Virtual Escape Games — REC: Escape the 80’s Workout VHS [Hivemind Review]

REC: Escape the 80’s Workout VHS is a light puzzle game with a live game host, created by Virtual Escape Games.

An old CRT television introducing Escape the 80s workout vhs.The TV is flanked by mirrored images of a guy holding a dumbell.

Format

Style of Play: light puzzle game with a live game host

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection, also a pen and paper may be helpful

Recommended Team Size: 2-4

Play Time: 60 minutes

Price: free for teams of friends and families at the regularly scheduled times on the website, with optional tipping. Bookings outside of those times, or for corporate groups, is $10-20/ per person.

Booking: book online for a specific time slot

Description

This is a light puzzle hunt with a gamemaster verifying answers and giving hints. You play via Zoom and a separate website (Telescape) that contains all the puzzles, representing different workout rooms. Your team is advised to work together even though you could split up and each take a different puzzle. The gamemaster is there to “make it more interactive,” as the creator explained.

This game can handle multiple groups of 6 playing at the same time. Each group will play in a separate Zoom breakout room and you are only all together at the very beginning.

A pasel illustration of a gym.

Hivemind Review Scale

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

Read more about our Hivemind Review format.

Andrew Reynolds’ Reaction

Rating: 2 out of 3.

REC: Escape the 80’s Workout VHS is a quick, fun, and free game with just the right amount of 80s workout video vibe. It is played through Zoom for the team communication piece and the Telescape platform, which acts as a shared screen that everyone in your team can view, individually move from room to room, and annotate. The gamemaster is only with you when you summon him by using the Help button in Zoom. That, paired with the Telescape platform, could be an initial stumbling block for players that are not so tech-inclined, but both systems have a short learning curve.

REC: Escape the 80’s Workout VHS plays more like a live puzzle hunt than a virtual version of a traditional escape game; it employs a somewhat linear structure as you move through images, solving an easy-to-medium puzzle in each workout-themed tableau before gaining access to the final “meta” room. Our team was encouraged to play each puzzle together rather than split up, and this led to some fast-paced team solves that became a fun flurry of activity with everyone marking up the screen at the same time. So put on that workout leotard and headband, play REC, and don’t forget to rewind!

Theresa W’s Reaction

Rating: 3 out of 3.

REC: Escape the 80’s Workout VHS was an incredibly charming and easy online game that had me laughing the entire time. The puzzles overall were not difficult, so this would be a good game for non-puzzlers and fans of the 80s. The final sequence was really well executed, and even experienced puzzlers will enjoy it. As a poser 80s kid (no, I wasn’t alive, but love everything about the 80s) this game was such a delight, and well worth your time!

Fro’s Reaction

Rating: 2 out of 3.

This 80s baby always enjoys a trip down memory lane, and I have to give this game bonus points for originality. I’ve played more than 300 escape rooms and have never encountered the concept of escaping a VHS tape. I recommend this one for beginners, experienced players looking for a quick play, or anyone who loves the 80s. The highlights for me were the delightful ending that managed to surprise us, and our energetic gamemaster and creator, Jorge. I’m looking forward to playing Virtual Escape Games’ other offerings where you get to escape from a 90s summer camp slasher and early 00s internet culture.

A very 80s looking person exercising against an 80s pastel background.

Peih Gee Law’s Reaction

Rating: 3 out of 3.

Break out your sweatband, pull on a leotard over some tights, and don’t forget the Aquanet! This 80s workout video-themed game was charming and nostalgic. While this isn’t the most innovative or complex game, it is free, so you literally have nothing to lose by playing it.

Immersion: We’re here for the 80s theme, right? They had 80s music, videos, and even the gamemaster was dressed up!

Puzzles: This game has quite a lot of puzzles, but they are in the easy-medium range. They are very family- and work-friendly, especially for those new to puzzle hunts. (Trigger warning: there is a math puzzle.😭 )

Gamemaster: Our gamemaster was great – enthusiastic and peppy. The gamemaster is mostly there to give you hints and verify answers. It felt a little unnecessary to even have a gamemaster, but it does add that human element.

Interface: This game made great use of Telescape, an interface created especially for virtual escape rooms. Have I mentioned how much I love Telescape? It’s intuitive and easy to use. I also recommend that team screen-share and make use of Zoom’s “annotate” feature if you want to solve the puzzles as a group.

Matthew Stein’s Reaction

Rating: 2 out of 3.

REC: Escape the 80’s Workout VHS is a particularly easy but well-produced game which stands out for its enthusiastic commitment to an 80s workout style and for its [redacted] ending. Our team was advised to stick together and solve the puzzles sequentially, advice I’m glad we followed: each puzzle flew by very quickly, with simple mini-ahas and minimal process, but at least we all got to see everything. I look forward to playing some of this creator’s more difficult games – this style with a bit more substantial puzzling and diversity of interactive elements would make for a compelling experience.

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