Nancy Drew is a digital escape game created by Mystery Escape Room in Salt Lake City, UT.
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Style of Play: light puzzle hunt
Required Equipment: computer with internet connection. Note, a computer (not a tablet) is necessary for the experience. The game will need to be played with multiple tabs open, a Google Doc, and Google Hangouts simultaneously.
Recommended Team Size: 2-4
Play Time: 60 minutes
Price: $85 for a private booking of 4-8 people
Booking: book online for a specific time slot
You play via a website interface where you explore different rooms in a mansion by clicking around a series of images that make up a house. As you find clues and items, you add them to a shared Google Doc. Solving puzzles unlocks doors to other rooms. Each room opens in a new tab. (Don’t close them!) There is a gamemaster available to help you navigate through the mansion and give hints. The narrative is driven mainly through the game itself and not the gamemaster. Communication is key.
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Crystal F’s Reaction
I really enjoyed the format of Nancy Drew by Mystery Escape Room. It felt very much like an actual escape room. There were several rooms to explore, items to find (and miss), and connections to be made. The puzzles all made sense and were varied. As with an in-person escape room, not everyone got to be a part of every puzzle, and some felt lost at times. If you are ok with that then I would highly recommend this game. I do, however, feel that this game could benefit from a more structured game inventory system. Even a labeled Slides presentation might help with keeping the game organized. For me, these were minor inconveniences in what I thought was otherwise a very authentic feeling experience.
Peih Gee Law’s Reaction
The natural limitation of playing escape rooms via Zoom is usually that we are limited to one view point, and thus the games tend to follow a fairly linear path, with the entire team working together on one puzzle at a time. Nancy Drew was innovative in allowing each player to follow their own path through a mansion while gathering clues and sharing them with each other to solve various puzzles.
On the one hand, it was really fun being able to work independently, but cooperatively. However, I found the inventory system very disorganized: basically everyone just cut and pasted the clues they found into a Google Doc. As a more methodical type player, I found it disjointed and confusing to follow some of the clues because they were pasted haphazardly in what grew to be a 12-page document.
I also wished the rooms in the mansion were easier to navigate. It was slow loading for me, and each room opens in a new tab. It wasn’t made clear to me that we would have to keep that tab open to have access to the room. So to “enter” a room, I found myself constantly having to interrupt other players to ask what was the code to enter, so I could explore, since many times it was a room I didn’t work on.
I think the concept and puzzles were very fun. I just wish the execution was smoother. However, this experience has come the closest so far to replicating the chaos of having multiple people playing an escape room together.
Tammy McLeod’s Reaction
This game is apparently normally run as a corporate team-building activity, which, given its design, makes a lot of sense. While its theme is very escape room-like, I felt that our group of 5 experienced players was expending most of our game time and effort in accumulating and coordinating the discovered puzzle pieces. It was a huge exercise in team management. The puzzles were fun and the game would be fairly enjoyable for a single player, though the interface is not as polished as many other similar games that I’ve seen.
Theresa W’s Reaction
Nancy Drew had a lot of content jam-packed into an hour-long point-and-click adventure game. The puzzles were fun and spread throughout a mansion, with plenty to keep our team of 5 players busy. The system did not allow teammates to affect one another’s experience, so each member had to type the answers and communicate what they had solved. The team was encouraged to use a Google Doc to share relevant information, yet this felt clunky and unorganized. Throughout the game, there was a Wix banner that was odd and distracting. This experience could benefit from some polishing, but was overall enjoyable.
Andrew Reynolds’ Reaction
Nancy Drew is a frenetic point-and-click game set in the official Nancy Drew-niverse. Just like a physical room, the team split up and explored different areas of the Forsyth Mansion, collecting clues and puzzles along the way. This information was shared in a document that the gamemaster provided to us. While the components were easy to find and share, organizing them and making sense of what other people found was initially challenging. Once we had a handle on the system, it worked – but we had to put some effort into making it work. This is one area that could use a little polish. Apart from that, it was a lot of fun exploring the house, forming small groups to solve puzzles, and coming together for a team solve at the end. If you’re okay with not being a part of every puzzle, Nancy Drew is worth playing.
Disclosure: Mystery Escape Room provided the Hivemind reviewers with a complimentary play.