Recommendations Guide: Play On-Demand Online Escape Games

You need an escape room fix, and you need it right this very moment. We have your back.

On-Demand

These are escape games you can play whenever you want, wherever you are.

You don’t need to book in advance. There is no live host. It doesn’t matter what time zone you’re in. You can simply purchase and play the game immediately.

There are a variety of styles available.

If you’re in the mood to play an escape room right now, here are our recommendations.

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Hivemind Reviewer Favorites

Listed alphabetically by style

Point-and-Click Adventure Game

Print-and-Play

Light Puzzle Hunt

VR

VR: a room illuminated though an unusual lense. Glyphs glow.

Are These Escape Games?

It’s a loose definition, sure, but our answer is yes.

These games all make use of escape room style solving in different ways:

  • aha-moments combined with process puzzles
  • an element of discovery
  • collaborative solves requiring teamwork
  • mission-based adventures

Plus, many of these games are created by escape room companies, some even as extensions of the world of their real-life escape games.

The Best Online Escape Games for Large Groups

Introduction

If you’re looking for an escape game that will accommodate a large group of players, they are few and far between.

Most escape games – in person and online – can’t support teams of more than 6 players and keep everyone actively engaged. If you’re looking for an escape game, we usually recommend dividing a large group into multiple smaller groups so that everyone gets to participate in the experience.

Each experience below takes elements from escape games and incorporates these into something a bit different. They support larger groups in different ways. Some will be better suited for your event (birthday party, team building, etc) than others.

Here are our recommendations for your group of 8+ people.

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Recommendations

Listed in alphabetical order:

Avatar Stalker, Project Avatar – This is an avatar-led livestream in a live action videogame style. In battle mode, players compete on opposing teams, starting in different areas, and meet in the final room where they try to score the most points. Battle mode supports groups as large as 20, but we recommend 10-12.

Boobano Farm, Mad Genius Escape Co. – This is a multiplayer online puzzle game – somewhere between a digital escape game and a point-and-click adventure. It’s available for 8-16 people; we think 10 is perfect.

Club Drosselmeyer 1943 – In the digital adaptation of Club Drosselmeyer (an annual holiday spectacular in Boston, MA), the story and gameplay are delivered through printable (or mailed) puzzles, a web-based radio show, and phone-based interactions. We recommend splitting a larger group into smaller “Civilian Defense Units” of 4-5 players. You can also contact the creators for additional options that support large corporate groups.

Dream Factory, Claustrophobia – This is an online party game played in Zoom. It feels like Cards Against Humanity and What do you Meme with a points structure. It’s for about 30 players, but that’s pretty flexible, and it’s best if all players know each other, and are comfortable coming up outrageous ideas.

Global Dominance, Claustrophobia – This is an online, competitive, social deduction game, not an escape or even a puzzle game. We recommend 30 players (6 teams of 5 players each).

Jury Duty, Exit Productions – This is a cooperative online immersive game featuring investigation, interrogation, and a little bit of puzzling. The players function as an actual jury, so 12 people is ideal.

Secret Library – This is a digital immersive mystery. Given the size of the digital environment and the number of characters, Secret Library is legitimately designed to work properly with groups ranging from about 20-60 people.

The Ruby Palace & The Sapphire Palace, Palace Games – These are point-and-click adventure games with elements of a light puzzle hunt. Each game supports hundreds of players, but they’d need to be broken into team of 4. The teams can compare scores across a full group leaderboard. These could work well for a corporate event.

The Verdict, Logic Locks – This is an immersive experience akin to a larp where participants essentially serve digital jury duty. Rather than “play” or “solve,” you discuss and debate ethnics and justice. This complex and intense experience deals realistically with emotionally heavy themes. It is best as a group of 12. You can book a single ticket into a public-ticketed event or you can book for a larger group all together.

Wreck Havoc: Global Catastrophe, Escape New Haven – This is a digital megagame with mechanics including resource management, social alliances and manipulation, and puzzles. It takes place in a digital event space that gives it a real-life megagame vibe. It supports team sizes from 24 to 240.

Your Escape Room Guide to Halloween Season 2020

Halloween from Home

If you’re looking to get into the Halloween spirit without leaving home, we have you covered. Here are our recommendations for online and tabletop escape games with spooky and haunted overtones.

As with real-life escape rooms, some of these games are scarier than others. There’s a broad range and individual sensibilities vary. The recommendations in this guide range from thematically creepy to overtly scary. You can click into the reviews for additional detail on the experiences.

A pair of hands holding a spooky black mask in the middle of a pumpkin patch.

Online Escape Games

These are the top choices from the Hivemind reviewers:

In addition, we recommend the following games (listed in alphabetical order):

Boxed Escape Games

Other Experiences

Sign up for our 2020 Virtual Escape Jam – Spooky Edition, happening October 18. This is a full-day workshop where you’ll team up with other creators (experienced and aspiring!) to create your own virtual escape game on a spooky theme.

Back Hatch Escapes’ Mother of Frankenstein on Kickstarter. Although the game won’t be here in time for this Halloween, you can support it now and look forward to when it arrives. The Kickstarter has already funded!

If you’d like to recommend other haunted and spooky themed escape games that can be played from home, please share them by commenting on this post.

Overhauled: NYC Escape Room Recommendations Guide

Earlier this week we published a significant update to our New York City Recommendations Guide.

Stylized New York City skyline.

Last year the New York City market faced a crisis when the New York City Fire Department began a series of surprise inspections and shut down many of our local escape rooms.

We these support safety measures. It’s important that the consumers are safe, and feel safe, playing these games. As our 2019 Safety Report demonstrated, escape rooms are a broadly safe activity.

In New York City, however, the inspections were handled rather chaotically. Because of this some companies are still closed, some will never open again, and many were shut down for the better part of a year. All the while, the FDNY would not share what standards they were holding these companies to. We asked multiple times, through multiple channels.

It feels like things have stabilized, so we felt comfortable putting together a total overhaul of our local guide.

That said, all is not resolved. There are some stellar New York City companies that have not yet reopened. They are struggling through bureaucratic hell. We hope they will open their doors again soon, and join this recommendations guide.

Check out our updated guide: New York City Recommendations Guide

Orlando, Florida: Escape Room Recommendations

Latest update: February 17, 2020

In Orlando, escape rooms are competing with the biggest names in entertainment for a share of your time and your money. While it might be hard to pry yourself away from the parks, it will be worth it. There are some outstanding escape rooms in Orlando.

Stylized image of Cinderella's Castle at Disney Orlando.

Market Standouts

  1. Captain Spoopy Bones, Doldrick’s Escape Room
  2. Super Bomb Squad, Doldrick’s Escape Room
  3. The Quest, Escape Goat
  4. Special Ops & Playground at The Escape Game (or just about anything at The Escape Game)

Since we visited in November 2019, Doldrick’s Escape Room has opened Spoopy’s Ghoulish Graveyard Gameshow, which we’ve heard is outstanding as well.

Set & Scenery Driven

Puzzle Centric

Tech Heavy

Newbie Friendly