Society of Curiosities – Mysterious Map Heist [Hivemind Review]

Note: At the time we played, this was a free experience and the reviews reflect that perception. Since the introductory period ended on September 1, this experience is now $12, and with it you get a $12 credit towards a regular Society of Curiosities purchase.

Mysterious Map Heist is a light puzzle hunt created by Society of Curiosities. This is a teaser promoting their shipped experiences. We look forward to reviewing that soon.

Format

Style of Play: light puzzle hunt

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection, mobile device

Recommended Team Size: 1-3

Play Time: There is no time limit. The website says 30-90 minutes and it took us about 50 minutes at a relaxed pace.

Price: free!

Booking: click to register and play

Description

You will use the internet and text messages to correspond with the grandmaster of a secret society to uncover clues that will lead you to recovering a hidden map. It’s a light online puzzle hunt. So be prepared to Google stuff and decipher text.

The game is billed as being playable by 1-4 players, but there is no single interface to do so. I set up a Zoom meeting so we could play together. We also had to use a mobile device to communicate with the “society.” I ended up doing that and sharing the links with the teammates. It was clunky. There is supposedly a text message mechanism you can use to communicate with your teammates, but it wasn’t clear how to get it started and we didn’t use it.

Drawins, maps, paintings, and a wax sealing stamp.

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.

An assortment of maps, drawings, and letters.

Fro’s Reaction

Rating: 2 out of 3.

Mysterious Map Heist was a fun, lighthearted adventure punctuated by some really enjoyable moments. Standouts were the in-character communication system that advanced our game, the thorough debriefing mechanism, and one particularly playful and interactive puzzle.

My main critique of this game is that it’s billed as being playable by a team, but doesn’t offer a clean mechanism to do so. I needed workarounds to ensure my teammates had access to the information I was looking at. Overall there was a little too much toggling between devices and programs for my liking.

This free game piqued my interest in Society of Curiosities’ play-at-home adventures available for purchase, so I would say that it accomplished its goal.

Joel Smileypeacefun Reaction

Rating: 1 out of 3.

Before I start, I have to admit some bias. Although I love escape rooms, I was never into puzzle hunts where you have to use Google and get your decipher cheat sheets ready. I would call this a light online puzzle hunt.

At its best, everything was solvable. In the end, you even get a de-briefing reflecting on all the puzzles. The input mechanism via text messages was an interesting idea, but eventual fees by phone service providers left me wishing for a purely online solution.

At its worst, there was a lot to read and I didn’t fully grasp the story. The puzzles were redundant and heavily relied on deciphering. I wish there would have been more variety.

I gave this the benefit of the doubt because it’s free. But I just wasn’t enjoying myself. That said, this is only a teaser and I’m sure their paid service where they send you puzzles is more satisfying to play.

Theresa Piazza’s Reaction

Rating: 2 out of 3.

Mysterious Map Heist is a free adventure best played with a group of people in the same space. As the game relies on a phone number-based communication system, if you’re not in the same space as your teammates, the corresponder will spend a fair amount of time copying and pasting text message responses to the rest of the puzzle solving crew. The Society of Curiosities keeps things interesting by employing an interaction I hadn’t yet seen used in an escape room before and adds a new layer of complexity to a classic puzzle. The game took about 50 minutes to play through and while it has some easily brute-force-able spots, it was an enjoyable way to pass the quarantine time.

Disclosure: Society of Curiosities exhibited at RECON ’20 Global.

2 thoughts on “Society of Curiosities – Mysterious Map Heist [Hivemind Review]

  1. Thank you for the review. We’re sad to read the overall impression isn’t as glowing as the other reviews we’ve received.

    For players reading this, here are a few tips to make the game more enjoyable (also in our Tips for Success):

    1.) This game was not designed with the intention of remote group play. If you are playing with a group – especially a remote group – all players can and are encouraged to use their own device to interact with the character – so everyone can follow along with the story.

    2.) Deciphering – The game requires less than two minutes of deciphering – if you find yourself doing more, you might be on the wrong track 😉

    Hope the review doesn’t deter you from giving Society of Curiosities a try!

    1. Thanks for including these tips! This additional expectation setting goes a long way, especially with online experiences.

      I am definitely looking forward to playing more games from Society of Curiosities, and I know the hivemind reviewers who played this are as well.

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