Questo is a platform that offers city exploration games. Our writers each played a different game, based in their city.
Editor’s Note: Questo is the platform where anyone can create a game. The games are created by locals who want to showcase their city and its stories. They would love to get more people creating on their platform with a love of puzzles and escape rooms. The game creators earn up to 75% of the revenue their game generates. The top selling game last year generated 40,000 EUR. Questo hopes to become an additional revenue opportunity for game creators.
Style of Play:
- Light puzzle hunt
Who is it For?
- Adventure seekers
- Any experience level
- City explorers
Required Equipment: Mobile Device
One reviewer (Washington DC) notes that instructions were given in cardinal directions (NSEW), so if you don’t have a compass set up on your phone, a physical one could be useful.
Recommended Team Size: 1-4
Play Time: 90 minutes (including walking about 1-2 miles)
Note that one reviewer (Los Angeles) found that she could answer a lot of the questions without going to the places, and completed the game in 35 minutes.
Price: about $10
Booking: purchase and play at your leisure
After choosing an adventure in your city, you download the Questo app to your mobile device. After clicking play, the app will direct you to various landmarks and structures, while also telling a story. Puzzles use information from your surroundings and you earn points from correct answers. If you are unsure of your next stop, a helpful hint system is available with detailed directions, but each hint will cost you points.
Cindi S’ Reaction
Austin, TX: Ghosts of Austin: Haunted City (Created by Andrew Edwards)
How about a ghost story in Austin, Texas, y’all? Questo’s Ghosts of Austin: Haunted City had us winding our way through downtown on a Saturday night, following a light fictional narrative that coincided with our stops. We spent 90 minutes searching out historical landmarks, reading about grisly, true-life events, and solving a few puzzles along the way. The puzzles were very simplistic, with most solved in a minute or two. The game ended about a mile from the starting location after passing by the Texas State Capital and iconic 6th Street with its crowds and live music. I’ve lived in Austin a long time and I’m familiar with the city, but was surprised to discover fascinating stories behind landmark buildings that I have passed countless times. The app was very easy to use, with specific directions that told us which way to turn and what to look for. We were only slightly confused once, when we tried to find a location that used to be a hotel, but was now a closed-down billiard hall; a helpful hint confirmed we were in the right place. I wouldn’t choose this game for the story or the puzzles; instead, it was fun to simply wander around a cool city, learn about its creepy history, and get a little exercise.
Of note, this game was a ghost story, and Questo recommended we do our quest in the evening, which we did. A portion of the game brought us through a business area of Austin that was fairly empty on a Saturday night. Although Austin is pretty safe as far as cities go, I would not play this game alone. It’s important to stay aware of your surroundings.
Cara Mandel’s Reaction
Los Angeles, CA: Ghosts of Hollywood Los Angeles: Haunted City (Created by Max Iskiev)
I want to start off this review by making an important distinction. The Questo App, the platform on which this game was created, was actually pretty neat. The concept of a tourism-meets-scavenger hunt app that allows for user-generated games to be created is very clever.
My review, however, will focus on the specific game I played, Ghosts of Hollywood Los Angeles: Haunted City, which was… not great. I applaud the concept and the effort but the execution was sorely lacking. Aside from several grievous errors in the game clues that caused rather annoying stalls in the game to try to decipher what the game creator intended the correct answer to be, I found the overall experience to be lacking in creativity or even making good use of the landscape of the city. Hollywood, and in particular the area surrounding the Walk of Fame, certainly has a rich history and the locations included in this game were pretty much exactly what you’d expect. I had hoped to learn a bit more about my home town, but I walked away feeling like this game may have been created by someone using Google Maps and Wikipedia entries. Everything was pretty well-known knowledge for anyone even lightly interested in Hollywood lore, which left me wondering who exactly the intended audience was for this game? If it’s meant for tourists to learn about the city, certainly there could have been more intriguing facts to share. If it’s meant for locals, well as a local I’ll just say… it wasn’t. Any Los Angeles local knows to pretty much avoid the touristy areas at all costs.
In conclusion, I would love to see what a passionate game designer with strong narrative skills could contribute on Questo’s platform. In the meanwhile, just buy yourself a map to the stars or hop on a bus tour if you come visit. You’ll get more out of it.
Theresa W’s Reaction
Washington, DC: Washington DC: House of Cards (Created by Laura Ballou)
Questo’s concept and platform are wonderful: get players wandering around cities to discover new locations, see local sites, get some exercise, and solve puzzles. The interface is clean, clear, and easy to use. Washington DC: House of Cards unfortunately felt clunky. About halfway through the quest, the information was not syncing with the location of the puzzles, and we were told to go to the next location before solving the puzzles for the current location.
The puzzles were quite simple, but it was still fun to traverse our city in new areas where we had never been to find puzzle solutions integrated in the statues and artwork. Their use of true historical information given to players to read during their walks between locations was a ton of fun. I’m excited to try Questo in another city and see how different quests vary from city to city!
Questo is a platform that offer city exploration games. We reviewed 3 games in different cities: Austin, Los Angeles, and Washington DC.