Let’s face it, most escape room reviews are mostly worthless. Yet, it is often the first resource we go to when looking for a new escape room experience. In the U.S., Yelp is one of the primary user review websites for restaurants, car repair shops, nail salons, and escape rooms. Using crowd-sourced reviews, users rank their experience from 1 to 5 stars and offer a cursory review. Worldwide, TripAdvisor is the most useful website for crowd-sourced reviews of hotels, restaurants, and “things to do.” Both of these websites provide little useful information in their escape room reviews.
Escape room reviews suffer from the problem of how to give a review of something that is, by its nature, a secret. The first rule of escape rooms is, you don’t tell anyone how you escaped the room. (The second rule of escape rooms is usually something about not touching electrical outlets.) It is tough for anyone to give a review of an escape room without mentioning the puzzles, the clues, the surprises, the gadgets, and the riddles. The fun of an escape room is figuring that out on your own.
The other primary problem for escape room reviews is that most reviews are written by people who have only visited one escape room. And news flash! They loved it! 5-Stars! We had so much fun! Etc. Most of us remember our first time, and how much fun it was. However, a review of my first escape room experience would be worthless to me now that I have so much more experience with escape rooms. This problem was confirmed during a recent visit to a highly-rated Budapest escape room.
Mystique Room (also known as Escape Room Budapest) is ranked as the third highest escape room in Budapest, a city well-known for having many great rooms. It was probably the worst of our 14 Room Budapest Blitz.
Kay G, of Worcester, UK called it a “rainy day treat,” Parisian Laurent C said it was an “amazing escape room.” These are the first 2 TripAdvisor reviews for Mystique currently on the review page. Guess what? For both of them, this was their first and only review. Not only of escape rooms but for any kind of review on TripAdvisor. Needless to say, they provide no real information to an escape room enthusiast, (except to confirm that the company has toilet facilities).
What is the alternative? Unfortunately, valuable escape room reviews can be difficult to find. The most useful reviews come from bloggers (like me!) who love escape rooms. However, these sites are often regional, so you need to find the reviewer who specializes in your area, or the area you intend to visit. Another issue that comes up is that because these are done as a labor of love (or ‘labour of love’ for the UK reviews), review blogs can come and go, leaving excellent reviews from 2009, but nothing since.
Here are some current review sites that continue to be kept up to date, and provide great information and reviews for their region.
- California/Arizona: Christine Barger’s LiveEscapeRoomReviews blog is a great resource for room reviews, news, and interviews.
- Edmonton, Alberta: YegEscapeRoomRoundUp, from Lamya Asiff and Jason Lee Norman provides useful information for Edmontonian escape roomers.
- Singapore: Escaping is great for those lucky enough have access to all the escape rooms in Singapore.
- London: Live in London? Check out TheLogicEscapesMe, for quality UK escape room reviews and articles.
- Toronto: EscRoomAddict provides extensive reviews, with rankings and suggestions based on the type of room you are looking for.
- Mid-Atlantic USA: EscapeClues covers reviews for New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and D.C.
- Australia: LockMeIfYouCan has some great reviews with a focus on Australia. However, they are taking their reviews worldwide, with escape room reviews in 5 of the 7 continents.
- Australia: Although Intervirals is not so much a review site as a news/directory site for escape rooms, they have a lot of great information for escape room enthusiasts. They were one of the first sites I looked to when I ‘discovered’ escape rooms. So I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention to Intervirals.
There are probably more. Submit your escape room review website, and I’ll add it to the list.