It began with a small wooden box, one of those puzzles where you must slide and wiggle the sides of it around until it opens up.

After wrangling with the box for about 30 seconds, the box sprung open, revealing a small brass key inside to open a padlocked toolbox nearby, itself holding a message in a bottle locked with a rope and block puzzle. “As long as they can see you, you’ll never make it out of here,” it read.

It began with a small wooden box, and it wouldn’t end until we found a key.

Expectations for the event, which tasked teams with solving puzzles to escape a thriller-style room, were mostly nonexistent for those unfamiliar with the fad. The advertisements seemed intentionally vague, casting a shroud of mystery over what the event actually entailed.

UR Late Night, the group that hosted the event on Friday, seeks to provide entertainment on weekend nights that doesn’t involve alcohol or partying.

“I’m excited to see what alternative activities they can come up with,” sophomore Tom Borchert said. “It’s something that in that past has been lacking on this campus and I’m happy to see that change.”

Upon arriving, visitors were met by three makeshift booths, one labelled “Treasures of the Hidden Temple,”, another “Survive The Zombie Attack,” and the third “Escape From College.” The booths were arranged by difficulty, with the Hidden Temple being the easiest, the Escape From College being the most difficult, and each having a time limit of 15 minutes. Those looking for something in-between could take on the zombies.

The clue in the zombie room bottle isn’t that hard to figure out. There was a TV screen that simulated a window, showing hordes of zombies coming to attack. Pull the shade above it and you’d find a black light to examine to room. The black light revealed the numbers “4362”—the combination to a nearby locked box containing camping cooking supplies. A Each of the three pots was labelled 1, 2, or 3. There was a prop stovetop in the room, but placing the pots in order on it did nothing.

The numbered pots actually represented variations of yet another locked box—inside, a truck key, the final goal, and another note: “Find my twin, not above or below but beneath.” The second truck key, hidden underneath one of the tables in the room, was easy to find.

Escape, even in an intermediate level, can cut it close to the time limit. But freedom is sweet, and worth it.

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