Escape room video games are one of the subgenres of point and click adventure games. During each gameplay, the player’s task is to escape from locked rooms or houses by utilizing elements of the environment.

The popularity of these games quickly led to their transition from paper versions to computers, and then real escape rooms started appearing worldwide. Let’s consider what influenced their popularity, but first…

History of Escape Room Games

In 1988, when text-based games were still quite popular, John Wilson created the first game (an interactive fiction, of course) in which the player had to escape from a locked room. It was titled Behind Closed Doors. The idea resonated with players, and over the next 15 years, escape room video games began to evolve and took on the point and click style.

In 2004, there was a boom in this type of games, all thanks to the title made by the Japanese creator Toshimitsu Takagi – Crimson Room. Fun fact: fans of escape room games often refer to them as “takagism,” of course, in honour of Toshimitsu Takagi.

What Makes a Great Escape Room Video Game?

Above all, thematic diversity – everyone can test their skills in an escape room, choosing a title (and setting) that resonates best with them.

Here, nimble fingers don’t matter as much as perceptiveness, wit, the ability to connect learned facts, and most importantly – patience.

A significant portion of players appreciate escape rooms for the increasing adrenaline rush and constant tension, fuelled by the appropriate soundtracks. For some, it serves as a kind of introduction to visiting a real escape room.

GameReleaseGenreDeveloper
A Little To The Left 2022-11-08 Puzzle Max Inferno
Sherlock Holmes The Awakened 2023-04-11 Adventure Frogwares
The Past Within 2022-11-02 Indie Rusty Lake
Escape Simulator 2021-10-19 Adventure Pine Studio
It Takes Two 2021-03-26 Co-op Hazelight Studios
The Witness 2016-01-26 Adventure Thekla, Inc
We Were Here Together 2019-10-10 Co-op Total Mayhem Games
Superliminal 2020-11-05 Indie Pillow Castle
Antichamber 2013-01-31 Adventure Alexander Bruce
The Turing Test 2016-08-30 Adventure Bulkhead
The Talos Principle 2014-12-11 Adventure Croteam
The Room Two 2016-07-05 Adventure Fireproof Games
The Room Three 2018-11-13 Adventure Fireproof Games
The Room 4 Old Sins 2021-02-11 Puzzle Fireproof Games
Gnog 2018-07-17 Adventure KO_OP
Portal 2 2011-04-18 Adventure Valve

The Room Series

Release date:2018-11-13
Genre:Adventure
Developer:Fireproof Studios

The Room series is a must-play for escape room game enthusiasts. The first instalment, The Room, premiered in 2012 and received the BAFTA award for the best British video game, as well as the game of the year on Apple iPad.

In this game, nothing is as it seems. Apparently, simple puzzles turn out to be complex brain-teasers. The attractive graphics, vintage atmosphere, and demanding puzzles make you eagerly reach for the subsequent parts of the series.

Key features
  • Realistic and unsettling graphics
  • One mystery leads to another
  • So engaging that you won’t want to stop playing
  • A critically acclaimed series

Zero Escape Series

Release date:2017-03-24
Genre:Adventure
Developer:Spike ChunSoft

Zero Escape is another series of escape room games. The series consists of three parts, each telling the story of nine individuals who have been abducted by a figure known as “Zero.”

Zero Escape enriches players with a new, incredible experience, and each subsequent installment raises the bar higher. The intertwined, twisted stories grip players like a magnet.

Key features
  • Phenomenal, non-linear story
  • Solving puzzles to escape captivity
  • Fascinating pseudoscientific theories and ideas

The Talos Principle

Release date:2014-12-11
Genre:Adventure
Developer:Croteam

In the game, players take on the role of a robot who wakes up in a strange world filled with ancient ruins and modern technology. His task is to solve 120 puzzles.

A curiosity in The Talos Principle is that our hero spends most of his time outdoors instead of a dark, gloomy room. It’s where most puzzles are solved. Puzzles can be solved in various ways, but each choice will have consequences.

Key features
  • 120 puzzles in a stimulating fantasy world
  • A different atmosphere from horror-like games set in confined spaces
  • Non-linear game world
  • The opportunity to learn about civilization and fantastic technology

Myst

Release date:2021-08-26
Genre:Adventure
Developer:Cyan Worlds

Myst is a mysterious adventure game where you explore the secrets of the island of Myst and forgotten places known as “Ages”.

Thanks to the innovative approach to graphics by the creators, Myst achieved worldwide success and became a timeless title. The game has an incredible atmosphere and highly challenging puzzles that might discourage those lacking patience – however, it’s worth delving into them, as each location has its own fantastic story.

Key features
  • Set on a magical island shrouded in mystery
  • Numerous secrets and locations to discover
  • Engaging virtual exploration
  • Demanding puzzles

Portal 2

Release date:2011-04-18
Genre:Adventure
Developer:Valve

Portal 2’s story takes place 50,000 years after the events of the first installment. Awakened from hibernation, Aperture and Chell attempt to escape confinement. Unfortunately, the artificial intelligence GLaDOS stands in their way.

Although Portal meets all the criteria of an escape room game, it’s rarely perceived that way. It’s more commonly described as a platformer with plenty of puzzles. However, when delving into escape room video games, it’s also worth picking up this title and getting caught up in its incredible story.

Key features
  • Separate stories for single-player and multiplayer
  • Perfect game for Half-Life fans and other Valve works
  • New dynamic characters
  • Puzzles of varying degrees of difficulty

Benefits of Playing Escape Room Games

Above all, escape room games provide entertainment, evoke excitement, and challenge our minds. Moreover, they serve as an excellent introduction to visiting a real escape room – of course, with a group of friends. Fantastic fun is guaranteed!

Tips for New Players

Can’t wait to start your first escape room game? That’s great! Before you sit down in front of the screen, listen to our tips:

  • Not everyone likes being scared. If you’re not into horror, start with a game with a less frightening theme (like Myst, for example).
  • If it’s your first time, have a notepad and pen ready – jotting down important details will help with puzzle-solving.
  • In escape room games, coincidences don’t exist – pay attention to all texts (even book titles, seemingly insignificant scribbles on walls, or notes scattered throughout the world).
  • Search for repeating patterns; these could be colors, shapes, numbers, or words.
  • Collect items, even if they seem unimportant at first – each one could be a crucial element or be useful in obtaining another item.
  • Don’t overthink – sometimes the solution is much easier than it seems.

Conclusion

Escape room games have been delivering a plethora of experiences since their inception. Their engaging stories and puzzles keep you glued to the screen. Taking on challenges and uncovering mysteries make us keep coming back for more. The satisfaction of a successful escape is incomparable to anything else. But don’t take our word for it – experience it yourself!