Gaggle Studios – Awakened [Hivemind Review]

Awakened is a collaborative, multiplayer point-and-click adventure game created by Gaggle Studios.

In-game, 3d rendering of glowing sigils in some sort of magical ritual.

Format

Style of Play:

  • Online native experience (can NOT be played IRL)
  • Play on demand
  • Point-and-click

Required Equipment: Computer with internet connection that meets the minimum requirements below. Plus, it’s better with a mouse.

  • Windows minimum requirements: Windows 10, Core i3-3rd Generation 1.8Ghz+, 4GB RAM, Intel® UHD Graphics
  • Mac minimum requirements: OSX 10.14+, Core i3-3rd Generation 1.8Ghz+, 4GB RAM

Recommended Team Size: 2-4

Although you can play this game with 2-4 players, our reviewers agree it’s best suited to teams of 4. There is a lot to explore, and the communication puzzles are more approachable this way.

Play Time: You win by completing the game in 150 minutes, but you’ll get up to 210 minutes of play time, should you need it.

Price: $29.99 per group of 2-4 players

Booking: purchase and play at your leisure

Description

The game is structured identically to Return of the Mayan Curse. Collaborate with up to 3 other teammates – each on their own device – to click around the rooms and solve puzzles; communication is a must.

Audio and video streams funnel through the game, so you can see and hear your remote teammates within the game itself. Every player watches synchronized cutscenes, and then explores independently and interacts with the items they find. When one player solves a puzzle or takes an item, everyone else’s view changes accordingly, keeping everyone in sync.

The main difference is that Awakened allows more individual searching, and a greater portion of the game requires communication between separate groups of players.

In-game, 3d rendering of a large foyer in a creepy mansion.

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.

Matthew Stein’s Reaction

Rating: 3 out of 3.

Clever multiplayer interactions + escape room-inspired gameplay + gorgeous visual storytelling, all wrapped in sleek custom tech? Count me in!

Gaggle Studios’ platform has so much potential, and I’m delighted to jump in early on in their development. Awakened is an ambitious and at times brilliant digital game, built around a split-team mechanic that makes spectacular use of certain elements which would be impossible in a real-life game. Many puzzles smartly contributed to the narrative, while others leaned a bit too heavily on escape room puzzle tropes for my taste. The world was robust and immersively rendered, but I found navigation to be oddly clunky and disorienting, and it was often harder than it needed to be to tell what was actually clickable within a scene. All that said, the game provides incredible value for an unbelievably low price point, and I’d unequivocally recommend it to anyone who likes nice things (and by nice things, I obviously mean escape rooms.)

Cindi S’ Reaction

Rating: 3 out of 3.

Awakened is a horror-themed, multi-player point-and-click game with unique game mechanics and a strong storyline that kept me invested the entire time. For this game, you will need to download and install the game on your device. I recommend doing this well before the start of the game, as it didn’t work on the first system I tried. There’s no avatar, but you can see and talk with your team in an integrated video chat- that is, as long as you are in the same room. In a room by yourself? You can’t see anyone else! But the design of the game ensures you don’t miss key information, even if you’ve wandered off.

The movement was smooth and mostly intuitive. The puzzles were fun to solve and were challenging enough to keep everyone engaged, with a twist that had us grinning for a good part of the game. The artwork was interesting and there were even a few oohs and aahs as we moved from room to room. If you are a point-and-click fan looking for a fun, cooperative gaming experience, you won’t be disappointed!

In-game, 3d rendering of a clock face.

Joel Smileypeacefun Reaction

Rating: 3 out of 3.

The abandoned Ackerley manor had seen some paranormal activities that needed to be explored by our team.

At its best, the game was made out of detailed 360-degree rooms to look around in. The game, which had to be downloaded first, showed off with its own custom-made interface and inventory. Even passing around items was possible. The puzzles were highly engaging and communication was key. I loved the plot twist. Spooky cutscenes displayed some nice artwork.

At its worst, the game had no onramp. In the beginning, a lot was available to look at. As detailed as the game was, lots of objects were just decoration and couldn’t be interacted with. You had to be in the same room to communicate with each other, which is a clever mechanic, but made me feel like I was constantly running around chasing everybody else.

$29.99 per team is a great price to give this unique 3D point-and-click adventure a try.

Sarah Mendez’s Reaction

Rating: 3 out of 3.

Having played both of Gaggle Studios’ escape games, I now feel more confident saying that they have created a unique combination of features that make their point-and-click games feel more like escape rooms than the other online experiences I’ve played, including avatar games. I quite enjoyed their Return of the Mayan Curse, but Awakened leveraged their video-integrated gameplay mechanics to even greater effect. The world in this game was less linear, allowing your team to explore various parts of a mansion in parallel. When you are in the same room as someone else, you can talk to them, but otherwise you’re on your own. In a search-heavy game like this, this design provides the opportunity to feel something new: loneliness…and then the relief of togetherness.

Regarding the content of the game, the search-and-connect puzzles are fairly easy but substantiated by the cutscenes they unlock. However, the numerous communication puzzles are where the game shines. These make excellent use of the online medium to dramatically advance the story, and they are approachable while giving your team room to solve them creatively.

I want this platform to grow, so here are my two significant complaints: 1) I still experienced detrimental lag on my (non-gaming) computer even though it exceeds the minimum requirements. I’ll tolerate it, but it might turn some people off. 2) I realllllly hope an integrated clue system is on Gaggle’s backlog. The current clue system is unusable without spoiling other parts of the game.

Overall, I am again impressed at how this format so effectively mimics the feelings of an escape room while extending the experience in fantastical ways that only work online. I eagerly look forward to Gaggle Studios’ next game!

Disclosure: Gaggle Studios provided the Hivemind reviewers with a complimentary play.

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