We played and reviewed 258 room escapes in 2017.
Our escape rate was 96.12%. That’s 10 losses, including one game that appears on this list.
We traveled more than 58,000 miles in search of the finest escape rooms in the world. Our journey took us to:
- 75 cities and towns
- 15 US states
- 7 countries
- 3 conferences
We played more escape rooms this year than we have in all other years combined.
We also put a heavy focus on hunting down top games wherever we traveled, so in addition to playing more games, we mostly played games that ranged from good to phenomenal.
2017 spoiled us. These 17 escape rooms were the games that we enjoyed the most.
There is no such thing as the perfect escape room, but these are the ones that we wish we could play again.
There were plenty of other amazing escape rooms, but we can’t honor them all. In the end these 17 rose to the top.
- We only considered games that we both played in 2017. (We did not consider either Time Run or any of the Polish games because only one of us visited these companies.)
- We both had to agree to award the room the Golden Lock-In.
- We established no arbitrary minimum or maximum number of rooms that could appear on the list.
- A company could only win once for the year.
2017 Golden Lock-In Winners
Listed chronologically in the order we played them.
15 Locks – Austin, Texas
Visually simple, yet deceptively complex, Lab Rats was the most phenomenal large-team game we’ve played because this colorful experiment optimized for collaboration across separated spaces through inventive game mechanics.
The Crux Escape – Niagara Falls, Canada
Rock & roll might be a shambling corpse, but this rock & roll zombie apocalypse was alive. Dead Air was cohesive, elegant, humorous, and perhaps most shockingly… it made sense, story included. We sent so many attendees of the Room Escape Conference to visit this low-budget masterpiece and they all returned smiling.
Komnata Quest, Manhattan – New York, New York
Maze of Hakaina dropped us into a Japanese-inspired and video game-esque labyrinth that came to a very pointed climax.
Sherlocked – Amsterdam, The Netherlands
We raced from a parking garage to Amsterdam’s historic Beurs van Berlage and talked our way past a guard into a hidden and majestic basement. The Vault captured the heart-racing, blood-pumping feel of a Hollywood heist.
Escape Room Netherlands – Bunschoten-Spakenburg, The Netherlands
Girl’s Room felt alive… and angry. The extensive and thoughtful technology made it feel like we weren’t alone in this dark and twisted thriller. While it was a trek to get to Escape Room Netherlands from Amsterdam, if you’re brave enough, it’s worth the journey.
Escapade Games – Anaheim, California
F****** terrifying. In Escapade’s haunted house with escape room mechanics as gates, we were mind controlled and at the mercy of Zoe as she paralyzed us with fear… then made us solve puzzles.
Escape The Room NYC – New York, New York & Boston, Massachusetts
Peak puzzles: Clock Tower was a love letter to escape room players. It looked beautiful and played even better. Technology seamlessly connected brilliant and occasionally devious puzzles and props, making us earn our victory.
Riddle Room – Minneapolis, Minnesota
Utopia was an illusion. When we first entered the gamespace, we worried we’d hate it. Behind its deceptively simple facade we discovered brilliant physical and digital puzzles that carried a narrative and challenged our assumptions of what escape rooms could or should be.
The Room – Berlin, Germany
The Lost Treasure was a masterpiece of game and adventure design. The energy, effects, and beauty of this game made us feel like we were Indiana Jones. When we won, we didn’t want to leave. Months later we are still amazed by how much detail The Room crammed into this game, yet it never felt distracting or misleading.
13th Hour Escape Games – Wharton, NJ
Slightly creepy and seriously playful, The Great Room impressed us on multiple levels. From the dynamic introduction, to the puzzles, to the gamespace itself, it was a great room.
RISE Escape Rooms – Tickfaw, Louisiana
Spellbound’s witches vs vampires drama brought together the old and new: hefty locks and magical opens, common puzzle types and new twists, all in a beautifully weathered set that gave way to so many surprises.
13th Gate Escape – Baton Rouge, Louisiana
I cannot think of an escape room moment more dramatic than the opening reveal of Tomb of Anubis. The scale of this adventure was as daunting as it was enchanting.
Escape My Room – New Orleans, Louisiana
Escape My Room’s themed facility, the DeLaporte estate, captivated us with its decor, characters, and eccentricity. Inventor’s Attic pinnacled their unified aesthetic through elaborate mechanisms, interconnected oddities, beautiful reveals, and smart puzzles.
Strange Bird Immersive – Houston, Texas
Strange Bird Immersive’s theatrical escape room hybrid was so powerful that we teared up. In The Man from Beyond, the push and pull of actors and puzzles didn’t compete; they intertwined. The performance was as moving and fine tuned as the mechanical puzzles.
Trap’t – Stamford, Connecticut
Time Chasers linked four seemingly unrelated escape room worlds into one grand adventure. Each segment was loaded with compelling details that enriched the story without bogging it down. Any individual room within this game could have carried a stand-alone escape room.
THE BASEMENT – Sylmar, California
The Elevator Shaft was exhilarating and loaded with edgy practical effects. THE BASEMENT’s latest thriller locked us inside of a menacing elevator shaft reimagined in the image of the Death Star trash compactor.
Puzzalarium – San Diego, California
The Parlour combined puzzles with resource optimization, creating an intriguing hybrid tabletop game and escape room. Presided over by the puzzle purveyor, Puzzalarium’s abstraction was as peculiar as it was pleasing.
Congratulations to the 2017 Golden Lock-In Winners!