The Diamond Heist is a real-life escape room livestreamed and played through an avatar, created by The Box in Metz, France.
Style of Play: real-life escape room livestreamed and played through an avatar
Required Equipment: computer with internet connection, recommended to have a second screen or second device
Recommended Team Size: 2-5
Play Time: 75 minutes
Price: from 20€ per person
Booking: Book online for a specific time slot. This game is available in both French and English, but you may need to email them about English booking availability.
The Diamond Heist is a standard remote avatar-based game that uses Google Drive to share image closeups. You are connected with Bob, your avatar, and you have to help him break into a shop and steal “the blue lion” aka a large diamond.
Hivemind Review Scale
Theresa W’s Reaction
Adrenaline is one of the driving factors behind why I love escape rooms so much, and The Diamond Heist was one of the only games since March that really had my blood pumping. While the game was a pretty typical escape room, the avatar and end sequence made the game so worth every moment. Some of the puzzles were slightly flawed in the online format (searching through a webcam is tough!) but the adaptations they did add enhanced the experience greatly. I definitely recommend checking this game out, as it does quite a few things differently than every game I’ve played online!
Andrew Reynolds’ Reaction
The Diamond Heist is an avatar-led escape game that pits you and your team (including the avatar, playing the role of the inside man) against the security protocols at a fancy diamond distributor. The puzzles were heavily themed and some required a good deal of observation and thought; you might even learn a thing or two about gem cuts. The first two acts of this game played like a standard escape game: you find clues, solve puzzles, and move on to the next set of challenges. The final act is what will be the dividing line between liking this game and not. You’ve known from the beginning of the game that you’re in a bit of a race to extract as many valuables from the vault as time allows, and the process of actually doing that turns the game into something much more procedural and repetitive. I personally enjoyed it, but I can see other players not enjoying the finale and the change of pace that it brings.
Brett Kuehner’s Reaction
- + Fun intro, with good story justification for remote play
- + Avatar character performance was very enjoyable
- + Room was adapted from in-person play to remote, and made good decisions on what changes were required
- – At one point a clue was dangling in front of us, but it turned out to be a false lead
- + Google Drive sharing of closeup images worked well for this scenario
- + Very good high-energy finish that involved the whole team
Joel Smileypeacefun Reaction
Connected to Bob, our mission leader in France, we were ready to steal a huge blue diamond!
At its best, the game was carefully adapted to work as an online remote game by providing an additional website where we could unlock things and gather clues. Depending on how much time you have left in the end, there are some optional bonus puzzles.
At its worst, getting access to the secret website required several passwords. Everybody needed to enter those individually. I lost track of all those passwords at one point and therefore was left on the sidelines missing out on a lot of valuable information. The set of the game was a little underwhelming (apart from one nicely designed surprise that we didn’t spend a lot of time looking at). Lastly, the lighting in the first part of the game was not favorable for livestream play.
This game maybe would have been a little bit more fun for me in real life, but it was a solid online version overall.
Matthew Stein’s Reaction
Heists are one of the few overplayed escape room themes that I consistently still tend to enjoy playing. The Box’s digital take in The Diamond Heist stood out for its particularly hilarious avatar and an ending sequence full of frenzied teamwork which elicited a very similar feeling to playing with my teammates in person. It was clear from the start that much effort went into meaningfully translating this game into the digital realm, which involved swapping in about 30% new content, adding substantial web components, and developing a cohesive character for the avatar.
At its best, this game maintained excellent flow and a strong connection between players and avatar. The primary website contained attractive visuals and an intuitive user experience, including well-designed “safe cracking software” which I found effectively bridged the digital and physical realms. Certain tactile puzzle solutions were brilliantly communicated through the avatar’s well-paced physical comedy.
At its worst, a puzzle sequence mid-game involved ARG-esque website searching… which on its own was fun enough, but in context led to a period of lessened avatar interactions and thus stymied the comedic flow and our connection to the physical space. Additionally, the avatar’s flipping of his camera direction while updating our inventory photos was at times disorienting, something which could easily be fixed with a second device.
This game is a blast and well worth playing by novices and enthusiasts alike, as I believe it falls firmly into the category of “games which seem like they’d be more fun in their remote adaptations.” And as a bonus, you can add France to your virtual escape room passport!
Disclosure: The Box provided the Hivemind reviewers with a complimentary play.