A Flagstaff woman is bringing a popular smartphone/computer game into the real world. Vanessa Roer recently opened Flagstaff Escape Rooms on Yale Street.
The business is based on computer games that “lock” players in a room and challenge them to find clues to escape in one hour or less, said Jocelyn Monteverde, the spokesperson for Flagstaff Escape Rooms. Players have to use teamwork to solve the riddle, which makes it a great team-building exercise for businesses and groups. No one is really physically locked into a room.
Roer, who lives half the year in Flagstaff and half in Virginia, got the idea to open an escape room in Flagstaff after going through one with her kids in Virginia.
“She thought it would be perfect for Flagstaff, with the university students and families nearby,” Monteverde said.
There’s usually a theme to the game that players must learn by finding clues and then using the clues to “unlock” the room in a set amount of time, she said. The themes can be as varied as trying to avoid being kidnapped by a bunch of pirates to a murder mystery. The theme changes every few weeks, so the game stays fresh.
“It’s intense. It’s a real workout for your brain,” Monteverde said.
Players can ask for hints if they get stuck or time is starting to run out. If you don’t finish the puzzle in time, a game master will walk the group through the solution.
The rooms and themes are designed to be a mental puzzle; there’s nothing and no one in the room designed to scare or startle anyone, she said. There’s no one who’s going to jump out at you, like in a haunted house.
Currently, the game’s difficulty level is set for children older than 9 and adults, she said. Children who are younger may have a harder time contributing, but Roer is working on opening a second room with themes that are more appropriate to younger children soon.
Flagstaff Escape Rooms does not take walk-ins -- you must book a room or a spot online 24 hours in advance, Monteverde said. Players can book an entire room for $230 or individual spots for $25 per person. A room holds about 10 people. If you don’t book an entire room, you may find yourself working with strangers, which can still be a lot of fun.