House of Tales – Hong Kong The Night Before [Hivemind Review]

Hong Kong The Night Before is a point-and-click adventure game created by House of Tales in Berlin, Germany.

Image of an empty back alley as the sun rises.

Format

Style of Play: point-and-click adventure game

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection, mobile device

You have to call a phone number during this game. We recommend using Whatsapp to avoid the international fees.

Recommended Team Size: 2-4

Play Time: 90-120 minutes

Price: €24.99 per team

Booking: purchase and play at your leisure

Description

Hong Kong The Night Before is a point-and-click adventure game with linear puzzles. The photos and audio tell the story.

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.

Theresa W’s Reaction

Rating: 1 out of 3.

I need to say that I absolutely love House of Tales’ games in person. However, their online game Hong Kong The Night Before really did not match the quality of play. This online game fell flat for me: the puzzles weren’t spectacular, the story felt forced with questionable voice acting, and the clicking around felt like a blind scavenger hunt. The game had so much potential to be a real point-and-click game, with multiple interactions per space, yet each area only had one or two things to click on and interact with. It felt like we spent more time clicking around to find the single puzzle in a room than actually solving said puzzle. I appreciate that they provide screenshots of a social media account you need to look at if you don’t have an account or don’t want to use your phone. I was really excited to play this game because this company truly makes quality escape games, but this just wasn’t the answer to online play.

Tammy McLeod’s Reaction

Rating: 2 out of 3.

The puzzles in this game were generally on-theme and interesting. The progression was linear and we played as a distributed team with a voice call, which was fun. The interface itself was slightly annoying as it forced the entire team to see the same thing at the same time. For example, one player clicking on a telephone made the whole team see only the telephone. The game images looked great though.

Matthew Stein’s Reaction

Rating: 1 out of 3.

I am thoroughly perplexed by how this game came to be. The puzzle design was shaky throughout; while a few puzzles cleverly furthered the narrative, others were built on frustratingly arbitrary assumptions and felt unpolished, at least in the English version of the game.

More egregiously, though, the Hong Kong mafia narrative felt misguided and misappropriated. House of Tales’ website describes their focus on telling a wide range of stories – an approach I broadly appreciate – but without knowing the creators’ backgrounds or the research that went into this specific game, it seemed like they were telling a misrepresentative story that was not theirs to tell. I couldn’t help but cringe upon hearing voice acting from what sounded like a native German speaker attempting a fake Chinese accent, or when a block of text clearly contained the same sequence of Mandarin characters copy-and-pasted multiple times, or when the only non-mafia character in the game felt like a passively racist depiction of a riddle-telling old man. To me, these sorts of choices are unacceptable, and while they’re quite pervasive in the global escape room industry, we can’t let them be normalized. We can do better.

Disclosure: House of Tales provided the Hivemind reviewers with a complimentary play.

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