The Escape Game – Ruins: Forbidden Treasure [Hivemind Review]

Update 11/22/22: If you enjoy Ruins: Forbidden Treasure, we hope you’ll check out our interview with The Escape Game CEO and Co-Founder Mark Flint on The Reality Escape Pod.

Ruins: Forbidden Treasure is a digital adaptation of a real-life escape game created by The Escape Game, a national company based in Nashville, TN.

A view of a beautiful ancient ruins set.


Style of Play: digital adaptation of a real-life escape game

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection

Recommended Team Size: 2-4

Play Time: 60 minutes

Price: $25 per person

Booking: book online for a specific time slot


This is a live virtual experience in which an in-person avatar explores the physical room on your behalf, following your commands. While watching the first-person experience via Zoom, you also have access to a web app that presents a 360-degree view of the room as well as an inventory of the objects you have collected. Each team member interacts with the app asynchronously, which enables effective parallel exploration.

A video of Captain Mac explaining the "Secets of the Ehlari." It's closed captioned, "...managed to remain totally isolated..."

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.

Sarah Mendez’s Reaction

Rating: 3 out of 3.

Adrenaline! Peril! Glory! I genuinely felt all these things during Ruins: Forbidden Treasure, even from the other side of my computer. The set is gorgeous, channeling the likes of Indiana Jones in every detail. The puzzles are unique, tangible, and thematically perfect, leading to all varieties of dazzling reveals. Although I would prefer to play such a physically interactive room in person, the remote experience is rich and satisfying in its own right, enabling parallel exploration via the intuitive web app while spotlighting each solve for everyone via the Zoom avatar. So, whether in person or online, this game is a must-play!

Brett Kuehner’s Reaction

Rating: 2 out of 3.
  • + Very clear introduction and explanation of gameplay, plus a well produced and funny intro video
  • + Gamemaster and in-room avatar are two different people, smoothing gameplay and avoiding the overload of one person doing both tasks
  • + Avatar was good at following instructions without revealing if they would succeed or fail until they’d completed the action
  • + Custom interface for inventory worked well, 360-degree auxiliary view was helpful
  • – One puzzle translated poorly from 3D space into a 2D screen representation
  • – Several puzzles used “escape room logic” to get lock combinations
  • +/- Several puzzles had fun mechanisms, but would have been much more fun to do in person
Hands in a first person view of an airplane interior.

Cara Mandel’s Reaction

Rating: 3 out of 3.

The Escape Game has cracked the code to a successful remote escape room experience. By combining the use of a live-streaming, first person POV proxy player, digital inventory system, and 360 navigable room scans, this experience was the closest thing to “being there” that I’ve seen yet. The Nashville location is currently the only The Escape Game location to be running this beautifully designed game, which makes a pretty strong argument for the future of this medium. The ability for players to experience wonderful rooms around the world that they may not otherwise be able to see firsthand is an exciting one, indeed!

Brendan Lutz’s Reaction

Rating: 2 out of 3.

Ruins: Forbidden Treasure is another great room that in-person I believe lives up to the high standards The Escape Game is known for. With the exception of one puzzle that simply didn’t translate well to the digital/ avatar-style game play, the overall experience was positive and humorous.

In the end, however, that positivity was overshadowed by FOMO. This is a high-quality room I thoroughly would’ve enjoyed in person. If I could rewind the clock to hold off until life returns to normal, I would. My advice: if there is a local The Escape Game near you, wait to play Ruins: Forbidden Treasure in real life. Otherwise, it’s definitely one of the cleaner physical-to-digital adapted rooms I’ve seen.

The Lone Puzzler’s Reaction

Rating: 3 out of 3.

I have played this game before in real-life and it was very good. As an on-line game, it was excellent – still a lot of very immersive qualities with subtle changes to make the gameplay interesting and challenging virtually. Game was still full of great special effects and fun puzzles – and the avatar and inventory system were first rate. As with many of the avatar-in-a-room games, you experienced all of the puzzles with your team, which makes it a great experience with a group of long-distance friends. It also had all the excellent customer service, design, and attention to detail that I have come to expect from The Escape Game. Very well done and worth playing virtually.

Disclosure: The Escape Game provided the Hivemind reviewers with a complimentary play.

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