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18 Virtual escape room ideas (and how you can do it yourself)

Creating a virtual escape room is quite a new idea. Indeed, it started since the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis, as people needed to find a way to have fun remotely, while actual escape rooms were closed.

However, they have remained popular even after the social distancing rules became less harsh or were being lifted altogether, as people have realised that the ability to hold various activities remotely brings real benefits. If you’re interested in setting it up as well, here are 18 virtual escape room ideas that you can apply now to build your own.

Ideas for setting up a DIY virtual escape room

1. Use technology

When thinking about how to make a virtual escape room happen, you might choose the easiest path: creating the game in the form of downloadable booklets. In this case, people would generally follow the instructions through a printed out sheet or the PDF reader on their smartphone.

However, you can’t get immersion by reading and operating through a sheet of paper. In addition to that, using technology actually makes it simpler to set up a virtual escape room. From any story, you can easily divide it into several paths, with triggers and complex riddles for exciting gameplay.

A scavenger hunt platform like Loquiz can be used as the technology to bring your virtual escape room ideas to life. You can try out Loquiz now to see the possibilities it offers.

Using Loquiz to create a virtual escape room game

2. An outdoor virtual escape room? Yes, it’s actually possible!

You don’t need to be inside of a room to feel locked-in. For example, imagine that you’re blocked in a medieval city, because the gates were closed due to an epidemic or other kind of threat.

To recreate such a story, you can easily use a GPS-based platform. Set up tasks, riddles and games rules around various locations in your chosen area. Take a public space, create a game there, and you can have something like this:

An example of an outdoor virtual escape room

If you’re struggling with outdoor virtual escape room ideas, we have many of them to share. You can request a demo with us here and we’ll help you set it up.

3. Find an engaging story based on fear

Do you know what is the common idea among all escape rooms? The fear! 😨

The fear to be locked-in forever, to run out of time or to be caught by imaginary enemies. 😱

This feeling has the highest priority for our brain among all the emotions, because, unlike others, it is crucial to help us survive. Using this will immediately attract all the attention from the players. So, you can create a challenging game by basing your whole story on fear.

This is even easier when you use a platform that allows you to completely customize the the story. With the Creator Pro, you can even create conditions, triggers, events and timers that will help you build your scary story.

A dark hallway as a visual material for virtual escape room game.

4. Make an indoor virtual escape room

We already touched on outdoor escape rooms, which seem like a little bit of oxymoron, but, as we found out, they can work really well. But now, let’s talk about actual virtual escape rooms.

Is it something you could set up in every home or office? With a little bit of imagination, it’s definitely possible. You can use different features from scavenger hunt editing apps to adapt the games for any home. However, for it to succeed, an indoor escape room idea must be adaptable to every person and every location. So it’s a good idea to set up the environment in a way that can be adapted to any home.

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5. Use a picture overlay to set up your environment

Here is an example of a virtual escape room aimed for families which anyone can use from their home. Our partner from the Netherlands have created several online escape room games with differing scenarios. For example, one of them involves a haunted house, while another one involves a castle to escape.

The common element that all of these games use is the overlay picture. With this feature, you can easily set up an environment for your own storytelling, using any image you like as a part of the game.

A virtual escape room played on a phone
Escape from home, escape from a train!

6. Interact with items that can be found in any home

An escape room always involves items to interact with. But what if the virtual escape room has to be played in your own house or office? It’s very likely that you don’t have the mystery boxes or treasure chests that are usually found in escape rooms simply lying around. But everyone might have laptops, toilets and other common household objects at their place.

With storytelling, you can find an original way to interact with them. For example, a riddle can only be solved if someone scans a cat.

With Loquiz, you can use the object finder. Once the player finds the right item, they scan it. If the app detects it, they can continue to the next step.

Scanning a cat? 🐱 Yes, it’s possible with the Loquiz item’s scanner, alongside with 80 different items. There are many other virtual escape room puzzle ideas including item interaction – get in touch with us to find out more about them.

Adding tasks for a virtual escape room game in the Loquiz game editor.

7. Use a QR code

What does every office have in common? All of them still have a printer. Use this at your advantage: Print a lot of QR codes that you can spread all over the room.

Loquiz app has the ability to interact with QR codes. In this way, you can trigger new clues, paths and sudden events within your virtual escape room’s story.

8. An escape game that helps players learn about your city’s history

Imagine an online escape room game that makes you discover a historical city. By going to different monuments, you learn to spot the different subtle signs of history. So, why don’t you do this in your own city?

I have a good example that you can try right now if you’re located in Amsterdam. I played it myself a while ago and indeed, it was great fun to run around, investigating as Rembrandt trying to escape Amsterdam. If you’d like to try the game for yourself, you can do it here.

9. Basing your virtual escape room idea on a famous story

This bit of advice might sound obvious but sometimes it’s worth repeating the obvious things. When you base the story of your escape room on something famous like Harry Potter or Back to the Future, you will always attract more attention from your client base.

