I love puzzles. You can say I’m kind of a nerd when it comes to them. That’s why I was excited to try out an escape room. Sure they aren’t that new. In fact, they’ve been popping up for the last couple of years in mass quantities around Minneapolis and other metropolitan areas.
With so many to choose from, I could have just gone to Groupon and picked the cheapest one. But after reading the fine print, I found that Escapology in Burnsville is one of the only locations that doesn’t combine player groups.
They also did force you to purchase tickets for the max number of people in the room to guarantee a private experience. It’s that reason I chose Escapology.
Escapology in Burnsville Escape Rooms
Which escape room is right for you?
Escapology is located in the Burnsville Mall. They are on the south side, with exterior signs, making it easier to find. Online they have multiple different rooms and backstories to pick from. Each has its own difficulty level. The ratings are determined by how fast people have been able to escape.
Intermediate – Budapest Express
Being a fan of the escape rooms on the internet, I loved exploring the virtual rooms and figuring out the puzzles. But almost every time, I’d end up on some type of walkthrough page to get a little help.
In the real-life escape rooms, you’ll have a game master there ready to help when you get stuck. They give you 3 free hints, and in case you are wondering, they are watching you the whole time.
Things to Know Before Starting
Arrive 10-15 minutes before your scheduled time. This way you can sign the liability waiver, get a drink, use the bathroom and anything else you need to beforehand.
They schedule games back to back with a little bit of time to reset the room when you are done. For that reason, they start the clock on time, every time.
Before starting, they give you the rundown of rules. No cameras, phones or anything like that. They have coat hooks outside each room, but if you would prefer, they do have a place in the room you could put your valuables too. I loved this because I didn’t have to hand my phone and stuff over to a perfect stranger.
You also aren’t locked in at any time. Totally liability thing which I loved. If you need to run out of any reason, even to use the bathroom, you can.
You won’t have to climb on things or turn over furniture for clues. There are some things that are purely decoration and they don’t want you to mess with. They have red dot stickers on them. This was nice because then you were on a complete tangent, or worried about breaking anything by messing with stuff you were supposed to.
Lessons Learned and other Escapee Room Tips
Most tips you find online are basic. “Search for everything.” “Things can be hiding everywhere.” “Sometimes you need a fresh pair of eyes”. Ok yes, but here are something that people don’t tell you. Don’t worry, the information I’m about to tell you won’t give game specifics away or ruin the fun.
Bring the right people with you
I know there are certain friends and family that would do well teamed up and some combinations that would fail miserably. Think about everyone’s strengths and weaknesses. You need a balance.
While everyone is participating in the fun, there is only one person that physically put a puzzle together. If that’s going to be a problem, you may want to bring other people with you.
The number of people is important
Most escape rooms have a set number of people to play the game. Like 2-10 players. Just because you can bring 10 people, does not mean you should. The sweet spot is often 4-6 players. The room we were in, was smaller to start with. More on that later. It would have been a little cozy cramming in 10 players. And with all the ideas flying around, it could be detrimental.
Remember the Back Story
One rule is not to start the game until they are done with the backstory and the clock starts. The only problem is I have very selective memory and names are the worst. When I meet someone I have to say their names 12 times in my head and then scramble to write it down because I will forget it almost instantly.
By the time the story was done, I knew someone was murdered and I need to find out who did it. I fogged over all the characters and couldn’t even tell you who was murdered.
When they say don’t start the game until the story is done, they are talking about searching for clues. I should have written down notes. If you struggle with this kind of thing too, consider bringing a note pad.
Don’t move things around
The nice thing about escape rooms on a computer is it tells you when you can and should pick up items. In real life, everything is fair game.
If it’s not bolted down (or in our case have a red dot on it) you can move it. I thought it would be easier to interpret stuff in a central location. It worked, until the end when we realized we needed to know where items were located in the room.
For some clues moving them was essential, others it was detrimental. Try and keeping everything in their original location, or keeping a note of where you found it.
Sometimes the devils in the details. Escapology likes to add distractions and things to help move the story along. But sometimes there are clues in there telling you what you should do first. If you keep everything where it was originally, there may be instructions in the stories that tell you by solving this puzzle it will unlock the lockbox.
Sometimes there is more than one room
I’m not going to lie, finding out there was more than one room was a bit of a let down initially. After spending a good chunk of time in our room, knowing where everything is, only to find another room of stuff to figure out was a little deflating. At the same time, we were in a medium difficulty room and there had to be more too it. After I accepting that, it had me wondering if the doors would ever stop.
If there is a lock, it’s for you
I kept seeing locks on doors. I initially thought that was for the staff or stuff we weren’t supposed to mess with, like a storage area. That was until we tried it out. If there is a keypad or keyhole, it’s meant for you! The staff rooms are outside of the escape rooms.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
I would love to say that I didn’t need help. That’s always the plan anyway. But after finding all the stuff in the room and getting stumped, we needed a clue just to get the first thing rolling. After that, things came a little easier.
At Escapology in Burnsville, you can get 3 free clues. Additional clues cost you some time against your total escape time. You have 60 minutes to escape, so if you open the door at 59 minutes and 59 seconds, but have purchased additional time, your escape time could be higher than 60 minutes. You will still get the full 60 minutes of time to escape the room.
Some hints aren’t very helpful. Like when they tell you what you already know and you still can’t figure it out. But then they throw up a second hint like, “You are trying the code in the wrong place and that’s why it doesn’t work!” It’s things like these where you are like “Wow, I feel stupid”. Ok, they weren’t that harsh but still.
Sometimes hits are given for free. I’m not sure if our game master felt sorry for us being only two people, or if we were so far off from where we needed to be that he through a couple extra our way. Every time we heard a ding, we looked to the monitor for some new piece of information.
Make it extra special
Escapology in Burnsville loves to help make your experience a little more special. They have hosted all kinds of things, including proposals. If you arrive earlier in the day and let them know, they can incorporate special clues in the room for you. They usually won’t hide a ring or anything valuable for you but a note is fine. If you have something in mind, call ahead and see if they can accommodate your request.
“We got Trapped”
We got close to finishing but in the end, we got trapped. The Game Master came in and walked us through the last puzzle. I was completely grateful for because it would have driven me insane not knowing. Once finished participants get a photo taken which we opted out of. The best part was, the email you the photo when you are done! In the past Escapology in Burnsville has offered Groupon’s for discount tickets. Otherwise, you can make reservations on their site. I’m already planning out my next team to go out there again soon!