Escape rooms have increased in popularity over the past decade, and Portland’s
Hour to Midnight has taken advantage of this trend with high-quality immersive
offerings that tend to linger in participants’ minds long after their time here.
Some of the ways that Hour to Midnight differentiates itself from other escape
rooms is the theatrical background that those minds that are behind its
producer, FrightFX, possess. Their intent is for escape room participants to feel
like they are in a movie. They do this in a variety of ways.
For example, their set design experience plays a significant role in creating the
sense of immersion that is experienced while there. Their skills with sound
design and lighting design help create atmospheres and environments that are,
in their words, “hyper realistic.”
The initial vision that they had of what would become Hour to Midnight occurred
in 2006, an idea that was more so focused on creating a multi-room, puzzlefilled haunted attraction. It was not until 2014 when that idea started getting
narrowed to one that would work as a series of escape rooms.
In 2015, the vision became a reality with “The Secrets of Nibiru.” Two years
later, “Assassin’s Deadly Game” opened. “House of Darkness,” which is in fact
done in complete darkness, was unveiled in 2019. The most recent addition has
been “The Pharaoh’s Lost Relic.”
Each of Hour to Midnight’s escape rooms is scheduled for at least 45 minutes
and costs at least $35 per person. “House of Darkness” is slated for a 45-minute
time slot while “The Secrets of Nibiru” and “Assassin’s Deadly Game” have 60-
minute time slots. Conversely, “The Pharaoh’s Lost Relic” has a 75-minute one
and is the only one of these four to cost more than $35 per person; its perperson cost is $45.
Players should show up at least 15 minutes before their assigned time slot to
learn about the rules that they should follow and the story behind what they are
about to experience.
A quarter to four-fifths of participants ultimately succeed in solving the escape
room that they are in. Generally, the fewer the participants, the more difficult it
is to be successful as a group.
Interestingly, however, the success rate stays relatively the same for “House of
Darkness” regardless of the size of the group with the exception of the highest
number of players, eight, having the lowest success rate, 43%. With that said,
“House of Darkness” has been designed for 4-6 participants.
The Four Options
Those taking part in “Secrets of Nibiru” are trying to figure out where William
Elshoff went. He had been searching for powerful artifacts when he disappeared.
“Assassin’s Deadly Game” involves players attempting to find an assassin and
ensure that who he had targeted to be his next victim does not become one.
In the “House of Darkness” escape room, players try to discern what happened
to Arthur Holmwood and his wife. Both disappeared, the former while looking for
Participants in “The Pharaoh’s Lost Relic” attempt to find a powerful relic that
can “bend the very fabric of reality” so that it can be in safe hands.
Escape Room Basics
Generally, escape rooms involve finding solutions to problems, which allow
players to, well, escape from the room or, in other cases, solve the challenging
situation that they had been placed in. Much of the challenge results from so
many clues and challenges being spread throughout the room.
Escape rooms are perfect for people who like to be intellectually challenged and
also have a sense of curiosity as they analyze what is in front of them and try to
figure out how it can help them accomplish the mission that they have been
Escape Rooms as Team Building
One of the ways that Hour to Midnight attracts players is by promoting how this
type of experience can be of value to businesses in the Portland area.
For example, players will often experience higher levels of engagement with coworkers than perhaps they did in the workplace. This can ultimately result in
greater communication and morale. Also, it can be interesting for those
overseeing them to see how they respond to the challenges that they are
presented with here.