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Updated by Nancy Messieh on March 14, 2017.

The Japanese-inspired Escape the Room (EtR) games are among the most elaborate, time-consuming, and challenging games you can find online. They combine puzzles and riddles with the detective work of looking for hidden objects and clues. Some are elaborate with plots and stories Casual Games with Surprisingly Good Stories Casual Games with Surprisingly Good Stories Say what you will about casual games, but it would be tough to argue that they're noted for story. Read More , while others are as simple as breaking out of a sealed telephone booth.

While some of the classics like the Mystery of Time and Space are no longer available, we’ve gathered some of the best Escape the Room games out there. These are the ideal ones to start with if you’re new to the genre.

Do note that in order to play a lot of these point-and-click games, you will have to enable Flash in your browser Why Flash Needs to Die (And How You Can Get Rid of It) Why Flash Needs to Die (And How You Can Get Rid of It) The Internet's relationship with Flash has been rocky for a while. Once, it was a universal standard on the web. Now, it looks like it may be headed to the chopping block. What changed? Read More .

1. Submachine Series

The series of 13 Submachine escape games will definitely keep you on your toes. You won’t find yourself trapped in just one room, but rather in a labyrinth of rooms that you have to navigate.

In these games, you’ll find yourself trying to escape an underground labyrinth, an abandoned lighthouse, and a padded white cell, among other places. In Submachine 4, you actually start out on the roof of an old house and begin the game by trying to find your way indoors.

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The Submachine games are incredibly intuitive. You’ll know what levers to pull, what items to pick up, and which buttons to push. Submachine is one of those games that’s challenging enough to keep you engaged, but not so difficult that you want to just give up 5 Crazy Difficult Games You Can Get On Steam 5 Crazy Difficult Games You Can Get On Steam Thanks to Steam, you can play these games without spending too much money. Read More .

2. The Crimson Room

The Crimson Room is a classic Escape the Room game, and if you’re a fan of the genre, you’re bound to have given it a try. After all, it’s over ten years old.

Following what appears to have been a night of heavy drinking, you wake up trapped in a room. You’ll have to look for clues to eventually get the bedroom door open. Since this was originally a Japanese game 3 Websites To Buy Imported Japanese Games 3 Websites To Buy Imported Japanese Games Thanks to the Internet, the process of importing these games is easier than ever. Read More , you might find some language quirks in the game, but they certainly don’t get in the way of gameplay.

3. Neutral Escape Games

Neutral has a great series of seven traditional EtR games. They also offer four Christmas-themed escape games and two mini escape games. These challenges range in difficulty from level 1 (easiest) to level 4 (hardest.)

With Neutral’s Escape Games, you can save your game and come back to it later, so you can still attempt to lead a semi-normal life 5 Life Skills That Video Games Can Help You Develop 5 Life Skills That Video Games Can Help You Develop Video games can help you succeed at life. It's an uncommon opinion, especially in mainstream media, but it's true. Read More while trying to crack these puzzles.

The seven main titles from easiest to hardest are Switch, Sphere, RGB, Lights, LinkageVision, and Elements. For the more difficult games, you’ll definitely want to keep a notebook and pen handy.

4. The Doors

The Doors is another labyrinth of an escape game, with rooms and doors that seem to go on forever. The game can become a confusing whirlwind of going back and forth trying to figure out which door led where. Unlike other Escape the Room games on this list, there isn’t much of a storyline. All that matters is investigating every nook and cranny of the rooms.

5. Ant Hill Trap

Ant Hill Trap takes a much more whimsical approach to the EtR genre. The graphics and storyline are extremely child-friendly, but that doesn’t mean adults won’t get a kick out of it as well 5 Children's Video Games That You'll Enjoy Too 5 Children's Video Games That You'll Enjoy Too Just like you enjoy that animated movie as much as the kids it was made for, the world of video games has some great titles that appeal across ages. Read More .

Not only are the graphics cartoony, but a lot of the puzzles are image-driven and will appeal to kids. If you want to introduce your children to escape rooms, this is the place to start.

6. Afro-Ninja Escape Series

Afro-Ninja has a series of seven minigames that are challenging, but less elaborate than the others on this list. This makes them ideal if you’re looking for a quick fix Less Is More: 5 Small Games That Are Big On Fun Less Is More: 5 Small Games That Are Big On Fun Hundred-hour games with loads of content are awesome, but sometimes you just want a focused, fun-filled experience. These 5 titles deliver just that. Read More to quell your Escape the Room addiction.

