Are you preparing to challenge your breakout skills with a thrilling and highly engaging escape room? If that’s you, then you’ve come to the right place! Whether you’re a veteran escape room artist or looking to take your first crack at it, your whole party will be grateful to have someone like you who is learning how to unlock a lock in an escape room!
Will There Always Be a Lock?
There’s nothing more iconic about an escape room than a lock. We won’t say that EVERY escape room will have a lock, but the chances that you will encounter one or more lock variations during a typical playthrough is very high.
Locks act as a barrier between you and the vital information and/or equipment you will need in order for you to make an escape attempt. So researching these variations is a fantastic way to improve your chances of a successful escape.
What Types Of Locks Are There?
We’re glad you asked! There are tons of different styles of locks that you might come across in your escape room experience. Some of the most common styles include padlock & key locks, numerical locks, alphabetical & word locks, combinational locks, directional locks, magnetic locks, cryptex locks, keypad locks, and diversion locks.
Because of the wide variety of locks out there, preparing yourself ahead of time will give you and your team the upper hand at successfully escaping the room and may even help you in attaining a high score! Get your notebook out, because we are now about to unlock the key aspects of each style of lock that you might encounter.
Padlock & Key Locks
This may be one of the most common locks you might encounter. The solution is easier said than done. All you will have to do is find the key that fits the padlock in question. Where the key is located will be a puzzle within itself.
Numerical locks will usually have 3 or more numbers that you will have to align in order for the lock to open. It is important for you to either jot down or carefully remember any numbers that jump out at you as they may be crucial when trying to solve a numerical lock! Once you have a series of numbers that make sense, make sure to try them in various combinations as you may not have placed the numbers in the correct positions during your first attempt.
Alphabetical & Word Locks
Alphabetical & word locks can be seen as cousins to numerical locks as they work in a very similar method to their cousins, but they use letters rather than numbers. You may need to complete a puzzle or two first before acquiring the necessary letters to unlock these locks. However, the creators of the escape room often try to be cheeky with their word combinations, so when sifting through the letters you have available to you, try to find combinations that result in a word that refers to the escape room’s theme.
These types of locks are commonly seen on the lockers of a typical American high school. With that said, it may not be clear to everyone how they work, so we’ll quickly explain to you the three steps necessary to open these locks.
The first step is to grab the center knob, turn the dial two full turns clockwise, and come to a stop at the first number. The second step is to turn the dial one full turn counterclockwise, past your first number, and then stop at your second number.
The third step, after you’ve entered your second number, is to turn the dial to the right and stop at your third number. Once you’ve landed on your third number, pull down on the lock to open it up.
Make sure you don’t pass your third number or else you will have to turn the dial two full turns clockwise in order to reset the combination lock. It’s easy to make a mistake on this process, so if you’re really serious about mastering these locks, try buying one so you can practice at home.
Another type of lock you can come across is a directional lock. These locks will look like a direction pad on a game controller, offering the user to input up, down, left, right combinations to open the lock. There is no limit to how many direction inputs it will take to gain access to the lock, but you may want to think of this in a North, South, East, and West if there is a map involved as it may give you clues to opening this lock.
Magnetic locks are similar to the padlock & key locks as you will need a magnet to open them. Once you find the magnet, it may be a challenge to find which surface to use it on. Try to find a small desk panel or drawer that moves slightly while also not having a handle, then move the magnet across the panel’s surface to activate the lock.
These mare rare, but can possibly be one of the most difficult locks you can come across in an escape room. Cryptex locks are often cylindrical, the size of a handheld flashlight, and come with a long series of alphabetical letters next to each other for you to find the combination to. They’re similar to the alphabetical combination locks that we discussed earlier, but these are different as they are used to store something of value on the inside.
Keypad locks will look like the number pad on a phone. This may seem simple, but depending on the clues you are given, it may be unclear whether you will need to use the numbers or letters on your given keypad. Keypads can also give you an extra challenge if you are only given the numbers but are required to use the letters that are commonly associated with those numbers. It is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the keypad incase a situation like that were to present itself to your team.
Diversion locks are one of the most common types of locks you will find in an escape room. These are common when there is a large amount of the same object nearby and can be hidden in plain sight, such as books on a bookcase or a lamp on a desk. It is important that you carefully look at or through everything in the room. Not everything is as it may seem.
Final Thoughts on How to Unlock a Lock in an Escape Room
One thing that nearly every escape room will have is a lock, and opening these locks can grant you access to an area that you need to get to. Since locks come in many different variations, it is important that you ready yourself for anything that can come your way. Once you are ready for these types of locks, put your knowledge to the test!
Our Escape room in Fort Worth/Arlington has many escape rooms where you can test your skills on. These range from easier to hard (2-4 star) difficulty. All require a minimum of four players, (so bring some friends, or go on a double date!), have an hour of playtime, and all have been highly rated on Google, Facebook, and TripAdvisor!
Arlington Escape Rooms
Arlington is home to our spine-tingling, thrilling Poe Adventure, which pays homage to one of the greatest poets who ever lived. You’ll also find the long-awaited third chapter of The Pirate Adventure, and the award-winning Area 51 Adventure! If you’re visiting Arlington for the first time, or you are a resident, you’ll want to check out these escape rooms.
Fort Worth Escape Rooms
Fort Worth/Dallas location allows players to track down Bonnie and Clyde in our most difficult escape room adventure, The Mafia Adventure. We also have a spooky Witch’s Tower Adventure where you and your team must save the kingdom from the spell of the crafty witch. Finally, our fast-paced Wild West experience, The Train Heist Adventure, tasks players with grabbing the gold and getting out as fast as you can!
Each of our rooms has been designed with painstaking attention to detail, to bring escape artists the most realistic and immersive experiences possible. Book an escape room today!
Further Reading: Breakdown of Each Escape Room by Difficulty