Room Escape Game
Room escape games are a stripped-down, minimalistic
version of Point-and-Click Game
, often with no plot and an unnamed amnesiac hero. The point of the game is usually getting out of a single room, or a series of rooms, by solving the puzzles.
Hidden clues and items will be scattered well within the room, and it's the player's job to find the clues, keys, items and the right combination of items and solving various puzzles to progress. To increase the player's tension, there will be hidden death traps
or paths that lead to a point of no return
. Making a mistake will often cause an item to be gone indefinitely, and some games will incorporate a time limit. Some games, due to difficulty, will release an official guide
to solve the puzzle.
And as with its older cousin, Nightmare Fuel
Tropes Found in Room Escape Games:
- Amnesiac Hero: The player starts as a character with no recollection of past events.
- Death Trap: And it can come in any flavor.
- Fake Difficulty: Difficult, hard to reach places. No hint on what to do next. Absurd item combinations.
- Guide Dang It!: When there is nothing out there to tell you.
- Item Crafting: Certain items need to be combined.
- Minimalism: A single colored room, with few household items as the only things available are common in room escape games. And little to no plot or a back story.
- Multiple Endings: Some of those games have them. Don't Escape, for example, has a few depending on how well the player manages to lock themselves in. The results can go from a completely peaceful night for the villagers to an infernal bloodbath.
- No Plot? No Problem!: And it's better off without a plot.
- Permanently Missable Content: It can happen that if you are not careful with handling the items, you will lose them forever.
- Pixel Hunt: Make sure to look under every bed and behind every chest of drawers to make sure you don't miss anything.
- Stock Video Game Puzzle: These games are filled with stock puzzles. Find the key? Check. Find the wrench? Check. Enter a code you found on a piece of paper into a keypad lock? Check.
- Tap on the Head: The most common reason why you got there in the first place.
- Try Everything: If thinking doesn't work, try everything until something happens.
- You Wake Up in a Room: And you must escape that room.
Video Game Examples:
- Alice Is Dead
- Antichamber: Boiled down, it amounts to this.
- The Bedroom Tape DLC for Resident Evil 7: biohazard is a particularly complex example, as not only do you need to escape from the room, your insane captor will periodically come back to check on you, and she'll kill you if she figures out what you've been up to.
- The main game's "Birthday Room" puzzle is set up in the same style as an typical escape room, except your end goal is to light a candle on a birthday cake, after which your captor will (ostensibly) let you go. The only other trick to it is that the trap's creator made the puzzle Unwinnable by Design and there's a Kaizo Trap at the end that will burn you alive if you solve the puzzle "correctly". To escape, you must first find and watch the taped footage of the previous victim's run (sort of Save Scumming the puzzle in-universe) to get a critical password needed to retrieve shut-off valve well before you reach the room itself, then bypass most of the puzzle (including the step that triggers the Kaizo Trap) to retrieve the valve directly.
- Car Escape is a series of room escape games where you escape from cars. Though you do escape from a proper room at one point, as well as a love hotel. Was played by Retsupurae.
- Cube Escape is a series, each episode of which puts the player in a cubical room that must be escaped by finding and activating a trans-dimensional cube. Once escaped, the player character uses newfound knowledge or inventory to return to the room and fix something. Has elements of Mind Screw and some Jump Scares.
- Deep Sleep Trilogy
- Don't Escape turns the genre on its head: it opens with "I wake up in a room, it is not locked, and I remember.. everything." The player's character is a werewolf due to transform that night, and their goal is to lock themselves in to prevent the werewolf escaping and attacking innocent people.
- And Don't Escape 2 offers another inversion: instead of getting out, your task is to prevent a horde of zombies from getting in.
- Don't Escape 3 further ups the stakes by forcing you to take quick action at the very start of the game to avoid "escaping" the spaceship you're on via ejection into space. The best ending can also only be obtained if you choose not to escape with the available escape pod and instead blow up the ship with yourself on it after learning that you and the ship have become infected with a parasitic crystal.
