Deadlocked Escape Rooms – The Insiders [Hivemind Review]

The Insiders is included in our recommendation guide for Play On-Demand Online Escape Games. For more of the best online escape games in this style, check out the recommendation guide.

The Insiders is a digital puzzle game created by Deadlocked Escape Rooms in Reading, England.

Read more about our new Hivemind Review format.

A control panel with a variety of buttons, switches, and displays.


Style of Play: light puzzle hunt

Required Equipment: Computer with internet connection, printer, scissors, pen and paper. Recommended to use a touch screen computer / tablet for one of the puzzles. Note that it’s extremely challenging to photoshop-hack around the printing and we do not recommend playing without a printer.

Recommended Team Size: 2-4

Play Time: 3 sessions played over about 1 week, with each session at 60-90 minutes

Price: £9.99 and that £9.99 cost can also be redeemed against the cost of a live escape room once Deadlocked Escape Rooms reopens

Booking: Your adventure begins with a cryptic message within your confirmation email, as soon as you purchase.


This is an online puzzle hunt with a storyline. Gameplay included social media sleuthing, printable paper puzzles, video games, some light ‘hacking,’ and a digital scavenger hunt. It’s basically a digital puzzle sampler pack.

A web page for a corporate job posting.

Hivemind Review Scale

REA's hivemind review scale - 3 is recommended anytime, 2 recommended in quarantine, 1 is not recommended.

Read more about our Hivemind Review format.

Richard Burns’ Reaction

Rating: 3 out of 3.

I really liked this game. The storyline was interesting and developed. There was mystery, suspense, twists and turns. I liked the anticipation of waiting to be contacted between the puzzling sessions. The puzzle volume, quality, and variety were beyond what I had expected. The Insiders includes several hours’ worth of content including print-and-cut, online sleuthing, and even classic video game dexterity puzzles. The game difficulty is perfect for a lone player of some experience, but there were several sections with parallel puzzles that could keep a small team occupied. The hint system was very well done. Great overall value.

Andrew Reynolds’ Reaction

Rating: 2 out of 3.

The Insiders provided three sessions of extremely varied puzzle play, essentially a sampler pack that shows the range of what online puzzle hunt/ escape room hybrids can be. The variety of puzzles kept the game interesting nearly the whole time; they did not lean on one puzzle structure more than once. Unfortunately, some of the puzzles that could have been fun and interesting wound up going on for too long or had directions that were too vague. These missteps brought the fun to a near stop, replacing fun with tedium. Any puzzle can become frustrating if it goes on for too many iterations. The value is definitely there, considering the amount of time I spent with the puzzles. If some of the computer-based puzzles were streamlined, this would be something I’d recommend fully, quarantine or not.

A collections of papers, cipher dials, and a pink paper bowtie.

Brett Kuehner’s Reaction

Rating: 3 out of 3.
  • + Lots of content with multiple hours of playtime for a low price
  • + Very wide variety of well-constructed puzzles, including printable, website interactions, papercraft, and digital games
  • + Storyline is interesting and puzzles progress the story, instead of simply being tacked on to a theme
  • + Digital interactions were fully custom, looked good, and operated well
  • – One puzzle was fun… for the first iteration. It required far too many repeat solves and became a grind.
  • +/- The same puzzle (almost) requires two people to solve, so playing with a friend is recommended
  • +/- The game is in three parts with a several-day gap in between, but since there is no timer, self-paced would be better

Theresa Piazza’s Reaction

Rating: 1 out of 3.

Full of content, but not my cup of tea. Meant for hardcore puzzlers, The Insiders is a game jam-packed with puzzles of all shapes and sizes. Yet after most solves, my teammates and I found ourselves more thankful the task was completed than celebrating that we had bested a puzzle. It’s clear that Deadlocked Escape Rooms poured a lot of time and effort into this game, using so many different formats to keep things interesting for players, but it didn’t deliver an engaging experience for me. My favorite part of this game was interacting with our handlers between chapters, as having to correspond not only helped us believe the story, but also added a bit of levity to the experience.

Peih Gee Law’s Reaction

Rating: 3 out of 3.

I think Deadlocked Escape Rooms has set a new standard for what online puzzle games can be. From the minute I received my booking confirmation email, I was suddenly thrust into a world of tech espionage and intrigue. We were tasked with infiltrating a corporation, and boy, with the level of detail they put into world-building, I started to find myself looking over my shoulder, convinced that secret agents were tracking my moves. The puzzles were very fun, in a range of difficulties and styles. In fact, the entire experience felt very fresh to me because despite the numerous puzzles, none of them felt stale or repetitive.

There was only one part that I found frustrating, and it’s mainly because it’s a type of puzzle that puts a lot of pressure on you to input correct codes in the correct sequence, and it gets more and more complicated as you proceed, with a reset if you mess up. However, as with any challenge, there was also a huge sense of accomplishment after I finished (and I also needed a large glass of wine to soothe my frayed nerves afterwards!).

I think this is a top-tier online puzzle game with detailed world-building and a large variety and type of puzzles. It was like eating at a gourmet buffet of all my favorite puzzles.

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