If you are looking for a real life puzzle that you have to physically work your way through, I highly recommend you try an Escape Room.
Escape rooms evolved from video game genre called room escape. You are given a certain amount of time to interact with your surroundings and uncover the necessary clues that will allow you to “escape with your life.”
We went with some friends to Hidden Key Escapes in Naperville, IL. As you are led down the bland hallway anticipation starts to build. Once you arrive in your room the gamemaster will give you the background story explaining how you got trapped the room. We chose to conquer The Hideaway and competed in the challenge with 4 people. The Hideaway had 15 different locks and in order to unlock them you had to solve numerous puzzles that led you to keys, numbers, and letters. There were 4 types of locks used in this set up. The majority of locks were number locks ranging from 3 to 4 numbers, also had a few that required keys and a few that used letters. Remember to look everywhere, behind pictures, under furniture, in books, etc. If you see something odd, investigate it and let everyone in your game know you came across something.
The hardest part was figuring out where to start. Your first task is to uncover whatever clue you can find to get started on a puzzle. Once you find a clue and have a path to follow the excitement starts. As you work your way through the room you are allowed 3 hints. I highly recommend using whatever help you can take. The further the clock winds down the more your adrenaline starts to build. They were nice enough to allow us to finish our room and we were able to complete it 2 minutes and 43 seconds over our allotted time frame.
Each room at Hidden Key Escapes has details and décor so players are transported to their room’s time and place. For example, The Hideaway had wood plank walls to simulate a cabin interior. Boards across the back window so you felt locked in. (Have no fear, there are no locks on the door, you can leave any time you wish.) Lights were incandescent, yellowed, and dim to give a night time feel. The furniture is not antique but does relate to the time period of the room. The Hideaway’s backstory is: In 1934, two bank robbers, and highly wanted criminals, decided to expand their criminal resume in an attempt to score big. The plan – a kidnapping. Their first and only victim – Charles Ross, the retired CEO of a large company in Chicago. Kidnapped at gunpoint on North Avenue, Ross spent weeks in a small hideaway in Emily, Minnesota while the masterminds were planning an elaborate ransom delivery. Ross had one opportunity to escape, but to do so, he had to somehow escape his locked room. Will he make it out alive? Or will he fall victim to the kidnappers plan? Based on a true story.
Will you escape with your life?