Herbert’s Laboratory is an audio game created by Trapped Puzzle Rooms in St. Paul, MN.
Style of Play: audio game
Required Equipment: computer with internet connection, pen and paper. Note, the game is played through Discord so players will need to quickly make a Discord account if they don’t have one.
Recommended Team Size: 2-4
Play Time: about an hour
Price: Tickets are $15/person, with a 3-ticket minimum.
Booking: book online for a specific time slot
When players log into Discord voice chat, the game master sets the scene, describing and providing pictures in some cases, of what the party sees. The individuals are allowed to explore the room and take actions by asking open-ended questions to the game master, who then describes what you see or what happens. This is a mix between an escape room and a role-playing game.
Hivemind Review Scale
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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.
Theresa W’s Reaction
Herbert’s Laboratory was a delightful combination of Dungeons & Dragons and escape rooms, and it was a truly awesome experience. I know that this game will not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it hit all the right notes for me. The game incorporated some intriguing elements that are impossible in the real world. The puzzles did not necessarily have a “correct” solution, so our team had fun trying obscure solves. The game master was able to create clear and immersive imagery for the players. I’d strongly recommend this game to anyone who is open to the idea of an audio escape room!
Peih Gee Law’s Reaction
I thought this was a very charming game: cute story line, nicely done graphics, and a fun host. Playing this game felt very much like playing an old-school point-and-click adventure game – and that’s not a bad thing. I love old-school adventure games, and this was a fun way to experience it with my friends.
Puzzlewise, it was more of “figure out how to manipulate items in a certain manner to get a desired result” and less about solving a self-contained puzzle, although it did have those also. The puzzles themselves were on the easy side. However, it was fun getting to play in the sandbox of the scenario Trapped Puzzle Rooms had created for us, and I liked that we could be creative with a solution. I think that while the puzzles themselves were a little simple, overall the execution was very well done and an enjoyable way to spend an hour.
The Lone Puzzler’s Reaction
Really fun game for groups who cannot physically be at a live escape room. Different experience than in-person, but held up very well in comparison. Puzzles were engaging. Audio imagery was well done. Felt like you were part of a fun adventure with friends.
Theresa Piazza’s Reaction
Herbert’s Laboratory is delightful. Trapped Puzzle Rooms uses the digital elements of this new game to their advantage, allowing players to “do” things that would otherwise be impossible in a physical escape room. There’s a wonderful story, and our DM (I mean, our gamemaster), was great, indulging our jokes, desired actions, and sometimes ridiculous requests. Only light puzzling was required, which left plenty of room for exploration and descriptive storytelling. While some traditional escape room players might have difficulty embracing this style of game, those who have played RPGs previously will have no problem sliding into this theatre of the mind. Trapped Puzzle Rooms has one other room available in this format (with a third on the horizon), and I’m eager to play it!
Disclosure: Trapped Puzzle Rooms provided the Hivemind reviewers with a complimentary play.