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Room Escape Game

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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.

Due to being relatively easy to develop, room escape games are extremely common in Web Games.

And as with its older cousin, Nightmare Fuel is abundant.

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.
  • Interface Spoiler: If you appear to have found the way out before solving every available puzzle or using every item, there's a good chance it's not the way out or you're headed for a different ending. This can be subverted if some items or puzzles turn out to be Red Herrings.
  • 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!: Many of them have little to no plot, and that's not really a bad thing. It keeps the focus on the puzzles.
  • Paper Key-Retrieval Trick: How to get hold of the key that sticks in the lock from the outside.
  • 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. Some games can be very picky on where you need to click to change the camera angle.
  • 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.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: The room the player starts in often has a single door, and unlocking it is presented as the player's ultimate goal. That is, until opening that door reveals it opens into a closet or more rooms, and the true means of escape is somewhere else entirely.

Video Game Examples:

  • Alice Is Dead
  • Antichamber: Boiled down, it amounts to this.
  • Resident Evil 7: Biohazard:
    • The "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 need to find and watch the taped footage of the previous victim's run (sort of Save Scumming the puzzle in-universe) to learn the password needed to complete the final step well before you reach the room itself, allowing you to bypass most of the puzzle (including the step that triggers the Kaizo Trap) and skip straight to the end.
    • The Bedroom Tape DLC 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.
  • 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.
  • Tasokare Hotel is a mobile game where the protagonist solves puzzles in the hotel guests' rooms to help them recover their memories.
  • The Cerulean Room, a user-made hold for DROD RPG.
  • Crimson Room and its sequels are the trope codifier of the genre.
  • 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.
  • Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair has one of these during one chapter. If you're not especially good at them, you can just pay 100 Monocoins to bypass it completely.
  • 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.
    • 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. During the process of the game you learn that you and the ship have become infected with a parasitic crystal. 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. Hence, Don't Escape.
  • Ellie: Help Me Out... Please
  • The first Endless Nightmare begins with you trapped in your own house, now haunted by your deceased wife and daughter, and you'll need to escape. The final cutscene shows that it doesn't work.
  • Escape Simulator combines this with the physics sandbox genre, letting players move freely in 3D instead of being confined to predefined spots, and throw items around. There are multiple themed rooms designed by real escape room operators, as well as a Level Editor to create your own rooms.
  • Frankenstein Room Escape: A very loose adaptation of Frankenstein.
  • Granny, combined with Survival Horror.
  • Haunted
  • There's one of these near the end of Hotel Dusk: Room 215.
  • Icescape
  • Ignac is a humorous take on the genre: it's about a boy who's been locked up in the house by his parents because of a bad school grade, and has to find a way to escape.
  • 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 was one of the first and is largely responsible for popularizing the genre, which exploded in the early-to-mid 2000s (alongside Flash games in general).
  • Oxide Room 104 is a first-person escape room themed horror game with some Survival Horror elements.
  • Room Break, 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.
  • Strange Magic Escape is an escape game for the Myst minded player.
  • Submachine starts out as this, although later games dramatically expand the settings, even while retaining some of the aesthetic. (The later ones could plausibly be described as World Escape Games.)
  • Suveh Nux, in which you have to reverse engineer a magical language to cast the spells you need to escape a vault.
  • Trace, in which you're escaping a bungalow on another planet.
  • Trapped, a trilogy of escape games. The second one, The Dark, is pictured above.
  • In Very Little Nightmares, the mobile prequel to Little Nightmares, the player utilizes a Point and Click mechanic to guide the player character through a series of areas, each of which functions like its own escape room.
  • 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 we're going with this? [1]
  • 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.

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.
  • In an episode of Modern Family, Phil, Gloria and Cameron leave a hospital to go to an escape room, but get lost and accidentally lock themselves in a basement room, putting them in a real escape room situation.
  • In Bob's Burgers, Bob and Linda go on a Double Date with a couple whom they find annoying. After a disastrous dinner, they go to an escape room on a whim; but while in the room, the Belchers' true feelings about the other couple are accidentally made known, making their stay incredibly awkward. What's more, the room is not well kept, and a rat gets inside halfway through.
  • The season finale of Spy Games had the two finalists try to escape a room full of puzzles, starting with being handcuffed to a sculpture. Unlike most examples, both had to solve the puzzles alone. The puzzles mostly involved something from earlier episodes. (However, the first was a Bait-and-Switch. It appeared to be a lockpicking challenge when they instead had to find a way to get their handcuffs out of the sculpture.)
  • In the It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia episode "The Gang Escapes", the Gang participate in an Escape Room using Dennis' apartment on the behest of Dee (who played it before and simply wants to beat it again in front of them just to show off). Despite the fact that it's meant to be a cooperative activity, the Gang quickly turn it into a competition between each other when they not only lock Dee in Dennis' soundproofed bedroom but also spend the entire time indulging in pointless power plays against one another just for the right to unlock the first clue. They only "win" after Dee gets injured trying to leave via the fire escape, forcing the person supervising the activity to unlock the door.
  • Beavis And Butthead: In the first episode of the 2022 revival, Beavis and Butthead get roped into participating in a Mummy-themed escape room puzzle by two girls. Hilarity Ensues when the two fail to realize that the bathroom they ended up in isn't actually the escape room.