The Verdict is an audiovisual immersive experience akin to a larp, created by Logic Locks in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Style of Play: audio-visual immersive experience… of jury duty, literally.
Required Equipment: computer with internet connection
Recommended Team Size: 12 people. You can book a single ticket into a public-ticketed event or you can book for a larger group all together.
Play Time: 2 hours, but allow an extra 30 minutes for a post-game debrief
Price: €21.50 per person
Booking: book online for a specific time slot
The Verdict was an immersive experience akin to a larp. We were essentially serving digital jury duty. We needed to have a large, diverse jury to investigate and deliberate.
Hivemind Review Scale
Matthew Stein’s Reaction
The acting in The Verdict is utterly spectacular and brought me to tears at multiple points throughout the experience. In particular, the actress who played the defendant in our show, Ardine Sollie, put on a breathtakingly human, award-worthy performance. Yet this is not a game, and I hesitate to even call it a theatrical experience; rather, it’s a reality-adjacent immersive exploration of life, death, love, societal morality, and communal responsibility. Structurally, The Verdict is brilliantly conceived to lead participants on a journey of their choosing, with an intentionality of design on par with that of intricate puzzle games, but without anything to “solve” because, well, there is no one correct solution when deciding the fate of another human being. While the foci of discussion are open ended, the experience’s rigid timing and gated “evidence” releases support a clear narrative trajectory and nuanced character development.
The experience is kicked off with the disclaimer that this should not be approached with the mindset or lightness of a game. My only real critique of the experience is that even more explicit world-building upfront – describing more precisely how the justice system works in this 2022 future – could keep potentially disparate and contentious audience groups more on the same page from the start, as we all had the tendency to compare the presented situation to known real-world precedents (e.g. “this trial isn’t fair because the defendant has no adequate legal representation,” when that was an intentional constraint of the experience).
I reserve the phrase “must-play” for games which contain meaningfully unique elements that have the potential to shape trends in the escape room industry. The Verdict is not something you “play” but is an immersive experience I very highly recommend because, simply put, it’s a beautiful work of art. What makes it beautiful is not that you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment, or even happiness, at the end, but that you will have been expertly guided to explore deeper and often darker emotions. This, of course, comes with the disclaimer that if you’re looking for a lighthearted, family-friendly, or puzzle-filled game, or dislike “recreationally” broaching more serious themes, this experience is probably not for you.
Tammy McLeod’s Reaction
I knew going in that this was not an escape game. The crux of the experience is in navigating the facts of the case, opinions of the jurors, and the fundamental nature of justice. It is a complex and possibly intense experience. There is no real puzzle element, only some light detective work to piece together the truth. A player’s experience will vary wildly depending on the composition of the jury. I found that I got a lot more out of the experience when I stopped treating the case like a mystery to be solved or a question to be answered, but instead used the available facts in order to fairly determine a just outcome.
Theresa W’s Reaction
I’ve played 8 escape rooms back-to-back in one day and nothing can compare to how mentally exhausted I was from The Verdict. No, this is not a bad thing by any means, quite the opposite. The Verdict was an emotional journey through the eyes of an incredibly tough jury duty summons that I hope to never deal with outside of a fictional setting. This can’t really be described as a game as it’s much more of an immersive, thought-provoking experience with no puzzles. If you’re expecting something escape room or puzzle-y, this definitely will not be your game. If you’re comfortable with the topics mentioned in their booking information (death, disease, murder, strong language) and want a truly unique experience, The Verdict is a great choice. Don’t go in assuming this game is similar to Jury Duty (an immersive experience by Exit Productions), as they are two separate experiences unlike each other (and The Verdict does not have information overload.)
Cara Mandel’s Reaction
I’ll start by commending the designers of this experience (I’m hesitant to label it as a “game”) on their thoughtful consideration and approach to delicate subject matter. Having reviewed their website, I can see that there are multiple areas that clarify the tone of the game and warn of difficult thematic elements. To quote the website, “The game deals realistically with emotionally heavy themes.” They even provided an emotional aftercare session of sorts for the participants. While I do appreciate that, I wish there had been some manner of content warning provided to me on specifically what the difficult subject matter would be. I might not have opted to join for this one in light of recent events in my personal life. And in my opinion, that should be an informed choice each participant makes. That said, if you’re interested in delving into deep discussion with friends or strangers about ethical and moral decisions, the legal system, justice, and personal choice, then this might interest you. If, however, you’re looking for lighter fare, I’d recommend passing on this one.
David Spira’s Reaction
The Verdict wasn’t a puzzle game… it wasn’t really even a mystery. It was a clever jury duty larp. The players make the experience, and the more seriously and honestly we approached the situation, the more we got out of it.
The performer was astonishingly talented. The story asked us to consider deep, heavy questions.
If I could have improved anything, it would have been distribution of evidence.
I love analyzing evidence, questioning, and generally improvising with actors, so I was about as at home as I get in games while playing The Verdict. I also respected how the experience made lots of room for people who were less comfortable thinking and speaking on their feet. It never forced anyone into taking on more than they could. That level of care was clear throughout the experience.
Disclosure: Logic Locks provided the Hivemind reviewers with a complimentary play.