However, in a virtual version, the flexibility is much higher. Once you’ve decided on the story, you don’t need to buy an expensive set of tools and furniture.

Instead, you can easily set up the necessary ambience using a scavenger hunt platform. It can be used to move people around the game map, creating background sound effects for the game, presenting players with tough riddles and so on. If you’d like to try it yourself, you can start creating your own game here. Meanwhile, if you’re not sure, what theme to choose for your virtual escape room, you can find some great ideas in the next tips.

Your imagination has the sky as a limit

Virtual escape room theme ideas

10. A theme based on a historic figure

It’s always fun to imagine a bit of fictional history, so creating a game about, for example, finding some secrets at the residence of a historical figure could be a great idea. Of course, you can also base your escape room scenario on factual events, which will make it not only fun but also educational.

11. Heist-themed virtual escape room

This virtual escape room idea will evoke memories of all the greatest heist movies. What makes this idea especially interesting is that, based on the story you create, you can make the participants play either as the robbers trying to evade the police or as detectives trying to stop the robbery, adapting the clues accordingly.

12. Sci-fi virtual escape room

For this idea, you can seek inspiration from countless classic movies that depict mysterious objects or occurrences in space. Here’s an example scenario: the players find themselves in an abandoned space station and must use various clues to find out what happened there and why.

13. Indiana Jones virtual escape room theme

As already stated above, virtual escape room ideas that include well-known characters tend to work really well and there’s no character that would be better suited for an escape room game than Indiana Jones. Make the players use various clues to find historical artefacts and escape danger – we guarantee that it’s going to be really fun.

14. A virtual escape room idea based on a fairy tale theme

Many of the classic fairy tales include their characters having to escape various kinds of danger, so it’s a great source of inspiration for a virtual escape room. Task your players with escaping from the witches’ lair or the Big Bad Wolf by following various clues that will set them free.

15. Murder mystery virtual escape room theme

This is another classic theme that can serve as a great virtual escape room idea. An example scenario would be placing the game within a party at a mansion where a murder suddenly occurs and all communication to the outside is cut off. The players then have to find out who’s the perpetrator by following a set of clues.

Ready-to-play online escape room ideas

16. The Dark Manor

The Dark Manor is a game with a scary story that you can try yourself right now. The idea of the game is that you wake up somewhere and you don’t know who you are, where you are or what time is it. But you know that you have to escape this place to get to safety. If that sounds intriguing, you can try the game for free on our game templates page.

The Dark Manor virtual escape room game

17. The Pyramid of the Numerous Aztec Gods

Here is an example of a scary story that I personally built as a virtual escape room using Loquiz.

Imagine that you’re a group of archaeologists. You’re stuck in a pyramid forever, unless the numerous Aztec Gods are unanimously convinced that you have enough dignity. And there is only one way to gain dignity in their eyes – by succesfully completing various tasks that they assign for you. If you’re interested in this game, you can have a look at it here.

A virtual escape room idea: The Pyramid of the numerous Aztec Gods

18. Escape: The Midnight Express

As is the case with any other virtual escape room, this game is filled with puzzles that you’ll have to solve to advance through its levels. Its story takes place on board of a train (what is it with trains and mysteries?) and involves a famous detective, an assassination plot against one of the greatest US presidents and… time travel? If it sounds a bit weird, that’s because it is, but it’s great fun nevertheless. If this has intrigued you, the game can be found here.

Frequently asked questions about virtual escape room games

How to create a virtual escape room?

The best way to bring your virtual escape room ideas to life is by using a scavenger hunt platform to set it up. This will allow you to set up the story and the riddles in the game creation tool, which the players will then be able to access through an app on their smartphones or tablets.

Can online escape rooms be used for team building?

Yes, an online escape room is an excellent idea for remote team building, for the same reasons that the traditional escape rooms are – they force the team of players to work together in order to solve the clues and succesfully escape the game.

How to set the necessary atmosphere for a virtual escape room?

If you’re using a game platform for building your online escape room, you can add various sound effects to it and surprise the players with unexpected clues to create the atmosphere you have intended. Just remember to tell your players to turn the sound on.

As a closing note, it seems like the world is going more and more virtual, with countless activities being transferred online. That was an ever going trend even before the COVID-19 pandemic started, but it has, of course, dramatically increased this tendency.

Because of this, many escape rooms have experienced difficulties lately. With these games in their original form, you need to bring people closely together in small rooms. That isn’t always possible nowadays when the social distancing rules are in place. Given the situation, escape rooms risk severe financial difficulties unless they decide to add virtual experiences to their offer.

Indeed, bringin them online is the main solution to keep playing these games, without players being physically nearby, preventing the transmission risk while offering the best experience.

People taking photos with their smartphones as part of a virtual escape room game.

And even after the pandemic ends, the virtual entertainment options will most likely keep their importance. Our guess is that people will get so acquainted with it, that the demand for virtual escape rooms and other online games will still exist.

So it’s up to you to take that step towards the virtual games right now. 😊

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