Update 3/23/21: If you enjoy Floor 13, we hope you’ll check out our interview with creators Anne & Chris Lukeman on The Reality Escape Pod.
Floor 13 is a combination digital + printable game created by CU Adventures in Time & Space in Urbana, IL.
Style of Play: fusion of point-and-click adventure game and print-and-play tabletop escape game
Required Equipment: computer with an internet connection, printer, pen and paper, scissors, tape
The no-printer variant is really good, but the print-and-play version is better. Also, make sure that all players are using the same packet (print or no-print).
Recommended Team Size: 1-3
Play Time: about 60 minutes
Price: pay what you want; minimum $10
Booking: purchase online and play at your leisure
Floor 13 was a fusion of LucasArts-style point-and-click adventure with tabletop escape room. We received a PDF with about a dozen printable pages (there is a no-print variant as well), and a few pages had bits that required cutting out. Then we used a web-based interface to click around and interact with the game world. This interface kept us organized while presenting the puzzles as well as the story.
Avoid using the paper elements before being instructed to do so or you might short circuit the game.
Hivemind Review Scale
Sarah Mendez’s Reaction
I’m a sucker for 90s technology nostalgia, so hearing accents of dial-up modem tones in the background music and encountering the specter of Minesweeper went a long way to endear this game to me. That reaction speaks to the heart of the game, though, because the thematic cohesion of puzzles, sounds, and story are what define this game. Although we whizzed through the puzzles rather easily, I still found them to be charming and fun, particularly in the ways that they authentically integrated into the story and furthered the ambiance. Indeed, there are pockets of detail and humor throughout the game that you might miss if you move too quickly. I also loved how the printout pieces creatively simulate actual objects in the game’s environment. This design extends the digital world into your living room, making this game that much more immersive than a typical point-and-click adventure game. Of course, if you’re familiar with CU Adventures’ first online game, The Lost Temple, you’ve already experienced how effectively this duality works. Speaking of both games, I found The Lost Temple to be significantly more challenging, so don’t expect the same complexity here. Instead, Floor 13 makes up for the difference with its abundance of character and humor, while still benefiting from all of the same mechanics and design elements that make both games so entertaining.
Richard Burns’ Reaction
Floor 13 is a lighter, easier game than its predecessor The Lost Temple. It has some fun print-and-cut paper elements that complement the online portion of the game. The voice acting was great and the storyline started off very immersive, but I admit that I lost track of what exactly was happening (and why) during the middle portion of the game. Excellent ambient sound effects were a much appreciated aspect that I didn’t expect.
The puzzles are pretty straightforward and make this game a perfect introduction to CU Adventures’ at-home offerings. Be very disciplined and only look at the paper printouts when instructed. The online interface is well laid out and functional. The creepy setting of the game forced our older players to explain a terrifying horror of the past to our younger teammates. This added a fun element to our playthrough.
Theresa W’s Reaction
While on the easier side, Floor 13 was a really well executed multiplayer puzzle experience that kept our experienced team of 3 busy. The way that CU Adventures allows for every player to interact on their own synchronously is always a bonus, as everyone can explore on their own, but only one person has to put in the passwords. The story was well done, and most of the puzzles were very original and had fun input mechanics. This game was absolutely a steal, and definitely worth picking up!
Andrew Reynolds’ Reaction
What can I say about CU Adventures’ Floor 13 that I didn’t already say in my review of their The Lost Temple? Honestly, not much – and you can take that to be a good thing or a bad thing. The good part is that CU Adventures has created an amazing way to blend paper puzzles and a beautiful web interface; I stand by the words I wrote way back in June. The (maybe) bad thing is that Floor 13 is not an improvement on the form, but a restating with a new theme and new puzzles. I want to stress, though, that this is a really good platform on which to build a game.
The feature I would like to address is the difference between playing as a “host” and playing as a “companion.” Each game has one host and every other connection is a companion. Everyone is free to move about the game as they wish, but only hosts are allowed to actually input codes. This was a bit disheartening at first as the companion, but I don’t always need to be the center of attention, so it quickly faded into the background. However, there did seem to be one puzzle that was purely web-based that I did not get to interact with at all, and that was more than a little disappointing – and I’d be happy to hear that I just wasn’t looking in the right place to help solve it. Regardless of that issue, CU Adventures has put forth another offering that deserves to be played.
David Spira’s Reaction
I loved Floor 13. It was funny, well designed, approachable, and refined. I can’t put my finger on a single moment that really blew me away, but the entire package came together so elegantly that our time in the game flew by.
In the online escape room space where so many games put the emphasis on an NPC (non-player character), the games from CU Adventures place the players at the center of the experience. As much as I have enjoyed avatar adaptations, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t wishing it was my hands doing the actions.
This is precisely the kind of product that I expect to see outliving the need for online variants.
I’ve not yet had a chance to play at CU Adventures in Time & Space. After playing two point-and-click/ print-and-play hybrid games from them, visiting Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, has shot up on my list of places to go when we can travel again.
Disclosure: CU Adventures in Time & Space provided the Hivemind reviewers with a complimentary play.