24 Mar

14 Best Escape Room Alternatives to Try


Want to enjoy the thrill of escape rooms but lack willing teammates or venues in your area? Ready to test your skills outside the traditional escape room setting?

If the answer to these questions is “yes,” this article is for you!

Escape rooms have become widespread in recent years. These rooms attract thrill-seekers and puzzle enthusiasts with immersive challenges and exciting scenarios presented in an interactive setting.

However, not everyone has access to a venue. If that is the case, escape room alternatives are available to cater to every adventurer’s desire for excitement and mystery.

Like escape rooms, they may offer scavenger hunts or virtual reality experiences that encourage players to crack codes, decode puzzles, and unravel hidden mysteries before time runs out.

We explore 14 engaging activities like escape rooms in this article, how they compare to a full escape room experience, and how escape room fans can experience the same thrill without needing an escape space.

1. Mini-Escape Room

A mini-escape room offers all the thrills and challenges of a traditional escape room experience, BUT on a much smaller scale.

In a broader context, a mini-escape room is a condensed version of the popular escape game designed to be enjoyed in a compact space over a shorter duration. Usually, it goes on for about 10 to 30 minutes.

This escape room alternative is about crafting an immersive adventure with puzzles, clues, and challenges. What is fantastic is it gets your friends or family involved without needing the time commitment full-sized escape rooms require!

To create your own mini-escape room at home, start by brainstorming ideas on how to make an escape room. Gather your materials and plan out the storyline and puzzles.

To start, here is what you will need.

  • A tent
  • Some basic props
  • Your creativity

For a simple mini-escape room setup, you will need the following.

  • A lockbox with a combo lock
  • Some framed pictures
  • Basic art supplies

Set up the pictures strategically inside the tent and jot down some numbers on the frames as clues for the lockbox code.

You can create an incredible story to excite your friends or kids and get them invested in cracking the code. For instance, small prizes or tokens of achievement may be inside the boxes that hold the keys to freedom.

Lastly, do not forget to put something fun in the lockbox to reward your players.

2. Board Games

board games

Board games are a timeless form of entertainment that people of all ages have enjoyed for centuries.

Board games have all the classics, like Monopoly and Scrabble. You also have those strategic card games, like Magic: The Gathering, and those immersive role-playing adventures, like Dungeons & Dragons. There may be a game for everyone!

These fun tabletop games offer a refreshing break from screen time. They bring people together for face-to-face fun and create lasting memories for the whole family.

One excellent type of board game gaining popularity is the “escape room” genre. You can experience all the excitement of solving puzzles and cracking codes right from your kitchen table.

These board games come in convenient boxes with everything you need, making them perfect for a relaxed game night with friends or family.

This escape room alternative also makes for fantastic escape room gifts, especially for those who love teamwork and solving mysteries.

3. 5-Minute Dungeon

If you are into exhilarating and fast-paced card games, 5-Minute Dungeon is for you. It is a thrilling card game that plunges players into the heart of a high-stakes war scenario.

5-Minute Dungeon challenges players to work together to overcome obstacles and defeat enemies within a tight five-minute time limit.

Quick thinking and strategic planning are essential. You will need these skills as you navigate a maze of monsters, obstacles, and cunning dungeon masters, all while racing against the clock.

Success in this game depends on teamwork. Effective communication and rapid decision-making with fellow players are crucial to overcoming the challenges presented.

Whether looking for a fun team-building activity or a quick break from the everyday hustle, “5-Minute Dungeon” is the perfect choice.

Do not worry about age restrictions—this game is suitable for players eight and above, making it a fantastic option for family game nights.

4. Puzzle Races

Puzzle races are becoming popular, especially for those who love a good challenge in a group setting. It offers a similar rush to the one you get from escape rooms.

Puzzle races involve dividing players into teams and giving them similar puzzles to solve as quickly as possible.

Instead of sticking to the usual puzzles, these games mix it up with various challenges. These include jigsaw puzzles, Rubik’s cubes, crosswords, and more.

