5 Traits of Bad Escape Rooms





If you’re an Escape Room enthusiast then I’m more than sure that you’ve come across them — bad escape rooms. White walls, red herrings, puzzles that make no sense, we’ve all seen rooms like these. Nowadays with the dramatic rise in Escape Room venues, the bar for quality is rising. Now if you want to see what makes an Escape Room great click here! But as for the opposite, here are some deal breakers we’ve found.


1. White Walls

While understandable that many Escape Rooms are located in office buildings and that a budget is a real thing too, but there are low cost options to spruce up a plain white wall. Paint or wallpaper are some of the cheaper options, but please, anything except for plain white walls. Part of the joy in an escape room is being able to get away from reality for an hour at a time, but white walls just have a tendency of screaming out “office building”.


2. Red Herrings

Locks without keys, puzzles without answers…Red Herrings. While every Escape Room has some unintentional red herrings, and that’s understandable, but red herrings that were placed in the game to be time sinks is just cruel. Not only do these take up a good amount of a limited attention span, there’s a sense of helplessness when players realize that the red herring was never meant to open in the first place.


3. Faulty Tech

Have you ever been in the middle of doing an Escape Room and when a puzzle that’s seemingly solved has no effect. All of a sudden you’re standing there wondering if you did the puzzle right, only then to have a game master come scurrying in to fix the faulty tech. Faulty tech isn’t necessarily the game master’s fault but it does lead to a very anticlimactic speed bump.


4. Lack of Story

Entering a jail cell, going into a psych ward, yes, but why? There doesn’t need to be a saga written for the backstory, but some details would be nice. Doing an escape room is just that–an escape. It’s an escape from reality, and the best way to escape one reality is to enter a new one.So a little setup and backstory are appreciative.



5. Inattentive Gamemaster

This by far tops the list. Nothing breaks the immersiveness more than a gamemaster over a walkie-talkie asking if players have finished a puzzle yet. While it’s understandable that gamemasters often have difficulty knowing where exactly players are, there should be at the minimum some type of clue instead of fumbling around until the gamemaster knows what clue to give the players. On that note, if the game master has difficulty telling where the players are because the surveillance system is subpar, then it’s time to upgrade the monitoring system.