Fast Familiar – National Elf Service [Hivemind Review]

National Elf Service is a digital, narrative-driven light puzzle game created by Fast Familiar in the UK.

A red christmasty interface with an illustrated image of many red stills.

Format

Style of Play: narrative-driven light puzzle game

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection

Recommended Team Size: 1-3

Play Time: about an hour, but no time limit

Price: £20.00

Booking: purchase and play at your leisure

Description

This game is played fully in a browser, with puzzles presented to you sequentially through audio and visual means. You enter the answer into the interface to trigger the next story cut-scenes.

Someone is sabotaging Christmas!

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Virtual Escape Global – Escape from the Alternate Dimension [Hivemind Review]

Escape from the Alternate Dimension is a digital escape game created by Virtual Escape Global.

80s pastel logo for Escape from the Alternate Dimension.

Format

Style of Play: digital escape game, designed for hosted online play

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection

Recommended Team Size: 2-3

Play Time: 60 minutes

Price: $25 per person

Booking: book online for a specific time slot

Description

Escape from the Alternate Dimension is a series of webpages with puzzles, which solve to passwords to unlock other pages. Each team member must enter each password individually. The live host on Zoom watches and offers hints.

A video rental store labeled, "Welcome to blankblaster! Be kind, please rewind - or else! We've got some great new movies fresh on VHS! Head to the next page!"

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Cirque du Nuit – Thickett [Hivemind Review]

Thickett is a digital immersive game with puzzles, created by Cirque du Nuit.

The Thickett virtual world with hand illustrated black & white landscapes and mono-colored faceless figures. It's very cute.

Format

Style of Play: digital immersive game with puzzle gates, designed for large group digital play

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection, pen and paper (or Google doc)

Recommended Team Size: Each Quest is public ticketed. Because you are part of an interactive experience, you can join solo, or with a large group of people all booking into the same Quest. We recommend only 1 person per connection.

Play Time: about 90 minutes

Price: $20 per person per Quest

Booking: book online for a specific time slot

Note, next weekend is the last Quest of Season 1. Thickett will return with Season 2 Quests in the spring.

Description

tldr:

  1. Upon purchasing a ticket, first-time players fill out a “job application” to be sorted into a Department.
  2. Join a Zoom call to get your Department’s assignment.
  3. Leave Zoom for Topia (a web-based, 2D-scrolling world, with video chat capabilities)
  4. Explore Topia where you can solve puzzles, interact with actors, and get information
  5. Return to Zoom to reconstruct a story with the rest of your Department using the information you’ve gathered in Topia.
  6. Wait (~24 hours) to see which Department’s version of the story is crowned the winner

In Depth

Each Thickett Quest is based around a fable or other well-known story. Every Thickett player is sorted into one of three Departments: Relationships (Rabbits), Confidence (Foxes), or Knowing (Ravens). Each Department has a different style and set of goals for a Quest. For example, Foxes are more competitive within their Department, while Rabbits are more collaborative.

At the beginning of a Quest, Departments go to separate Zoom breakout rooms and, after a brief departmental ritual, the Department Handlers describe their Department’s goals for that Quest. Players then go to “Topia,” which is a web-based 2D-scrolling world that allows players to see and talk to players or characters (live performers) in their area of that world. A character you meet may want you to play a game, or challenge you to an insult battle, or send you on a mission.

The Thickett virtual world with hand illustrated black & white landscapes and mono-colored faceless figures. It's very cute.

As players explore the world, they can find objects that can be delivered to characters by solving simple decoding puzzles in order to get information and advance their Department’s goals.

After spending time exploring Topia, everyone returns to Zoom breakout rooms to “edit” the story to a new version that best suits the ethos of their Department. These edited stories are submitted at the end to the Princess, the CEO of Thickett. She will decide which of the versions is the “true” story, and that Department will receive credit for “taming” that story so it can be placed back in the Book of Turns, which contains the answers to all of life’s mysteries.

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Trapped Puzzle Rooms – The Heist [Hivemind Review]

The Heist is a real-life escape room livestreamed and played through an avatar, created by Trapped Puzzle Rooms in St. Paul, MN.

Painting of a key.

Format

Style of Play: real-life escape room livestreamed and played through an avatar

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection, pen and paper

Recommended Team Size: 3-4

Play Time: 60 minutes

Price: $26 per person

Booking: book online for a specific time slot

Description

This is a standard live avatar-led game played over Zoom and using Telescape. It is set in an art gallery.

5 labeled plates on a wall in a museum.

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Escape One Algarve – The Laboratory (Virtual) [Hivemind Review]

The Laboratory (Virtual) is a real-life escape room converted to digital play, created by Escape One Algarve in Portimão, Portugal.

Title art for the game depicts a a mad scientist

Format

Style of Play: real-life escape room converted to digital play without an avatar, using Telescape

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection, pen and paper

Recommended Team Size: 2-4

Play Time: 60-90 minutes

Price: €20.00

Booking: purchase and play at your leisure

Description

In this, the virtual format, The Laboratory was a point-and-click game played in Telescape.

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