Puzzle races are about flexing brainpower, teamwork, and communication. The players must work together, communicating to come out on top.

With everyone racing against the clock, it is like tackling two escape rooms simultaneously, ramping up the thrill and making every victory even sweeter.

5. Scavenger Hunts

scavenger hunts

Scavenger hunts are exciting activities like escape rooms, perfect for both indoor and outdoor settings. These games offer participants a dynamic way to engage with their surroundings.

Participants of scavenger hunts are presented with a list of items to find or tasks to complete. They must race to locate them within a specified time frame, having found all the items on their list.

Scavenger hunt challenges may involve finding physical objects or deciphering clues hidden in the environment. The items must be readily available but typically unusual objects for an additional challenge.

The hunt participants often take pictures of the items they have found or completed tasks to prove their success.

Scavenger hunts are ideal for those who enjoy exploration. This escape room alternative allows players to move around more freely and interact with their surroundings rather than remain seated at a table.

Scavenger hunts promise adventure and excitement for all involved, whether it is a scavenger hunt at home or an outdoor scavenger quest. The options are limitless!

6. Amazing Race

Traditional escape rooms are undoubtedly fun, but why not take the excitement to the next level with “Amazing Race” style challenges?

The Amazing Race is an escape room alternative that amps the excitement by adding physical challenges. It turns a simple hunt into an all-out race against the clock.

Initially, you scatter stations throughout a big outdoor area, each packed with puzzles, riddles, or physical challenges. Then, you divide everyone into small teams and let the race begin!

Teams go head-to-head, sprinting to conquer these challenges and dash to the finish line first. The first team to conquer all challenges takes home the prize.

For example, you can head to a nearby park or a big outdoor spot and set up some stations for fun challenges. You could have challenges like the following.

  • Puzzles (“Try this jigsaw puzzle!“)
  • Riddles (“What gets wetter as it dries?“)
  • Or light physical tests (“Do twenty push-ups!“)

While it might take more prep than your usual hunt, the “Amazing Race” style is perfect for bigger groups. It transforms your outdoor space into an epic playground of excitement and fun.

7. Geocache Storytelling

geocache storytelling

Geocaching is a fun outdoor activity similar to escape rooms and involves using GPS coordinates to find hidden containers, known as “geocaches.” Geocaches contain clues and items that lead to the next container.

Instead of finding containers filled with random stuff, you can dive into an epic adventure. All you need are the following.

  • A GPS device
  • Several small containers
  • Once again, your imagination!

Give the participants the first set of coordinates and send them off on their adventure. Stick some story bits in each container you hide for them to discover.

The participants must hunt down the next container to keep the story rolling. It is a way to turn reading into a fun adventure that gets everyone up and moving around!

8. Jeopardy

Jeopardy is an exciting challenge where players earn points by tackling clues on the game board. These clues span various general knowledge types that players must answer correctly.

To play Jeopardy, the players select a question within a category and assign it a point value. If the players answer correctly, they earn points, but a wrong answer deducts the same amount.

Players usually bet big on topics they are confident about to boost their points. It is all about leveraging your strengths to score big in the game!

Playing Jeopardy is like giving your brain a good workout. Adults are sure to have a blast playing it!

9. Coworker Feud

coworker feud

Coworker Feud is a fun, interactive game inspired by “Family Feud.” It is a fun escape room alternative where you work together to guess the most popular survey responses!

Coworker Feud promotes teamwork, communication, and friendly competition among coworkers. It is not about individual opinions but finding the answers most people would give.

To participate in this exercise, the moderator first prepares a list of survey questions. Next, the game master lists the five most common answers to each question. The host then asks the same survey questions.

The first team to name any of the five answers on the host’s list earns the points for that question.

Coworker Feud can be virtual or in-person. The partakers can use the chat feature of apps to type in answers or press a buzzer for the chance to respond. This game is a fun way to challenge and engage work teams.

