You find yourself locked in a room with seemingly no way out — these are usually the first words you see in most Room Escape games. I still remember working through text adventures and starting out in these seemingly inescapable rooms as a way to orientate the player with the controls. You might be stuck, but it’s not like anything is going to kill you. Recently, the virtual realm invaded the real one by creating actual Escape Rooms. You can check out our special Flog episode to see Felicia and some special guests take on the room.
But let’s say you don’t have an afternoon to spend trapped in a room or enough friends to help you get out. That’s not a problem. We picked out some great Escape the Room games you can play on the internet for free. Think of it as practice for the real thing, or a way to escape your own tired work day. From funny to frightening, these games will have you poking around every corner for clues and keeping a pad of paper close at hand.
Sometimes you want to think outside the room. Take Submachine, for instance: the series takes player out of the single room and into a series of them, each with their own interconnected puzzle for you to figure out. Each area contains only a couple of bits and pieces of the puzzle, so you’re never overwhelmed with each new room you find yourself exploring. The first series of puzzles has you digging through the basement in order to get out. The first puzzle puts your mental power to the test as you try to send power to the mysterious machine, with each subsequent adventure pitting you against the same themes of containment and machines. Playing your way from the first Submachine to the most recent games will help you learn what it takes to escape from even the toughest room.
Did you ever see something so simple, yet so smart you wished you had thought of it yourself? The Dark Room is just that. The video above isn’t a trailer; it’s the game. The narrator walks you through a series of choices that send you to the next video. Pick the right choice and you’ll proceed to the next area without any question. Wrong choices receive absolute mocking. Play any “escape the room” game and you’ll often find yourself doing strange things in hopes something just happens to work out because of random chance. Our dungeon master doesn’t believe in random chance or in your intelligence, and it turns out that our narrator friend has taken his act on the road, so you can be mocked in front of your friends when you try combining a battery with a bit of rope. Maybe it’s safer to start with the YouTube version for now.
Not all escape games happen in a room — sometimes you need to escape a dungeon. Based off the video game Lineage 2, this bite-sized escape game puts you up against a world of traps and weapons. Dwarf Complete looks like a game where you would be attacking dragons and casting fireballs. Really, the game is about working your way out before becoming trapped inside the ruins. Will you get too greedy or use your head before picking up those rare items? Hopefully, you’ll go with the second choice, but with the game being so short, starting over isn’t the worst thing in the world. And yes, you’ll probably have to start over at some point, you greedy gamer.
My room doesn’t even look this good. When I think about the real “escape the room” games, I wish that they were all as beautiful as Elements. Sure, most of your stuff is behind combination locks and puzzles you need to piece together, but you’re in a gorgeous room with plants, plenty of light, and a relaxing décor. Elements is the kind of game where you can’t swing a wicker chair from Pier 1 without hitting a puzzle in this game. Most everything in the game is put there as a clue, or to give the area a sense of being an actual room. There’s a save feature included if you need time to get back to your own drab work environment. For me, I would love just to take a nap on that couch. Maybe I’ll find a much needed clue that way.
Cube Escape is actually a series of escape the room games, but I’m starting you off in one of my favorites, Seasons. Players work their way through a room only to find that another room awaits them – in the future. Not only is there a little time travel involved, but a strange creature also watches you from a distance. Who is keeping an eye on you and your time-hopping abilities are all explained once you solve the very last puzzle. The game manages to incorporate a strong narrative element while creating puzzles that enforce the story unfolding in front of you. Sometimes the scariest thing to find in a game is the truth. Check out the rest of the Cube Escape games while you’re at it.