Escaping a Puzzle Room Alone
If there’s one thing I’ve always wanted to do it’s to go into an escape room alone. I guess I was curious to see how far I could reach on my own since a big part of solving these rooms depends on cooperation and team play.
One day I finished my workout at the gym and I was on my way home when I made a spur-of-the-moment decision to just do it. The center was just opening up early in the morning and the reception was empty. It’s the perfect time, I thought. I had tried calling them several times prior to that in order to ask if it was possible to play these games solo and I was told numerous times the minimum number of players should be 2. I think they were on a good mood that day or they just felt sorry for me and they let me in. The downside though I had to pay a ticket for 2 people. I didn’t mind because it’s something I really really wanted to do.
I dropped my gym bag at my car and went back to them 30 minutes later at the time given to me. They made me sit in the waiting room until the game master arrived. He walked in and we both stood in front of the escape room door. He explained the basics and I was told there was some fantastic hidden buried treasure inside one of the room’s pyramids. Something is cursed inside this room; however, and it’s my job to get inside and find the treasure otherwise some lunatic Pharoah will come and get me. I tied my shoe laces, zipped up my parka and went in. I was READY FOR WAR! All those years playing puzzles games were definitely not going to waste. How hard can it be, right?
As soon as I walked in, the door locked behind me, and I felt my heart sinking in my stomach. Crap! What did I get myself into! I felt slightly cluster phobic inside a small room with some giant mean looking Pharoa staring down at me on a high pedestal.
The screen flashed a number in front of me and the countdown began. I immediately started running in every direction trying to find every item I could get my hands on. The first few puzzles were easy, except for a partially mathematical one, which I completely sucked at. I made sure I gave my back to the camera so no one sees me counting with my fingers.
For the first room I used up two hints but overall I was doing great. Then, I discovered I had to literally JUMP on the high pedestal above me in order to reach something. No, that can’t be right, can it?! Did they really expect you to do physical labor like this in an escape room? I tried finding an alternative way but eventually I got yelled at from the microphone that yes, in fact, I had to jump up. Luckily I was in my gym clothes.
Not only did I have to jump on the pedestal, I had to pull and carry around 10 or 15 plaster poles that are bigger than my size. By the time I was done I was seriously exhausted. I didn’t have time to rest though. I solved the next puzzles and managed to reach the final room and that’s when I seriously freaked out.
The room was so small and narrow and almost completely dark. I felt my heart racing and I seriously contemplated just giving up right there. What made it worse was this room had no screen. I couldn’t see how much time was left and I couldn’t read any hints to help me escape this tiny space.
The final puzzle was tedious and involved a bunch of symbols and hieroglyphs. I knew what I had to do but the code wasn’t working for some reason. I tried it over and over with no luck. Finally I heard something in the other room and I realized my time was up. The screen went blank and I stood waiting for them to open the door for me and tell me I failed, only the door didn’t open and I felt myself panicking. I started signaling to the camera that I needed to get out- no answer. I asked for help- no answer. I waited… again- no answer. What the hell was happening? Why aren’t they letting me out? I finally ran back to the dark room and thought my only hope is to try and get that last code working somehow to get the hell out.
After some time, it finally worked. Not sure how and not sure I really care. All I wanted at that moment was to finally step foot out of that room. When the door opened, the game master was standing behind the door waiting for me. Apparently he left the navigation room when my time was up and they all decided to give me an extra 5 minutes because I was so close to the exit. It would have been nice if they told me that though instead of making me feel like I was completely cut off!
I wasn’t happy that I didn’t solve that last puzzle on time but considering that I managed to finish the entire room alone was an achievement in itself. I felt so proud of myself, but would I do it again? Probably not!
Although you’re obviously playing with people watching and helping you along the way from start to end, there’s just something seriously crazy about being locked up in a room alone. Not to mention the amount of work that had to be done to move things around. I never felt the value of team-play in those games until that day.
Overall it was a memorable and funny experience that I definitely would not do again or recommend to anyone.