Virtual Escaping – Underground Murder [Hivemind Review]

Underground Murder is a collaborative point-and-click game created by Virtual Escaping.

An old, rundown subway platform that is the scene of a crime.

Format

Style of Play:

  • Online native experience (can NOT be played IRL)
  • Play on demand
  • Point-and-click

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection, pen & paper

Recommended Team Size: 2-4

Play Time: 75 minutes, but experienced groups will complete it much more quickly

Price: $28 per team

Booking: purchase and play at your leisure

Description

This is a point-and-click game with built-in video chat, allowing for team members to collaborate via a browser-based system. Solve puzzles by searching, using inventory items, and opening locks. At the end, use the evidence to figure out who the killer is and why they committed the murder.

How to play was a bit confusing. As it turned out, one player purchased the game and received a code that was shared with the other players. There was a location on the site to enter a “voucher” for the game and then everyone was in the same instance and the team could “press start” to play the game.

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.

The Lone Puzzler’s Reaction

Rating: 3 out of 3.

Action-packed, puzzle-heavy video game-style “escape” game. Working to solve a murder mystery set in a subway station, the game allows all team members to explore and interact with numerous puzzles while working through the clues to solve the mystery. The puzzles were a good challenge and the graphics and inventory systems were very solid. The game was perhaps a little short but high quality throughout. The ease of independent play really stood out for me versus other similar games. While I did not see everything that happened, it was much easier than in most games to follow the action and work collaboratively, similarly to a real-world escape game.

Theresa W’s Reaction

Rating: 2 out of 3.

Underground Murder was a promising point-and-click game designed for both puzzle and mystery people. The graphics looked great, with varied answer input mechanisms and a cool integrated inventory system with loads of information. The puzzles were hit-or-miss, with some being easily solved and others that could have used stronger cluing. While the game felt like it ended abruptly, the final answer validation to confirm the killer was well executed. I’d love to see what else this platform is capable of, as the player audio and video were built in, with no outside collaboration platform required.

Fro’s Reaction

Rating: 3 out of 3.

Underground Murder is a solid option for on-demand gaming that can be played alone or with friends. I especially appreciated the in-game video interface that allowed you to see and communicate with your teammates without needing to set up a separate video chat, and that also allowed you to follow other players’ progress as they solved puzzles. The game world was visually appealing, the puzzles had a moderate degree of difficulty, and the “whodunnit” ending was a lot of fun. I love point-and-click games, and this one was no exception. On-demand games like this one will continue to be something I seek out for impromptu fun even as live escape games begin opening up.

David Spira’s Reaction

Rating: 2 out of 3.

Underground Murder was intriguing because it literally was a classic point-and-click escape game made collaborative through the web browser. In the pre-pandemic world, I avidly played point-and-click escape games while traveling, and it felt great to play a game like this collaboratively and in real time with my friends.

My critique of Virtual Escaping is twofold:

First, the interface did a lot, but wasn’t especially intuitive. Once we had it down, it was fine. I would have appreciated more on-boarding.

Second, Underground Murder was visually and narratively unambitious. When your game is art-based, it takes roughly the same amount of effort to illustrate something normal as it does something fantastical. Virtual Escaping has a really cool foundation here; I hope that they use it to push in more exciting directions. When they do, I’ll eagerly play again.

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