Solve Entertainment – Professor Prank! [Hivemind Review]

Professor Prank! is an avatar-led escape game created for livestream play by Solve Entertainment in Duluth, MN.

Avatar holding a plastic rat beside a plastic human skeleton wearing a bowtie.

Format

Style of Play:

  • Online native experience (can NOT be played IRL)
  • Avatar controlled by the players

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection

Recommended Team Size: 2-5

Play Time: 60 minutes

Price: flat rate of $80 for up to 4 players, + $10 taxes

Booking: book online for a specific time slot

Description

There’s a livestream of a prank YouTube channel. It’s a dude (aka Prankster) who wants to pull a prank on his old science teacher because that teacher used to give him bad grades. As you enter the school lab, however, much more serious issues occur.

This is an avatar-led escape room play through Zoom. The avatar is in a physical room, but one that was built for the online game, so this room can not be played in person.

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: 3 out of 3.

You join a livestream where you help an ex-student to prank his old science teacher whom he never liked. But the planned prank turns into something much more serious.

At its best, the game had a nicely themed introduction. I loved how the story arc kept evolving, including a grand final. There were a couple of humorous puzzles that couldn’t be done in an in-person game. Also, the gamemaster had great energy overall.

At its worst, the gamemaster’s character choices, such as his voice and humor, seemed a little too childish at times. Plus, the gamespace was rather small.

In the beginning, the whole game seemed a little too cringy, which worried me. However, it turned out to be pretty fun.

Brett Kuehner’s Reaction

Rating: 3 out of 3.
  • + Jumps right into the story in a natural way
  • -/+ At the very beginning, I was worried a bit about the avatar’s over-the-top persona and the camera motion. However, as the game progressed, both turned out to be fine.
  • + The onboarding is well done, and matches the character perfectly
  • + Has a simple mechanism to ensure that all players get chances to contribute. Other games, both remote and in-person, could benefit from something similar.
  • + There are some very well done fantastical moments, using the remote nature of the game to great advantage
  • +/- We solved one puzzle almost too quickly, and I think we missed some potential fun interactions as a result. The puzzle could perhaps be modified to require a little more time spent on it.
  • + Good variety of energy levels throughout the game, leading to a high-energy finish

Matthew Stein’s Reaction

Rating: 3 out of 3.

Professor Prank! not only nailed a narrative I’ve never seen before in an escape room – a professional prankster pranking their former high school science teacher – but it cleverly took advantage of the strengths of the virtual medium. As with most top virtual escape rooms, the high-energy charismatic avatar is foremost what makes this game stand out. This comically immature pranking livestreamer was a character in all senses of the word as he encouraged us, the players, to reciprocate his silliness, all while maintaining control of the game’s direction and pacing.

It’s abundantly clear that this game has been well playtested in a way akin to theatrical rehearsals; as the livestream spun around the room, every camera angle and motion was intentional, and the puzzles were all well conceived for the virtual medium, negating any need for an external inventory system. The set, while nothing fancy, worked perfectly for this format and included really neat real vintage science equipment, much of which couldn’t safely exist in an in-person escape room. I can’t wait to see what’s next from Solve Entertainment, and I’d especially love to see a prank-filled sequel to this game!

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