66 Minuten – Showdown [Hivemind Review]

Showdown is an avatar-led, livestreamed adaptation of an in-person game, created by 66 Minuten in Neuwied, Germany.

Agent Agatha over Zoom.

Format

Style of Play:

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

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection, mobile device

At one point, you need to call a German phone number.

Recommended Team Size: 3-4

Play Time: about 90 minutes

Price: 120€ per team of 3, plus 15€ for each additional connection

Booking: book online for a specific time slot

Description

This was an avatar-led adaption of a real-life escape room, played in Zoom. The differentiator in Showdown was its high level of production and clever combination of video content with immersive theater elements.

You are agents helping a member of the “Anti Schlabbeck Force.”

An agent in zoom.

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.

Showdown was not your usual avatar-led escape game. Instead, 66 Minuten created an immersive theater experience using live actors and pre-recorded video clips so seamlessly that I was convinced there were at least five or six actors running the game. Unbelievably, there were just two! This game was creative, funny, and highly interactive, and although I didn’t quite follow the story, it didn’t really matter. The characters were over-the-top, which encouraged our team to be just as ridiculous. The puzzles were creative and intuitive. My absolute favorite part was when they used a really cool visual technique that could only work in a virtual game. I’d never seen it used before and it was the most memorable part of the game. Bring a group of friends and a good sense of humor and you will have a great time playing Showdown!

Andrew Reynolds’ Reaction

Rating: 2 out of 3.

66 Minuten’s website bills their experiences as “theater adventures,” and there was a definite element of theatricality that I was not expecting. The first few minutes of Showdown set up the background and the plot in a very dramatic fashion. It was quite madcap – and honestly, a bit too much too fast for me. I spent the rest of the game never being entirely sure what the overall plot was.

Plot aside, the game itself was entertaining. The puzzles were enjoyable and they had good variety – even some searching that felt natural and not particularly onerous. The avatar was humorous and fun to work with from a personality standpoint, but I think they played a bit too much into the “brand new secret agent” trope. As a result, they were a bit timid with their actions, asking us to repeat instructions to be sure that’s what we wanted them to do.

Brett Kuehner’s Reaction

Rating: 3 out of 3.
  • + Live action seamlessly mixed with pre-recorded videos, to great effect
  • + Audio was also very well mixed, audible without blocking dialogue or discussion
  • + It felt like there were more live actors than there actually were, because of clever use of videos
  • -/+ Story was a bit confusing at the beginning, but for the majority of the game we had a simple goal, even if we weren’t quite sure why
  • + Had many small funny moments, and some larger set pieces driven by humor. Extra-impressive because the game can be played in either German or English.
  • + Puzzles and set worked well for remote play

Joel Smileypeacefun Reaction

Rating: 3 out of 3.

We had to lead a secret agent in Germany to find some stolen money in a nearby chapel.

At its best, lots of passion went into creating the world we were playing in, filled with funny little details. The acting of the many people involved was outstandingly great. The puzzles were entertaining to solve. Also, the large set design was really engaging.

At its worst, the entire story was a bit wishy-washy and hard to follow. Quite a few jokes and story context got lost in translation. Blame it on cultural biases, I guess? The gamemaster was a bit too scared for my liking. While being overly clueless might be good acting, as a player who has to direct that person it was on the verge of being very annoying. Also, there were some major props that I wished would open up, but they only do so in the real-life version.

I had a fun time – no question – but as a native German-speaking person, I agree, it would have made more sense being played in German.

Cara Mandel’s Reaction

Rating: 2 out of 3.

Honestly, I don’t think I could recall the plot details of Showdown if you paid me. But did I enjoy myself? Sure did! The game was frenetic and silly and combined some excellent and seamless pre-recorded video bits to great effect. It leaned into its medium and felt much bigger in scale than it ultimately was. (I won’t spoil how.) The puzzles were fairly basic, but this game is all about theatricality and absurdity. My one main criticism came down to communication around start time. I logged in right on the dot only to discover that I had missed a few minutes of character exposition. So, my advice if you play this game is that you should not consider the ask to log in 15 minutes early as a suggestion, but rather as a requirement. They deliver important exposition in that first 15 minutes that will be necessary for solving a puzzle later in the game. Show up early, with an open mind, and dispose of those pesky desires for a story to make “sense.”

David Spira’s Reaction

Rating: 3 out of 3.

For the people dealing with avatar escape room fatigue, know that this one was special.

Showdown was a well-produced avatar-led adaptation of a real-life escape room. I was impressed by the level of care that went into the video work, and blown away by how fluidly the game swapped between pre-recorded and live material. The folks from 66 Minuten put a lot of love and skill into crafting this game.

Beyond the generally high level of execution, my favorite moments of Showdown came from two places:

First, there were moments that had to happen virtually. I don’t know how this game works in real life, but I know at least one stellar moment wouldn’t be there.

Second, the live performers within the game created hilarious moments. They were so much fun to play with.

Disclosure: 66 Minuten provided the Hivemind reviewers with a complimentary play.

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