Scott Weiss’s Virtual Escape Rooms – Book Smart [Hivemind Review]

Book Smart is an audio escape game created by Scott Weiss.

Wired, over-ear headphones laying on a surface.

Format

Style of Play:

  • Online native experience (can NOT be played IRL)
  • Audio game

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection, pen & paper

Recommended Team Size: 3-5

Play Time: 2 hours

Price: Pay-what-you-want with a recommended $15 per player (as payment to the creator or donation to a charity)

Booking: fill out the form to book at a specific time

Description

This is an audio room with accompanying Google drive links. The host provides a map of the space, and then describes areas as you request them. Most of the game is solving puzzles provided as Google documents, with some puzzle interactions handled by asking the host questions or describing your actions.

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.

Fro’s Reaction

Rating: 3 out of 3.

I loved the style of Book Smart and how it allowed us to use our imaginations and build our own world within the structure it provided. To be upfront, this game was challenging for me. While I’ve upped my puzzling skills over the past year, I’m far from an experienced puzzler, and I found the degree of difficulty high. And there were a LOT of puzzles! I imagine Book Smart would appeal most to players with some experience, and that’s who I’d recommend it to. I’ll leave the discussion of the puzzles themselves to the more experienced reviewers and simply say that I’m glad I played, and would really like to see more from this creator. Bonus points for the option to pay in the form of a charitable donation.

Brett Kuehner’s Reaction

Rating: 3 out of 3.
  • ? Puzzles on the harder side, better for experienced puzzlers who know what words like “indexing” mean
  • + Well designed, puzzle-hunt style puzzles, with good variety
  • + The host was pleasant and enjoyable to interact with, though he was not a key part of the puzzles, instead primarily delivering hints, confirmation, and occasional nudges
  • + Puzzles fit the library theme and used the library setting
  • – It would have been better to have more built-in confirmation of a few solutions, since some answers didn’t immediately “click” as correct, and needed the host to confirm
  • + Players are given clues towards puzzle structure, giving a direction to investigate, and reducing the chance of frustration
  • + Host would gently nudge us back on track if we went too far astray

Theresa Piazza’s Reaction

Rating: 2 out of 3.

Book Smart is a puzzle-filled audio adventure set in a virtual library. The puzzles solve cleanly and while the puzzling experience likely could have been recreated via password-protected website pages, it was much more enjoyable to have a live gamemaster. Having a live gamemaster enabled us to ask zany questions and prevented us from stalling on a single puzzle too long (especially when we didn’t yet have all the pieces to solve it). You will need an online collaboration tool in order to recover your library book in a reasonable time, so get your google slides/ jamboard ready, donate to charity, and play Book Smart!

Theresa W’s Reaction

Rating: 3 out of 3.

Book Smart was an adorable audio game oozing with personality and word puzzles. Every single puzzle and interaction was incredibly fitting for the library theme, really leaning hard into the genre. I would absolutely recommend playing any of their games before this one, as it is the longest and most difficult, with some unique audio room gameplay. The visuals left a bit to be desired, but the host’s descriptions of the world heighten your imagination. Scott Weiss’s approach to making this game accessible while giving back to multiple charities is admirable. If you love word puzzles and want a challenging audio game, this is the game for you!

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