10. Jenga

Jenga is one of those timeless classics that has been a hit on game nights for ages. Whether you are a kid or a kid at heart, it is hard not to get sucked into the fun of this tabletop favorite!

Jenga consists of wooden blocks stacked in a tower formation, each layer perpendicular to the one below it.

The goal is simple: participants take turns pulling one block at a time from the tower and then placing it on top. The catch is that the tower becomes unstable as the game progresses, and more blocks are removed.

Jenga is about keeping a steady hand and making those split-second decisions to keep the tower from toppling over. It is a nerve-wracking test of skill and precision that keeps everyone on the edge of their seat!

Jenga is suitable for various settings and ages. It offers different-sized sets to accommodate different group sizes and playing environments.

11. The Human Knot

“The Human Knot” is a popular icebreaker and team-building activity often used in group settings. You can include this activity in corporate team-building events, youth camps, or classrooms.

To play “The Human Knot,” the players stand in a circle and extend their arms into the center, crossing them over to hold hands with two different people across from them.

This escape game aims to untangle the resulting knot of arms without letting go of each other’s hands, all while maintaining contact throughout.

The Human Knot is an engaging activity, especially popular with teens and adults. It encourages teamwork, communication, and problem-solving skills.

12. Murder Mystery

murder mystery

Tap into your inner Sherlock Holmes and join in on a murder mystery. Murder mysteries are immersive storytelling experiences that revolve around investigating a suspicious death.

Participants often receive scripts in advance. They use the scripts to portray characters and delve into the intricate storyline.

Enhancing storytelling adds more depth to the experience. It will draw participants into the narrative and allow them to put themselves into the world as the mystery unfolds.

Murder mysteries are an exciting and interactive form of entertainment that adults and older teens typically enjoy.

Hosting a virtual murder mystery can be a fantastic way to engage with friends and family from afar. It adds an extra layer of intrigue and suspense to online gatherings.

13. Trivia


Trivia is a game that revolves around answering questions on various topics. The topics include general knowledge, history, pop culture, sports, and more.

Trivia games are a popular pastime enjoyed by people of all ages in various settings. This includes pubs, game nights, social gatherings, and online platforms.

To participate in trivia games, players simply provide answers to the given questions and earn points for correct responses.

Trivia games can be in-person or virtual, with online players being able to use apps like Kahoot! to participate in real-time. These apps tally points on the go and can analyze the speed and accuracy of players.

Virtual trivia has become popular for connecting with friends and family remotely, providing intellectual stimulation and entertainment from the comfort of your own home.

14. Movie Night

Movie nights are cozy gatherings where team members watch selected films. They can happen in various settings, including homes, outdoor venues, community centers, or drive-in theaters.

The participants of the movie night gather together to watch a selection of films offered by the host or through a group decision.

Remote teams can join virtual movie nights by logging into video conference platforms like Zoom or Discord. Then, the host streams a movie on a shared screen for everyone to watch together.

Movie nights are perfect for when you want to take a break from more active games and simply kick back and relax with friends or colleagues.

Movie nights are a popular activity enjoyed by people of all ages and backgrounds. These activities offer a chance to unwind, relax, and bond over shared cinematic experiences.

Key Takeaways on Escape Room Alternatives

The 14 best escape room alternatives promise endless excitement and adventure for those seeking new thrills or close approximations beyond traditional escape room experiences.

These fun escape room alternatives cater to the diverse tastes of every adventurer. From puzzle games to mini escape rooms, they offer a fun story, critical thinking challenges, and the means of creating great memories that escape room fans can appreciate.

For those intrigued by the concept of escape rooms but looking for a convenient and immersive option, Escapely’s Virtual Escape Room is a perfect choice.

Escaspely’s captivating scenarios and seamless virtual experience bring the thrill of escape rooms to your screen.

To book your virtual escape room experience or inquire about custom escape room alternatives, contact Escapely at hello@escapely.com or call 702 747 009 today.

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