The best virtual escape rooms to play online with friends

Christel Deskins

iStock We could all do with a bit of escapism from reality at the minute, as lockdown continues in the UK. Escape rooms are very popular with groups who love a challenge, but due to the coronavirus outbreak, all of them in the UK have closed their doors for the […]


We could all do with a bit of escapism from reality at the minute, as lockdown continues in the UK.

Escape rooms are very popular with groups who love a challenge, but due to the coronavirus outbreak, all of them in the UK have closed their doors for the foreseeable.

But during lockdown, escape rooms have come online instead to make socialising with your friends adrenaline-pumping.

Other games have become popular too while we spend more time at home. If you need some inspiration, we’ve rounded up the best apps that you can play games on with friends and family here.

As with physical escape rooms, the mission is as the name suggests – to escape the room – through a series of problem-solving missions and teamwork. Here are a few of our favourites.

You can trust our independent round-ups. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent

Harry Potter fans will be pleased to hear about this free escape room, created by an American librarian in Pennsylvania​.

You can explore the school of witchcraft and wizardry without leaving the sofa. The game starts right where it should, as first-years who have just been assigned to their houses.

There are team-building exercises, trivia questions to answer and puzzles to solve that you can do as an individual player, or in a team with your friends.

Visit the Hogwarts Digital Escape Room now

Here you can play solo or with a team to complete tasks that will take between one to two hours.

There are five themed rooms to choose from: space race, cabin fever, a night at the theatre, school’s out and out of hours. Each has a different storyline and series of puzzles to complete and clues to collect.

Based on general knowledge, it’ll put a pub quiz with a poor connection to shame.

Each game costs £7.99 to play, except for space race which is currently £3.49.

If you’re experienced with escape rooms, try playing Out Of Hours (£7.99), where your mission is to investigate a rogue CEO and their dodgy dealings.

Visit Trapped In The Web now

Unlike escape rooms offline, there is no time limit to complete The Panic Room, so you and your team can take as long as you like.

CSI: Grounded (£20) piqued our interest. Avery Stone died 30,000ft up in the air on a private company jet, everyone on board is a suspect and you and your team have to solve the puzzles to find who the killer is.

You can choose your game by difficulty level, how many players can join and the age appropriateness. Prices start from £10 and there’s no expiry time on it, so you can play it whenever you want.

Visit the panic room

This Japanese game is retro in style but the premise is simple: you’ve woken up drunk, locked in someone else’s bedroom and you need to get out before the timer is up.

It’s free to play and involves clicking around for hidden objects and clues to help you escape.

It’s a good one to play on your own if you want to kill some time.

Visit The Crimson Room now

While the Durham-based escape room stays shut, it has taken its game online.

Users are tasked with finding the identity of a mysterious Mr X, a dangerous agent dropping clues in your path.

It recommends using all the resources on the internet at your disposable, from Twitter, Youtube, Google Maps and local websites in your hunt for answers and will take you between 45 minutes and two hours to complete.

If you need an extra helping hand, it’s encouraging you to email [email protected] or talk to the Mr X team on Facebook.

It’s free to play and is easy to involve a team or play on your own if you prefer.

Visit Mr X now

While its doors remain closed, Escape Live is still bringing its child friendly, no player limit escape rooms online.

It has 15 different rooms to choose from, with themes including sword in the stone, Shakespeare’s script, pirate’s blunder and prison break and prices start from £15 per person.

For any Peaky Blinders fans, get in quick and book a slot in The Raid (from £25 per person). This is a child-friendly version (for aged 10-plus) where your goal is to find incriminating evidence against the Shelby family before Major Campbell and his men raid the bookies, all while Tommy, Arthur, Polly and John are attending business matters in London.

Visit Escape Live now

Reading-based escape room Deadlocked has pivoted to online experiences in light of the lockdown, launching The Insiders (£9.99).

The three “episodes” take you into the Wexell Corporation, and your aim is to find the mole at the company who has been working against them using sensitive information.

You can play alone or in a team and it recommends allowing a break of three days in between each episode. Perfect for scheduling your next few online meet ups with friends.

Visit Deadlocked Escape Rooms now

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