How to Look for Escape Room Clues

Perhaps you want to try an escape room, but you aren’t sure what you’re getting yourself into. Maybe you’ve already been to an escape room, but you want to improve your ability to notice and use clues that you discover. Trapped Puzzle Rooms offers seven different escape room experiences in the Twin Cities area for groups of 5-10 participants.

Read on to learn about the kinds of clues you might find in a puzzle room, and how to use them to solve the puzzles, beat the timer, and make your escape. Before long, you’ll be sniffing out escape room clues like a pro.

box with books

Boxes, Boxes, Boxes

Escape rooms frequently use boxes in their puzzles. Boxes can be locked easily, and they’re great for stashing more clues inside. When you come into an escape room, look for boxes right away and check if they open freely.

Open any boxes you can and see what’s inside. If it’s a key, a fragment of something, or looks like it belongs in a set, it’s probably important. Leave the box open, so you know you’ve touched that piece. Either leave the potential clue inside the box for all to see or move it to your designated clue-gathering space.

If a box can’t be opened because it is locked or “stuck,” then it is vital to the escape room. It contains something useful inside. You’re going to have to solve additional clues, however, to get whatever is needed to open that box. It might be a key, a pattern, a combination, or an item embedded with a radio or infrared chip.

old lock with key

Locks of All Sorts

If you discover a lock, take note of where it is and what type of lock it is. What does it need to open? Does it require a word, a series of numbers, or a physical key? Is it a directional lock, requiring you to push the lock in one of the four cardinal directions in a specific pattern?

Looking at how the lock will open helps you notice clues that might work to open that lock. For example, if a lock requires a four-digit code, pay attention to any other items in the room that contain a four-digit number. It is very likely that one of those numbers will open that lock.

Puzzle room designers often leave clues that help determine which puzzle sequence a lock goes with. These clues may be near the lock, on the locked item, or on the lock itself. For example, if a lock has a small picture of a raccoon on it, look around the room for anything that also has a raccoon. These two items are related somehow. You’ll have to figure out how.

old key

Single Items that Belong to a Set

If you find something that looks like it goes with another object, you’ll want to be on the lookout for its mate. It might be a puzzle piece, which implies there are other puzzle pieces in the room that need to be put together to get some information.

It might also be part of something that is usually a set, such as a pair of socks, salt & pepper shakers, or a cup and its saucer. Another example is a set of children’s blocks with letters on them. If you find one, there are very likely more. Those blocks may end up spelling something once you sort the letters.

Broken, Torn, or Ripped items

If you come across an article that looks like part of it is missing, this is probably a clue. Somewhere in the room is the other part of it. You might find this with a letter ripped into pieces, or a case that is missing its handle. Putting the pieces together helps you get all the information or make the item function in order to solve a puzzle.

Look Up, Down, and Under

Escape room clues can be anywhere. Sometimes they are up high, or sometimes they are literally under your feet. They might be on the underside of a table, placed under objects, or hidden within the artwork. There can even be escape room clues on the ceiling.

Rule of thumb: anywhere is fair game unless the escape room monitor tells you certain areas are not allowed. For example, a monitor might tell you that there is no need to remove artwork from the walls as there are no clues located there.

mystery door

Make a Gathering Place for Your Escape Room Clues

It’s usually a smart idea to designate a specific place in the escape room to put the clues that you find. Doing so helps you see all the various pieces and unknown bits next to each other. Something that doesn’t make sense alone might suddenly be obvious when viewed with other items.

Sometimes the location of a clue in the room is part of the information needed to solve the puzzle. For example, a note found inside a book might refer to something else in the book. By taking the clue out of the book, you may remove some context that would help you solve the puzzle. If you gather your clues in one area, be sure to take note of where you found them. That way, if you have to return to that spot to search for additional information, you can.

Listen to What the Monitor Says at the Intro

The blurb about the escape room or the introduction that the facilitator gives before they start the clock might have hints about where to look for clues in this particular escape room. Pay attention to details that may reveal useful information.

Try Out Trapped Puzzle Rooms

At our multiple Twin Cities locations, we have seven different escape room experiences. Each has a unique theme with different kinds of puzzles. Some of these hints may prove helpful to you. Try these strategies the next time you’re in one of our puzzle rooms and see if they help you solve the mystery and beat the timer for escape room success.

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