You can still do escape rooms during the coronavirus crisis – via Zoom

Through a live video stream you can guide a real-life host on ways to escape

Handout photos HintHunt an escape game for teams of three to five people who are given one hour to escape from a locked room, decorated in the style of a film noirÕs detective office. A crime scene outline of a body drawn on the floor marks the place where detective James Murdock met his untimely demise. Players escape by completing a number of clues to solve the murder, working together as a group to help establish who the culprit is and thereby earn their freedom. Story by Afshan Ahmed for A&L, Aug. 2014
CREDIT: Courtesy HintHunt
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Escapist fun seems extra appealing right now, but visiting one of the many escape rooms dotted around the UAE is currently an impossibility due to the stay at home measures being taken to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

But, you can still virtually attempt to escape a room: UK software company, Buzzshot, has created an online directory where you will find a series of virtual escape rooms to tackle from your couch.

With more than a dozen rooms to explore – settings range from attics to jail cells – the games are played in real time as you instruct a host, via live video feed, to look for the needed clues to escape.

To ensure social distance remains in place, multiplayers (up to five players) can join in a game from their respective home computers.

Some of the escape rooms available include finding a lost mobile phone in Stanley's Toy Box via US company Help Us Escape, the mafia-themed Don Vito Investigation via English company Harze Escape Room and Dutch company Locked Amsterdam's abandoned office challenge called Locked Down: The Submarine.

“With the COVID-19 crisis the whole industry has been suffering,” said Buzzshot founder Thomas Parslow.

“This is my way of doing something positive to help a new trend that I think could provide support for many struggling Escape Room companies and much needed entertainment, plus a cure for social isolation for many bored Escape Room fans.”

How does it work?

Since the games require a real-life host to be guided out of the escape room, you need to book the game online a few days in advance and then log in around 15 minutes before your appointment.

Video streaming software that you can use for these games include Zoom and Google Hangouts.

Laptops are recommended, as opposed to the smaller screen of a mobile phone, in order to provide players with the best view to seek out those vital clues. Prices range from $19 per person (Dh69.79) to $55 per session (Dh202.80).

Get your timing right

While there are more than 20 different experiences on offer, the fact that it requires a live host on site means you have to get the time difference right.

With the UK three hours behind the UAE, that shouldn’t pose a serious challenge for regional players.

However, if you are looking to plug in to the US based escape rooms, this could require some negotiations with the host.

For more details go to