Virtual Reality Escape Room Transport Players into New Realms of Challenges
December 22, 2021
Escape rooms began popping up across the United States as a new form of entertainment for families and friends and even for corporate team building exercises. Escape rooms require players to solve multiple puzzles to ultimately escape the room. Some experiences are timed, and each room is themed for a unique experience.
Now these game challenges are going virtual and immersing players into incredible new environments. Virtual reality escape rooms are taking players into underwater realms, the pyramids and even into ancient mythology to solve puzzles and, ultimately, complete the mission and escape.
Some virtual reality escape rooms follow video games like Cyberpunk, A Prince of Persia, and Assassin’s Creed. While many are appropriate for most ages, some are now darker in design and are for ages 17 and up.
What is a Virtual Reality Escape Room?
In a traditional escape room, players entered and were locked in a room. Each room had a unique theme, and the rooms included multiple different puzzles that needed to be solved. When players completed all the puzzles accurately—and within a time limit—the room was unlocked and the game was complete.
Throughout the game, a story might have unfolded to explain the adventure or theme of the room. As puzzles were solved, more details about the story might have been revealed. Each room had an end challenge that the players had to complete, but this challenge couldn’t be realized until all the other puzzles or challenges were solved.
Players who were unable to complete all the puzzles or solve them within the time limit lost, and the room was unlocked without completing the game.
Virtual escape rooms work the same way, but the experience is completely virtual. All players wear a virtual reality headset in the room to experience the story and help solve the puzzles. All escape room centers each have their own unique rooms, although some may offer similar puzzles.
Trap’t, an escape room venue in Connecticut, offers Escape the Lost Pyramid (dubbed as an Assassin’s Creed experience), Beyond Medusa’s Gate (also an Assassin’s Creed adventure), Alice (as in “Alice in Wonderland”), and even Christmas.
Each experience has its own mission or goal. In the experience “Christmas,” players need to light the Christmas tree, because Santa is caught in a snowstorm, lost all the presents he was carrying and can’t get home. Before players can light Santa’s way home via the tree, they have to figure out why the elves have decided to stop working.
Bane Escape (New York)
Bane Escape in New York uses HTC Vive headsets to power the experience. Players wear a headset and a backpack that includes equipment to link team members together in the virtual realm The Bane virtual escape experience begins with a séance—team members must find the candles and book for the séance. This ceremony summons a demon and players are trapped in another realm. They must find their way out of three rooms in the new dimension and get back to their dimension within 30 minutes. To escape, they need to solve puzzles in each room. Players must be 10 years and older to play the virtual game.
Atomic Escape Rooms (Washington)
Atomic Escape Rooms offers multiple virtual reality experiences including:
- Manor of Escape, which requires players to stop the evil Count Malum
- Dragon Tower, which finds players in a small town ruled by an alchemist who sacrifices criminals to the dragon. Players must escape the dragon tower.
- Time Travel Paradox, in which a team has created the first time machine but another member—Dr. Marek—stole it. The goal of the game is to stop Marek.
Atomic Escape Rooms offers several more experiences including a virtual reality haunted house experience.
Are Virtual Escape Rooms Available to Download for Personal Headsets?
Some avid gamers have their own virtual reality headset. While those who want to experience virtual reality could pay for a virtual reality game room experience, can this unique game play challenge be experienced at home? Are there virtual reality escape room games that can be downloaded via personal headsets like the HTC Vive, HP Reverb, and Oculus Quest 2?
Steam offers many escape room games that players can download via headsets. A few are free, but most are reasonably priced. The game “Escape Room” is priced at 99 cents! The game “Tested on Humans: Escape Room” is $14.99, and many others are less than $10.
Players who enjoy traditional escape rooms and want to experience these challenging games via virtual reality can check out all the options to find the best adventure.
Augmented Reality Escape Rooms
Virtual reality isn’t the only immersive high-tech escape room experience. Some venues offer augmented reality adventures, too.
Augmented reality includes graphic elements depicted on top of the real environment. Aim Escape hosts its augmented reality escape experience outdoors. The game is two hours in duration and takes players throughout London to find clues. There are multiple adventures for players to choose; some are suitable for only older teens and adults. Unfortunately, this epic adventure is in London, but visitors might want to book an experience to escape via augmented reality.
Augmented Reality Escape Rooms at Home
For those bored and stuck at home, grab a phone or tablet and start experiencing an augmented reality escape room at home. Yes, both Google Play and the App Store offer several augmented reality escape room options.
No headsets or augmented reality glasses are required to enjoy these experiences. The games use the camera’s lens to project the game graphics in the real environment. However, players will need to grant the app access to their camera.
Those interested in finding augmented reality escape room experiences can search for “escape room AR” via the App Store or Google Play. Many of these games only have a handful of reviews, but they are often free to download.
For gamers who haven’t explored an escape room before, using augmented reality could be a fun way to become introduced to these adventures. Again, players will need to solve puzzles to beat the game or realize the final mission. Some escape rooms include a time limit.
Here are a few titles to explore via Google Play (for Android) and the App Store (for Apple):
If the title is a little too close to reality, rest assured that players can play at home. Yes, Emerge lets players download the escape room game to their Android device. Unfortunately, it isn’t offered via Apple yet. Those with Android devices, though, can play this game anywhere. The game transforms the real world into a locked escape room.
Explore the truth behind Aria’s disappearance and understand her story. The real environment is transformed via augmented reality. The app is free, but there is an option for in-app purchases.
Apple device owners can rejoice! Scriptum AR Escape can be downloaded via Apple devices. This game is horror themed and gives players 30 minutes to escape three rooms!
In the Lockdown, players are Interpol agents who need to solve a case. The app is free to download via the App Store
Escape Via Virtual and Augmented Reality
Traditional escape rooms are now transforming into digitized games that utilize either virtual reality or augmented reality to power the adventure. These game rooms might require the player to wear a virtual reality headset to enter the experience.
Virtual reality and augmented reality game rooms might be the transformative future of this unique entertainment—and team bonding—experience. While traditional rooms had to include physical props and other details, immersive virtual reality game rooms can transport players into another realm that is illustrated before them.
Props are virtual, clues are virtual, and these experiences could be much more detailed and imaginative, too. Traditional escape rooms couldn’t really be transported under the sea or in an entirely new dimension, but virtual reality makes these realms and spaces a very real destination.
Those who want to explore these escape room experiences from home can utilize augmented reality to power their puzzles and adventures. Both Android and Apple devices offer several different game titles that allow users to explore unique augmented reality escape room experiences and challenges.
Gamers who have their own virtual reality headsets, though, might have even more adventures available to them. Steam offers a list of virtual reality escape room games at reasonable prices. In virtual reality, gamers can choose their own escape adventure via Steam’s offerings.
Are these immersive puzzle games the future of gaming? Augmented reality puzzle games could become more common when augmented reality glasses are finally offered to consumers. However, as more tech companies pursue the metaverse and start creating experiences designed for this virtual realm, gamers may find that these mixed reality gaming experiences might become more virtual than reality.