Hourglass Escapes – Nova [Hivemind Review]

Nova is a point-and-click game designed by Puzzle Effect and built by Hourglass Escapes.

Rendering of the inside of a spaceship.

Format

Style of Play:

  • Online native experience (can NOT be played IRL)
  • Play on-demand
  • Point-and-click

Who is it For?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Any experience level

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection

Recommended Team Size: 1-3

Play Time: 90 minutes

Price: $25 per team

Booking: purchase and play at your leisure

Description

Nova is an online game with built-in video function so you can see and talk with your teammates. It’s a nicely-skinned Telescape interface with point-and-click-and-drag interactions. You explore the scenes and solve puzzles. Although multiple puzzles are available in parallel, the game structure encourages group solving instead of parallel solves.

Brett Kuehner’s Reaction

  • + Nice graphics and sound
  • + Puzzle interaction mechanisms were clear
  • – Slightly annoying response latency in one puzzle
  • + Puzzles for a wide variety of player tastes, with a good range of puzzle difficulty
  • + Shared screen state made it possible for our team to work together
  • – Background audio too loud for one team member, with no in-game volume control
  • + Three levels of progressive hints (ending with full answer) for each puzzle
  • + Built-in Jitsi video conferencing worked well

Cara Mandel’s Reaction

Nova ended up being a delightful point-and-click puzzle adventure. Admittedly, when we started the game I was a bit dubious. I’ve seen other offerings of this type that didn’t quite hit the mark. Thankfully, this team-based adventure was rather enjoyable from both a narrative and game mechanic perspective. It wasn’t overly challenging but it did provide a moderate level of difficulty. Perhaps not a game for total beginners, but rather intermediate and higher. It would likely make for a great team building experience for small groups. Objectives were clear and tasks were able to be performed simultaneously allowing everyone on the team to make meaningful contributions. Overall, it was a rewarding experience with a substantial amount of gameplay for the price.

Cindi S’ Reaction

Nova is an online game where you and your team need to work together to repair your spaceship and of course, save humanity! I don’t usually like games where you have to repair ships because they tend to be too technical, and honestly, not very interesting. But this game was different. First of all, the in-game video function through Telescape made it easy to play as a team without having to juggle multiple windows and a Zoom call to keep in contact while solving puzzles. I also liked that while you can play the game solo, it worked nicely for a team of two or three, as we were able to share tasks and each contribute. There were multiple stations onboard the ship that needed repair, and we chose to solve them together, but you could just as easily divide and conquer. And just when you thought you had saved the day, there was more to explore. The puzzles were unusual and fun to figure out, and some really made us think. There really is something for everyone and every experience level. This was a fun game and worth the price for game night with friends.

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