State College

Escape room coming soon to State College

Saving the world will take a little more time.

IQ Escape, which originally planned to open its State College location in December, is nearing completion of its second escape room in Pennsylvania. Due to construction delays, the Pittsburgh company said, the projected opening for the Hamilton Square Shopping Center addition has been moved back to late February. No specific date, though, has been confirmed.

“Right now we are in the process of building out both games,” said Melissa Redman, an administrative assistant with the company.

One of those games, Contagion, tasks players with finding the cure for a deadly outbreak. They have an hour to crack the case and save humanity. The other game planned for the State College opening, Stealing Mona, turns players into international art thieves, charging them with solving clues to pull off the heist.

““It’s an experience that most people have even entertained as a possibility,” Co-founder Eric Lloyd said in October. “There’s a reason that movies like ‘The Da Vinci Code,’ the ‘CSI’ TV series, ‘Mission Impossible’ — that type of experience is enjoyable. And what’s great about escape rooms is that there aren’t other opportunities that exist that allow you to play the role of a criminal or a super thief, and that’s kind of what we provide.”

Escape rooms are becoming more popular across the country. Once players enter, they must work together to solve puzzles in completing a themed mission.

Redman said four games are planned for State College, with Contagion and Stealing Mona leading off. Time Shift, which imagines a world where time travel threatens existence, was launched at the Pittsburgh location on Jan. 18 and eventually will come to the Hamilton Square site. The fourth game, which is still under production, draws inspiration from the Lewis Carroll and Disney classic, “Alice in Wonderland.”

“Pittsburgh is kind of our R-and-D location where we create the games,” Redman said. “Once we have everything done here, we then move to the next location to get it there.”

IQ Escape began moving in the Hamilton Square location at the beginning of January. The company was originally supposed to move into the space in September, Redman said, but the construction coupled with the development of the company’s third game pushed back the timeline.

Lloyd, a Penn State grad, said in October that bringing an escape room to State College was a no-brainer.

“State College is near-and-dear to my heart,” he said.

He added the site is filling out.

“The bulk of the aesthetics are done,” he said. “We’ll be able to get a couple of test groups in, get a couple of kinks worked out and then we’ll go from there.”

Roger Van Scyoc: 814-231-4698, @rogervanscy