D’Vile’s Curio Shoppe is a real-life escape room livestreamed and played through an avatar, created by Mystery Mansion Regina in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.
Style of Play: real-life escape room livestreamed and played through an avatar
Required Equipment: computer with internet connection
Recommended Team Size: 3-5
Play Time: 75 minutes
Price: 25 CAD per person, plus tax
Booking: book online for a specific time slot
You’ve got your regular Zoom livestream. In addition, there is a Telescape inventory page with close ups of clues and a 360-degree room view.
We were watching a livestream of our favorite YouTuber. He went to a curiosity shop to figure out more about the case of a missing woman…. but then he got trapped inside.
Hivemind Review Scale
Brett Kuehner’s Reaction
- +/- Avatar is in-character from the very beginning of the game, which adds to immersion, but was briefly confusing at the start
- + Many well-staged dramatic moments, using the remote nature of the game effectively
- – There are a lot of props in the room, which would work well in person, but it is a bit complex to process via remote camera
- + Very good performance by the avatar. The character makes sense for the game, and is fun to interact with.
- – The ending of the game wasn’t 100% satisfying. I understand why they did it that way, but I wanted a little bit more closure.
- + Solving puzzles led us through the story in a coherent way
Joel Smileypeacefun Reaction
We were watching a livestream of our favorite YouTuber who was discovering a spooky place and was then trapped in it.
At its best, the story was easy to understand. (Even if you haven’t played their previous game Night Terrors, you’ll get the gist of it.) The gamemaster did a great job of nudging us in the right direction without it feeling like a hint. My favorite moments were when we could interact with certain objects in the inventory system.
At its worst, the game too often relied on pieces of paper. Those clues could be incorporated into the set more creatively. There were a lot of padlocks. Changing a few into more immersive electronic triggers would help. It’s hard to see things without proper lighting. I think it’s possible to create a creepy setting without having to fall back on dark rooms with flashlights.
As someone who’s doing YouTube content myself, I found the premise of the game to be hilariously fun and relatable.
Cara Mandel’s Reaction
I want to begin by saying that I’m officially a fan of this company and their earnest desire to create narratively compelling rooms. I was delighted by their other rooms: Night Terrors and DTF: Drag Task Force, so admittedly I went in with perhaps slightly higher expectations. Thankfully, this game didn’t disappoint. I wouldn’t say it’s my favorite of Mystery Mansion Regina’s current offerings, but it’s a very enjoyable entry into their repertoire and certainly worth a play! The story was interesting and the setting was cohesive. The puzzles weren’t terribly difficult, but they were diegetic and provided a few fun “aha!” moments. I’d suggest a smaller group for this. 4-5 players would probably be a good number to avoid overcrowding. Without spoiling anything narratively, I’d suggest playing Night Terrors first, though that’s certainly not a prerequisite. I look forward to the next chapter of this story!
Richard Burns’ Reaction
This is a good virtual translation of a physical escape room. The puzzles are solid and the Telescape interface is used well. It helped make our group of 6 not feel too crowded. I appreciated the story taking place in a world I was already familiar with from already having played Mystery Mansion Regina’s Night Terrors. The inclusion of effects that take advantage of the remote play structure were a fun addition. I recommend this as a game to play at any time partly because Regina might not be very high on many player’s lists of places to visit, but that shouldn’t count against this well-done experience.
Matthew Stein’s Reaction
D’Vile’s Curio Shoppe is yet another creative offering from Mystery Mansion Regina, a company I’d never heard of pre-lockdown, yet whose games have consistently been amongst my remote favorites. The clever narrative framing demonstrated in Night Terrors was equally on display in D’Vile’s Curio Shoppe, showing that the creator’s innovative storytelling methods were not just a one-off fluke. I’m giddy to see the shared world established and explored through these two games be continued through future episodic content.
I found this game to be a paragon of how a remote experience can feel fresh and unique while still employing many common puzzle mechanics and thematic elements. First, the avatar plays the role of a YouTube streamer and we were lucky viewers who got to participate on a livestream. This premise is a simple but effective alternative to the overdone “bumbling avatar” trope and provides substantive cohesion to the actor’s banter. Second, the game design consistently reflected an awareness of where the players’ attention was to be focused. Smoothly integrated Telescape elements augmented the livestream content, but through a combination of automatic inventory cleanup and targeted actor engagement, our focus was always quickly redirected back to the livestream in time to catch key moments, including some magical camera maneuvering which played on our limited field of view. Through this all, the game elegantly avoided the multi-tab split attention that shatters the immersive magic circle of many other online offerings.
Disclosure: Mystery Mansion Regina provided the Hivemind reviewers with a complimentary play.