Brain teasers with a team: Metro Atlanta escape rooms

You spend all that time and effort getting out, only to reorganize and pay money to get them to lock you up again? No one said escape rooms are a logical form of entertainment, but they sure are fun.

The basic premise is that players, known to each other or thrown together for the allotted time, solve puzzles and physical challenges to "escape" a themed room. The idea brings together elements of everything from the Queen's chess game in "Alice In Wonderland" to corn mazes, corporate team building exercises and 'Jumanji'.

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The idea really took off in Atlanta after being introduced to the U.S. in San Francisco, according to lore from The Big Escape Room. New puzzles and variations like zombie escapes keep the idea fresh, though, and repeat players can have many experiences before it gets old.

Here are a few intriguing options in metro Atlanta for the group brain-teaser known as escape rooms:

Rush Escape Room

$25 per person

6040 Unity Drive, Suite C, Norcross. 470-294-0480 .

All levels are accommodated at the themed rooms in Gwinnett. "Vegas" gives you the best chance of getting out in 45 minutes, but "Cabin" is a lot creepier ...

Project Escape Atlanta

$28 per person

1395 South Marietta Pkwy SE, Building 200, Suite 202, Marietta. 844-372-2731 .

Here's where you go back to the future. Project Escape has one theme room involving knights and another that includes a scavenger hunt. The energy is high and the puzzles are tough. These people are also deal-minded, with group specials that start at $119 for up to six players in a private room. They also have group specials that match you with people you don't know, starting at $49 for two of you.

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Ultimate Escape Game

$29 per person

Galleria 75, 3200 Cobb Galleria Pkwy, Suite 150. Atlanta. 770-629-0767

Was it Houdini who had to escape from under the water? This isn't that hard (after all, he was also chained), but the "Submerged" theme is a favorite at Ultimate Escape. Its plot involves an underwater research facility where players are innocently touring and then suddenly can't leave. Other extras at this place include hours that may begin as early as 10 a.m., even on weekdays, and a signature "Atlanta" room that's great to show off to visitors. Keep in mind, kids under 14 need a parent. And relax, because "each entry point is equipped with a door-release button for anyone who feels overwhelmed, claustrophobic, or needs the restroom."

Brainstorm Escape Games

$28-$32 per person for 60 minutes, 8-10 people max

3060A Business Park Dr, Norcross. 770-609-8738

Locally owned and operated, Brainstorm has some nice twists on the old theme. "Catacombs" is scary but relatively simple, with a 51.9 percent success rate. There's also a "CSI ATL" theme that conjures up Homeland Security. The most intriguing might be "Black and White." Here's the horrifying idea: "You used the latest virtual reality remote to transport yourself into an old black and white television show. But you lost the remote and are now trapped in a world of black and white!"