“What is the record time?” – the number one question we hear.  Everyone wants to beat the record, but escape rooms at The Escape Challenge are, well, challenging…

Escape Rooms aren’t made to be easy, but consider the below groups:

-Twenty minutes into the challenge, a guy pulls out a knife and starts cutting up the carpet.   “I thought there might be clues when you flipped the carpet over”……

-A group takes a page out of a dictionary and translates every single letter into a number, then adds them all together.  They were over 1400 (and through 2 markers) before they figured that wasn’t leading anywhere.

-I’ve heard at least 100 people walk into a room and say “that three digit lock only has 1000 possible combinations”.  I assure them that it will be more effective to follow the clues, but they sit there for 14 minutes to open a lock anyway.

-A Group walks into a room and sees beads on an abacus, looks around for a moment, sees three dowels on a desk.   The abacus is marked off at three red beads, 6 green beads, and 9 blue beads.  The dowels have green, red and blue lines… Obviously, you turn the dowels until they are at 3 o’clock, 6 o’clock, and 9 o’clock.  Boom, drawer opens.

What do all of these people have in common?  They all LOVE escape rooms.

How do we make rooms that work for experienced and novice escapees?

Now in our fifth year of hosting escape games, we expected that everyone would have done one (or decided against the idea entirely).  But we find that each weekend 20-30% of people have done 1 escape room challenge or less. Enthusiasts are on the other end of the spectrum.  They are escapees that have all done several rooms, and many have done more than 100 challenges.

The question is, how do we make rooms that have the right level of difficulty for everyone?  How can we make a room for someone who has never completed a challenge, but isn’t too easy for someone who has done 143 challenges?

We spend a lot of time building, testing, rebuilding, tinkering, retesting, to make sure that puzzles are still challenging for experienced escape artists, while making them possible for a first-time escapee.

There are several different puzzle types in each challenge. That ensures that a person who is strong with numbers, isn’t going to solve all the puzzles.  Likewise, your uncle Bob (who didn’t want to come because he doesn’t like most puzzles) gets an opportunity to shine when he puts something together that unlocks a lock.

It’s all a balance.  Even within that balance, we have some rooms that are more difficult than others.  Dr. Eugene’s Diagnosis is designed for large groups, and it’s definitely our most challenging escape room.  Creature Room is still challenging, but more feasible for a group of 4-6 than the other rooms.

How Difficult are the escape rooms at The Escape Challenge?

Escape Rooms still lack a unified concept of room difficulty.  That is because escape rooms are mostly operated by small businesses in different cities all over the world.  Each owner has different ideas of what makes a good escape room.  And difficulty is something that people are split on.  Some believe that a room is best when only 5% of people solve the final puzzle.  Many disagree with that notion, but can’t agree on the exact perfect difficulty level.  That’s why most have formed some sort of a hybrid difficulty level.

At The Escape Challenge, every group that comes is looking for something different.  If you are looking to prove you are extreme, that only goes to those that solve the entire challenge with 0 hints.  If you want to be great, we have a monthly leaderboard for those that solve the entire challenge with 3 hints or less.  Most groups just want to have fun and try to solve as much as possible, and we’ll let you have unlimited hints.  You can find the % completion rate for 0 hints or 3 hints by clicking on “View Mission Statistics” next to each mission type on the home page.

It’s currently October 23rd and nobody is on the leaderboard for Dr. Eugene’s Diagnosis for this month.  No group has solved Dr. Eugene’s Diagnosis this month with three hints or less.

The ALL-TIME Record for Each Room (0 Hints) is:


Creature Room – 28:40

Bomb Maker’s Apartment – 18:54

Dr. Frank N Stein’s Lab – 18:32

Dr. Eugene’s Diagnosis – 21:05

The only question is, will you set a new record?  Or will you just have an amazing time?