Though Maryland is easing into reopening during the COVID-19 pandemic, physical distancing is still strongly recommended, making many activities unfeasible. Pre-pandemic, one of my favorite hobbies was going to escape rooms — rooms full of puzzles designed to challenge players’ logic and riddling skills.

During the quarantine, librarians, puzzle fans and graduate students designed a variety of virtual escape rooms as alternatives to in-person ones. With a video call open in one window and the escape room open in a second, I’ve riddled my way through several rooms with friends. Also, though conventional escape rooms can be quite pricey, most virtual escape rooms don’t cost a penny.

Here are some that have been keeping me and my friends entertained for the past few months!

Hogwarts Digital Escape Room

This is the first virtual escape room I tried with my friends. Developed by librarian Sydney Krawiec, it’s decently difficult and has a variety of puzzles. In my opinion, it’s a very good first escape room to try.

Try the Hogwarts Digital Escape Room.

Difficulty: 7/10
Enjoyability: 6/10

Harry Potter Digital Escape Room

This Harry Potter-themed escape room took my friends and me approximately an hour to complete. The puzzles are mostly difficult but not too hard. However, I wish better hints were available.

Try the Harry Potter Digital Escape Room.

Difficulty: 6/10
Enjoyability: 6/10

Ultra Mega Super Death Escape Room

The hardest yet the most enjoyable escape room that I’ve played so far. With all the puzzles on the same page, it allows teams to work in parallel together. This took me and my friends approximately three hours to finish, the longest out of all these rooms.

Try the Ultra Mega Super Death Escape Room.

Difficulty: 9/10
Enjoyability: 10/10

Spy Apprentice Digital Escape Room

This one has you following Carmen Sandiego around the globe. The puzzles are slightly too easy, which makes the room less cohesive for teams.

Try the Spy Apprentice Digital Escape Room.

Difficulty: 6/10
Enjoyability: 6/10

Pikachu’s Rescue

In this escape room, you use your skills to solve the case of Pikachu’s mysterious disappearance. This room requires knowledge about the Pokémon series, and a few portions have broken links. Still, it is a fun time.

Try Pikachu's Rescue.

Difficulty: 4/10
Enjoyability: 4/10

Hopkins Escape Room

After playing these virtual escape rooms, I was inspired to try my hand at developing one of my own!

Try the Hopkins Escape Room.


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