Portal 2:20 Teen Center is holding an escape room event Thursday through Saturday until Oct. 27. Those that complete the mission in time will receive a free t-shirt. Above, a test-group just barely missed the time frame. (Photo submitted)
Portal 2:20 Teen Center is holding an escape room event Thursday through Saturday until Oct. 27. Those that complete the mission in time will receive a free t-shirt. Above, a test-group just barely missed the time frame. (Photo submitted)

VAN WERT – A group of scientists are working on the latest biomedical and engineering project, but something's gone horribly wrong! A deadly viral outbreak has occurred, and it's up to you to figure out how to contain the infection.

So goes the theme of Portal 2:20's Blackout escape room experience.

Last year Portal 2:20 brought a haunted experience to Van Wert. This year, however, the Teen Center decided to give a new experience a try with an escape room. On Oct. 18-20 and Oct. 25-27, those daring enough can try "Blackout: Can You Escape?"

The premise of an escape room is that a group of at least three people, and no more than six, will be locked in a room and will have to use clues found in the room to escape. Portal 2:20 founder Julie Burk said the experience is not scary and is one that takes a lot of problem-solving.

"An escape room is also known as an escape game," said Burk. "It's a physical adventure game in which players solve a series of puzzles and riddles using clues, hints, and strategy to complete the objective at hand."

Players are given 60 minutes to unveil the secret plot which is hidden in the room. Groups that are able to complete the objective before the 60 minutes are up will receive a free t-shirt.

Typically escape rooms have a theme. Portal 2:20's escape room theme is that of a scientific laboratory in which participants have to stop the spread of a deadly virus.

"We give you a debriefing when you get here that goes through general things of how to play the game, rules of what not to do, and different tips on how to make the most of your mission," said Burk. "Once you go through all that, we put you in the room, shut the door, and you're left to your devices to figure out how in the world you got in here and what you're supposed to do to get out."

Blackout will start on Thursday (Oct. 18 and Oct. 25) and Friday (Oct. 19 and Oct. 26) at 5:30 p.m. and the last group will be done around 10 p.m. For Saturday (Oct. 20 and Oct. 27), Blackout will start at noon, and the last group will be done around 10:30 p.m. The games are an hour long with a half hour in between sessions so that volunteers can reset the room.

Those wishing to participate are encouraged to reserve a session which can be done at www.blackoutvw.com or by calling 419-203-7771. The cost is $20 per person and includes snacks and a free t-shirt if you win. The recommended ages are 12 and up because of the difficulty level, but younger kids are welcome to participate with adults.

"If you're not really into the Halloween thing or being scared, then this is definitely something to try out," said Burk. "It's not scary unless you have anxiety or claustrophobia, but it's all in good fun too. The anxiety kind of helps you figure things out faster. It's definitely a thinking game."

Portal 2:20 Teen Center is located at 108B Zimmerman Ave. in Van Wert.