With so many escape room businesses popping up all over town lately, picking out which one to experience isn’t easy. What’s more, the businesses themselves often find it a challenge to stick out among their myriad competitors.
Escapes in Time in Orem has met that challenge admirably. As the business’ name denotes, not only does every room have a clock counting down the time in which players must escape, but each room is uniquely themed as different time periods, as if the players have traveled back in time.
Currently, Escapes in Time’s rooms are: OK Corral Jailbreak, which takes players back to the Old Wild West, Tombstone, Arizona, 1881, in the middle of a shootout; Crazy Hoarders Attack, based in a condemned, dilapidated home in 1978 in Orem; Pandora’s Paranormal Parlor, which takes players back to an enchanted, demon-filled parlor in 1897 in Blackpool, England; Santa’s Been Kidnapped, a modern North Pole workshop belonging to a jolly, festive fellow; Leonardo’s Loot, based in the famous DaVinci’s renaissance workshop in Florence, Italy, in 1501; and Baker Street Mystery, which takes players into the world of detective Sherlock Holmes and his London flat in 1903.
Each room appeared to be designed and decorated with a lot of thought and detail, enabling players to feel wholly immersed in the time period and setting.
While I and my group were able to see each room, we opted to take on the escape challenge in Leonardo’s Loot — though when I return, I’d personally love to try out Pandora’s Paranormal Parlor or Baker Street Mystery, after getting sneak peaks. If I were to ever come back with a group that included kids, I’d definitely opt for Santa’s Been Kidnapped, which is specially designed to have many parts of the overall puzzle accessible to children both physically and mentally, as well as toys and activities to do if a kid doesn’t feel like concentrating on the puzzle-solving the whole time.
I’ve been to a wide range of escape rooms over the last couple years, and I would rank my experience at Escapes in Time up there with the best of them.
With the precaution of not giving away any spoilers to potential future players of the room, my description of our Leonardo’s Loot experience will have to be a bit vague.
One of my pet peeves with escape rooms is when the overall puzzle just feels like one long string of finding a key which opens a box which has a code which opens another box which contains a key … you get the picture. Of course, all escape rooms are going to have these elements, but the escape rooms that stand out are the ones that mix them in with unique, fun, problem-solving opportunities. We were happy to find a good mix while inside DaVinci’s workshop.
Our minds were definitely challenged in a non-frustrating way for the most part, and we enjoyed that the room was set up in a way that encouraged teamwork rather than each person working out things separately, which often happens in escape rooms.
We also were happily surprised to discover along the way that DaVinci’s workshop was cleverly whimsical — there was definitely more to it than as it at first appeared.
In general, escape rooms can take two different approaches when it comes to difficulty: either the rooms are extremely difficult to solve in one hour, and the business prides itself on its low escape rates; or, while still a challenge to solve, the room can take an “everybody wins” approach, without being too strict with the time limit and offering occasional clues and help. Both can be fun experiences, but, as you can imagine, the first is more intense and competitive, while the other is more relaxed and guaranteed to not leave any players feeling like losers.
Escapes in Time’s approach is more aligned with the latter. Everybody succeeds in one way or another in each room. Part of this approach includes a special box and touchscreen in each room, in which players can drop coins hidden throughout the puzzle to track their progress, which allows the touchscreen to provide clues lined up with their progress, if the players opt to get a clue.
My only slight disappointment was in the size of our room — it was a bit on the smaller side. Though it apparently was the room with the smallest capacity.
The smallest room allows two to six players, the largest room allows six to 14 players, with the rest of the rooms ranging in capacity in between.
When it comes to pricing, Escapes in Time is also unique in that it offers a separate discounted rate for teenagers: Adults are $25, teens are $15 and children are $10 (prices are for public rooms, meaning other customers may join your group. Separate private room rates are also available).