Agent Venture – The Heist [Hivemind Review]

The Heist is a digital escape game, designed for livestream play, created by Agent Venture in London, The United Kingdom.

Theresa, Richard, Matthew, and Kathryn in Zoom with Dispatch.

Format

Style of Play: digital escape game with audio roleplaying, designed for livestream play

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection

Recommended Team Size: 4-5

Play Time: 60-90 minutes

Price: $13.75 per person

Booking: book online for a specific time slot

Description

The Heist is an audio roleplaying escape game with defined player roles, verbal NPC interaction, and extensive digital interactions. It is played over livestream. Communication and information sharing are keys to success. Interactions with the performer are all verbal and solving puzzles takes place through Zoom and PDFs.

A terminal screen

Hivemind Review Scale

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

Read more about our new Hivemind Review format.

Kathryn Yu’s Reaction

Rating: 3 out of 3.

A fast-paced, interactive game played over Zoom and Google Drive, The Heist by Agent Venture combines hunting through documents, talking to characters, and solving puzzles as your team of players helps a spy complete their mission. If you’ve ever wanted to be the person in the van full of equipment being someone’s “eyes and ears” during a heist, this is your chance. Each player takes on a separate role, be it that of a hacker, navigator, communicator, coordinator, etc. It’s a lot of fun hearing the actor take on multiple roles and improvise conversations as the story unfolds. This is one of the few interactive games over Zoom that also seems re-playable as the narrative branches at multiple points, depending upon what your team tells your “agent” to do.

Theresa W’s Reaction

Rating: 3 out of 3.

The Heist was an awesome audio escape room that really took the immersion to the next level without even using video. The gamemaster was the true star of the game as they took on a multitude of different personas to enhance the experience. This game has an impressive amount of replayability with all of the various paths and specialties to try out, and it’s one of the very few games that I would actually play again! Players were each given a specialty to use throughout that allowed for collaboration the entire time, and each player had multiple moments to change the tides. All in all, The Heist was an absolute pleasure to play and I look forward to playing their next installment!

Brett Kuehner’s Reaction

Rating: 3 out of 3.
  • + Light-hearted spy caper leans into classic heist tropes in a wonderful way
  • + Can be played with 4 or 5 players, each role having separate information and responsibilities
  • + Clear pre-game instructions on what player types might be suited for each role
  • + Defined roles are balanced enough to give every player a chance to shine
  • + Solutions require interaction between players
  • +/- Massive amount of information requires each player to quickly scan and identify key items, which could be exciting or stressful, depending on the player
  • + Partial information is enough to plan actions, complete understanding is not required
  • +/- It is important to choose your Communicator (quick-witted conversationalist) wisely. A good player will amp up the fun in key NPC interactions.
  • – Hacker interface could be overwhelming for some players, especially if not familiar with nonogram/ paint-by-number and similar logic puzzles
  • + Game world is rich with many possible NPC interactions, and lots of backstory that can be used (blackmail, bribery, or threats are all good options!)
  • + Our gamemaster Henri did a remarkable job playing all the NPC roles

Addendum: This game is one of the few I’ve seen which is playable more than once. I played it with two different teams, and I let the second team drive the decisions without revealing my previous knowledge. This resulted in a totally different path through the game, different puzzles, and different interactions. I think even a single team would be able to replay, purposefully choosing roles and options they didn’t choose the first time. The game world is rich enough that there were things I still don’t know after two playthroughs, though I don’t think I’d play a third time.

Richard Burns’ Reaction

Rating: 3 out of 3.

The Heist is a fun game with a terrific and talented host/voice actor. The number of different characters we encountered was impressive. Players being able to choose the different roles beforehand gave us a sense of what we would be in for during the game. Our group benefited from having a 5th player filling the optional Coordinator role.

The number of choices and alternate paths available is a somewhat novel feature that works well. Replayability is a real possibility with this structure. Team cooperation and communication are huge parts of the success as different players have different pieces of information required to solve puzzles. Overall this was a very fun experience that is something a little different with a very low chance of motion sickness.

Matthew Stein’s Reaction

Rating: 3 out of 3.

Games with large information dumps pose the risk of overwhelming solvers with too much data to process in real time, but they also offer the potential to develop a colorful and robust game world, expansive beyond what can usually be accomplished with sequential information reveal. Agent Venture absolutely nails this balance, and with multiple valid paths through the experience and individual roles and information packets for each of 4 or 5 players; the replayability value is off the charts. The creative situations presented throughout the game promote meaningfully collaborative puzzling and information sharing, and the gamemaster perfectly facilitated the audio-based gameplay with different voices for each character and helpful signposting. This easily ranks amongst my favorite remote games so far, and I look forward to participating in Agent Venture’s future adventures!

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