Can You Escape? Malta – The Forbidden Castle [Hivemind Review]

The Forbidden Castle is an avatar-led digital adaptation of an escape game played over livestream, created by Can You Escape Malta? in Fgura, Malta.

Avatar view of hands turning a metal wheel.

Format

Style of Play:

  • Adaptation of an in-person game (can be played IRL)
  • Avatar controlled by the players
  • Web-based inventory system

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection

Recommended Team Size: 2-5

Play Time: 60 minutes

Price: €74.95 for up to 4 connections, €10.00 for each additional connection

Booking: book online for a specific time slot

Description

This is a standard avatar-led escape game, adapted for remote livestream over Zoom. There’s also an inventory website.

A wooden door within a stone castle.

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.

I wish I could have played The Forbidden Castle in person, but as I doubt I’ll make it to Malta anytime soon, I’m grateful to have experienced this stellar avatar adaptation. The set is expansive and this is a physically intensive game to run, but our avatar handled all the movement and climbing with cinematic grace. Telescape served as a supplementary inventory system, providing closeups of key views without being unduly present in the core gameplay. The physical transitions through various spaces in the game were notably cool. Puzzles were about average escape room difficulty – nothing out of the ordinary, but they all flowed smoothly and complemented the theme.

Joel Smileypeacefun Reaction

Rating: 3 out of 3.

We entered the forbidden castle and had to find four gemstones to get out alive in time.

At its best, the set was a lot of fun to explore. The room had multiple levels where you could climb up and down if you were playing in real life. The puzzles all made sense and they were the right amount of challenging, but not hard. Our gamemaster was energetic and fun to interact with.

At its worst, one large prop in the room was skipped for the online version because it’s a physical puzzle. However, the REA Hivemind has seen other companies turn their dexterity puzzles into tangible online puzzles successfully. The game could also use a larger variety in the types of locks that were included. Additionally, the ending was a bit weird thematically and made me question the story a little bit.

Even though this game would probably be even greater in person because of the room layout, I had a great time playing it digitally.

Brett Kuehner’s Reaction

Rating: 3 out of 3.
  • + Enthusiastic and playful host
  • + Sets are large and came across well for remote players (but would have been even more fun in person)
  • + Puzzles ranged in difficulty from easy to moderate, and most flowed well
  • – One puzzle was somewhat awkward and tedious to solve via Telescape
  • + Good energy level throughout the game
  • +/- Adaptations for remote play were generally good, and one was particularly clever, but a couple were a little bit distracting
  • + One puzzle seemed to require remembering initial positions of items, but was actually clued well. Also, Joel took notes and we should have listened to him sooner 🙂

Theresa W’s Reaction

Rating: 3 out of 3.

I really love when escape rooms decide to go for new heights, and Can You Escape? Malta used their vertical set in an incredibly neat way. This game was comprehensive and overall very well designed with unique cluing and puzzle design. Our avatar was wonderful to interact with, while having a good handle on when to engage us on the Zoom feed or send us to the Telescape interface. This was another awesome online adaptation that I really wish I could play in person, but I probably won’t make it to Malta anytime soon so this was a great alternative!

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