Looking Glass Adventures – Walden’s Wizarding Shop [Hivemind Review]

Walden’s Wizarding Shop is a livestreamed adaptation of a real-life escape game, created by Looking Glass Adventures in Toronto, Ontario.

In-game: A pair of old mouse cages inside of an old magic shop, each with a mouse within.

Format

Style of Play:

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

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection

A pen and a piece of paper can be helpful.

Recommended Team Size: 2-4

Play Time: 60 minutes

Price: $25 CAD per person, minimum of 4 players

Booking: book online for a specific time slot OR purchase and play at your leisure

Description

Walden’s Wizarding Shop is played through Zoom. It has a standard player-controlled avatar who is not in character and operates physical puzzles in the room based on player instructions. There is no inventory system.

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.

Joel Smileypeacefun Reaction

Rating: 2 out of 3.

We were magicians visiting Walden’s shop, where you can buy all the magic goods you need. Since people had gone missing in there, we tracked down what had happened.

At its best, the game was nicely themed and offered some fun interactions like a marble run, which I loved. The puzzles were lighthearted and had a few wow effects. The animal characters in there were adorable, with some truly great voice acting.

At its worst, you have to pay the price of a minimum of 4 players for the remote version of the room, when puzzle-wise, the game could easily be solved by 2 players. The gamemaster greeted us while he was sitting in a messy office room and his audio quality was not great. In the game, there were too many pieces of paper telling you exactly what to do for my liking.

This is not the hugest, most elaborate, or most challenging game on the market. But for what it is, I had a lovely time. It breaks my heart that the online factors mentioned prevent me from giving the full amount of stars.

Brett Kuehner’s Reaction

Rating: 2 out of 3.
  • – Lots of camera movement, which is a concern if you are prone to motion sickness
  • + Good sound design and visual effects throughout the game
  • ? Puzzles are on the easy side, but enjoyable, and would be good for beginners
  • + Lots of physical interactions, which would be better in person but are handled well for remote play
  • – Several puzzles depended on information viewable on paper via the camera, and would have been better if the game had provided a link for players to get a better view via their browser
  • + The host was explicitly not in-character, but was willing to carry out our silly suggestions for fun
  • + There were a couple of well-designed reveals and exciting moments

Matthew Stein’s Reaction

Rating: 2 out of 3.

Walden’s Wizarding Shop is one of those games I wish I could have just played in person, as its remote adaptation doesn’t come close to doing it justice. While I still had fun online, I was overwhelmed with wanting to see and touch some cool mechanical set pieces myself. The most wondrous elements from the physical game – light animatronics and a magical portrait – all but lost their effect in the digital medium. Seemingly little in the game had been adapted for the remote version; the live feed was somewhat grainy and dizzying. Lacking an inventory system, we ended up taking lots of screenshots of shiny laminated pages of writing. Our avatar, a self-described “brainless body in the space,” was pleasant, competent, and occasionally amusing when prompted, but more acting could have really brought this experience to life online. That all said, the game is well paced, very beginner-friendly in puzzle design, and above average as wizard-themed escape rooms go. Players who haven’t played too many online escape rooms will likely love this.

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