Palace Games – Emerald Palace [Hivemind Review]

Emerald Palace is included in our recommendation guide for  The Best Online Escape Games for Large Groups. For more of the best online escape games in this style, check out the recommendation guide.

Emerald Palace is a point-and-click adventure game created by Palace Games in San Francisco, CA.

An old treasure map with a few markings including an X, compass rose, a mallet, and a carrot. It is labled, "Don't worry, be mappy."

Format

Style of Play:

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

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection, pen and paper also recommended

Recommended Team Size: 3-4

Play Time: about 90 minutes

Price: $20 per player for an unlimited number of players, playing in multiple teams with a shared leaderboard; also available in “Standard Team” pricing of a $28 flat team fee for 2-5 players, one team maximum per game.

Booking: purchase and play at your leisure

Description

The is the latest game in the Jewel Palace series following Palace of Destiny, Ruby Palace, and Sapphire Palace.

You log into a web environment where you navigate through a series of collaborative point-and-click puzzles. Each teammate typically works on one part of a collaborative solve.

If you’re in different households, you should connect with your teammates through Zoom, Discord, or another video conferencing platform. If you’re in the same household, each player will need their own computer.

A photo of an old tunnel with a blue door at the end, a puzzle mounted on it. The image is labeled, "Tunnel Vision."

Palace Games – The Attraction [Review]

The Attraction is one of the best games in San Francisco. Here are our other recommendations for great escape rooms in San Francisco.

Time is flying, never to return.

Location:  San Francisco, CA

Date Played: November 13, 2021

Team Size: 4-8; we recommend 4-5

Duration: ~120 minutes

Price: $410 per team

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A] Push to Exit

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

The Attraction thoroughly blew my mind, distorted my sense of reality, and set a new and invigoratingly high bar for the future of escape rooms as an experiential art form. This was a world-class escapist experience worth traveling any distance to play.

An ornate bronze door with an eye. Copper pipes emanate from the door.

The Attraction felt like a waking dream. Impressive feats of engineering and Meow Wolf-level immersive artistry converged into something utterly magical. The Attraction perfectly executed certain physical and psychological mechanics that I’ve been eagerly waiting to see an escape room attempt. An impressively diverse range of innovative gameplay and aesthetics yielded a wondrous journey of otherworldly play.

As far as I’m concerned, The Attraction is in strong contention for the best escape room in the world. Palace Games has created something truly breathtaking, and I applaud them for the mountains of creativity, labor, artistry, technical expertise, profound knowledge of the escape room industry, and love that went into creating this experience.

Continue reading “Palace Games – The Attraction [Review]”

Palace Games – The Sapphire Palace [Hivemind Review]

The Sapphire Palace is included in our recommendation guides for Play On-Demand Online Escape Games and The Best Online Escape Games for Large Groups . For more of the best online escape games in these styles, check out the recommendation guides.

The Sapphire Palace is a point-and-click adventure game created by Palace Games in San Francisco, CA.

Overhead view of a boiler room in a digital interface.

Format

Style of Play: point-and-click adventure

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection, pen and paper also recommended

Recommended Team Size: 4

Play Time: 90-120 minutes (but our group solved a bit more quickly)

Price: $20 per player

Booking: purchase and play at your leisure

Description

You log into a web environment where you navigate through a series of collaborative puzzles. Each teammate typically works on one part of a collaborative solve. A little circle always shows you what the other players are currently looking at.

If you’re in different households, you should connect with your teammates through Zoom, Discord, or another video conferencing platform. If you’re in the same household, each player will need their own computer.

Digital interface reads, "Previous, our intrepid heroes cracked the mysteries of the Ruby Palace and claimed their crimson reward."

Hivemind Review Scale

Palace Games – The Ruby Palace [Hivemind Review]

The Ruby Palace is included in our recommendation guide for  The Best Online Escape Games for Large Groups. For more of the best online escape games in this style, check out the recommendation guide.

The Ruby Palace is a point-and-click adventure game created by Palace Games in San Francisco, CA.

Overhead view of a study with a large bear skin rug.

Format

Style of Play: point-and-click adventure game with elements of a light puzzle hunt

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection

Recommended Team Size: 2-3 players, with the ability for a large group to divide into multiple teams and compare scores on a private leaderboard

Play Time: There is a 90-minute game clock.

