Project Avatar is included in our recommendations guides for Avatar-Guided Online Escape Games, The Best Online Escape Games for Large Groups, and The Best Online Escape Games for Tweens and Families. For more of the best online escape games in these styles, check out the recommendations guides.
Update: Legendary Quests has rebranded as Project Avatar and this game is now called First Mission.
Update 11/29/22: If you enjoy First Mission, we hope you’ll check out our interview with creator Tasha Tarkhanova on The Reality Escape Pod.
Project Avatar is an unusual avatar-based escape room livestream, designed specifically for online play, created by Legendary Quests in the Ukraine.
Style of Play: avatar-based livestream of a real room, but designed specifically for online play
Required Equipment: computer with internet connection; pen and paper also recommended
Recommended Team Size: 2-5
Play Time: about 2 hours
Price: €200 for up to 8 players
Booking: book online for a specific time slot
You are controlling a silent avatar through an environment that encourages video game-like play. You will see a first-person POV with some HUD-type overlays showing status information and maps. While the avatar does not speak, they will respond nonverbally to the commands you give.
Hivemind Review Scale
Matthew Stein’s Reaction
Don’t experience this game right before going to sleep, as you might wake up the next morning thinking it was all a fantastical, surrealist dream.
Project Avatar is an absolute must-play. It boldly establishes a new genre: a hybrid of video game and action hero tropes translated into real life + all the destructive physical actions you can’t do in any real-life escape room + persistent physical comedy. Replete with distinctively Eastern European flair, this interactive cinematic experience truly is only possible remotely. Its execution is near flawless, and I’m still picking my jaw up off the floor days later.
Brett Kuehner’s Reaction
- + Unlike anything I’ve seen before – essentially a live-action video game controlled verbally, with a dash of escape room
- + Amazing environment – large, complex, and destructible(!)
- + High-quality production, including music that changes with the action, and video game HUD-type displays
- + Provides a backstory even though it doesn’t really need to
- +/- €200 per team is quite high, but it is a 90+ minute game that provides lots of entertainment
- + Item use makes logical sense
- + The intense physicality of the room comes across well, even remotely
- + Both the host and the avatar are excellent
- + The avatar’s sense of humor made for hilarious non-verbal interactions
- – If you are subject to motion-sickness, this game may be difficult for you
Michelle Calabro’s Reaction
I prepped for this game by Wikipedia-ing the history of Chernobyl and the Hadron Collider, and diagramming the story, which left me with questions: “Are there two realities or three realities?” and “Was the anomalous energy in the parallel reality actually nuclear radiation?”
Gameplay was less about piecing together the story of these multiple realities and more about directing a rebellious, clumsy, but playful avatar through an abandoned building. Quite a bit of thought had gone into how players would navigate the space and direct our avatar. Our avatar didn’t speak, but his expressive hand gestures signified, “Do you want to go straight?” or “I think we should look over there.” Sound design was well considered in this game, taking advantage of diegetic sounds, which brought props to life, and non-diegetic soundtracks, which in a pastiche-like manner referenced ’90s video games and American rock music. As I watched the cutscenes interspersed through gameplay, I gained vague impressions of the story, but no new information about the realities we were exploring.
Aside from a few times when our avatar’s internet connection became unstable, or the fact that camera shake led one of our team members to leave the game early due to nausea, Project Avatar’s designers seemed to have ironed out most of the experiential hiccups. All of these well-orchestrated elements made for a gameplay experience that helped us focus on the mission and not get bogged down by playing in this new format. Our attention tended toward moments of humor versus consuming a cerebral sci-fi narrative. We enjoyed our simulated physicality with abandon even though we were self-isolating in front of our laptop screens at home. I still don’t know if the anomalous energy in the parallel reality was nuclear radiation, but I just don’t care.
Richard Burns’ Reaction
These are some of the notes I jotted down while playing Project Avatar: Wild. Silly. Rock and roll adventure. Post-apocalyptic puppetry. Fun bonus items. Music. Acting. Comedy.
Recently, I’ve played a few games that have been intense info dumps that required a lot of reading and sifting through data. Project Avatar is not that. This is a game where a group can sit back and casually play a lightly puzzled, fun experience. Pregame and postgame videos bookend the story and in-game cutscenes add to the narrative. In between, we got to control the most unique live game avatar I’ve come across yet. This game is meant to feel like a video game where players can do whatever they want: run, jump, swing, slide, scoot, kick, smash… you get the idea… all in a perfectly strange real-world set. I recommend Project Avatar to anyone looking for something different.
Theresa W’s Reaction
It was 10 pm on a Tuesday night and I had just woken up from a nap.
As the introduction video and game structure unfolded, I realized what was about to go down.
The game began, and the uniqueness caught me off guard.
I really couldn’t believe what I was experiencing. Was this just an escape room fever dream?
I clearly had a favorite part. The humor really added to the otherwise intense experience.
Some moments really stood out — being able to do things clearly against typical escape room rules was so satisfying.
Project Avatar is a game that can only exist in this format. If my expressions thus far haven’t convinced you to book it immediately, let these do the talking.