per player for small groups. For more than 24 members, there’s an online form that you’ll need to fill out if you want to get more people in.
2. “PrisonBreak” - the Theme
The adventure we went on was called “Prison Break” and involved us playing wrongfully incarcerated inmates. The task was to escape the Iron Gate’s jail cell under the watchful prison warden’s nose.
Devin, our friendly host of the hour, sent us a link from the Zoom call with a 4 digit alphanumeric password. Once we confirmed we were in, he mentioned that there’s a short video that we could watch to get some context to the game. We were asked to mute ourselves to avoid feedback and at the count of 3, all of us hit the “PLAY” button.
The video featured the Iron Gate’s prison warden ominously stating that the only other person to have made a successful getaway was Clarence,a previous inmate (this becomes relevant later) . The video went on to say that the warden would be in an hour-long meeting in which time the inmates had to try escaping.
Our host then took us through the rules, where to look for the inventory and how to ask for help. We were told that if one person hit the Hint button, the group had to collectively decide whether to go ahead with the hint or try giving it a go again.
Once we all confirmed we understood how to play the game, Devin showed us the room he was in. He walked from place to place, pointing out the artefacts and tilting his view so that we could take it all in. The timer on the wall showed us how much time was left since we started.
We had to work out the clues given in the inventory to find keys and answers to locked items. Each ‘Aha’ moment moved us forward and brought the team closer to freedom!
3. The Breakdown
This will dive into the experience in detail -
3.1. Getting started
The Escape Game uses Zoom as the video conferencing tool to interact with the players. Our host sent us a link to a virtual room with a login password. The page collected our details such as our names before opening up to a view where the host explains what different icons are for, such as the “Clues” button.
The instructions were easy to follow. We could ask our host to repeat an instruction or show us something again and they happily obliged. Just test your sound and video before the call to make sure you don’t miss instructions once the game starts.
3.2. Difficulty Level
The clues were placed strategically around the room. Since the host was in the actual room, he showed us around the room and kept the camera facing the interior of the room. This made it easier for us to see what we were working with and compare it against the items in the inventory. Most clues involved a hidden numeric or letter which had to be worked out against what was in the inventory to unlock lockers, cabinets and shelves. Some clues were in plain sight while the others were a little tougher to crack.
We found the difficulty level in this Escape Game review changing from simple to moderately difficult as we moved forward. As newer clues appeared on the inventory, it took us some time to figure out where we should start and how to work it out. But if escape rooms were that easy, it wouldn’t be half as fun trying to break free. The more challenging the puzzle, the smarter the group will feel about their collective problem solving skills!
3.3. Team engagement
The SorryonMute team and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves because this Escape Game review was quite unlike any other Fun Friday team building activities we did previously. Some team members had played the offline version 3 years back. But the virtual experience was just as exciting and immersive! I could see all our faces scrunched up in concentration while we were coming up with solutions. This goes to show how united we were despite working in different places!
If you’re looking for an innovative way to bring virtual team members together, then breaking out of an escape room is right for you! The game works great for both small and large-sized groups. If two heads are better than one, imagine what can happen with 8, 10 or 20 heads!
This was our first virtual escape room experience. While we weren’t in the room ourselves, it was designed such that the room was visible to the players and easy for the host or guide to move around in. We could see what they were doing and whether our inputs led to an item being discovered or unlocked. The Escape Game took measures to make sure no one was left behind or found the rules too complicated to follow. We did take longer on some clues as we progressed from one end of the room to the other. Our host reminded us of how many minutes we had so that we could pace ourselves and keep going
I have to be honest in this Escape Game review and we were all a bit camera shy and awkward at first. But Devin was a huge help here. Once the timer started, we quickly got absorbed in the game and ran possible solutions among ourselves to see which one could get us closer to escaping.
We made it, with 3.5 minutes to spare! Although there was a moment when we felt that the final answer was tantalizingly close, we were able to work together to see that last door swing open for us. It was the ultimate Aha! Moment!
Our host concluded the call by asking us to pose for a picture, which also featured the time we took to escape before the 60 minutes were up. The host also gave us suggestions to try out their other rooms, such as The Gold Rush.
The high of knowing we escaped from an Escape room with a few minutes left on the clock really did bring us closer as a team! The experience was quite engaging and interactive which served the purpose of helping us work cohesively.
4. Final Weigh In
The game had us talking about it after it ended. I asked around, and everyone on the team was unanimous about the fun they had! I would 10/10 recommend trying out escape rooms, either in person if there’s one near you, or online. Fortunately, The Escape Game offers a dizzying array of options for you to book yourself and the team on.
What’s great about such team building exercises is that colleagues get to interact more intentionally and have something in common to talk about. In other words, it makes for great conversation around a virtual water cooler, coffee hangout or happy hour! What’s more, teams get to flex their creative side and put their problem solving skills to the test.
If you enjoyed this Escape Game review, let us know which adventure you’re going on and how you got on!