Clue Chase – Scarab’s Curse [Hivemind Review]

Scarab’s Curse is a web-based puzzle game created by Clue Chase in New York City.

A panoramic view of art and hieroglyphics in an ancient Egyptian tomb.

Format

Style of Play:

  • Online native experience (can NOT be played IRL)
  • Play on demand
  • Web-based puzzle game

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection, pen and paper, mobile device

One puzzle requires you to call a US phone number.

Recommended Team Size: 1-4

Play Time: 1-2 hours

Price: $20 per team

Booking: purchase and play at your leisure

Description

This game takes place on a website where you get a bit of the plot, solve a puzzle, enter the solution and then get to the next page (and the process repeats). Sometimes you find clues for later puzzles that you need to write down because you can’t return to a page once you leave it. It does have a hint system, but no gamemaster. Be prepared to read a lot in this game.

A video crew filming in an Egyptian tomb reads, Congratulations, for finding the murderer!

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.

Cindi S’ Reaction

Rating: 2 out of 3.

The Scarab’s Curse is a whodunit set in a Hollywood film studio in 1939 and features a dead body and no fewer than 30 possible suspects! As a hired private eye, it’s your job to search the studio, gather evidence, and identify the murderer. When you start the game, make sure to click on the link for background music, a selection of smooth Film Noir jazz. The game maintains a steady cadence of story and puzzles that at first engages the player, but eventually becomes somewhat repetitive in its pacing. There is a good variety of puzzles, some easier than others. One memorable puzzle, which at first glance seemed very simple, surprised us by an unexpected solution. There were several puzzles with static images that would have been better If you could click and drag sections to solve. Similarly, the addition of an inventory system would have enhanced player experience. This is a good game for beginner players or those who want a light, story-driven game.

The Lone Puzzler’s Reaction

Rating: 1 out of 3.

This review is a tough call – I am a big fan of Clue Chase and have played many of their in-person games when I’ve visited NYC. However, this online game, while technically pretty smooth and at times unique, just has too many issues to recommend. The game centers on a murder mystery that is followed as you advance puzzle by puzzle. This is more a light puzzle hunt with a narrative between puzzles than anything else. The puzzles were of moderate difficulty and entirely linear. There were a few that were quite interesting, but in general they were too easy. The game also did not have any kind of inventory system and encouraged teams to nominate team members to write down clues for later use. In addition, the game became tedious and our team members were actually hoping that the next puzzle was the last one and that is rarely the case for avid puzzlers.

Joel Smileypeacefun Reaction

Rating: 2 out of 3.

As private detectives, we were called to a Hollywood movie set where the lead actress was murdered. We had to figure out who the murderer was.

At its best, all the puzzles worked and made sense logically. There was some nice background music available. With word solutions, capitalizations didn’t matter, which was a great help.

At its worst, the storyline was mainly presented through text boxes. It was easy to lose interest in the actual plot. You come across certain clues that you need to write down for later with no chance of returning to them. And obviously, I missed one of those clues and later on I couldn’t solve a puzzle without the hint section. There must be a better solution for that. There was a US phone call in the game. The audio quality of it was really bad though, so I had to re-dial the number to figure out what was said.

The game has a solid online system, but as a whole, it was far from wowing me.

Diana Kobrynowicz’s Reaction

Rating: 1 out of 3.

I really wanted to like this game. It started with a great premise and promise. Unfortunately the puzzles were “meh” and the story unfolded by having you read a lot of exposition in between puzzles. I got bored about 2/3 of the way through the game. The ending fizzled and left you feeling incomplete. On the plus side, the game mechanics were fun and accessible for all 3 of us. It was easy for us to interact and share the experience. The graphics were interesting. I think if the story had been more integrated in the puzzling, the experience would have been more fulfilling.

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