In Series 1, you have to make your way out of a locked car. Series 2 finds you locked in a closet. In Series 3, you’re stuck in a phone booth — it doesn’t get much tighter than that! You’re trapped in the bathroom in Series 4Series 5 has you stuck in a freezer, with a new added twist not often found in EtR Games — you’re racing against the clock to avoid dying of hypothermia. Series 6 takes you to a shack, and finally, Series 7 puts you in a locked office.

7. Murder Escape

In Murder Escape, you’re stuck in a room with a disconcerting pool of blood seeping in from under the door. It’s up to you to find the clues to get out.

The game definitely has its quirks. It’s impossible to put items down unless you pick up another item, and sometimes you’ll find yourself endlessly clicking on the screen just to get back to the view you left. However, the tense mystery still makes this one worth playing.

8-9. Escape the Prison & Escape the Office

If you’re brand new to escape room games, Escape the Prison is a great place to start. The game is a great example of how your powers of observation are put to the test. As the name indicates, you’re in a prison cell, trying to get out. You only have to open up two doors to complete the game, and if you have a keen eye, you’ll fly right through it.

If you get through Escape the Prison too quickly, you can always give Escape the Office a try, which is from the same developer.

10. Baby Yaga

Another game with great graphics is Baba Yaga. It’s a lot like a fairy tale as you find yourself trapped in a witch’s treehouse. The witch makes a few silhouette appearances as you play the game when she flies around on her broom menacingly.

Production value on this game is definitely among the highest on this list, and it’s a refreshing change from some of the more stark and foreboding games that are typical of the genre. And of course, magic spells play a role in getting you out of this one.

Will You Escape?

Escape the Room games put your detective skills to the test Can You Solve 5 of the Internet's Hardest Logic Puzzles? Can You Solve 5 of the Internet's Hardest Logic Puzzles? Try these five brain-teasing sites and some of the hardest logic puzzles that are loved by anyone who likes solving stuff. Read More . They’re incredibly rewarding, so give some of these a try next time you feel like solving challenging mysteries.

If you find any of these games too tough, you can always look up walkthroughs. The best place for them is Jayisgames. Just search for the game title you’re having trouble with, and you’re likely to find its guide. The walkthroughs on this site are great because you can reveal spoilers step-by-step. Thus, if you’re stuck at a specific spot in the game, you won’t have to reveal what comes next.

What are your favorite Escape the Room games? Let us know in the comments.

Image Credit: Bildagentur Zoonar GmbH via Shutterstock.com

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  1. illuminatiwhale
    September 27, 2016 at 8:47 pm

    i really like the cube escape series

  2. harold-s
    September 14, 2015 at 1:09 pm

    You might like the room escape games from Rusty Lake as well: Cube Escape

  3. MustEscape96
    May 11, 2015 at 7:35 am

    The Fog Fall series is also great, though sadly it is unfinished as of this day. It kind of sucks because I want to know what is going to happen next.
    I can also recommend the two games in the Cube Escape-series (Seasons and the Lake) as well as Samsara Room by the same group. Just be prepared for some content in Seasons that some people may not be comfortable with, I am not going to spoil anything but it is just a warning. It is a great game, I really recommend it.
    Would recommend Bars of Black and White if it wasn't for the ending and the extremly short experience.

  4. SunShineBunnyGirl
    March 22, 2015 at 1:08 pm

    where is "alice is dead" ? its a pretty good series. also, i expected to see "the last door" too...not to mention "covert front"....

    • Li Li
      July 10, 2016 at 2:25 am

      yup, i am playing on it, soo hard

  5. Abhikut
    March 13, 2015 at 8:12 pm

    Great Article.. but I have been searching the whole net for one awesome escape game.. it has a boy as a protagonist and one of its series has a mission on a plane.. if anybody can gimme the link for that, it wud b really helpful..

  6. brainmoore5
    November 2, 2010 at 6:55 am
  7. JohnnythekiD
    October 16, 2010 at 5:11 am

    CDX.....is awesome

  8. Gaming PC
    September 13, 2010 at 8:48 pm

    Interestingly, i only played my first ever escape the room game the other day online... It was very poor tho so don't know if it was an old one perhaps.

  9. Escape Artist
    September 8, 2010 at 12:07 am

    If you need a break from escapes, try solving your own murder! :-)
    http://www.newgrounds.com/port...

    heh! heh!

  10. Escape Artist
    September 3, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    Even more 'escapers': http://shut.in

  11. Escape Artist
    August 30, 2010 at 3:06 am

    How about an article on creating them? Like what kind of software to use?

  12. Escape Artist
    August 23, 2010 at 1:40 am

    Does Mateusz offer any help in english??? All I saw was japanese...

    • nm
      August 23, 2010 at 9:33 am

      Are you looking for hints/walkthroughs for submachine?

