In recent years, escape rooms have become a popular way to practice communication, team building and problem-solving skills with a team of people. Though current COVID-19 restrictions make it difficult to organize an escape room experience in person, many companies have created virtual escape rooms. These allow for anyone to work through the puzzle with family, friends or coworkers from the comfort of their own homes. Escape room company EscapeSF offers an online escape room experience, which is a fun and safe alternative to an in-person escape room, and a must-do during the upcoming holiday season.
EscapeSF calls the virtual escape room The Pegasus Project, and it is more an intricate mission to investigate the death of a former “spy” rather than the traditional scenario where you have to solve puzzles to get out of a locked room. After setting up a call with my family on Zoom (I worked with my cousins and their families from Chicago), we all logged into the system using the code provided when I purchased the game. It was reasonably priced at $35, and you can play with two to six players.
On the mission screen, we were given security footage, links to different spy tools and a briefing on our mission; we ended up using every single tool they gave us at least once. We even had to navigate our way through different buildings and locations, using a program similar to Google Ea
rth. It was an inventive way to simulate the in-person experience.
The details and intricacy of the mission were stellar as well. For example, you cannot get into the mission until you pass through a website advertising the spy agency’s fake business. There were even clues hidden in secluded spots in the office building that we explored via Google Earth.
Conveniently, the system was set up so we progressed through our mission by messaging the mission control center: a programmed robot who answered our questions and gave us clues in exchange for information. Although this made the structure of the mission simple, it also made the experience feel less like a standard escape room.
Normally, there is no order to the clues you find, and the entire group has to piece together the puzzle with seemingly unrelated information, making each experience fun and unique. However, the structured format of the Pegasus Project took away the aspect of spontaneity, and made it easier to complete because each singular piece of information was found using one tool provided to us. This was disappointing because more unexpected twists in the mission would have made it better.
That being said, the mission took under two hours to complete, though there is no time limit. It is also worth mentioning that myself and all of my cousins are experienced with escape rooms; we have even completed two escape rooms in person together. I would recommend setting aside anywhere from an hour and a half to three hours in the day to complete the mission.
Still, the two hours were well spent. We were constantly interacting and bouncing ideas off one another in order to solve the clues, and since we all had access to the mission and its documents, links and tools, we were able to divide up the responsibilities and finish the tasks.
The Pegasus Project was a wonderful way to spend time with my relatives and be a part of a collaborative experience. Not only was it refreshing to work with people who I love, but it was an exciting way to withdraw from reality for a bit and forget about the crazy world that surrounds us. Especially since these upcoming winter months will come and go without many social gatherings, The Pegasus Project is a must-do this holiday season.
EscapeSF now offers COVID-19 safe escape rooms, and also offers a hands-on escape room experience that they ship to you, but both options are much pricier ($45 per player in person and $179 per group from home) than The Pegasus Project and require an in-person group.