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Escape rooms NYC: Find your way in (and out) of these challenging games

Being locked inside a room where you must solve a puzzle in order to escape sounds like a scene out of the "Saw" horror film franchise, but many people are willingly signing up to do this and find the experience can be quite fun.

Escape rooms have gotten to be such a popular pastime in recent years that there's more than a dozen companies to pick your next adventure from, including the newest at Ripley's Believe It or Not! in Times Square (234 West 42nd St.).

Dubbed "Ripley's Relic," a group is led into a wobbly elevator to seek out a mysterious relic that was discovered deep under Times Square. Through a series of puzzles and some prodding by a live guide when it's needed, the relic seekers must find their way out of the movie-set-like cavern.

Unlike a lot of rooms, Ripley's Relic run-through is 15 minutes long and has a guide, which helps out the youngsters or those who are new to escape rooms, so it's good for any age or skill set. The cost is only $15, too, if you're looking for something fun for cheap.

But if you're looking for a bigger challenge, here's a quick guide locating some of these spots around the city. (As for finding your way out of these rooms, you're on your own.)

Children from enCourage Kids Foundation unlock the mystery
Photo Credit: AP Images for Ripley's Believe It or Not! / Stuart Ramson

Children from enCourage Kids Foundation unlock the mystery of Ripley's Relic.

Komnata Quest

Komnata Quest uses state-of-the-art technology to bring 15
Photo Credit: Komnata Quest

Komnata Quest uses state-of-the-art technology to bring 15 escape rooms to life across its three locations in Brooklyn and Manhattan. You'll forget you're in the city after you enter any one of them since the quality is like a movie set. You can choose from rooms like the Japanese-horror-themed "Maze of Hakaina," (pictured) the Great Inquisition-themed "Saint Angelo's Castle," "The Hex of the Chinese Jewelry Box," the "50 Shades"-like "7 Sinful Pleasures," "Boxed Up," "Suicide Hotel" and "The Robbery that Changed the World." There are also a couple of rooms that seem to be inspired by the popular video games "Silent Hill" and "Fallout" including "The City of Ashes" and "The Vault."

(67 West St., 160 Pearl St. and 52 Kent St., komnataquest.com)

PanIQ Room

Originally from Hungary, PanIQ Room has been doing
Photo Credit: PanIQ Room

Originally from Hungary, PanIQ Room has been doing escape experiences since 2012 and just opened its NYC location in 2018. The immersive experiences at this space gives you a full 60 minutes to solve your puzzle. There are five to choose from: the creepy "Insane Asylum," the "Indiana Jones" -esque "Pyramid Heist," "The Cage, the Cards and the Cash" western, "Perfect Crime" murder mystery and "Jailbreak."

(102 Eldridge St., paniqescaperoom.com)

Mission Escape Games

Choose from four rooms that'll put your skills
Photo Credit: Mission Escape Games

Choose from four rooms that'll put your skills to the test, including "Escape the Initiation," where you must complete tasks to join a secret society; "Escape the Hydeout," where you have been hired to find Dr. Jekyll; "Escape the Darkest Hour," a horror-themed game that asks you to solve puzzles (and use flashlights) to escape from a serial killer; and "Escape the Nemesis," a crashing spaceship that you must divert off course.

(55-59 Chrystie St., missionescapegames.com)

Clue Chase

This company runs four games:
Photo Credit: Clue Chase

This company runs four games: "Alien Encounter," "The Lost Spy," "Egyptian Tomb" and "Ultimate Heist." Whether you want to interact with aliens using a new language, discover what's going on in an Egyptian tomb or steal back a precious gem from prolific thief, each game is fast-paced and detail-oriented. Clue Chase is one of the largest escape rooms in the city at 4,000 square feet and it's built by professional set designers.

(1114 Sixth Ave., cluechase.com)

Exit Escape Room NYC

It sounds like a normal day in the
Photo Credit: Exit Escape Room

It sounds like a normal day in the city. This escape room's game, "High Speed NYC," puts you on a speeding, runaway subway train and you must figure out how to activate the emergency systems and stop it. Another room called "The Mission" asks you to reveal a double agent's identity by following a trail of clues. Exit Escape Room says it uses high technology in its rooms to give the full effect.

