CU Adventures in Time & Space – The Lost Temple [Hivemind Review]

The Lost Temple is a combination digital + printable game created by CU Adventures in Time & Space in Urbana, IL.

Lisa and David on Zoom with Escape The Roomers, a Print and Play game sitting on their keyboard with scissors and a pen.

Format

Style of Play: fusion of point-and-click Adventure game and print-and-play tabletop escape game

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

This game was designed to be printed. There is a “no print” version, but using it really does rob you of this game’s finest moments. We strongly recommend doing most of the cutting out prior to the start of the game. (Keep track of the page numbers for the things you cut out.)

Recommended Team Size: 2-4

Play Time: about 2 hours

Price: $10 for print-and-play with higher prices for shipped components

Booking: purchase the game and play at your leisure

Description

The Lost Temple was a fusion of LucasArts style point-and-click adventure with tabletop escape room. We received a PDF with a couple of dozen printable pages, many of which had bits that needed to be cut out. Then we used a web-based interface to click around and interact with the game world. This interface kept us organized while presenting the puzzles as well as the story.

The flooplan for a university library with a hand written letter on it.

Hivemind Review Scale

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⭐⭐⭐

I recommend this game to escape room players at any time.

⭐⭐

I recommend this game to escape room players in quarantine.

I do not recommend this game.

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The Escape Game – Ruins: Forbidden Treasure [Hivemind Review]

Ruins: Forbidden Treasure is a digital adaptation of a real-life escape game created by The Escape Game, a national company based in Nashville, TN.

A view of a beautiful ancient ruins set.

Format

Style of Play: digital adaptation of a real-life escape game

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection

Recommended Team Size: 2-4

Play Time: 60 minutes

Price: $25 per person

Booking: book online for a specific time slot

Description

This is a live virtual experience in which an in-person avatar explores the physical room on your behalf, following your commands. While watching the first-person experience via Zoom, you also have access to a web app that presents a 360 degree view of the room as well as an inventory of the objects you have collected. Each team member interacts with the app asynchronously, which enables effective parallel exploration.

A video of Captain Mac explaining the "Secets of the Ehlari." It's closed captioned, "...managed to remain totally isolated..."

Hivemind Review Scale

Read more about our new Hivemind Review format.

⭐⭐⭐

I recommend this game to escape room players at any time.

⭐⭐

I recommend this game to escape room players in quarantine.

I do not recommend this game.

Continue reading “The Escape Game – Ruins: Forbidden Treasure [Hivemind Review]”

Lokey’s Escape Rooms – Trouble in Tinseltown [Hivemind Review]

Trouble in Tinseltown is a digital adaptation of an escape game created by Lokey’s Escape Rooms in Sarasota, FL.

Zoom view of a noir-ish desk. Everything looks like it's in black & white.

Format

Style of Play: digital adaptation of a real-life escape game

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

Recommended Team Size: 1-4

Play Time: 60 minutes

Price: $19 per person

Booking: contact Lokey’s escape room to book, receive login code, and guide an avatar through the room

Description

The now-standard Zoom meeting to control a gamemaster/ avatar through verbal instructions. The in-character gamemaster was good at managing and executing instructions from multiple players. He was also fairly autonomous; once the players figured out how to solve a puzzle, he would perform the manipulations without needing much input.

A collection of movie posters up on the wall.

Hivemind Review Scale

Read more about our new Hivemind Review format.

⭐⭐⭐

I recommend this game to escape room players at any time.

⭐⭐

I recommend this game to escape room players in quarantine.

I do not recommend this game.

Continue reading “Lokey’s Escape Rooms – Trouble in Tinseltown [Hivemind Review]”

PostCurious – Emerald Flame [Review]

💚🔥

Location:  at home

Date Played: Spring 2020

Team size: 1-4; we recommend 2-4

Duration: 2-3 hours per chapter with 3 chapters

Price: back on Kickstarter at $69 or more to receive a copy of the game

REA Reaction

Emerald Flame is in a class of its own, from its art direction to its gameplay. Its three chapters had tight, creative puzzles. They varied in complexity, while feeling fair and innovative.

Emerald Flame felt like a successor to Post Curious’ first product Tale of Ord… but tighter and more refined in virtually every way.

An assortment of puzzle content and components with beautiful art.

Emerald Flame’s story was less ambitious than its predecessor’s but was still well structured and conveyed quite a bit of nuance. There was less content, and there were fewer tangible props than in Tale of Ord, but the overall level of quality was much higher… and at a far lower price point.

In short: Emerald Flame smoked Tale of Ord. It wasn’t even close.

The gorgeous gold and green stained glass box art of The Emerald Flame.

The art was beautiful, like, “I feel kind of bad writing on this” beautiful… and “I want a poster-sized version of the box art to frame on my wall,” beautiful.

Emerald Flame just went up on Kickstarter, so if you want to play this, head over there and back it. We played a nearly final prototype. There will be differences in the production version, so I cannot speak to the exact quality of what will be shipped. That said, I can assure you that the game exists, it’s incredibly refined, and it’s comfortably Lisa and my favorite tabletop puzzle game to date. For what I look for in a play-at-home puzzle game, it has no peers.

Who is this for?

  • Art lovers
  • Story seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Players with at least some experience

Why play?

  • Approachable yet deep and beautifully designed puzzles
  • The best hint system in the business
  • The art, the art, the art

Story

Our assistance had been enlisted in the study of alchemy. We needed to retrace the work of a medieval alchemist from Prague in order to solve the mysteries of his work and how they related to an unusual celestial event.

All Emerald Flame packages laid out. They seem to have been mailed from Prague.
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Paradox Project – The Bookstore [Review]

Stacks

Location:  Athens, Greece

Date Played: March 3, 2020

Team size: 4-7; we recommend 4

Duration: 200 minutes

Price: from €30 per player for teams of 4 to €27 per player for teams of 7

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating:  We’re unsure what fire escape measures there were, if any. More Info.

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

From the actual storefront, through the finale 3.5 hours later, The Bookstore was massive and mighty.

In-game: The exterior of the bookshop, from the street. It appears as a real bookshop.

Each individual scene within The Bookstore could have been an entire 60-minute escape game at the vast majority of escape room companies that we’ve visited around the world. I’m not kidding; I could easily imagine this game being sold as 5 or 6 different games. Moreover, each scene change shifted the play style, which prevented the length from becoming monotonous.

Paradox Project’s opus was truly incredible, but it wasn’t perfect. Not all of the scenes or puzzles were created equally. There were a few puzzles that were begging for iteration. While the finale had some fantastic moments, it also had some shockingly dated and sketchy elements that throttled the momentum.

Overall, The Bookstore was a standout game in a wonderful escape room scene. If you go to Athens and you don’t play it, you did Athens wrong.

Who is this for?

  • Escape room lovers
  • Adventure seekers
  • Story seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Players with at least some experience

Why play?

  • Walking into a bookshop off of the street especially cool
  • It was epic
  • The set was beautiful
  • There were many satisfying and diverse puzzles

Story

With the consequences of our experiences in The Mansion behind us, we had attempted to go on with our lives… until we received a mysterious invitation to a bookshop. Someone seemed to know of our Bitter Truth.

In-game: Walls filled with books and African art.
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