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Photograph: Courtesy of Escape Hunt

8 online escape games to make you feel like you’ve broken free

Get your adrenaline pumping with our rundown of the best online escape games the internet has to offer

Huw Oliver
Written by
Huw Oliver
&
Time Out editors
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We could all do with a bit of escapism right now. But how can you get away when much of the world is still in some form of lockdown? Answer: with the internet’s array of brilliant virtual escape rooms, which offer an incredibly literal way to feel like you’re breaking free – all without leaving your sofa, and often for zero money.

Into your thrills, riddles and supernatural chills? These eight online escape games are bound to get your adrenaline pumping. And if you do make it out alive, here are some virtual tours of museums, famous attractions and castles and palaces that are also totally worth your time.

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Best online escape games

The Mystery of Time and Space
Photograph: The Mystery of Time and Space

The Mystery of Time and Space

Released way back in 2001, this is the OG online escape room (and still one of the best). With 20 levels of varying difficulty, a strong sci-fi plot and surprisingly good jazz soundtrack, the MOTAS is a great way to kill your quarantine boredom.

🕹️ Play it now

The Crimson Room
Photograph: The Crimson Room

The Crimson Room

Short by comparison with the MOTAS, Japanese game The Crimson Room is your best bet if you don’t want to spend hours trying to GTFO. You’ve woken up drunk, and it appears you’re locked in someone else’s bedroom. Now you’ve got to get that door open before it’s too late.

🕹️ Play it now

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Escape Hunt: The Fourth Samurai
Photograph: Courtesy of Escape Hunt

Escape Hunt: The Fourth Samurai

British firm Escape Hunt has worked out a way to let people play its IRL games via the internet. You control an an avatar (okay, a member of staff, wearing a webcam), tell them where to look, the codes they need and exactly how deftly to wield that potentially lethal sword (as the name suggests, it’s samurai-themed). The ideal way to hone your swordsmanship – from an exceedingly safe distance.

🕹️ Sign up and play

Doctor Who: Worlds Collide
Photograph: Courtesy of Escape Hunt

Doctor Who: Worlds Collide

Doctor Who’s cyborg-nemeses, with their arthritic robo-gait, often seem more humorous than terrifying. Which is why, when playing another virtual escape from Escape Hunt, it’s surprising to find yourself genuinely afraid of what might happen if you weren’t to prevent their attack on earth. Again, you’re on a Zoom call, playing the IRL escape room through the eyes of a very compliant member of staff.

🕹️ Sign up and play

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Baba Yaga
Photograph: Baba Yaga

Baba Yaga

Feeling a little hemmed in right now? At least you’re not trapped in a witch’s treehouse. This spell-driven game, which revolves around defeating the Baba Yaga character so widespread in Slavic folklore, has especially high production values (with some very spooky silhouettes hot on your trail).

🕹️ Play it now

Hogwarts Digital Escape Room
Photograph: Hogwarts Digital Escape Room

Hogwarts Digital Escape Room

You may be Google Doc-ed out after a long day of WFH. But you shouldn’t miss out on this genius Harry Potter-themed escape room created by a Pennsylvanian librarian – all housed within a Google Form. Required: logic, common sense and basic knowledge of the Harry Potter books.

🕹️ Play it now

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Pirate Island and Magic School
Photograph: Supplied / Funlab

Pirate Island and Magic School

Sydney’s Holey Moley has launched two virtual escape rooms – the swashbuckling Pirate Island and the enchanting Magic School. Each room is perfect for isolated teams of six to ten, with each participant joining the room individually via Zoom. A gamemaster will kindly offer help as your team solves puzzles together online. There’s no official word as to the dress code, but heck, we’d certainly recommend just rolling with the theme.

🕹️ Sign up and play

Isolation
Photograph: Escape Room

Isolation

Another Australian company, Melbourne’s Escape Roomhas launched a virtual game, Isolation, that takes place entirely over Zoom. After a video introduction, you quickly realise there’s someone else on the call, and that someone is not doing very well. He’s an astrophysicist and astronaut suffering from amnesia, and we soon discover that if we don’t recover his memories quickly, he won’t ever be able to leave the space station he’s trapped on.

🕹️ Sign up and play

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