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Escape Room Primer: Understanding Escape Room Locks

Okay so you figured out all the clues and are ready to open the lock, only to find the, suitcase or door, still won’t open! Whether you’re a newbie or a long time veteran, one of the most common pieces of advice that experts usually give is to study the locks first in order to know which clues are needed for the right lock.

Although this piece of advice may sound simple, sometimes, it’s not easy to figure out how to unlock a specific lock when the clock keeps ticking. That’s where we, the folks at Escapology, come in.

So before you grab your Mission Impossible style spy gear and start heading down to an escape room near you, grab your pens and paper as we figure out how to handle the different types of escape room locks available to date.

Lock Type #1: Compass Style Locks

 

Considered one of the most uncommon styles of locks, these types of locks involve users to turn a few figurines in a specific direction in a specific order in order for the door to open, similar to what a user might see in a video game.

Because most users find these types of locks very frustrating to deal with, they are not usually not used until right near the end of the game as demonstrated in the following video at 4:58.

For instance, let’s use one of our more popular rooms, Antidote, to illustrate how a compass style lock might work. In order to escape from the lab, you need to turn some organ jars around in the proper order so that you can get the key needed to open the chest that contains a map to the next room.

 

Lock Type #2: Lock and key style locks

 

Considered the most traditional of all the types of locks available, these types of locks involve a lock and a key, which you must search for while you’re inside the escape room.

Depending on how the room is laid out and what the clues entail, sometimes, these types of locks are used more than once in a specific section of the game.

So as you’re escaping from the room(s), except to find more than one of these types of locks as demonstrated in the following video, 13 Types of Escape Room Players (1:06 to 1:30), where a player takes a specific key and uses that key to open up a box that contains another key in order to open up another box.

 

Depending on how many boxes the room contains, this proccess will repeat until the player finally opens the chest that contains the key to escape out of the room and into the world of freedom and awards.

 

Lock Type #3: Combination Style Locks

 

Combination locks come in many styles and flavors, but often revolve(no pun intended) around putting number codes in the right order.  They take on many forms, but this will cover the more tricky ones.

Radial Style Combination Locks aka “School Locker”

As suggested, these types of locks are the types of locks used to open your lockers at school.

To open them, you need to turn the dial to the right twice for the first number, followed by once over for the second number, then turn exactly to the final number in order for the lock to open up. Although these are relatively familiar, the pressure of the timer ticking can make these rather frustrating.

 

Luggage Style Combination locks

These locks have a combination as well, but you have to find the right numbers in order by sliding the number selector up and down with your thumbs. Simply arrange the numbers in the right order and you’re good!

The tricky part is some Escape Room games don’t tell you the exact order, so it’s up to you to either re-examine the clues to see if you can find the right order or see if you can get lucky. But remember, time is ticking and you don’t want to lose precious time with fiddling with a lock!

Side note: Some locks are difficult to open so you may need to either pinch them as with the case of the luggage style combination locks, or tap them at the bottom to release the locking mechanism!

 

Lock Type #4: Cipher Code Locks

 

Similar to the combination style locks, these types of locks require users to use a combination of numbers and letters order to crack the lock. The most basic use case for this is..

Say you get a clue that says the alphabet followed by some numbers 1-26. It’s safe to assume that if a clue has an ‘A’ on it, since it is the first number in the alphabet 1 might be the right to the code.

 

Lock Type #5: Keypad Locks

 

Last, but not least keypads are the most important lock you’ll use because you will need to know how to use them to Escape the Room! We don’t want you to get to the end losing out on your record time because you didn’t know how to escape!

These types of locks are typically used for home security systems, and entry to restricted areas. As the name suggests, these locks are an electric keypad and consists of buttons that have numbers and/or letters. The buttons can either be flat and digital or mechanical.

Depending on what the instructions of the game are, these types of locks may require the user to either punch in the code in a specific order or in any order they so choose.

If for some reason you type in the correct code, but the door refuses to open, either type in the code two or three more times into the system or let your guide know** warning if  you type the code incorrectly too many times you will be locked out of entering any codes for up to 5 mins. Be careful with guessing.

 

BONUS!

Antique Chinese Style Locks  

As the name suggests, these types of locks are antique bronze keys that originated from China. While we can’t guarantee you that this type of lock will be found in our game, Shanghaied, we can guarantee that you may come across this lock as you’re searching around the room for.

Because these types of locks are used to store small items such as notes and simple necklaces, typically, you won’t see these in escape rooms. 

Conclusion

So tell us, fellow readers, do you find any of our tips helpful? What are some other types of locks can you think of that should be mentioned on our blog? Please let us know on our social media page.