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Doors shut behind you and suddenly lock. You are now trapped, but you are not alone.

My latest addiction and the newest craze is being locked in a room with strangers trying to escape before time runs out. Sound like a horror movie? To be honest, it’s more of a mystery.

You don’t know what you’re getting yourself into and you may not get out — these are escape rooms.

In one hour, you and several people search through dimly lit rooms for clues, series of puzzles, riddles, locks and eventually find a key to escape that room and enter another.

Local escape room companies such as The Escape Game, America’s Escape Game and Escapology (where you can have your own private room) are just a few found on International Drive.

Every company offers a unique experience and it’s really the theming of the rooms that puts you in a surreal world and makes it worthwhile.

Each room has a narrative about what took place in that room and what mission you must complete in order to escape them.

You could be in a room where you solve a murder mystery on a train. You could have to navigate through an ancient, lost Egyptian tomb where you must retrieve a powerful ruby. The possibilities are endless, from finding a cure to stopping a pandemic to being an FBI agent on a mission to infiltrate Fidel Castro’s palace.

Escape games are the perfect way to find out which of your teammates are leaders and which ones are weak in using high-level, problem-solving skills. However, everyone has to work together.

The most recent escape room I completed was Gold Rush at The Escape Game. The story the room is based on is about a gold prospector in Northern California who made bets with the mob and has now gone missing. You and your team have been tipped off that he left clues all over his cabin in the woods leading to his gold. The mob is also headed to the cabin for the gold.

I’m not giving spoilers, but I will say the cabin is designed extremely well and some of the puzzles and things you physically have to do are really exciting and get your adrenaline pumping.

Because this was my fifth escape game and second room I’ve done at The Escape Game, I knew what to look for. My girlfriend, roommate and I, along with two strangers, escaped the room with approximately 15 minutes left on the timer.

The rooms also have difficultly levels. Gold Rush’s level was eight out of 10. Don’t worry so much about the levels, though. Throughout the game, you can ask for clues so you’re not completely lost.

Some escape game company’s themed rooms unlock into other rooms with that continuous theme so it’s not always one room you are escaping out of, but can be three rooms.

Another great, well-designed room (which is actually three rooms) is Prison Break, where you are a prisoner who has been wrongfully accused of a crime. There are rumors that an inmate disappeared and possibly escaped. You and the other prisoners plan to break out while the guards are off duty.

My team and I made it to the third room before we ran out of time. Regardless if you escape or not, this is a fun team-building game that might leave you just as addicted to solving mysteries as I am.

Prices range from $20 to $30; however, there are numerous promotion codes and some companies offer discounts to Florida residents as well as discounted rooms.

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Veronica Brezina is a Digital Producer for the Central Florida Future. Email her at veronicab@centralfloridafuture.com

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