It was the second time The Top Escape Room Project gathered Escape Room enthusiasts from around the world to nominate and vote for the best escape room experiences around the world and award them with The Escape Room Project Enthusiasts’ Choice Award, in-short called TERPECA.
The award was handed out at the end of December, but since Christmas and new years kept us all pretty busy, it is now time for our little take on last years BEST OF THE BEST list.
Who are the people who nominate and vote on this?
The Top Escape Rooms Project is an attempt to find the very best escape rooms in the world by leveraging the experience of the most experienced escape room enthusiasts in the world. We serve escape room owners and designers by publicly recognizing their achievements, and we serve our fellow enthusiasts by providing a global bucket list of the best rooms to play.
This year, 370 escape room enthusiasts from around the world (including us) contributed to nominate and vote. The mission statement above says it the best – while the project can not and will never be able to include all regions and every game that is out there, it is the biggest attempt to award truly amazing games that have been discovered by enthusiasts who have played at least 200 games and should know what makes remarkable games stand out.
If you want to find out more about them, the official website is an open book and lists all the people who did all the work as well as those who voted.
The 50 TERPECA Winners 2019
1 – THE DOME – ESCAPE ROOM NEDERLAND (BUNSCHOTEN, NETHERLANDS)
2 – PARADOX PROJECT 2: THE BOOKSTORE – PARADOX PROJECT (ATHENS, GREECE)
3 – THE MAN FROM BEYOND – STRANGE BIRD IMMERSIVE (HOUSTON, TX, USA)
4 – CUTTHROAT CAVERN – 13TH GATE ESCAPE (BATON ROUGE, LA, USA)
5 – THE EDISON ESCAPE ROOM – PALACE GAMES (SAN FRANCISCO, CA, USA)
We have a winner in Austria
We are super happy to announce that this year one of the winners is located in Austria. Going Underground from Crime Runners in Vienna is also one of our top games, having scored a full 10 from us.
This just underscores the amazing achievement the team of Crime Runners did with their room and it hopefully also sparks some interest in the Austrian Escape Room industry to step up their game a bit more.
Crime Runners showed us that it is possible to be part of the elite, even in a smaller country like Austria. Congratulations to the amazing team of Crime Runners.
Our take on the winners
Naturally, we have not played all 50 of the winning games, but here is a short take on those we have experienced:
9 – THE LOST TREASURE OF ALEXANDER VON HUMBOLDT – THE ROOM (BERLIN, GERMANY)
The Lost Treasure from the Room is the highest ranked game of the ones we have played and although it is considered a bit of a classic in the industry now, this games still deserves all the praise. When we played it a couple of years ago, it absolutely blew our minds and showed us, what an immersive escape room experience could look like. The Room in Berlin set new standards for us and we couldn’t be more proud of them.
13 – GOING UNDERGROUND – CRIME RUNNERS (VIENNA, AUSTRIA)
Compared to a lot of the games in the winners-list, Going Underground is fairly new, which makes this high ranking even more impressive considering that only enthusiasts who have played your game are allowed to vote for you. This standout game in Austria is a new benchmark for the country and even pushes the limits for the industry itself considering how this game uses limited space and time in a very effective way without effecting your gameplay at all.
17 – GHOST HUNTER ERNIE HUDSON AND THE WAILING WOMAN – SKURRILUM (HAMBURG, GERMANY)
Skurrilum in Hamburg is another highly recommended escape room company, widely recognized for their boundaries-pushing implementation of immersive storytelling in escape rooms. The Wailing Woman is our favourite of their games and although we felt like we were a bit “late to the hype” as many new games impressed us more, we fully acknowledge the fact that Skurrilum did something amazing with this game and it still is a must-play for anyone – hence the high ranking on this list.
22 – NEPTUNE’S CURSE – HIDDEN IN HAMBURG (HAMBURG, GERMANY)
Neptunes Curse from Hidden in Hamburg is actually our current favourite game in the German harbour city. It is their newest game, showing that they cleverly used all the knowledge they gathered from years of designing pretty good games and fully immersing you in the belly of an actual (huge) sailing ship. YES, you read correctly.
23 – THE END – DARKPARK (ZOETERMEER, NETHERLANDS)
Another very impressive game on this list of amazing games, The End in the Netherlands left us literally speechless. While the level of quality in the Netherlands is super high in general, we were very pleased with the level of innovation in storytelling we encountered in the games of Darkpark (another favourite of us – Honeymoond Hotel – didn’t even make the top 50 list). The End fully embraces that fact that is more of an immersive experience and you never know what to expect next.
35 – GHOST HUNTER ERNIE HUDSON AND THE ZOO OF DEATH – SKURRILUM (HAMBURG, GERMANY)
As the second chapter of Ernie Hudson-Saga, Zoo of Death feels very similar to the Wailing Woman and while we didn’t really enjoy the game as much as some of the other voters, we do understand the place in the escape room history that both of those games play.
39 – HAUNTED HOUSE 2: POLTERGEIST – THE CHAMBER (PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC)
If you haven’t heard about Haunted House 2: Poltergeist yet, where have you been? But don’t worry, there is still time to check it out. When Poltergeist opened at The Chamber in Prague, we heard a lot of talk that this is the new benchmark of horror escape games. We were curious, but once we had a chance to check it out, it truly turned out to be one of the best horror escape rooms that we have played. Poltergeist is no cheap gore game or purely jump scare room. As most of the games on this list, it cleverly mixes immersive storytelling, incredible set design and fitting puzzles to create an unforgettable experience.
46 – GALACTIC PIONEERS – MINDMAZE (PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC)
We were a bit surprised that Galactic Pioneers is only #46 on this list, but it just shows how impressive most of these games are. MindMaze in Prague created an impressive Science Fiction game that makes you feel like you are on a real space ship. While some enthusiasts criticised that the game feels a bit “task-oriented“, we loved that there was a lot of stuff to do and everyone in our group of five people was busy from beginning to end. And speaking about the ending, it was the best part of the game. If you want to feel like a Starfleet Captain, this is the game for you.
If you want to find out more about the Top Escape Room Project, check out the following:
The official website of the Top Escape Room Project:
The roundup of the man who always has all the numbers – Ken from TheLogicEscapesMe:
And the analysis of David & Lisa Spira, two escape room experts from the US, who know their sh*t:
So what does this list mean in the end? In general, this is NOT supposed to be an ultimate guide to the best games in the world as the people who voted and nominated the games have not played all the games. There is a whole region in China, for example, that is not represented at all. On the other hand, this is the biggest project worldwide that tries to point out games that should be on the radar of enthusiasts for something extraordinary.
Just because a game you love is not on this list, doesn’t mean it would not fit. Maybe it has just not been discovered by the community at large. If you know of one of those games, join the “secret” international Slack community or one of the big Facebook groups where enthusiasts share their stories.
- International Facebook Group:
- Europe Facebook Group:
- Austrian Facebook Group:
If you have any questions or feel like there is a room missing that HAS TO BE on the list next year, let us know in the comment section to spread the word!