Museum of Intrigue – A Study In Intrigue [Hivemind Review]

A Study In Intrigue is an avatar-led immersive theater/ puzzle game created by Museum of Intrigue in Syracuse, NY.

Avatar view: of the Museum of Intrigue.

Format

Style of Play:

  • Online native experience (can NOT be played IRL)
  • Avatar controlled by the players
  • Immersive theater
  • Interactive NPC
  • Web-based inventory system

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection

Recommended Team Size: 4-6

Play Time: 90 minutes

Price: $31 per person, minimum of 4 people

Booking: book online for a specific time slot

Description

This is an immersive puzzle experience that can’t be played in person, but was hosted in the Museum of Intrigue facility. We were interacting with Sherlock (on-site in the museum) and Watson (via voice and a Google Doc), collecting information, finding items, and solving the mystery. We were scored based on making correct deductions and finding evidence.

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.

Brett Kuehner’s Reaction

Rating: 3 out of 3.
  • + Interactions with two delightful avatars, who were in-character but playful
  • + Despite the large amount of information to discover and process, it felt manageable due to organized presentation and controlled release
  • – One or two items appeared during gameplay that seemed to be clues for another game
  • + The game outcome is not a binary win/ lose, making it enjoyable for both novices and experienced players
  • + Wide range of puzzle types that used the (remote) space well
  • + With two avatars (Sherlock and the off-screen Watson), plus online information and other interactions, everyone on our team seemed fully engaged without being overwhelmed

Cindi S’ Reaction

Rating: 3 out of 3.

A Study in Intrigue is a big game, a classic whodunit played with Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. There’s a lot of information to process and puzzles to solve, so it’s best to divide and conquer. This is not a game for beginners or for players who like to see everything, as it’s easy to miss things as you’re solving something else. The puzzles required a variety of skills: observation, research, logic, influence and even intuition. Bring a team with different strengths so one person can work on a puzzle while others continue the investigation.

The two avatars, in character as Holmes and Watson, were where the game shined, bringing both humor and personality to the case, and making it stand out from other avatar-led games. I especially liked when we were considering our next step and Holmes continued on his own, picking up this and that, talking through his observations as if we were just other members of his team. Play this game if you want a unique experience and want to think!

Matthew Stein’s Reaction

Rating: 2 out of 3.

A Study in Intrigue is a truly intriguing hybrid of top-notch immersive theater with fairly standard escape room-style puzzling, all set in a marvelously massive facility that I’m now raring to visit in person when it’s safe. Our “avatars” were Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, but I hesitate to even call them avatars: they were independent, free-willed characters, as far as possible from the incompetent, neutral avatars which guide many virtual escape rooms. Sherlock was our hands and eyes in the physical space, and he acted exactly how I would expect Sherlock to act: as a highly observant wise-ass. Both actors’ performances were stellar, and they both embodied the “yes, and…” approach through their dynamic improv.

While this game thrived in ambitious narrative innovation, I found it left room for improvement in other areas. The manually updated Google Docs inventory system just barely sufficed. There was no shortage of puzzles, and many puzzles and interactions led to exciting and well-paced exploration of the facility’s many hidden secrets. However, other puzzles felt haphazardly arbitrary in context (how they related to the story) or design (how they were implemented). Our smart Sherlock companion provided sufficient guidance to ensure these puzzles didn’t negatively affect our experience. (In contrast, identical puzzles with a neutral avatar would have only led to frustration.)

I would absolutely recommend playing A Study in Intrigue. I had a tremendous time, and the game is worth experiencing if only for some of its unique structural innovations. That said, I would feel more confident in this recommendation if I hadn’t sometimes felt that stupendous acting was masking inconsistent gameplay design choices.

Theresa W’s Reaction

Rating: 3 out of 3.

A Study in Intrigue was a splendid experience with some brilliant production decisions. The unique addition of two characters, both interacting with the players and each other, really created a jolly good time. There was never a dull moment, allowing the game to shine through curious puzzles, vivid acting, and varied gameplay. If you’re ever in Syracuse, NY, please make sure to make a detour to the Museum of Intrigue. Back in 2018, I spent 9 hours playing games there, and still wanted more. And now we have more! Huzzah!

Disclosure: Museum of Intrigue provided the Hivemind reviewers with a complimentary play.

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