Update January 2022: Check out the comments section for details about upgrades since we reviewed.
Mind Heist is an avatar-led, livestreamed escape room, created by Agent November in the United Kingdom.
Style of Play:
- Online native experience (can NOT be played IRL)
- Avatar controlled by the players
Required Equipment: Computer with internet connection, pen and paper
Recommended Team Size: 2-5
Play Time: 60 minutes
Price: £14 per person
Booking: book online for a specific time slot
Mind Heist was a standard avatar-led escape room. Player decisions affected the story and the difficulty of the puzzles. It was a choose-your-own-adventure-style virtual escape room.
Hivemind Review Scale
Matthew Stein’s Reaction
Agent November’s Virtual X-caper was one of my early lockdown favorites, and I’ve long awaited his followup remote creation, Mind Heist. This game shared many of the traits that made Virtual X-caper shine: a profusion of puns, a whimsical take on a spy narrative, and no shortage of fun puzzles which thriftily made use of environmental resources. Mind Heist also added in a shiny new feature: multiple decision points where the narrative and accompanying puzzles branched, lending the players increased agency and also making the game replayable with a completely different set of puzzles.
At times, though, I found that Mind Heist nearly succumbed to its ambitious structure. We encountered a fair amount of information overload, especially in attempting to keep track of key story details. Also, visible puzzles and inputs from the paths we didn’t choose sometimes convoluted the gating in the paths we had chosen. But in the end, we still finished the game with time to spare, and I’m more excited than ever to replay Mind Heist soon so I can experience the other paths we only got glimpses of this time around.
Brett Kuehner’s Reaction
- ? Very important to read and understand pre-game information (though the host will put you back on track if you didn’t understand the rules)
- – It seemed like some video clips were available before they should have been, which added some confusion at the start
- + Fun story and intro
- – Game flow was a bit erratic because of variable puzzle complexity
- + Players make in-game ethical decisions that affect puzzle difficulty and game outcome
- + Multiple decision options and puzzle tracks should make the game replayable
- – Presence of multiple puzzle tracks sometimes makes it unclear what items are in play
- + Good puzzle variety
- + High-quality video segments integrated into the game
- + Entertaining sense of humor permeates the game
- – Less opportunity for character interaction, which is what I thought made Virtual X-Caper so enjoyable
- ? If you like puzzles more than avatar interaction, you’ll probably like this better than Virtual X-Caper
Theresa W’s Reaction
Agent November absolutely took my favorite things about their first game, fixed them up a bit, and designed what ended up being this incredibly fun experience! While not the flashiest virtual game, Mind Heist nailed their humor and quirky gameplay. Their advanced use of Zoom features tied in well with the choose-your-own adventure gameplay, allowing players to re-play and see an entirely new set of puzzles depending on decisions made along the way. The beginning of the game was a bit choppy and could be refined a bit more to cut down on overall game time, but it got the important set-up out of the way before the game began. This game is absolutely worth checking out, regardless of whether you’ve played their first game or not!
David Spira’s Reaction
I’ll confess, this was my first Agent November game; I was aware of the buzz last year, but never had a chance to play (Lisa did). So, I went into Agent November with limited knowledge and no emotional attachment to the series.
In Mind Heist, I found a competent avatar-driven experience, with an engaging and entertaining avatar. The puzzles and character interactions were generally well constructed. From a gameplay perspective, my biggest frustration was the presence of a second puzzle path that wasn’t relevant to our play-though, but created a dread that we had far too much unsolved in what turned out to be the closing moments of the game.
Looking at the larger picture, I felt like the friend who was taken to the prequel film in a multipart movie series, and my friends were all reacting to the references that they got and were lost on me. None of that is to say that Mind Heist is bad, just that it felt like a love letter to the folks who have supported Agent November this past year, and I was not among that legion… and if I wanted to understand the hype, I have the impression that I needed to start with their first game.
Disclosure: Agent November provided the Hivemind reviewers with a complimentary play.