Leenook – L’Équation [Hivemind Review]

L’Équation is a point-and-click adaptation of an in-person game. The original game was created by Sauve Qui Peut, in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, Canada. It was translated into a digital format by Leenook.

Leenook interface with built-in video chat and 360 photo of an office.

Format

Style of Play:

  • Adaptation of an in-person game (can be played IRL)
  • Point-and-click

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection

This interface was very particular about browser window aspect ratio. We recommend a large screen, if possible.

Recommended Team Size: 2-4

Play Time: 60 minutes

Price: $23 CAD per player

Booking: book online for a specific time

Description

This was a faithful point-and-click adaptation of the real-life escape room L’Équation at Sauve Qui Peut. We navigated 360-degree photos of the gamespace. When we clicked on things in the environment either a photo, video, or locking mechanism displayed.

There was a live host to provide support. Every player had their own version of the game, so every person needed to open every lock in order to progress together. There were built-in pause screens that told faster players to wait for their teammates.

Illustration of a locker lock.

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: 1 out of 3.

The past year has opened up a whole new market of virtual escape room tourism, and it’s always fascinating seeing which room(s) a company chooses to adapt for online play. I’ve heard incredible things about Sauve Qui Peut’s games in Montreal, but L’Équation was nowhere near their famed standard of creativity and excellence and unfortunately left a very negative first impression (though I still can’t wait to play literally all of their newer games in person post-pandemic!)

L’Équation’s puzzles and set design were highly dated and uninspired, and one big reveal which would have been artistically memorable in person, or perhaps even in an avatar-led livestream adaptation, completely lost its effect in the avatar-less remote version. This seems like a game which should have been cycled out years ago, and I’m perplexed as to why the company chose this one to share online with a global market.

The Leenook platform used to host the game left significant room for improvement. Our experience was technically less than smooth: the background music played over itself, leading to classical-dystopian cacophony, and unevenly lit room images often made it hard to tell where it was possible to click. Page layouts weren’t responsive and seemed to rely on a specific browser aspect ratio, so parts of key images were cut off even on a large monitor. I appreciated having our team’s videos embedded within the interface, and while game state wasn’t shared across devices, I actually enjoyed that this allowed us to each play through all the content.

Theresa W’s Reaction

Rating: 1 out of 3.

L’Équation had quite a lot of potential, but unfortunately didn’t hit the mark in terms of a fun and enjoyable virtual experience. Leenook has designed a way to fully digitize games on their own platform for online play with both gameplay and video chat integration, removing the need to have both Telescape and a Zoom window open at the same time. Unfortunately, the platform fell short with a lack of synchronization (each player had to type in their own codes) forcing players who had solved the puzzle to explain how to solve it, where to input it, and how to navigate to said input, therefore disrupting the gameplay immensely. There was no clear indication of what items you were able to interact with, and some very finicky window size constraints. Leenook did have a really cool way of showing little video snippets of someone interacting with items in the room when you clicked on them, reminiscent of in-person play. This little touch was a nice addition to the room. Other than the platform, the gameplay was unoriginal and unfortunately just fell flat. Sauve Qui Peut has some really incredible games (Wrath of Poseidon being one of my all-time favorites), but L’Équation didn’t stand up to their normal quality of work.

Tammy McLeod’s Reaction

Rating: 2 out of 3.

This would be a pretty cool room in person, but the interface used to turn this into a remote game detracted from my enjoyment quite a bit. Examining each item in the room meant watching a video of someone interacting with it, which was a generally clunky experience. The room interface also did not shrink to fit the window, so I occasionally missed that there were new game elements as they were not visible. The puzzles were generally fun, and since it will be unlikely that I will travel to where this room is, I’m glad for the opportunity to experience it virtually.

Richard Burns’ Reaction

Rating: 1 out of 3.

This experience started out with a significant onboarding sequence. The game platform was new to me and its functionality limitations made it a less-than-ideal way to experience an escape room. A clunky user interface and issues with window sizing and zooming took my attention away from the game at several points.

The English translations caused no issues, but the puzzles were simple and dated. They didn’t take advantage of all the set and objects had to offer towards puzzle design. The story was almost impossible to understand.

We played a poor point-and-click adaptation of a real-life escape room. The platform forced each player to input puzzle solutions to continue, so there were several points where members of our team had to stop and wait for others to catch up. It would have been so much better to have played this game through an in-character avatar.

Pop-up videos of a silent avatar hand performing game functions were a poor replacement. The game contained a couple of small reveals and one great big reveal, but unfortunately all of them lost their magic when displayed via choppy video clips. I did appreciate how the still images of the room updated as we progressed through the puzzles.

Overall this felt like an attempt to avoid using a live avatar to facilitate game play and it fell flat for me.

David Spira’s Reaction

Rating: 1 out of 3.

This online adaptation didn’t work for me. The game itself was fine; my issues were with the user interface. The interface was clunky and very buggy. How much of that clunkiness was due to the bugginess? I can’t say, but it felt like we were in a public beta test.

L’Équation was an early game from Sauve Qui Peut, a Golden Lock Award-winning company that I am a huge fan of. While Sauve Qui Peut is an amazingly innovative company, this game was probably their most classic escape room (I’ve seen it in real life, although I didn’t play it)… so it doesn’t really show off the creative range that this company has.

That said, my single biggest disappointment was that this online adaptation didn’t do the finale justice. There was something truly impressive in this game, and it doesn’t shine through. If I hadn’t explained to my teammates what they were looking at, they wouldn’t have realized how freaking cool it was.

Disclosure: Leenook provided the Hivemind reviewers with a complimentary play.

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