Update 6/29/21: If you enjoy Pursuit of Assassin Artist, we hope you’ll check out our interview with creator Sarah Zhang on The Reality Escape Pod.
Pursuit of Assassin Artist is a time loop escape game, created for livestreamed play through an avatar, created by Omescape in San Jose, CA.
Style of Play: time loop-style escape room, livestreamed and played through an avatar, and designed for livestream play
Required Equipment: computer with internet connection, phone that can call a US number
Recommended Team Size: 2-4
Play Time: 90 minutes
Price: $179 per team, for up to 8 connections
Booking: book online for a specific time slot.
This was a typical avatar-driven game with a pair of twists.
- There was a live actor as antagonist.
- Your avatar was a character trapped in a time loop. If you – through the avatar – make a critical failure, the avatar dies, and your avatar immediately returns to the start of the game with no memory of what has happened. Everything in the game world resets.
Expect the unexpected. This game plays with time resets, character improvisation, outside knowledge, and accumulated knowledge. Be ready for anything.
Hivemind Review Scale
Matthew Stein’s Reaction
Pursuit of Assassin Artist is an incredibly fun experience which successfully plays to the strengths of remote puzzling and actor interactions. It stands out as one of the few remote escape rooms to build an original, robust set around an exclusively remote game – a bold, and in my opinion wise, investment towards how most people will likely be playing escape rooms for the foreseeable future. This game features a time loop meta-mechanic, which I’d only seen before in SCRAP’s (now closed) The Pop Star’s Room of Doom, but which was even more elegantly executed here.
The game naturally runs long – right around 90 minutes for our team – and with the time-loop “respawning,” failure is both meaningful and recoverable as you are incentivized to explore the mechanics and edge cases of the game scenario. The game opened very recently, and a few elements could still use further refinement: the room panoramas looked like they’d been taken on a phone and had some mismatched edges, and there were a couple slightly incongruous narrative moments which could easily be smoothed out with an extra line of dialogue. Nonetheless, Pursuit of Assassin Artist easily makes my “must play” list and has some of the most amusing immersive elements I’ve seen in a remote game yet.
Tammy McLeod’s Reaction
The game startsout ordinary, but the players quickly learn that this game works differently from other escape rooms in a number of ways. There are a lot of traditional puzzles, but a lot of other normal rules will not apply. This made the game a refreshing delight to play. The acting was fun, the puzzle design was polished, and I felt as much in the flow as I would in a real-life room. This may be my new favorite virtual room!
Michelle Calabro’s Reaction
Any game about the art world will pique my interest. The unique name and premise immediately caught my attention as a game I had to play. It was packed with big moments where we got to do stuff that one should never do in real life, and that we don’t commonly do in escape rooms. Overall, I enjoyed the game quite a lot, and have already recommended it to my friends.
The creators of this game could have paid more attention to the aesthetic details to encourage a more immersive experience. The game conveyed only a superficial representation of the art world and could have benefited from more in-depth research. As a player, knowing about art history and color theory might help you solve a few puzzles faster, but I saw no deeper meaning conveyed through the art references. I wish the designers had put more thought into the aesthetics of the space. The set didn’t look believable as an artist’s home and studio and that broke the immersion for me. Artists care how their studios look, because their studios are where they go to feel inspired. But this space wasn’t made with a level of beauty that would encourage creativity. Also, the artist’s taste didn’t make much sense to me. Who is an earnest fan of both Mondrian and Banksy?
I really liked the social aspect of the game, and I think Pursuit of Assassin Artist did this better than many online escape games I’ve played recently. There are two characters instead of one, and you’re directing the avatar on how to persuade the other player by considering his interests and preferences. It was thrilling to tell her what to say, and to watch the scenes unfold between them.
Richard Burns’ Reaction
This game feels like an awesome mash-up of three different styles brought together to create a new type of experience. It bends several traditional escape room rules in ways that make sense. For example, we can use outside knowledge for puzzles because our role as players is to actually be outside participants finding and feeding information to our agent on the inside. It takes advantage of the online format by using effects that would be hard to do in a live playthrough. There are layers of the game to be discovered. Even though our group played to a successful conclusion, I am positive there were optional elements scattered throughout the game that we didn’t utilize. My only complaints were about a couple of small plot issues that can easily be addressed and improved.
Overall this is a wonderful game full of big moments. Despite taking influences from earlier styles and mixing them together, it feels less like a culmination or conclusion and more like a beginning of some new wave of creativity. I can’t shake the feeling that as much as I liked this game, I am equally excited about what it might open up for the future of escape rooms, both online and in person.
David Spira’s Reaction
I loved Pursuit of the Assassin Artist. The use of 2 actors and the time loop mechanism gave Omescape the ability to take us through an interesting and intense journey that felt both escape-roomy and novel.
Since we played our first time loop game back in 2018, the aforementioned The Pop Star’s Room of Doom by SCRAP, I have said on stage and in private conversations with escape room creators that “I think time loop games should be their own genre.” I’ve said this partially because I believe that it is a concept with enough depth to warrant a lot more exploration… and partially because I have been trying to will (or suggest) more of these games into existence.
Omescape took the time loop concept that SCRAP created in the escape room world, and built upon it. They relied less on player death/ failure, eliminated a lot of repetition, and blended the time loop with the avatar model in ways that made playing this style of game better over the internet than in real life.
I truly enjoyed the actor interactions, and exploring the interactions that this game had to offer. In the end, I felt so energized by this game. Did I mention that I think that time loops have a ton of room for exploration as a genre?
Disclosure: Omescape provided the Hivemind reviewers with a complimentary play.