Project M – Cold Fusion [Hivemind Review]

Cold Fusion is a light puzzle hunt created by Project M in the UK.

Login screen for a website called "The Olsen Files" it is labeled, "Open Your Mind"

Format

Style of Play: light puzzle hunt, a bit ARG-like

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection

This game demands some sort of organization system; minimally pen and paper, but a shared Google Doc could help.

Recommended Team Size: 2-4

Play Time: No true game clock, but you have 7 days to play from the moment of purchase. Our reviewers took ~3 hours over the course of 2 sittings.

Price: £25 per team

Booking: book online and play at your leisure

Description

Players are given an email trailhead and follow it to Facebook profiles. From there, Cold Fusion is about finding information and putting it together to move to the next sequence (solve a puzzle, find a new website, etc.).

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.

Cara Mandel’s Reaction

Rating: 2 out of 3.

Having been in “quarantine game mode” for the better part of ten months now (oof, that hurt to type), I’ve had the opportunity to play many online puzzle hunt-meets-light-ARG games. Many of these use similar tactics: a web of social media profiles, websites that need “hacking,” light puzzles, and ciphers scattered throughout. Cold Fusion followed this structure, but added a more sci-fi spin to it. This game offered a pretty ambitious narrative to follow (which, admittedly, we had trouble tracking at times). The video quality was solid (though audio could have used a mixing pass). Overall, the game was fun and certainly worth a playthrough, though I must admit there were a couple times throughout when we were overwhelmed by the number of browser tabs and individual pages we had open simultaneously. If sifting through this type of data is appealing to you, you’ll likely enjoy this game!

Andrew Reynolds’ Reaction

Rating: 3 out of 3.

I love a good conspiracy story, and I think a lot of other people do as well. That would explain their ubiquity in this genre and in Cold Fusion’s game type specifically, which I would describe as ARG-ish, in that there are created social media profiles and websites for fictional entities. Half of the game is sorting through these places for information, and the other half is using that info to solve a variety of puzzles. The puzzles were engaging all around, and on the medium-to-difficult side of things.

There’s a lot of story here, but I don’t think that I can explain anything more than the broad strokes a few days after playing; there’s just a lot of information to sort through. Days after I finished playing, I still have ~20 tabs open just in case I wanted to refer to them as I wrote this review. This is a game for players who can keep organized notes.

Project M expects Cold Fusion to take 2-3 sittings to complete (we did it in 2 sittings spanning ~3 total hours) but they give you 7 days to complete it from the time of purchase. That’s a good call, and it gives players who want to appreciate the story and immerse themselves in it the extra time to do so without worrying about racing the clock.

Matthew Stein’s Reaction

Rating: 2 out of 3.

Cold Fusion was an X-Files-esque patchwork of amusing narrative cliches: mysterious scientific research, conspiracies, a secret cabal, and more. I appreciated the significant effort put into world building through creating a large amount of mostly high quality transmedia content (with the exceptions of some windy audio and watermarked image montages). As an experienced solver who plays a ton of ARGs and escape rooms and has seen every trope in the books, I found that the quantity and tangentiality of the content eclipsed and somewhat obscured the central narrative, though the world was sufficiently robust to still be quite engaging. For more casual solvers, this balance of content might be a strong positive if 3-4 hours of gameplay equals more value! Puzzles were of mid-to-high intermediate difficulty relative to the target audience, and a majority of the puzzles meaningfully supported the narrative. A sudden twist at the end felt gimmicky… but also left me curious for the next installment of this game.

Disclosure: Project M provided the Hivemind reviewers with a complimentary play.

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