The Atlas Mystery: A VR Puzzle Game [Hivemind Review]

The Atlas Mystery: A VR Puzzle Game is a narrative-driven VR game with escape room-like mechanics.

An imposing, neon-lit building named The Atlas Theater rendered in VR.

Format

Style of Play:

  • Play on demand (i.e. purchase and play any time)
  • VR

Who is it For?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Story seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • VR Enthusiasts

Required Equipment: computer with an internet connection, VR Headset that supports either the Oculus or Steam platform

Recommended Team Size: 1

Play Time: 2+ hours for most players

Price: $14.99 on Steam

Booking: purchase and play at your leisure

Description

This is a narrative-driven single player VR mystery game with puzzle and escape room elements. It is available through Quest or Steam VR.

Holding up a Cinema World Magazine in a room with intricate wallpaper. Rendered in VR.
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Crux Club – Puzzle Rap Star: A Hip Hop Puzzle Book [Hivemind Review]

Puzzle Rap Star is a puzzle book created by Crux Club.

Puzzle Rap Star book cover depicts a rapper holding a mic in one hand, with his other hand in the air.

Format

Style of Play:

  • Puzzle book
  • Light puzzle hunt
  • Play on-demand (i.e. purchase and play any time)

Who is it For?

  • Story seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Any experience level

Required Equipment: Internet connection, pen and paper

Recommended Team Size: 1-2

Play Time: No game clock. Our reviewers played this book leisurely over a week or more. Chapters took anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour or so of active puzzling.

Price: about $14.99

Booking: purchase and play at your leisure

Description

This is a book where you work puzzles 1 through 60 in numeric order, since some puzzles build on prior answers. The final answer is entered online. A pencil and paper are useful for solving and keeping track of answers. Looking up information on the internet may be necessary for a few puzzles.

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Nomis Piy – Graffiti [Hivemind Review]

Graffiti is a puzzle book created by Nomis Piy in Singapore.

Sample illustrated pages of Graffiti, printed in color, with cartoon illustrations.

Format

Style of Play:

  • Puzzle book

Who is it For?

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

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection, pen and paper, scissors

Recommended Team Size: 1-2

Play Time: There’s no clock. Expect 4-6 hours of play, perhaps more.

Price: S$25 (roughly 18.41 USD) plus shipping from Singapore

Booking: purchase and play at your leisure

Description

This is a puzzle book. Most of the book needs to be solved in sequential order, but there is one section that can be done in any order. Once you solve a puzzle, you enter the answer on a webpage, and it will verify if you are correct or not. Sometimes it will give you additional information for a later puzzle. There is a hint page that you access from one of the early pages online.

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Escape Academy [Hivemind Review]

Escape Academy is a point-and-click escape game. The developer is Coin Crew Games and the publisher is iam8bit, Skybound Games.

Illustrated headmaster character says, "If an escape from the traditional path piques your interest... climb aboard."

Format

Style of Play:

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

Who is it For?

  • Story seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Any experience level… but it helps to have experience controlling characters on your platform of choice

Required Equipment: Steam on PC, Xbox, PS4/PS5, or Epic Games

Recommended Team Size: 1-2

Play Time: 4-8 hours of gameplay. Each level is typically between 15-30 minutes.

Price: $19.99 for base game, additional $14.99 for the season pass with 2 planned DLCs; base game available with subscription on XBox Gamepass

Booking: purchase and play at your leisure

Description

A simple jaunt to an escape room turned into an epic quest to join the Escape Academy, pass its tests, and unlock the secrets of its faculty. To do this, we had to complete 11 specific tasks given to us by the faculty, where each task translated into an entire escape room. Each “room” was a self-contained open world where we could travel in all directions, inspect designated hot spots, collect items, and interact with standard and not-so-standard escape room mechanisms like combination locks, keypads, chainsaws, and so forth. Each room had a time “limit” to give urgency to the activity, but you could choose to extend the timer when it expired.

There are both solo and multiplayer options.

Escape Room Waiver, playfully giving controller instructions in a video game.
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Eleven Puzzles – Parallel Lab [Hivemind Review]

Parallel Lab is a point-and-click adventure game created by Eleven Puzzles in Poland and Scotland.

A comic of two people speaking, discussing the case at hand.

Format

Style of Play:

  • Online native experience (can NOT be played IRL)
  • Play on-demand (i.e. purchase and play any time)
  • Point-and-click

Who is it For?

  • Story seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Any experience level

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection

Recommended Team Size: 2

Play Time: 60-120 minutes

Price: $20 per team

Booking: purchase and play at your leisure

Description

Each player connects from their own computer (via web browser). They proceed to play in parallel, with the each player having access to a set of information and puzzles that the other player does not see. Players must share information verbally and coordinate their efforts to progress, with the story remaining synchronized for both players.

An illustration of a basement hacker's den with many monitors.
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