Walking Shadow – Reboot [Hivemind Review]

Reboot is an online play with puzzles created by Walking Shadow in Minneapolis.

Someone kneeling by a computer desk in an 80s looking office space.

Format

Style of Play:

  • Online native experience (can NOT be played IRL)
  • Avatar controlled by the players
  • Video-based experience
  • Interactive NPC(s) (other than a player-controlled avatar)
  • Immersive theater
  • Text adventure (optional)

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection

Recommended Team Size: You book individually into a public event, like theater, and you’ll play in a group of about 6-10 people.

Play Time: 90-105 minutes

Price: ranges from $30 to $60 per person

Booking: book online for a specific time slot

Description

Reboot accurately describes itself as “an online play with puzzles.” It is an immersive theater performance with puzzles that the audience collectively solves at various points in the show. It takes place in Zoom and across different websites.

You’ll be playing with a group, likely people you don’t know. You’ll need to interact with performers and other players to solve puzzles and make decisions that affect the outcome of the show.

An older man sitting at a desk. It looks like a screenshot from grainy old video.

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.

Cara Mandel’s Reaction

Rating: 3 out of 3.

I really enjoyed Reboot. Part online immersive theatre piece, part puzzle experience, this sci-fi show had us interacting with live actors as well as fellow participants as we unraveled a several-decade-spanning tale and discovered some interesting twists along the way. I found myself surprised by moments where we were debating the definition of humanity. Where is the line drawn between humans and AI? While Reboot may not answer these questions, it certainly poses them in a very unique and enjoyable way. The puzzles were not terribly challenging but they were entertaining. As a bonus, there is a post-experience email containing a fun text adventure. This show was certainly worth the ticket price, in my opinion, and I look forward to future offerings from this team.

Brett Kuehner’s Reaction

Rating: 3 out of 3.
  • + Set was very well designed and constructed, much better than most remote/ immersive shows
  • + Lighting and camera quality were equally good, showing off the terrific set
  • + Introductory puzzle was well designed to build teamwork
  • + Performances (both live and pre-recorded) were very good
  • + Good variety of puzzles, with nice presentations and clean solutions
  • – Some puzzles could be extended to fit the story and not just the theme
  • + Audience size is well chosen
  • + Pacing and drama pick up at the end, with puzzles leading to a choice the audience must make
  • + Audience decisions have consequences that make sense and are satisfying
  • + A really interesting free text adventure continuing the themes of the show can be played afterward
The Hivemind interacting with many characters from Reboot over Zoom.

Matthew Stein’s Reaction

Rating: 3 out of 3.

Reboot is a thought-provoking exploration of the ethics of artificial intelligence. It’s a prime example of immersive theater + puzzles done right — full of puzzle-based interactions which meaningfully drove the narrative forward, invited consistent collaboration amongst audience members, and were just the right difficulty to actively engage seasoned puzzlers without being impenetrable to the uninitiated. Through Reboot’s top-notch acting and animation, I quickly developed an emotional attachment to each character — which, impressively, was also directly furthered by the puzzling. These elements, which in other productions too often end up competing for the audience’s attention, co-existed harmoniously in Reboot and made for a smooth, compelling performance.

Following the show, we were gifted a free text adventure as a sort of postlude, and goodness gracious, this game was well worth playing in and of itself. A devilishly clever extension of the core philosophical motifs of the live show, it was full of numerous satisfying ahas and has even further foregrounded Reboot in my mind in the days following the experience.

Theresa W’s Reaction

Rating: 3 out of 3.

I had no idea what I was getting into when signing up for Reboot, but I’m so glad I took the plunge. Reboot played with my emotions in ways I didn’t believe were possible in an online game, forcing me to think for hours after about the ethical implications of society’s decision-making. Everything from set design, character development, puzzle integration, and storytelling felt incredibly polished. I usually strongly dislike public booking, but really did not mind having strangers in this experience. We bonded through various interactions, and by the end, we’d learned more about one another. While the puzzles weren’t the most unique, the way they were integrated in the story and throughout the set were spot-on, blending many aspects of the gameplay into a cohesive story. If you’ve given up on online games, and could be convinced to try one more, this is the game to try.

Disclosure: Walking Shadow provided the Hivemind reviewers with a complimentary play.

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