A wise man once said, “Lemme outta here!!!” It is likely that this man had not willingly entangled himself in a situation that would have ultimately resulted in his shouting of that particular panicked phrase, but this is the 21st century. People now fork out cash to be temporarily incarcerated in escape rooms — that is, rooms that are meticulously designed with a variety of clues and/or mechanisms through which, if properly solved or operated in a given time (usually 60 minutes), will result in emancipation!

As Rod Serling, the creator and host of The Twilight Zone, once remarked, “No comment here,” but the escape room market thrives in Orange County. In Irvine alone, we were able to track down six escape rooms that are just waiting to lock you up! If puzzles and immersive experiences are your thing, or if you want a fun and challenging experience for your group of friends or business associates, then we hope you will enjoy Irvine Weekly’s roundup of local escape rooms.

Brainy Actz

Photo courtesy of Brainy Actz

Brainy Actz is an escape room franchise with locations in Irvine, San Diego and Temecula. Their escape rooms accommodate up to 10 guests at a time, and they are designed for adults and children. Guests rely on teamwork, problem-solving skills and their intellects. “Our escape games’ level of difficulty is designed to challenge even the most intelligent and resourceful adults,” the Brainy Actz website states, “However, when kids are doing the room with no adults present, then one of our staff members will go in with them and guide them through the room escape.” They host corporate events and birthday parties – to whom they provide three escape room options. There is the “Mystery at the Lost Point Lodge,” which involves discovering some nefarious truth and reporting it to the world. There is also “The Secrets of The Master,” which posits the scenario that guests have been “brought together by an international art syndicate to locate the Master’s lair.” Finally, “The Great Car Heist” requires that guests solve the mystery of their stolen car and find the evidence that links the crime to ‘ol Greasy Pete. Click HERE for more information.

17981 Sky Park Circle, Building 39, Suite N, Irvine, CA 92614

(949) 647-0184; Mon – Sun 11:00 am -12:00 am (regular hours)

Escape X

Photo courtesy of EscapeX Rooms

Escape X also caters to adult groups, but as for the kiddies … Beware! No children under the age of five will be admitted, and children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Escape X claims to have some of the largest rooms in Irvine. Guests in groups of 6-13 will have to negotiate one of two of Escape X’s themed rooms. “The Attic” requires guests to explore the attic of the Cain manor in an attempt to discover the source of the mysterious noises that other guests have reported since the Cain family disappeared. “Mafia Heist” requires you, the great grandchild of an infamous mob boss, to find hidden treasures and secret means of escape from your family’s speakeasy … before the police arrive. Click HERE for more information.

17981 Sky Park Circle, Suite H, Irvine, CA 92614

(949) 536-5414; Sun – Thur 10 am – 10 pm, Fri – Sat 10 am – 11:30 pm (regular hours)

No. 1 Escapes

This one gets a bit more intimate with smaller group availability. No. 1 Escapes has two rooms to choose from. “Treasure of the Nation” provides anywhere from 3-10 guests an opportunity to break into the White House and steal the nation’s treasure. Do you ever get the feeling that your tax dollars do more for the fat cats in Washington than they do for you? Well now is your chance to get a lil’ sum back! Too patriotic for such a scenario? No worries. “Jester’s Revenge” is something of the flip side of the former scenario. In this one, a court jester has lost his mind and gone renegade. He has looted the king, and it is up to you and your team of 4-8 people to raid the jester’s chambers and recover the stolen goods! Click HERE for more information.

17777 Main Street, Suite C2, Irvine, CA, 92614

(949) 491-1400; Hours Vary

Square Room Escape

The Phantom Soldier Submarine Room – Photo courtesy of Square Room Escape

Square Room Escape has got locations in both Anaheim and Irvine. The Anaheim location has their medium skill level room, called Wonderland, but the Irvine location has two 3-6 player rooms – you lucky Irvinites! The Irvine location’s medium level “Sorcerer’s Study” involves searching for clues, solving puzzles, discovering hidden chambers and confronting various creatures that prevent your escape. “The Phantom Soldier” will test the mettle of advanced players by requiring that they take command of the U-209 submarine to seek and destroy the terrorist mercenary group Les Triolets du Temps. Click HERE for more information.

2710 Alton Parkway Suite #209, Irvine, CA 92606

(949) 250-4161; Hours Vary

Puzzle Workshop

Puzzle Workshop has four escape rooms of varying sizes and difficulty levels. For the beginner, “Trapped in Time” offers groups of 3-7 people an opportunity to experience time travel — or at least save someone from a time-travelling incident. You see, one of your genius friends has accidentally gotten stuck somewhere (or somewhen), and you and the gang have to rescue their physics-experimenting butt! Moving on to the next tier, “CSI: Hollywood” is an intermediate level escape room for 3-7 people, wherein guests must search Hollywood star Ruby Valentine’s dressing room for clues of her abduction. Another intermediate level room, “Illuminati” requires that guests decipher codes and secrets in order to steal the sacred Statue of Sekhmet from the study of Sir Edwin Falkier, an aristocrat and suspected member of the Illuminati. Finally, “Trail of the Hope Diamond,” which is designed for ages 8 and up, allows large groups of 25+ to join the Organization of Allied Treasure Hunters (O.A.T.H.) and travel the globe in order to recover a stolen gem. Click HERE for more information.

18003 Sky Park Circle, Bldg. 53, Unit F2, Irvine, CA 92614

(949) 536-5228; Hours Vary

Unlocked: Escape Room

Photo courtesy of Unlocked: Escape Room

Unlocked currently features one 4-8 person room called “The Return of the Magician.” In this scenario, guests will attempt to rescue a magician during a dress rehearsal for his magic show. This unique escape room involves having players performing magic tricks as part of their experience. Ever desired to escape from a straight jacket? If so, then this escape room is bound to satisfy! With secret doors and hidden chambers included in the set design, “The Return of the Magician” is a magic lover’s dream come true! Click HERE for more information.

17952 Sky Park Circle, #45B, Irvine, CA 92614

(949) 416-5625; Hours Vary