Note: This game was reviewed at $19.99 per team and has since been reduced to $9.99 per team if you purchase from ClueKeeper directly. You will get the game for free if you purchase a gift card from Epic Team Adventures.
Mission: TBD, Part 1: Bare Necessities is a digital puzzle game created by Epic Team Adventures in Seattle, WA.
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Style of Play: light puzzle hunt played through the ClueKeeper app
Required Equipment: mobile device with ClueKeeper installed
Recommended Team Size: 1
Play Time: less than an hour
Price: $19.99 per team
Booking: purchase from ClueKeeper, download, and play
Designed for solo play, this game uses the (free) ClueKeeper app on your phone and built-in AR capabilities to deliver a linear sequence of 3 puzzles. The game is the first in a series of related games, so the story is really “just the beginning.”
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Cara Mandel’s Reaction
Mission: TBD – The Bare Necessities was a charming, albeit brief, puzzle hunt using ClueKeeper combined with Zappar’s AR technology. The experience was clearly made with a lot of care, but for my taste the puzzles were a bit lacking. I’d recommend this for novice players who are interested in dabbling in new formats and playing with AR technology. I opted to screenshare my experience of this game via Zoom with my escape group to see if collaborative solving would be possible. Ultimately, it seemed this experience would be better served as a solo one.
Brett Kuehner’s Reaction
- + Interactions with the game are smooth and fun
- + ClueKeeper interface makes it easy to partner with a remote teammate
- + Game is designed for a single player, but teammates can use their own phones to solve simultaneously if desired
- + Each of the puzzles is a different type
- + Using the phone as an augmented reality window on a virtual space is more fun than a standard swipe-and-tap interface
- + Good hint system with gradually more detailed hints
- +/- Some sections have long audio segments, but some limited exploration is possible while they play
- +/- Final puzzle was substantially harder than previous puzzles
- – Not enough content to justify the current price. At a lower price I would recommend it.
The Lone Puzzler’s Reaction
ClueKeeper-based adventure with a handful of interesting puzzles. Game ran well and was reasonably immersive. Unlike many point-and-click “escape” games online, there were no hard-to-see objects to find or visual blocks. You just had to solve the puzzles. Online hint system was easy to use – although it might take a few hint requests to get to useful info depending on where you are stuck in a puzzle. Fun game, but more of a solo video game than interactive escape room. If you want something fun and don’t have a group to play with, this is worth a play.
Theresa W’s Reaction
I really wanted to like Mission: TBD – The Bare Necessities, but at the current state of the game and the price point, the experience was lacking. During the experience, the ability to use AR and look around a space was clever for maneuvering around a completely digital game. One area in particular had a long, non-skippable introduction, and minimizing the app caused the introduction to repeat. The game felt quite short with only a handful of puzzles, yet one puzzle was very well executed and unique. Overall, the experience was lackluster, but I have hopes that Epic Team Adventures will be able to learn from this game and improve for the next installment.
Sarah Mendez’s Reaction
I enjoyed the premise of this game and its efforts to immerse you with humorous descriptions, a thematically-integrated hint system, and fun ways of reinforcing your character. The first puzzling scenario also does a lovely job of approximating the feel of an escape room. However, the other two puzzles offer little entertainment other than their graphics. At three total puzzles, the game feels too light on content, making the $19.99 price a dealbreaker. The game has a strong framework, so if they can align the puzzling with the price, I see a lot of potential for the series!
Disclosure: Epic Team Adventures and ClueKeeper provided the Hivemind reviewers with a complimentary play.