What’s All the Buzz About Escape Rooms?

You and your friends are trapped in a room, and you have an hour to find out how to escape using only the clues you can find surrounding you. No, this isn’t a strange dream, and it isn’t quite real life, either – it’s an escape room! Escape rooms are a somewhat new form of entertainment that are picking up in popularity. If you’re sick of the same old dinner and a movie routine with your friends and loved ones, here’s something that’s definitely different from what you might be used to.

How Does It Work?

At its core, an escape room is usually a single room that you and your group are locked in for an hour. Hidden away within the room are clues–pictures, letters, objects–that point to how you can get out of the room. Usually, the escape room mixes in some kind of mystery that you have to solve before you can leave, making the experience something like a mix between a murder mystery, a haunted house, and a point-and-click video game. Escape rooms have an interactive, puzzle-solving nature that relies on group teamwork and skill to work under the pressure of a ticking clock. You can probably see how that promises a much more memorable time than watching a movie or even playing a traditional game.

Themes Spice Up the Experience

The real beauty of escape rooms lie in their open-ended potential. Oftentimes, you aren’t just simply locked away in a basic room. Rather, there’s usually a theme that goes along with the central mystery. For instance, the room could take place in a remote mansion where there’s been a murder, and you and your group have to deduce the culprit. Or, you could be in the cabin of a sinking ship, tasked with finding the way out before you sink with it. The only limit is the game designer’s imagination, meaning that you and your group could be faced with some really interesting situations.

Local Opportunities

Interested? You don’t need to travel far to check out an escape room – there’s one in Toms River! Solve the Room, located off Route 37, offers up the escape room experience for all ages. Solve the Room has four different puzzles for you to figure out that range in difficulty to complete. There are some interesting themes, too. In one game, you’re tasked with performing a casino heist, while another has you finding a pirate’s missing treasure. Four puzzles is enough for a few nights of fun, but if you and your group are sharp, you might be looking for another escape room. Solve the Room is the only business in Toms River open at the moment, but East Coast Escape Room is scheduled to open sometime in the fall.

While tickets to an escape room usually cost a bit more than any other regular activity, their novelty makes the experience more than worth it. Visiting an escape room is never going to replace dinner and a movie, but even if escape rooms don’t “take off,” it’s definitely something you’ll want to try at least once.

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