- Strange Magic Escape is an escape game for the Myst minded player.
- There's one of these near the end of Hotel Dusk: Room 215.
- Killer Escape
- Monster Basement has your character wake up in a Creepy Basement and have to escape it before the kidnapper returns to kill him.
- Mystery of Time and Space
- The Cerulean Room, a user-made hold for DROD RPG.
- The Crimson Room and its sequels are the trope codifier of the genre.
- Room Break: Escape Now!!, which uses a Life Meter to discourage thoughtless item spamming and a vignette-style narrative, with a new protagonist and genre in each chapter. This was also played by Retsupurae.
- Trapped, a trilogy of escape games. The second one, The Dark, is pictured above.
- You Find Yourself In A Room in a room, in a room in a box, in a room next door, in a room in the wall, in a room... You see where I'm going with this?
- The Zero Escape games (Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, Virtue's Last Reward, and Zero Time Dilemma) contain a series of these as puzzle mechanics subsidiary to their main story.
- Ellie: Help Me Out... Please
Non-Video Game Examples:
- The Real Escape Game series is this in the real world (right down to actually being locked physically inside the room!), except with teams and a time limit, usually of 1 hour.note Variations of the formula exist; one Attack on Titan-themed variant has multiple teams trying to escape a stadium, while 1000 Treasure Hunters, which is hosted at festivals, has players travel around the hosting event's venue trying to solve puzzles to find the MacGuffin over the course of the event.
- The first two MS Paint Adventures, Jailbreak and espcially Problem Sleuth, which introduced more and more point-n-click game mechanics and tropes.
- Mocked (along with web incarnations) on Something Awful's Flash Tub The Stupid Room game.
- An episode of The Big Bang Theory had Leonard, Raj, Amy, and Emily try a real life escape room. Unfortunately, the game proves to be too easy for two physicists, a biologist, and a medical doctor and they escape within six minutes, with a chained-up zombie in the room constantly breaking character to remind them that they're not entitled to refunds even when they solve all the puzzles in record time.
- Parodied in the Homestar Runner Halloween cartoon "The House that Gave Sucky Tricks". Strong Bad imagines one of these at his hypothetical haunted house, largely as an attempt to trick his kid brother Strong Sad into sticking his hand into a dirty toilet. It doesn't work because Strong Sad starts overthinking, believing the clues to be attempts to mislead him.
- Race To Escape is the Science Channel's Game Show adaptation of this concept, complete with obscured clues and teams competing for the fastest breakout-time.
- Many of the puzzles in The Adventure Game were "escape room" in nature, as the contestants had to gather items and use them in various combinations to either get a key or a code that would unlock the door to the next room, or grant them access to the series' MacGuffin, a time crystal that would allow them to return to Earth. The Argonds (residents of Arg, the planet on which the series is purportedly set) would occasionally give them hints if they got stuck on a puzzle of a particularly Guide Dang It! nature, although part of the challenge was deciphering the clues (especially those delivered by backwards-talking Ron Gad).
- The Crystal Maze worked similarly to the above-mentioned The Adventure Game, in which contestants tried to secure time crystals for the Bonus Round and leave the room before a time limit expired and locked them in that room. Interestingly, contestants could escape at any time without the crystal, but some rooms were centered entirely around finding the exit to the room through a maze after collecting the room's crystal.
- In an episode of Last Man Standing, Mandy and Kyle accompany Kristin and Ryan to an outing to one of these. Kristin and Ryan are convinced Mandy and Kyle are too dumb to solve the clues and they'll have to do all the work. Mandy and Kyle proceed to use their creativity and out of the box thinking to solve every clue themselves and escape with seconds to spare, leaving Kristin and Ryan standing to the side dumbfounded.
- In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode, "All Bottled Up" The mane six go on a friendship retreat that basically consists of being locked in a room and solving puzzles together to escape as the b-plot. They were on track to break the record of one hour, right up until they start singing, causing them to miss said record by eight seconds.