1. What Is an Escape Room Game?
An escape room game is a puzzle-based team activity that involves solving a series of riddles or challenges, in order to achieve a specific goal. This goal could be anything from retrieving a fictional treasure to stopping a fantastical apocalypse. Most traditionally, however, the objective is to escape a room to freedom – hence the name ‘escape room.’
Most escape rooms are timed, with the aim being to resolve all the clues and complete tasks as quickly as possible. Communication between participants is often key, making it an excellent team-building pursuit.
2. 10 Best Free Online Escape Rooms to Know
2.1 The Hogwarts Escape
First on our list of free online escape rooms is a game for all the would-be wizards and witches out there, no matter if you identify as Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw, or Hufflepuff. Created by a pair of Harry Potter aficionados, the Hogwarts Escape puts your team in the shoes of a person who’s just been accepted to the famed school of witchcraft and wizardry. Aside from the usual struggles associated with learning magic, you also have to solve the mystery behind a fellow pupil’s disappearance.
An online escape room for kids or adults, this game is designed to be played on a laptop or computer screen, as some of the puzzles can be hard to see fully on a smartphone or tablet. Everything is automated, but the website does have a helpful hints section that provides several clues to each puzzle. You can also just reveal the answer if your team gets completely stumped.
The Hogwarts Digital Escape Room is completely free to play, though you can donate to the creators if you want.
2.2 Minecraft Escape Room
The legendary sandbox game Minecraft has a number of escape-room-style maps you can play, all created by the community. Some have been designed for multiple players, while others have been created with single players in mind but can still be solved as a team – it just means only one person can control the character.
The maps range in difficulty and creativity, though almost all of them provide video walkthroughs for when/if your team gets stuck. Locations range from haunted houses and AI-controlled laboratories to more surreal environments that eschew concrete settings in favor of tricky head scratchers.
2.3 Escape the Tomb
Trapped in the tomb of Ramses III, it’s a race against time to recover a stolen jewel and escape to freedom – or risk being lost forever beneath the sands of Egypt forever! Escape the Tomb is one of three free online escape rooms offered on Online-escape-room.com, alongside a kid-friendly pirate adventure and an adult-oriented bitcoin scenario.
The games are designed for 2-5 players and should take between 40 and 60 minutes to complete. Participants can play over Zoom or play via their own devices – each person can sign on via a smartphone, tablet or computer using a web link.
2.4 Jumanji Escape Room
Jumanji has proved fertile territory for online escape room creators. There are a couple of free options, both created using Google Forms. One delivers a series of riddles interspersed with screenshots from the recent remake, while the other recreates the original movie with an actual Jumanji board.
There’s also a paid version you can try that also follows the same storyline as the Robin Williams film.
2.5 Oregon Trail Escape to Willamette Valley
Feeling nostalgic for the classic kids’ educational game Oregon Trail? Well, the Livingston Parish Library has created a free digital version using Google Forms that’s fairly true to the original. Gather up your would-be pioneers and hit the road in your wagon, contesting such dangers as snakebites, disease, and starvation as you make your way towards the Willamette Valley.
While not in the classic escape room mold, the underlying concept remains the same: solve a series of quandaries in order to achieve an overarching objective – in this case, successfully traversing the wilds of 19th-century America.
If you’d rather play the real thing, the Visit Oregon website hosts a free version of the Oregon Trail.
2.6 Romeo and Juliet Escape Room
Few free online escape rooms draw on centuries-old literature for their inspiration, but the Romeo and Juliet Escape Room shows that the classics can still provide a good deal of amusement. Your team takes the part of Romeo, who must try to convince Juliet’s Capulet parents that he is a good match for the blushing damsel. Before he can unleash his Shakespearian eloquence, however, he (or rather you) will have to solve a series of puzzles that demonstrate an intellect worthy of Juliet’s hand.
Like many of the free escape room games on this list, the design is fairly simple, but the puzzles can be deviously challenging. If you get stuck, you can play a couple of audio clues, as well as simply listen to the answer.
2.7 Dr. Who Escape Room
Free virtual escape rooms for adults who are fans of the classic British sci-fi series abound online. Most are made using Google Forms. This one, for example, was created by Tehachapi Branch Library and encourages participants to use library resources (e.g., Dewey Decimal Numbers, catalogs) to answer questions. Alternatively, this one by Chester County Library requires simple problem solving and math skills.If you want to upgrade your team experience, there are also paid professional outfits offering Dr. Who-themed play-at-home escape rooms as well, such as this one from Escape Hunt.
2.8 The Midnight Express
Escape the Crate mainly traffic in subscription boxes with escape room board games inside, but they do offer a few free online escape rooms for people who want to trial their wares. The Midnight Express takes place in 1861, aboard a train that’s traveling to Baltimore, Maryland. As the plot gradually unfolds, your team must solve a series of puzzles to prevent nefarious personages from changing the course of history.
As free virtual escape rooms for adults go, this is one of the best multiplayer escape games you can find, largely because it’s created by a for-profit business to promote their products. The website incorporates professional voice-acted audio clips as well as hand-drawn illustrations to create the requisite atmosphere.
If you become flummoxed, there are clues that become increasingly more obvious, or you can just reveal the solution if you are well and truly bamboozled.
Enchambered’s main bread and butter is real-life escape rooms in Sacramento, California, but they also have a series of two-player adventure escape games online that can be played from anywhere in the world. Most of these are available for a minimum $10 fee, but the company also offers one of their digital escape rooms for free as a kind of taster.
Alone Together has a rather unique playing mechanism that requires each person to have their own computer screen. Once the start buttons have been pressed, each screen will display a completely different set of objects. Communication is key, as the items on the different screens will relate or interact with one another. For example, a piece of paper with a symbol on one screen will correspond to a lock on the other screen.
By using a combination of descriptive powers and problem-solving savvy, the two participants should be able to help one another escape their respective rooms.
2.10 Mr X
Another company that primarily offers real-life escape rooms but has also dipped its toe into the online market, Escape Rooms Durham is a UK-based outfit with a couple of free virtual games, including Mr X. Drawing upon elements of a treasure hunt, this puzzle utilizes the geography of Durham as part of its format.
Participants play together over Zoom or Teams to discover the real identity of Mr X. There are a series of 6 clues, which should take between 45 minutes and 2 hours to solve. Hints are available if you get stuck, or you can email the company if your team is truly bamboozled.
3.1 Can you play an escape room online free?
Yes, there are lots of free online escape rooms. Many of these are made using Google Forms by local libraries hoping to encourage reading and engage children. Others are created by avid fans of celebrated fictional worlds like Hogwarts for both kids and adults alike.
3.2 Where can I see escape room for free?
There are several websites that supply free online escape rooms, including Online-escape-room.com. While you can find many options with a quick Google search, the best games tend to be those created by a professional company who have included a free puzzle or two amidst their wider paid offerings.
3.3 How to do an online escape room with friends?
Escape room games online follow the same principles as ones in the real world. The main difference is that rather than a physical room, you play on a digital platform using screen sharing. Communication usually takes place over video conferencing platforms or chat rooms, rather than face to face.