Big Break Hamburg – Under Quarantine [Hivemind Review]

Under Quarantine is a digital puzzle game created by Big Break Hamburg in Hamburg, Germany.

Sketch of a mermaid.

Style of Play: Light puzzle hunt with audio storytelling

Required Equipment: a computer with internet connection and a phone that can make a call to Germany;

Recommended Team Size: 1-2

Play Time: about 60 minutes

Price: €10 … and with your purchase, you also get a €10 voucher for one of their real-life escape rooms when they reopen.

Booking: Click to purchase and play over the next few days

Read more about our new Hivemind Review format.

Hivemind Review Scale

⭐⭐⭐

I recommend this game to escape room players at any time.

⭐⭐

I recommend this game to escape room players in quarantine.

I do not recommend this game.

An audio player over an image of smoke.

Sarah Mendez’s Reaction

⭐⭐

This was a standard linear puzzle hunt enhanced by solid graphics, audio storytelling, and an approximation of “searching” via hovering over hotspots. The puzzles themselves were neither frustrating nor exceptional. I actually expected the game to end a couple of puzzles before it did, which means both that the story could reiterate expectations more clearly but also that you get more puzzling for your money. Ultimately, the approachability of the puzzles and the solid production quality make this a reasonable entryway game for players new to this format.

Brett Kuehner’s Reaction

  • + Puzzles were varied and generally entertaining, though quite easy
  • +/- Used a few interactions beyond the web site, but didn’t take full advantage of them
  • + Graphics were attractive and clear
  • – Audio clips were presented between most puzzles, but on an otherwise mostly empty screen. Clicking to go to the puzzle stopped the audio.
  • +/- Audio production was atmospheric and enjoyable, but the audio was not part of the puzzles. Listening to the audio often took longer than solving the puzzle.
  • +/- A storyline progressed as we solved puzzles, and the puzzle graphics were themed to the story, but most puzzles did not arise from the story.
  • – Answer entry format is unforgiving and must be in upper case
Sketch of a flower.

Michelle Calabro’s Reaction

The premise of the game is intriguing and that’s why I decided to play. I was disappointed to see that the narrative makes less sense as you progress through gameplay. Another disappointment was the fact that fewer than half of the puzzles were relevant to the theme. There were a few lovely interactions, but they weren’t paired with equally lovely aesthetics, narrative, and game mechanics. When you’ve played a certain number of puzzle games, it becomes harder to impress you. For some people that means they need harder puzzles, or more extensive sensory immersion, or more unusual interactions. For me, it means creating a compelling premise that evolves through an elegant intertwining of mechanics and narrative. In my opinion, this game needs a bit more development before it can reach that point.

Tammy McLeod’s Reaction

⭐⭐

Under Quarantine is a browser-based game with a decent amount of puzzles, which are all very reminiscent of classic escape rooms. After each puzzle, the game plays an audio clip to advance the story. I felt compelled to listen to every clip, but they would sometimes drag down the excitement after a successful solve. There were a couple of small unexpected interactions that I enjoyed. On the whole, it was a fairly inexpensive, low-key fun way to spend an hour, but does not really replicate the joy of playing with friends in an actual or remote escape room.

Format Description

Under Quarantine is a sequential set of self-contained puzzles. To progress, you enter a code for each puzzle, and you are rewarded with an audio snippet that advances the story. Then you receive the next puzzle.

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