Arts & Entertainment

Review: KUAB’s Virtual Escape Room

By Jenny Wallace
Arts & Entertainment

On Sept. 15, KUAB held an online escape room event. After logging onto Zoom and splitting into breakout rooms, participants were left sitting on an explosive chair with only Detective Axley to give clues on how to stand up without blowing up.

Axley was permitted to give three additional badge hints, which would cost the group three minutes each. There were 15 participants, myself included, who had 60 minutes to put the clues together and beat the challenge. 

Participants had access to a clue folder on their phones, linked by a QR code. The group also had access to the internet to figure out clues. 

Communication was poor without a chat room option. When I spoke over the mic, I was  ignored. 

Aside from communication issues, some technical issues were prominent. At one point, the group had to send an email, but almost everyone who sent it was met with a ‘delivery failure’ and told the email didn’texist. 

We also had to login to account based sites, like Tumblr and LinkedIn, to find different clues. Not everyone had accounts for these sites, making it difficult to move forward. 

The clues themselves were very easy to figure out, but trying to access an ancient site like MySpace was not efficient or exciting whatsoever.

In addition, the Zoom screen was blurry, and seeing the environment was near impossible. We couldn’t read the clues on the screen, and the clues on our phones were sometimes cut off due to the mobile interface. The internet would lag, and we couldn’t hear Detective Axley’s badge hints, costing us time and causing frustration. 

Once we finally figured out the last clue, we had escaped, not only before time ran out, but also  setting a new record. There were 15 minutes left on our 60 minute timer. 

I enjoyed the experience. It was a great idea, and it reminded me of a Nancy Drew game or Hooda Escape. However, the clues were easy for college level students, and the ones that weren’t were due to technical issues. 

I think this would be a great event to have again, with better internet and less reliance on other websites and maybe a chat box as well to avoid mic failures and speaking over one another. 

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