I've never played a real-world escape the room game. I still haven't, but last night we played an escape the room in a box game. It was fun, but also a little odd. I'm not sure how the real-world ones work, but this in-a-box one feels like a poorly designed adventure game. That's not a bad thing, it's a different type of game under very different constraints, so I give it a big pass. It was also fun, and that's what's actually important. I also don't know that I could do better, but hey! This is the Grumpy Gamer blog.
We finished the game with 22:50 left on the timer. Not that I'm bragging.