want to be a movie star?
Looking for something different to do? Something challenging, fun and rewarding? A once in a lifetime experience? Look no further.
Every day we make movies. We know the storyline when we start, but we never know whether it will be a comedy, a drama, a mystery, a saga or even a tragedy. Making it will be exciting, immersive, innovative, frustrating, perplexing and hilarious. We do know that it will never be boring.
What do we do?
We run escape rooms. Here in the Algarve, escaping is the new black and everyone wants a chance to try on the outfit. No matter what walk of life you tread, how old you are, or who you get to play with, you get to be the star of your own hour long feature film.
so, what is an escape room?
It’s a choose-your-own-adventure book in 3D, no VR headset required. You play in a group, pick your room, and enter. The countdown starts.
You look around. The room seems normal at first glance. It might be an office, an apartment entryway, a prison cell, a bank vault or even a rabbit hole. It will depend on the story you’re starring in. But wait, there’s something not quite right about that drawer - it has a false bottom! There’s a folded piece of paper in it! It has what looks like a cipher written on it, and in the corner, a… page reference? You look around. There are some books on a shelf…
And so you have started your story. You will find puzzles, enigmas, mysteries and secrets and you will, with your group, work together to fit them all together and solve them, one by one, until you have played out your script. The aim is to escape the room within the hour. Each room is unique, and you can only solve it once. Once you’ve done your first room, you are probably addicted to the rush and need another fix as soon as possible!
escape one algarve
The escaping scene is young in the Algarve, but we already boast multiple critically acclaimed games. Here at Escape One Algarve, we run ‘The Laboratory’, set in an old abandoned lab. Venture in and blow away the cobwebs as you try to find a long hidden secret before the evil corporation finds you and takes hostages!
The Laboratory is a mystery theme, suitable for all ages. It’s not dark or scary. It’s wheelchair accessible. There are chairs for those with reduced mobility to sit whilst exercising their brains!
We also run ‘Atlantis!’, which takes you on an astonishing adventure under the sea in search of a newly discovered energy source. What will you find once your sub hits rock bottom?
Atlantis! is an adventure theme. It’s suitable for all ages, but does require reasonable mobility. It’s a fairly physical game, with not one traditional padlock in sight. It’s not scary.
Coming soon is 'Final Call'. We'll take you to an apocalyptic world where the walking dead are searching for fresh meat. Will your group fight to eradicate the threat, or will they escape to safety on the last flight from town?
Final Call has a suspense theme. It has dark spaces. There are zombies! It has a creative mix of traditional and innovative puzzles. And you can choose your final scene! Fight, or flight?
Escape rooms have arrived and they’re here to stay. But what makes them so addictive? Why do we want to be locked in a room? Watching all you lovely Millennials (and occasionally your parents) playing our escape room has made me realise why escaping in any way is so important in our culture today.
The escape room demographic is the Millennial generation. It’s your thing. My husband and I are among the oldest gamemasters that we have come across. Maybe that’s why our room is frequently hailed to be a bit different.
If I’ve learned anything from watching people play escape games, it’s that everyone sees the world differently. Age and experience make you focus on different things and I guess this shows through in your work.
Until you get your first job, you have had to learn no life skills. You’ve never had to earn a promotion or a raise. You’ve never had to learn to get on with different people. You may have never sat down to a family meal and learned to converse and listen.
Of course, Millennials have grown up in the most amazing, technologically advanced world where just about any dream can come true. What you have learned is to be creative and to think big. You’ve learned the value of independence. Those that can, do.
You’ve learned that if something has to be done, it needs at the very least to be interesting and fun for people to go do it. It also needs to be wrapped in pretty packaging. A gym is more fun than walking to work every day.
As you’ve grown up into the real world, you’ve realised your lack of life training and you’ve found something to fix it. You’ve invented the escape room. It's great fun, challenging, and rewarding.
The focus in an escape game is on teamwork. Real communication between real people. In this modern world of superficial relationships, some purely over the internet, people are getting together teams and locking themselves in rooms with real life bodies and no Snapchat filters.
