Neon Dreams Mystery [Hivemind Review]

Neon Dreams Mystery is an ARG-style puzzle game.

Purple code falling vertically, with the words, "Let's Go" written in the middle.

Format

Style of Play:

  • Online native experience (can NOT be played IRL)
  • Light puzzle hunt
  • Includes video-based elements

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection, mobile device

Recommended Team Size: 2-5

Play Time: 2-3 hours

Price: $80 per team

Booking: book online for a specific time slot

Description

You are assigned a mission and given a briefing via pre-recorded video. Your task involves figuring out how a set of mysterious deaths might be related, and you explore websites, hack email, and send live operatives to collect the information you need.

This is an ARG-esque game, so you’ll need to browse through different websites, text/ phone characters, or sent emails.

An agent named Briggs, briefing the team over Zoom.

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: 2 out of 3.

We investigated the small town of Sugar Pine, where mysterious deaths were happening. Through gathering information online, we had to figure out what was going on.

At its best, there was a lot of effort put into a cool interface and the websites in general. There was a nice variety of audio, video, and photo clues that we discovered online on different websites and on social media profiles.

At its worst, we encountered some loading fails where we needed to reload pages. There was little-to-no on-ramping or flow, so this 3-hour game quickly felt like it was dragging on. A couple of puzzles could use more cluing; how to gather solutions was often a tiny bit vague. And lastly, for my personal taste, there was too much to read through.

This ARG-type game was not really my cup of tea. But if you want to investigate an interesting and shocking unfolding murder story, go for it.

Brett Kuehner’s Reaction

Rating: 3 out of 3.
  • + Using Zoom for this game felt like a natural fit for the story, and the mix of live and high-quality pre-recorded video worked well
  • + The system used several websites and had an interactive “command center” that was fun to use
  • + The tone of the game was serious but not grim, and there were some bits of humor mixed in.
  • + Our mission felt somewhat urgent, but there was no huge time pressure, so we could absorb the story
  • + Interacting with multiple agents and assigning them tasks was fun
  • + Good variety of clues to examine
  • ? Neon Dreams accurately describes itself as a mystery, and is focused on using clues to make sense of the story. If you are looking for serious puzzling, it may not be for you.
  • -/+ In a few sections, it was a bit hard to tell where to focus, but the in-character host was always able to nudge us back on track

Cara Mandel’s Reaction

Rating: 2 out of 3.

Neon Dreams Mystery was a respectably designed ARG-style game. Using a custom web interface, we were able to discover websites, hack into character emails, find locations and more. The interface was fairly easy to navigate and thankfully we didn’t find ourselves with too many browser tabs open at once (a common issue with these types of games). There were a few clever aha moments and an intuitive sequence to the tasks. We also had an offscreen gamemaster present throughout to nudge us in the right direction, if need be. As far as this format of games goes, it was an enjoyable one. Definitely worth a playthrough in my opinion.

Disclosure: Neon Dreams Mystery provided the Hivemind reviewers with a complimentary play.

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