Eleven Puzzles – Unboxing the Mind of a Cryptic Killer [Hivemind Review]

Unboxing the Mind of a Cryptic Killer is a point-and-click adventure game created by Eleven Puzzles in Poland.

Illustrated point and click interface depicts a locked treasure chest surrounded by modern technology.

Format

Style of Play: collaborative point-and-click adventure game with asymmetrical information

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection, pen and paper

Recommended Team Size: 2-4

Play Time: 90 minutes

Price: $20

Booking: purchase and play at your leisure

Description

You are trying to track down a killer by solving an assortment of clues. You must divide your team into 2 groups, each of which has access to only half of the clues within the web app. By sharing your information with each other across a chatting mechanism of your choice, you piece together solutions that you each must enter to proceed.

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.

Andrew Reynolds’ Reaction

Rating: 3 out of 3.

Unboxing the Mind of a Cryptic Killer is a good example of the “split team” genre and brings with it a few quality features that other similar games should be utilizing.

First: This may sound simple, but you have a pen tool to draw on puzzles and that makes taking notes or tracing connections very user-friendly. I wish that the drawings would persist as you flip between puzzles, though.

Second: Each puzzle has 2-3 hints available that give an increasingly big push in the right direction. If all else fails, solutions are available after the hints have been read. This system is basically a must-have for games without a gamemaster.

This is a game for two people who can communicate effectively with each other; everything stems from that connection. Unboxing the Mind of a Cryptic Killer is relatively straightforward in that it isn’t very difficult to determine how your information matches with your partner’s information. However, you can only make those connections if you are able to understand and be understood.

If I were to level one criticism at Unboxing the Mind of a Cryptic Killer, it would be about the characters. Players choose one of two detectives to “play as.” These characters don’t add anything to the game, save for a few spoken lines, many of which you have to press an otherwise unnecessary button to hear. For a polished and well-planned game, the characters felt tacked on and underutilized.

Sarah Mendez’s Reaction

Rating: 2 out of 3.

I love a good partial-information collaborative game, and this one ranks solidly in the middle of what I’ve played. It requires meaningful, organized communication between players to piece together their individual clues, but the connections aren’t terribly challenging to discover. This is somewhat because the puzzles mostly follow common tropes without exploring new territory. However, what they lacked in originality they made up for in volume, as the game has a higher-than-average number of puzzles to solve. Alas, two days after playing, I remember only a fraction of them. More memorable, perhaps, was the crisp, cartoonish art style and the characters who accompany you. I wasn’t entirely sure what their purpose was in the game, but they were fun to listen to. Overall, this game would be a satisfying introduction to the partial-information genre, especially for newer players who have yet to internalize common puzzle forms.

Richard Burns’ Reaction

Rating: 3 out of 3.

Great cooperative game with an adequate story and characters. The game splits players into two teams, each helping a different character solving puzzles in pursuit of a killer. The web-based game screens worked flawlessly and the characters added cute commentary throughout the game.

The split-team design can be played remotely (you will need your own communication technology) or in the same room on separate devices. Each team will have partial information for almost every puzzle, so both teams are able to contribute to the solves.

The puzzles are on the easier side, but the provided content and the quality of the tech make the experience well worth the price.

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