In the USA, it’s common to do a room with a large team of strangers. Here is Europe, we’re still a bit more 20th century than over the pond and can get together a few people we actually know to play with. We’re not so comfortable with playing with strangers.
Talk to your teammates. Get frustrated but laugh at the end! The adrenalin rush of solving a puzzle is better than getting a like on your post. Solving the room in a good time is a proper high. You’ll feel good for ages afterwards. You’ll want to share it with your friends. Show everyone your victory picture and brag about how well you did.
Our game, The Laboratory, is quite the challenge, but so much fun!
With our game, you’ll be showing the time that you did it in. Be competitive. Be pleased with yourself. Be proud of your teammates. Be a little bit more ready to deal with the everyday. Throw out your filters and get real.
So, what’s it all about then?
For the last year, I have been living and breathing escape room. But still the usual response whenever we start talking about it is; “A what??”
18 months ago we were escape room innocents too. We’ve always been a board game kind of family and two of us are computer game junkies. We had a trip planned for Christmas and I started searching around for fun, different things to do. Something that rated on the kids’ interest scale and didn’t cost the earth. Eventually, I came across the concept of escape rooms. I then spent a hugely entertaining hour or so looking up every escape room that I could find in Portugal.
The big day arrived and off we went. We had no idea what to expect. All that I could tell the kids was what the website had told me - we were going into an Incan type temple. There was a bit of backstory, but basically, we were stuck in there and had to figure out how to get out. I had picked this particular room because we were taking kids in there. I had fast realised that this is a game for adults and wanted to include my daughter, then 10, as much as possible. I needed something more puzzly and hands-on, less cerebral, in the hope that she would be able to help. I also wanted it to be as immersive, fabulous, eye-catching as possible for her (She’s a complainer. I wanted her to enjoy it as much as possible so the rest of us could!). I reckoned that a Tomb Raider-esque temple should do the job.
Well, the briefing turned out to be the best explanation of what to expect of an escape room. So I’ll let you in on the secret.
An escape room is a team game. When you first enter, have a quick look around the room. Don’t focus on the first thing you see. Talk to each other, let everyone know about things that you find.
You will find a lot of locks in there. Some need keys, some need combinations. Once a door or a lid has been unlocked it will open with ease. Nothing needs to forced.
You will be watched. There are cameras in the room so the Gamemaster can monitor your progress and offer you hints when needed. They can hear you and they can talk to you. Some rooms will have a timer and a hint screen, some use walkie-talkies, it depends. Spoiler alert: You will almost definitely need hints. If the room is good, it will offer even experienced players something new: Innovative puzzles for discovering codes and keys, a great delivery of the story, an immersive atmosphere.
There are hundreds of different room themes out there. Horrifying ripper rooms based on the Saw movies. Creepylicious haunted rooms set in an abandoned asylum or orphanage. Adventure romp rooms through Incan tombs or Atlantean temples. Plain freaky rooms from Alice’s Wonderland. Detective themes. Mafia themes. Spy themes. The FBI, Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, the Wild West. The list is endless.
Often, something happens after the hour is up. The police could arrive to arrest you, or the bad guys to shoot you! The bomb could explode, the ghost could come out of hiding, the temple self-destruct. Except (and shhh! Don’t tell) not really! If you don’t make it out in time then most Gamemasters will help you through the last stages. So you don’t actually go mad wondering how the hell you were supposed to finish it...
Our rooms are immersive and story driven. They're family friendly so there are no big shocks or creepy bits. We have two - The Laboratory and Atlantis!
The scientist who worked in the old Laboratory disappeared under mysterious circumstances and you are going in to find out what happened. It’s a mad scientist, bubbling potions kind of lab. Not a sterilised white countertop in sight.
Our sister company, E1A Underwater Marine Agency, runs the Atlantis expedition.
You're part of the team of experts selected to man a submarine expedition to the supposed location of the lost city of Atlantis. Explore an underwater world and come back to the surface to tell the tale.
Our puzzles are challenging, but fun. For a novice, it’s a great way to find out what it’s all about. For veterans, there are different challenges that might even surprise you!