The Best New Escape Room Puzzles Vol 2.0
Sure, we love escape rooms for their immersive settings and state-of-the-art props. But escape room puzzles are just as important as their awesome visuals. Above all else, people visit game rooms for the gameplay: the adrenaline, the teamwork, the feisty yet friendly (hopefully) discussions, the “a-ha!” moments in the face of a ticking clock. When you think about it, an escape room without puzzles is just a really cool room.
The quality of puzzles matters, of course. When escape room puzzles are overly easy, even the most elaborate, magical, or scariest escape rooms can feel disappointing. Tricky puzzles? Sign us up. There’s nothing more satisfying than solving a tough escape room puzzle, juuust in the nick of time.
As a follow-up to The Best Escape Room Puzzle Ideas, we’ve gathered a second helping of escape room puzzles, from beat-repeating to bottle-breaking. While some might seem simple, they can all be made more difficult, depending on the needs of each particular escape room. And of course, every puzzle is easily enlivened with bells and whistles and ninja stars and zombie blood, so they fit the escape room’s theme.
BREAK THE BOTTLE
It’s only a party foul if it’s unintentional, right? In this puzzle, a piece of paper or other type of clue is placed inside a glass bottle — a fake or prop bottle, but game players won’t know that. Players will attempt to figure out various methods to extract the clue. “They can’t expect us to actually break the bottle, can they?” Sure we can. Don’t go breaking everything in the escape room, though. Troublemaker.
TRAFFIC SORTING PUZZLE
All aboard! In this video game-based puzzle, players need to distribute certain goods along a track—without crashing, of course. Combining traditional buttons with digital puzzles always increases the fun factor. The game can also be designed so multiple players control different switches on the track, and must work together to solve the puzzle. Who’s the best driver in your group? Now you’ll know.
HIDDEN MESSAGE ON THE MUG
As a kid, did you ever use lemon juice as invisible ink? When you held the paper up to a warm light bulb, your secret message appeared. Like magic. No matter the theme, escape rooms offers infinite possibilities for hidden messages. They could be anywhere — including on a mundane-looking cup or mug. To read the mug’s hidden message, players need to warm up water before pouring it in. Once the mug warms too, the message will appear. Like magic.
POINTS OF VIEW
The trickiness level of many escape room games is a matter of perspective. Like this digital puzzle, which will cross your eyes and scramble your brain in the best way. Players are presented with a 3D image on a screen. Using buttons or on-screen controls, they’re able to reorient the image, seeing it from a different point of view each time: from above, from below, etc. Once they determine the correct perspective for the 3D image, the puzzle is solved. (Don’t forget to uncross your eyes!)
To conquer this tricky escape room puzzle, players must use a magnet to guide a ball or disc through a physical maze. AKA, a labyrinth — but David Bowie is nowhere to be found. The game can be designed for multiple magnets and multiple players, who must cooperate to guide the ball to its finish line.
Looks can be deceiving. An anamorphosis is “a distorted projection or drawing which appears normal when viewed from a particular point or with a suitable mirror or lens” (Oxford Dictionary). In an escape room setting, players are confronted with a seemingly unhelpful, often confusing image. Flip your brain (not literally) by placing a special mirror in the middle of the picture. The reflection will reveal a code, hint, or entirely new object that helps players proceed. Watch out: once you’ve stepped through the looking glass, you’ll see everything a little differently. Just ask Alice.
REPEAT THE BEAT
Our favorite escape room puzzles require harnessing multiple senses. In this game, players hear a simple beat or tone from a speaker, and must press buttons in a particular order to repeat the tone. The hard part? Finding the buttons. They can be hidden inside other objects, so players won’t immediately recognize their purpose. In a bathroom setting, for example, the buttons could be placed in the soap dispenser, hand dryer… and toilet. But we’d never do that to you, would we?
UNTIE THE ROPE
How nimble are your fingers? Rope presents all kinds of possibilities for tricky escape room puzzles. For example, figuring out how to withdraw or untangle a rope from various props to complete the game. In other variations, players must untie a knotted rope to retrieve a key. The knots can be straightforward, or frustratingly elaborate Celtic nightmares. Next a band of ornery pirates ties you to a gunpowder barrel, you’ll free yourself much more easily. Or knot.