The Virtual Breakout – Operation Apex [Hivemind Review]

Operation Apex is a live-hosted, point-and-click escape game created by The Virtual Breakout in Arcadia, CA.

A computer desktop with a background insignia that reads, "I.D.I.O.T."

Format

Style of Play:

  • Online native experience (can NOT be played IRL)
  • Point-and-click
  • Interactive NPC (in-character, non-avatar gamemaster)

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection

Recommended Team Size: 3-5; but probably best with exactly 4, as there are 4 player roles

Play Time: 60-minute game clock

Price: from $30 per player for teams of 2 to $20 per player for teams of 4+

Booking: book online for a specific time slot

Description

Operation Apex was a point-and-click escape game with video content and a few actor interactions in a Zoom call. We’d hacked a computer, which acted as our main game space. There, we clicked through different files, solved puzzles, and entered passwords.

In-game spy character with an eye patch.

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.

Richard Burns’ Reaction

Rating: 2 out of 3.

A fun, cooperative game that utilizes Telescape to provide a lot of interactive puzzling. Teamwork and communication figure heavily in the experience. Comedy in the recorded video segments was hit-or-miss. Players will have more fun if they let themselves get into the story and just go with it. There was one awkward mid-game sequence that felt a bit out of place.

Our group of 6 split up the workload and were busy throughout the game, but we finished quite quickly. Smaller team sizes might get more value out of the experience and its content.

I was impressed with the functionality of the platform and our live host was fun. The puzzle designs worked well within the constraints of the format. I recommend this game if you are looking for a solid remote teamwork-style game even if it doesn’t really break any new ground.

The Lone Puzzler’s Reaction

Rating: 2 out of 3.

A popular theme with some humor applied resulted in an enjoyable experience fighting the evil hacker. This game ran well, had reasonably challenging puzzles, a few unique gadgets, but still it did not completely captivate me. Unlike some of the avatar-led games online, this experience allowed almost too much freedom of exploration within the game management/ inventory system. Many times I found myself missing out on the action while looking at something else in the room. It was overall a good experience, but not extraordinary, and at times a bit frustrating.

Theresa W’s Reaction

Rating: 3 out of 3.

Operation Apex was a great example of a game designed for Telescape with use of a thematic gamemaster. This experience was filled with cute humor, diverse use of Telescape features, and thematic encounters. This is one of the rare virtual-only games that truly keeps groups of 4-5 busy by having split information for certain puzzles, along with lots of non-linear solving. There was one puzzle that felt slightly forced and didn’t flow very well, but otherwise the game had plenty of fun and clever solves. Operation Apex is a unique virtual experience, and definitely is worth checking out!

Joel Smileypeacefun Reaction

Rating: 2 out of 3.

It’s the first day at your new job as a spy and obviously, you have to fight the world’s most dangerous hacker already.

At its best, we had a fun introduction to the game where we all got secret spy code names. The puzzles all worked and made sense in the environment we were presented with. There were lots of interactive and clickable bits and pieces throughout the gameplay.

At its worst, the story wasn’t super original and didn’t engage me. The gamemaster almost seemed a bit rushed. The company states that the game (including introduction and walkthrough) can take up to 75 minutes. We finished our game after about 45 min. We got a tiny bit stuck on one puzzle and the gamemaster gave us a hint rather quickly, despite us having plenty of time left.

Unfortunately, I think the game is a bit pricey for how fast we went through it. But I can see it being fun for more casual escape game players or smaller groups.

David Spira’s Reaction

Rating: 2 out of 3.

Operation Apex was pretty damn funny. This puzzle-driven game had a lot of content… that we, as a group, ripped through because we had too many extremely experienced players. And I still enjoyed myself.

Overall, I think that this is a quality quarantine game, executed well without pushing any boundaries. There was one actor interaction that left me a bit confused. It worked mechanically; I just wasn’t sure why it was there.

I’d recommend tuning the size of your team to match how much each person wants to puzzle. With 2 people you’ll have a lot to accomplish, with 6 people you can be a bit lazier and let your big brain friends do the work.

Disclosure: The Virtual Breakout provided the Hivemind reviewers with a complimentary play.

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