(46 W 38th St. #701, exitescaperoomnyc.com)

Escape Room Madness

Choose from
Photo Credit: Escape Room Madness

Choose from "The Perfect Crime," "Apocalyptic Mission" and "Nuclear Annihilation," the last of which is set in New York City after a terrorist attack has been carried out on a power plant and has trapped you inside, cutting off all means of communication. You must neutralize the threat and save lives. The others put the fate of you and your fellow secret agents in your hands and asks you to stop the spread of a deadly virus.

(38 W. 32nd St., escaperoommadness.com)

Escape the Room NYC

Escape the Room NYC's games include an '80s
Photo Credit: Escape the Room NYC

Escape the Room NYC's games include an '80s inspired "Rec Room," pictured, in which players are grouped into a team of 10 and have to work together to "Escape the '80s." If they can't get out of the room within the allotted 60 minutes, they could be stuck in that decade "forever," according to the game's description. There's also "The Theater," which traps you inside a theater. Get out or "it's curtains for everyone," the site says. There's also a midtown location, where the games include "The Dig," "Clock Tower," "Submarine" "The Home" and "The Office," in which players are stuck at work and must figure out how to escape before the boss returns.

(107 Suffolk St., escapetheroomnyc.com)

BrainXCape

The Flatiron District's BrainXCape has two different escape
Photo Credit: BrainXCape

The Flatiron District's BrainXCape has two different escape games -- "Prison Break" and "The Haunted Hotel" -- designed by people who have worked for the popular "Sleep No More" haunted houses and Broadway shows, so it's very much like a movie set and can creep you out. You have one hour to escape using your logic under pressure.

(48 W. 20th St., brainxcape.com)

OMEscape New York

OMEscape's 3,200-square-foot Manhattan venue has 15 rooms across
Photo Credit: OMEscape

OMEscape's 3,200-square-foot Manhattan venue has 15 rooms across three floors. Their games include "The Penitentiary," pictured, "Laboratory of Biohazard" and "Room X (Time Travel)." The rooms feature high-tech machines including a laser security system, and players are given 70 minutes to accomplish the tasks needed to escape. In "the Penitentiary," players "wake up" to find themselves locked in a cramped cell that belonged to a serial killer called "Night Stalker," who vanished from the prison mysteriously, according to the game's description. They must find the penitentiary's blueprint in order to break out.

(325 W 38th St., omescapeus.com )

Escape Games NYC

There's no
Photo Credit: Escape Games NYC

There's no "I" in EscapeGamesNYC's games; as the company says, "you will need your teammate to escape." Each game is designed for parties of two to six people and takes place in a "custom-built, specially designed room with a unique theme." The games include "The Experiment," "Detective Story," "Outer Space" and the venue's most difficult one, "John Doe," which has a serial-killer theme. For each one, a group is enclosed in a room and has 60 minutes to escape by solving puzzles, quizzes and brainteasers, using strategy, creativity and logic.

(79 Leonard St., escapegamesnyc.com)

Escape Entertainment

To create
Photo Credit: Escape Entertainment

To create "truly immersive experiences," Escape Entertainment says it tapped Hollywood and Broadway set designers to create the rooms at its midtown Manhattan location, and its game designers worked closely with psychologists, mathematicians and team-building experts. The games include "Prohibition Pandemonium," "Manhattan Mayhem," "The Master Mind" and "Alien Attack," and each has a 60-minute time limit.

(39 W. 32nd St., fourth floor, nyc.escape-entertainment.com)

Challenge Escape Rooms

Photo Credit: Challenge Escape Rooms

"Zombie Nation" is one of the games you can play at Challenge Escape Rooms in Bayside. Here's the scenario: There's a zombie outbreak spreading through the area and a doctor has the vaccine to keep you safe but when you arrive at the lab, you find out the doctor is the one behind the outbreak. You have an hour to escape the lab or become a zombie. You can also play the "Wild West Saloon," which asks you to find out who stole Jim "The Shooter' Williams' gold before he decides to rain down revenge.

(40-18 Bell Blvd., challengeescaperooms.com)

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