Cave Escape – Carfax The Hunter [Hivemind Review]

Carfax the Hunter is a livestreamed escape game created by Cave Escape in Nottingham, England.

A woman in black walking through a dramatically lit cave.

Format

Style of Play:

  • Adaptation of an in-person game (can be played IRL)
  • Avatar controlled by the players
  • Web-based inventory system

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection

Recommended Team Size: 2-4

Play Time: 75 minutes

Price: £85 per group

Booking: book online for a specific time slot

Description

This is an avatar-led game in a cool setting. You only see the avatar’s hands as you direct them to pick things up or open things. They also communicate back to you with hand movements. It utilizes Telescape in a separate window for inventory and cutscenes.

Avatar view: an old wooden desk covered in lab equipment, and a phrenology bust.

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.

Cindi S’ Reaction

Rating: 3 out of 3.

I’ve played escape rooms in some pretty unusual spaces, but this was a first: Cave Escape’s Carfax The Hunter takes you on a quest to defeat Count Dracula in a series of caves beneath the streets of Nottingham. The creepy atmosphere drew you into the story, even though you were playing remotely. The puzzles were unique and thematic, involving searching and making connections. This was the first online game I’ve played where you didn’t actually talk to the avatar. From the moment you entered the room, you saw only the avatar’s hands and they became an extension of you as the player as you manipulated objects in the room. This first-person perspective resulted in a much more immersive experience, and I found myself actually forgetting about the avatar and focused more on the game itself. They didn’t change the puzzles significantly from the in-person version, so if you’ve played the original Carfax game, you’ll want to skip Carfax The Hunter.

Brett Kuehner’s Reaction

Rating: 2 out of 3.
  • -/+ This room is located in a cave, which has humidity issues that led to a delayed start and a few mechanical failures during the game. However, the team was able to work around the failures and keep our game going without any significant hiccups in the flow.
  • +/- Excellent atmospheric decor, though it clearly would be more enjoyable to play it in person
  • + Good use of Telescape for inventory
  • ? Puzzles were on the easier side, which would be best for less-experienced teams
  • + The story unfolded in a natural way via letters (with accompanying voiceovers)
  • -/+ The avatar didn’t have as much opportunity for playful interaction because they were silent, but managed a few moments where a personality peeked through via physicality

Joel Smileypeacefun Reaction

Rating: 2 out of 3.

This game brought us downstairs into a beautiful cave, where we discovered the secrets of an old but dangerous vampire.

At its best, the cave makes for a unique set design. The gamemaster and the non-talking avatar were super nice. The game had some nifty secrets to uncover. Whenever there was a text to read they played an audio track of it, so you don’t have to read it yourself. For the online version, the game timer is 15 minutes longer, which is a fair move.

At its worst, the game relied on a lot of pieces of paper and text, which I’m not the biggest fan of. Also, there was a lot of hard-to-find searching going on.

We unfortunately encountered technical issues with props not opening up, which has to do with the humidity and temperature in the cave as far as I’m concerned. While this wasn’t a dealbreaker, it made me think that the game would be cooler in person.

Andrew Reynolds’ Reaction

Rating: 3 out of 3.

Carfax the Hunter is an atmospheric vampire hunt led by a capable and mysterious silent avatar. Some of that atmosphere comes from an effective soundscape especially in the latter half of the game, but most is due to Cave Escape building their game in – get this – an actual cave. And while that did add to the charm, the tendency of caves to be damp delayed our game. Electronics and moisture don’t play well together, after all. But it must be mentioned that the delay was handled well: the situation was explained, time was added to the game clock, and game issues were expertly worked through.

The puzzles were all strong and played well through the video call, even the searching and exploration-style puzzles. This was aided by our avatar, who may have been silent, but was also responsive and communicative (and flashy when needed). Carfax the Hunter utilizes Telescape for images and video in perhaps the most seamless implementation of the platform I have seen; using it here just felt natural. All in all, my biggest complaint about Carfax the Hunter was that I didn’t get to play it in person. If you can, do that; but if the distance is too great, I definitely recommend playing the avatar version.

Disclosure: Cave Escape provided the Hivemind reviewers with a complimentary play.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.