Escape Sagas – Secrets of the Past [Hivemind Review]

Secrets of the Past is an online escape game created by Escape Sagas in Finland.

A scientist in a Hawaiian shirt with goggles over his head on a pixelated feed. Closed caption reads, "and I need your help"

Format

Style of Play:

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

Who is it For?

  • Puzzle lovers
  • Best for players with at least some experience

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection, pen and paper

Recommended Team Size: 2-5

Play Time: 90 minutes

Price: 75 € for 2 players + 15 € per additional player

Booking: book online for a specific time slot

Description

Escape Sagas is a collaboration between the Time Repair Corporation, an immigrant-run Helsinki-based sustainability firm, and Pakotarinat, a Finnish escape room company.

Secrets of the Past is an escape room that we played through Zoom. There was a Telescape inventory system plus 360°-view pictures of the spaces. There was one person operating the camera and acting as avatar.

This game is also available in an online form with no avatar, but this review is for the avatar-led format.

Zoom view of the game, a hand holds up a card labeled, "Time Repair Corporation."

Fro’s Reaction

Secrets of the Past was an avatar-led time travel adventure with an ambitious storyline that was packed with content. The experience took place within a large, detailed set that I would have liked to explore in person. Core gameplay revolved around searching and viewing puzzles and clues in a Telescape online inventory. The game’s 90-minute run included some satisfying, layered puzzle solves, alongside a couple of confusing moments. One puzzle in particular was frustrating because several items we had available to us could have fit more than one of the puzzle’s criteria. The Telescape system also became crowded with information as the game went on, and I found it challenging to view information across multiple documents.

The avatar that ran our game was very approachable and personable, and because of this, I would be comfortable recommending this game to both newer players as well as to more experienced players who are looking for an avatar-led experience. Escape Sagas is planning to release a new chapter of this story in the future, and I look forward to seeing how it evolves.

This game is also available in a digital, non-avatar format.

Joel Smileypeacefun Reaction

We had to help a time traveler who got stuck in the 1700s on a pirate ship. Our goal was to find a missing piece to repair the time travel device.

At its best, this was a challenging but fair game with a lot of puzzle content. The online inventory system was used in interactive and fun ways. Also, the gamemaster was very welcoming.

At its worst, a lot of components and places opened up in the middle of the game. We lost track and slowed down due to not enough gating here. The online inventory system was seriously lacking behind our gameplay. It felt very laggy and easy to get lost in. In addition, one late puzzle had a bit of an ambiguous solution that left us guessing for the most part.

In general, I had a lot of fun with this puzzle game. And if you have a group of well-organized friends, this online adaptation of their real-life game will bring you a ton of joy.

David Spira’s Reaction

Secrets of the Past was a strong avatar escape game designed for virtual play. There was a ton of content in this game, and I was impressed by Escape Sagas’ first outing.

There was one significant area that I felt Secrets of the Past could have improved upon: streamlining the interface. There were a few too many puzzles where we found ourselves swapping between items in the UI, and it got a bit clunky. The game dragged when we knew what to do, but bringing the elements together was more work than it needed to be.

Overall, Escape Sagas did a lovely job of building a world and allowing us to explore it through the eyes of an avatar. Secrets of the Past wasn’t pushing boundaries, but I can easily recommend it to experienced players looking for an avatar-based escape game, I look forward to seeing what Escape Sagas does in the future.

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