Trapgame – Agency 51 [Hivemind Review]

Agency 51 is an online escape game created by Trapgame in Charrat, Switzerland.

An agent wearing black briefing us from a futuristic war room.

Format

Style of Play:

  • Online native experience (can NOT be played IRL)
  • Avatar controlled by the players
  • Web-based inventory system

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection

Recommended Team Size: 3-6

Play Time: 90 minutes

Price: 160 Swiss Francs (CHF) per group (~$177)

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

Description

Agency 51 is a digital escape game that mixes online gameplay with elements from in-person escape rooms.

You start with the online part of the game, where the puzzles are digital. Once you access security cameras, the game turns into an avatar-led remote escape room, but continues to utilize the digital interface. This digital game traverses multiple physical escape games, weaving them all into a single story arc.

The puzzles in Agency 51 are different from those you’ll encounter in Trapgame’s real-life rooms, so you can play this game and still visit this company in person in the future.

In game text chat with Agent M.

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.

Agency 51 is an ambitious remote-only game which only can exist in this weird interstitial time when in-person escape rooms are not yet back at full capacity. The game utilizes the sets of 4 (!!!) different in-person games for an over-the-top story of international espionage and impending alien invasion. I was especially impressed by the game’s tech, which includes a well-designed custom web interface and direct control of some Arduino elements in the physical rooms. The actor also used a green screen and prerecorded video in a rather amusing way to make the game world feel much larger than it actually is. I groaned at the inclusion of a few particularly overused and simplistic escape room tropes in the puzzle design, but this honestly was more than balanced out by the uniqueness of the overall experience. Go play this game while you still can; as it seems to require blocking off 4 in-person games for 2 hours, it’s unclear how much longer they’ll be able to run it for.

Tammy McLeod’s Reaction

Rating: 3 out of 3.

I enjoyed this game on a number of different levels. The avatar played her character’s role enthusiastically and I enjoyed interacting with her. I thought that the structure of the game was convincing and made use of the environments in a clever way. The custom game interface was slickly implemented and supported the premise of the game well. The whole experience was immersive and fun and this game is a great example of how a remote-avatar escape room can take advantage of the medium and do something different.

Joel Smileypeacefun Reaction

Rating: 2 out of 3.

We worked with Agency 51 to free an imprisoned colleague and together we traveled through space and time to find three important stones.

At its best, we had an engaging gamemaster who showed us many different spaces throughout the game. It had a great mix of online content and puzzles solved within the views through the livestream. There was a great custom website where we could gain access to helpful camera feeds with multiple angles of the game spaces.

At its worst, the story felt a bit mashed together. We explored multiple rooms, but always just a small portion of 1-2 puzzles per room. The other props in the room were always completely unimportant to us and only used for their in-person games. On top of that, the parts used for the real-life version looked more fun than the ones used for the online game.

It made me want to play their real-life rooms. But it was entertaining and cleverly put together enough to rightfully be its own online thing.

David Spira’s Reaction

Rating: 3 out of 3.

Agency 51 surprised me in many great ways. At the outset, I thought we were playing a traditional prison escape game… but Agency 51 was so much more. This game was the result of a physical escape room company turning their assets into something grand and digital.

There was a ton of custom software work, creative camera work, and a lot of thought clearly went into game design and flow. This game isn’t cheap, but it was worth it.

There was one point early in Agency 51 where the game liberally used the names of many politically relevant individuals… it added nothing but distraction.

Overall, this was a pleasant surprise. I’m glad that I played it.

Disclosure: Trapgame provided the Hivemind reviewers with a discounted play.

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