      • Escape Artist
        September 3, 2010 at 1:46 pm

        Yes, I was. But luckily I found the hint page. :-)

  13. escape game fan
    August 21, 2010 at 7:51 pm

    Mateusz Skutnik is a genius and though they're not strictly 'escape' games - his other stuff like 'Daymare Town' and 'Covert Front' are brilliant too.

    But another escape series definitely worth mentioning is the 'Loom series' - they're amazing too - http://akarika.net/games/escap...

  14. escape game fan
    August 21, 2010 at 5:51 pm

    Mateusz Skutnik is a genius and though they're not strictly 'escape' games - his other stuff like 'Daymare Town' and 'Covert Front' are brilliant too.

    But another escape series definitely worth mentioning is the 'Loom series' - they're amazing too - http://akarika.net/games/escape/loom_dawn.htm

  15. Escape Artist
    August 21, 2010 at 5:28 am

    I discovered 'escape games' several months ago and now I'm hopelessly hooked!
    If you like 'em, try these links. You'll need your Flash plugin at version 9 or 10.

    These games have a huge following and there is always help if/when you need it. Best of all, they're free and more come out every week!

    Start with 'The Stone of Anamara'. It's part one of a great game that, sadly,
    was never completed. But beware... it's *VERY* creepy! Don't play it in the
    dark. Or alone.

    You've been warned... :-)

    The Stone of Anamara,
    http://www.666gamer.com/play-4...

    http://www.escapegames24.com/

    http://www.moregames24.com/200...

    http://jayisgames.com/tag/esca...

    http://jayisgames.com/tag/horr...

    http://www.gamershood.com/c17/...

  16. Escape Artist
    August 21, 2010 at 3:28 am

    I discovered 'escape games' several months ago and now I'm hopelessly hooked!
    If you like 'em, try these links. You'll need your Flash plugin at version 9 or 10.

    These games have a huge following and there is always help if/when you need it. Best of all, they're free and more come out every week!

    Start with 'The Stone of Anamara'. It's part one of a great game that, sadly,
    was never completed. But beware... it's *VERY* creepy! Don't play it in the
    dark. Or alone.

    You've been warned... :-)

    The Stone of Anamara,
    http://www.666gamer.com/play-427-The-stone-of-Anamara.html

    http://www.escapegames24.com/

    http://www.moregames24.com/2008/04/bubble-room.html

    http://jayisgames.com/tag/escape

    http://jayisgames.com/tag/horror

    http://www.gamershood.com/c17/room-escape/

    • nm
      August 23, 2010 at 9:34 am

      Thanks for the list - and there goes my productivity! Gamershood really is one of the best places to go for escape games.

  17. timmyjohnboy
    August 20, 2010 at 5:42 pm

    Same here, I never heard of "escape the room" games before. Sounds fun and thanks for some to start on :)

  18. Saikat Basu
    August 20, 2010 at 7:54 am

    I didn't even know that there was a genre of games like these!

  19. Jgmanza
    August 18, 2010 at 5:33 pm

    Submachine....Yeahhhh!!!!!

  20. Aibek
    August 18, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    love such games, thanks Nancy!

    • nm
      August 19, 2010 at 12:40 pm

      I can't tell you how much time I have probably wasted playing these games! I just can't resist them.

  21. Michael Waltl
    August 17, 2010 at 9:00 pm

    Guys, the links to the submachine games are wrong, they don't go to the site of the original creator. All submachine links should go to pastelgames.com!

  22. Michael Waltl
    August 17, 2010 at 7:00 pm

    Guys, the links to the submachine games are wrong, they don't go to the site of the original creator. All submachine links should go to pastelgames.com!

    • nm
      August 17, 2010 at 7:36 pm

      Thanks for pointing that out Fletcher.

  23. Michael Waltl
    August 17, 2010 at 5:50 pm

    .

  24. Michael Waltl
    August 17, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    .

  25. Steve Campbell
    August 17, 2010 at 2:57 am

    I love escape the room games. Thank you for this, Nancy.

    • nm
      August 17, 2010 at 6:39 am

      Thanks Steve! Glad you enjoyed it.

  26. Mateusz
    August 16, 2010 at 9:05 pm

    you're linking submachine to the wrong place. here's full list of submachine games:
    http://www.pastelportal.com/st...

    thanks,
    Mateusz Skutnik

    • jessy
      January 27, 2017 at 11:03 am

      s

  27. Mateusz
    August 16, 2010 at 7:05 pm

    you're linking submachine to the wrong place. here's full list of submachine games:
    http://www.pastelportal.com/stories/the-submachines/

    thanks,
    Mateusz Skutnik

    • nm
      August 18, 2010 at 10:58 am

      Thanks for pointing that out. The links have been changed.