Top Mistakes Virtual Escape Room Creators Make (& How To Avoid Them With PlayTours)


Common mistakes

  • Lack immersion
  • Puzzles that do not make sense with the theme & story
  • Bad puzzles
  • Bad game masters
  • Technical limitations

Avoiding these mistakes with PlayTours

  • Improving player immersion
  • Better-designed puzzles
  • Refining the game master experience
  • Using best-of-class software

Lacks Immersion

The puzzles in an escape room should match its theme and story. It should also only require information that is found within the room itself.

Negative examples:

  • Morse code puzzles in an ancient ruin. Morse code was invented in the 1830s.
  • Digital locks in an Egyptian pyramid.
  • A tv screen that works in a deserted place with no electricity.
  • Requiring the use of Google Translate for clues.

Certain technical limitations from using less-than-ideal software also limit player immersion:

  1. Having to use an app on a separate device and having to view two separate devices to play together with friends — 1 for video calling and another for the escape room.
  2. Having to call the physical game master to assess player actions for verification before they give a code. (Why is there a “random person” moving in and out of the room?)
  3. Only being shown a static image to point-and-click. Not being able to move around the virtual room.

Bad puzzle design

On top of making sure that puzzles fit the theme, the puzzle design itself must be good.

Players should have multiple puzzles to work on at the same time.

Having a linear puzzle structure where players only have 1 puzzle to solve causes bottlenecks and often results in players sitting around disengaged.

There should be stages with multiple puzzles and clues, so that:

  • only 1–2 players are on one puzzle/item.
  • players can switch around if they get too frustrated.
  • more dynamic puzzles can be made, such as having two puzzles generate a clue for 1 unified, difficult puzzle.

There should be enough reasons within the escape room design to make players do or think in a certain way for the puzzle to be solved.

Positive examples:

  • Requiring a player to look at clues upside down if the room is in outer space.
  • Having to read a “time zone guide” if they notice that the clocks are not set properly.
  • Having to zoom into a displayed image after seeing magnifying glasses everywhere in the room.

Negative examples:

  • Having to memorize or recall something very minor in a previous room.
  • Needing to read a note backwards when there are no signs or formatting to hint so. For example, perhaps they could make the colors of the text go from dark to light.

It should also not require understanding of culture specific references, such as movies and songs, as players may not have seen them.

Negative examples:

  • Requiring knowledge of how to spell a specific Harry Potter magic.
  • Knowing how to solve a sudoku or chess puzzle.
  • Having to guess a specific language based on a word or phrase.

Bad game masters

These are the typical tasks of a virtual escape room game master:

  • Ensure that players are meaningfully engaged.
  • Let players know of clues when requested.
  • Let players know of clues when required, such as if they take too long to solve 1 puzzle and are getting frustrated.

However, to save costs, some virtual escape room operators assign 1 facilitator to multiple groups. This could lead to teams waiting for a long time for them to enter their breakout rooms, or players that stray too long and too far from the correct answer that they gave up.


  • Allow players to get hints as soon as requested.
  • Proactively give hints to players before they get frustrated.

Technical limitations

  • Requiring all players to input the same solutions on separate devices as their game screens are not synced.
  • Having 1 player screen-share while others watch, forcing all players to view the same puzzle or clue at the same time.

Avoiding these mistakes with PlayTours

Improving player immersion

  • Change the background and format the escape room accordingly.

Selecting an image in the PlayTours edit panel

A more immersive experience

  • Seeing both the escape room and video calling software on the same screen.

Players can view the app and their video calling software side-by-side

  • Using the “virtual spaces” feature to simulate players moving around a 3D space and allowing them to discover and inspect items. A separate article on this feature is coming soon!
  • Using the “answer validation” feature for facilitators to check and reward teams for tasks that require more complex text or picture answers, i.e. “take a group photo where everyone makes a funny face”. Click here to read more about this.

Tasks in each chapter can be completed in any order by any team member

  • Let players collect items from task completion to be used for another task.

  • Allow players to collect items in an inventory to use as resource for future puzzles.

Items in the format of text, images, and videos can be collected and viewed at any point in the game

Refining the game master experience

  • Allow players to buy hints using limited credits.

Hints can be purchased using “coins”. No more waiting around for game masters!

  • Automatically dropping hints for players spending too long on a task.

In the PlayTours edit panel, you can set items to drop with hints. Here, it will drop if players spent 5 minutes stuck on a Chapter 2.

Using best-of-class software

  • Players do not need to download an app on their phones, they can simply open a web URL to start playing.
  • Answers are synchronized across all players, so players do not need to replicate each others’ actions.
  • Players can “see” what others are doing on the game app, so they feel a sense of togetherness when going through the virtual escape room.

Players can see where others are on the app, reducing the guesswork when asking each other what they are working on

Still need help?

PlayTours is a fully-featured software that can help you build the best virtual escape room possible, however, it can be complex for new users.

If you still need help, our Solutions Team is always ready to serve. Just book a free, 30-minute, video or audio online meeting here: click here.

Creating a PlayTours creators’ account takes less than 30 seconds and requires no credit cards: click here.

That's it! If you need help, do email us at