Creators United – A Lost Memory [Hivemind Review]

A Lost Memory is a free digital game created by Creators United, a collaboration of escape game companies in The Netherlands.

An image from WWII of a man and woman swing dancing in front of a large audience.

Format

Style of Play: something between a light puzzle hunt and an online point-and-click adventure game

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection, pen and paper.

There’s only one puzzle that is easier solved when printed. Otherwise, just have pen and paper ready to solve puzzles and keep notes.

Note that one puzzle required dialing a phone number in The Netherlands.

Recommended Team Size: 1-3

Play Time: 3-10 hours, per the website. Our reviewers took closer to 3 hours.

Price: free

Booking: play at any time

Description

Players click on interesting parts of scenes in the game to reveal puzzles and information. The game asks you to enter codes and solutions as appropriate. Many puzzles require internet searches, but this often seems reasonable in context of the story.

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.

Joel Smileypeacefun Reaction

Rating: 2 out of 3.

This free online game was created as a collaboration between several escape game companies in The Netherlands.

At its best, the puzzles were mostly solid, some even quite fun (besides a puzzle about World War II, which I wasn’t enjoying thematically). I was invested in the cute storyline all the way through.

At its worst, everything felt thrown together as if the people involved created individual sections and those were all piled into one long game. The hint system could have been more cohesive. (Sometimes hints were right next to the puzzles; sometimes they guided you to a forum.) Two-thirds through the game I was somehow redirected away from the English version to the Dutch version and I didn’t know how to change it back. Also, they advertise up to 10 hours of gameplay. While 3 hours is a fair assumption, 10 hours is definitely far-fetched.

That said, if you’re okay with potentially a little Dutch lesson, feel free to give those otherwise solid puzzles a try.

An old box filled with assorted objects and letters from the War.

Matthew Stein’s Reaction

Rating: 1 out of 3.

A Lost Memory has a beautiful story and so much potential, but it falls quite short of being a cohesive or consistently enjoyable experience. As part of a lockdown-specific subgenre of “games that were collaboratively created by a bunch of escape room companies in a particular region” (along with puzzle hunts from New England and Colorado escape room companies), A Lost Memory takes a different structural approach than its US counterparts, wrapping all the puzzles into a relatively sequential narrative. I loved how puzzles were presented as ephemera in context, e.g. various documents and objects in an old box, which allowed for some powerful visual storytelling.

However, this game is long, arguably much longer than it needs to be, and the variance in puzzle quality is disappointing. While certain puzzles were fun and well implemented, many others required random leaps of logic and were essentially unsolvable without using hints. I found one puzzle right at the start of the game – a Holocaust-themed word cross – to be in particularly poor taste, as it entailed googling some very serious themes in a recreational context. Overall, this game could have benefited from more thorough editing for puzzle quality and flow and for English usage / translation.

Sarah Mendez’s Reaction

Rating: 3 out of 3.

This game stands out for a compelling story that authentically motivates the majority of its extensive assortment of puzzles. In the game’s most immersive moments, the puzzles made me feel like I was realistically using the tools at my disposal to identify and track someone down. I was also impressed with the sheer volume and variety of puzzles and interactions. That said, some of the game mechanics were clunky and uneven (including the clue system), which, in a shorter or less well-defined game, might have undermined the experience. Here, the strong narrative through-line and the ever-changing nature of the puzzle interactions gave me confidence that something different, smoother, and interesting was likely just around the corner. The persistence indeed paid off with an unusually satisfying ending and a couple of evenings well spent.

2 thoughts on “Creators United – A Lost Memory [Hivemind Review]

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