Price: $20 per player

Booking: After booking, you can play at any time.

You can opt to organize a game for a large group (unlimited in size), divided into smaller teams of 3-4 players each, through the PALACESPHERE Game Administrator Portal (GAP). Here’s how it works.

Description

The Ruby Palace is a point-and-click game that takes players through various rooms in a mansion where they will solve puzzles. Each solved puzzle opens a door that leads to the next room. This culminates in a final puzzle.

Overhead view of an ornate lounge with intriacate woodwork in the floor.

Hivemind Review Scale

Palace Games – Palace of Destiny [Hivemind Review]

At the time of this review (April 12, 2020), this game was still in testing and development. The content has since expanded and play time has substantially increased.

Palace of Destiny is a free digital game created by Palace Games.

Style of Play: Light Puzzle Hunt

Required Equipment: Computer with internet connection, pen and paper

Recommended Team Size: 1-4

Play Time: about 60 minutes

Price: Free

Booking: Click to play at any time

PalaceSphere Logo

Yesterday we introduced the Hivemind Review format. This is the very first Hivemind Review.

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.

Theresa W’s Reaction

Rating: 3 out of 3.

Palace of Destiny was a solid at-home game littered with pop culture references. Google-fu comes in handy, as most of the game requires outside knowledge. The puzzles were clever and unique, yet relied a bit on pop culture that would be hard to solve without prior knowledge. Once you knew where to start, the puzzles were fun and engaging. The end of the game wasn’t clear (they will be adding more puzzles), which was confusing. I would recommend this as a fun game to fill the time for both solo puzzlers and small groups.

An overhead view of a gridded floor within a room. The door is flanked by knights.

Diana Kobrynowicz’s Reaction

Rating: 2 out of 3.

I loved the idea of the Palace of Destiny — who doesn’t want to explore a Palace for adventure and mystery? Here, you enter a room, explore, solve, and move on to the next room. The hint system is thematically consistent and works well.

This adventure is very puzzle-centric. Most puzzles need significant outside knowledge to solve. Some of that was tediously obscure, but nothing that some Google sleuthing wouldn’t overcome. This experience lacked a cohesive story, so enthusiasts who love puzzle-focused challenges will like this far more than those who prefer on-theme puzzles interwoven with a compelling narrative.

The Lone Puzzler’s Reaction

Rating: 2 out of 3.

Series of linear puzzles that were pretty fun to play but that relied a bit too much on outside resources (Google) – expected more of a self-contained escape room-like feel to the game. Game play was good – puzzles were moderate difficulty – probably better for casual players than enthusiasts.

A mirror that reads, "When a puzzle is tough, and your minds in a twist, click the button below, and we'll give you the gist."

Peih Gee Law’s Reaction

Rating: 3 out of 3.

This was a fun little puzzle hunt. It took a while to get used to the rhythm of puzzles and having to Google many things. The format was a little unwieldy at times; a few really required either pop culture knowledge or a ton of googling. Some puzzles were a bit tedious, requiring you to refer back and forth. Overall, though, the puzzles were very satisfying, especially if you have a lot of time on your hands like we all do currently in quarantine.

Theresa Piazza’s Reaction

Rating: 2 out of 3.

If online point-and-click escape room games and Puzzled Pint had a baby, it might be this game. The free beta of Palace of Destiny has about an hour’s worth of puzzling to offer either a team or lone puzzler. Each room and puzzle offered a distinct challenge, which we enjoyed solving with the help of a collaborative Google doc full of screenshots. One puzzle required outside knowledge that we didn’t immediately recognize, causing our team to stall for quite a while as we threw all ideas out there, just to see what would stick. Palace Games has teased that Palace of Destiny will be expanded, and I’m looking forward to seeing what they add next!

Format Description

You navigate to a URL, and after signing up for an account, you are met with a series of rooms inside a browser window, each gated by a puzzle to solve before you can progress to the next room. The door is barred by a passcode that is revealed after solving the puzzle. 9 rooms later, you reach the (temporary) end of the series!

This is a classic-style point-and-click overhead two-dimensional game. If you’re playing with friends in other locations, you can either screen share your experience, or each create your own login and play along. Each login is completely siloed and not connected to a team.