The first escape room is said to have opened in 2007 in Kyoto, Japan. Within ten years, the industry grew to over 8,000 escape room companies worldwide, including 1,000 rooms available in the United Kingdom alone. With sudden growth, escape rooms have advanced and developed in new ways. From multi-room games, to immersive actors and more. Escape room designers are bringing in new elements to make the game more exciting for players. One of the growing trends in escape rooms is the level of difficulty for players. Harder clues, more evolved puzzles and higher stakes are becoming more popular, adding to the overall experience. But why are games with a low escape rate in such demand?
When escape rooms first started becoming popular over a decade ago, the rooms were designed with a high escape rate. It was only the most luckless of players who failed to beat the puzzles in their 60 minute window. These days, however, it’s hard to find an escape room in London that has more than a 50% escape rate. Trapped Escape Rooms currently has an escape rate of only 3 teams out of 10. So what makes us so hard? In Trapped in a Room with a Zombie, the clues themselves are kept standard but concentration goes right out the window when a zombie on a chain is chasing you. Only 30% of teams manage to stay focused enough to outwit our Doctor Oxy. This is just an example of how difficulty in an escape room is achieved, and how games have developed over the years to be different to your standard padlock and key.
However, it does leave the question about why players are opting for harder rooms over an easy win. With escape rooms in London costing between £25 to £30 per player, it used to be the standard that everyone won. No one wants to spend their hard earned money for an experience they don’t enjoy, and teams that escape are more likely to be more positive about their game. For the competitive amongst us, it can be disheartening to have lost after working so hard and paying so much money.
In 2014, Trapped in a Room with a Zombie was one of the first escape rooms to open in London. In 2019, escape rooms are such a popular activity that there are numerous directories to help you find the right escape room in London for you. From tech-heavy games, to specifically themed rooms, to immersive experience such as our own. But back in 2014, Trapped in a Room with a Zombie had a much higher escape rate. Over the past five years, our game designers have worked tirelessly to constantly be improving our game, going by feedback from players. This has allowed our small team to open Trapped in a Prison Van as well, as well as plan other games for future launch.
Due to the feedback from our players, it became obvious that people wanted harder escape rooms, more difficult puzzles, leading to higher satisfaction when they were among the 30% that escapes. But why are players choosing the harder games exactly? We know that guests are looking for higher difficulty, but not why.
Escape rooms are a new industry that has grown rapidly since 2007 and game providers are still learning what makes their experience as enjoyable as possible for the players; whether this is through interactive character actors such as Doctor Oxy, heavily themed room with immaculate set design, or advanced puzzles utilising VR and AR. Difficult rooms are simply another offering. Are they for every player? No, but they are becoming more in demand as players look for something new. As escape rooms evolve at a quicker and quicker rate, players are looking for a harder challenge that makes the game worth it.
The future of escape rooms is limitless with companies bringing in new and unexpected challenges that makes gameplay more rewarding. As escape rooms grow, players are looking for more of a challenge. Gone are the days when you would just be locked in a room with keys, padlocks and clues on paper. Harder gameplay allows players a new thrill and more satisfaction when they escape.