Next Level Escape – The Strange Disappearance On Station Eleven [Hivemind Review]

The Strange Disappearance On Station Eleven is a point-and-click game created by Next Level Escape in Sydney, Australia.

Illustration of a trench coat and fedora clad person in the rain. It looks like futuristic noir.

Format

Style of Play: computer with internet connection

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

Required Equipment:

Recommended Team Size: 1-3

Play Time: no timer; plan for 1-2 hours depending on group size

Price: $40 AUD per team

Booking: purchase and play at your leisure

Description

The Strange Disappearance On Station Eleven is an online solo or multi-player point-and-click game where you explore a space station via an interactive 3D web interface. You must find information, piece together the circumstances of the mystery, and solve puzzles to gain access to new locations or information.

A sleek, white, humanoid robot reaching out with its hand.

Sauve Qui Peut – Falderon Forest [Review]

Fairy Family Dinner

We played this escape room a few days ahead of Escape Immerse Explore: Montreal 2021, before the game was officially open to the public. At the time of review publication, it isn’t yet available for booking on Sauve Qui Peut’s website.

Location:  Saint-Jean-Sur-Richelieu, QC, Canada

Date Played: October 8, 2021

Team size: we recommend 4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $36 CAD per player

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Falderon Forest was a compact, gorgeous, and innovative game with a sense of humor.

The stars of this Falderon Forest were the environment and the interaction design. Each player was given a different tool (sword, crystal ball, magic tome, or wand) to engage with the world. They were unique and offered each individual their own opportunities to interact with the environment. All of that was set in a game world that felt like a fantasy land, each space selling its fiction remarkably well.

Sauve Qui Peut added personality to the game with an adaptive hint system that was both funny and responsive, while also smoothed over difficulty for teams that needed it. This worked well… when a player was actively listening for it, but could be missed if no one was paying attention.

A forest set with little fairy houses mounted to some of the trees.
Image via Sauve Qui Peut

We were the first team to play Falderon Forest in English, and our playthrough was buggy, but Sauve Qui Peut handled the bugs well. When we saw other teams play it on our Escape, Immerse, Explore: Montreal 2021 tour, they had resolved most (but not all) of the bugs. I expect that all of the issues will be resolved, but go in knowing that Falderon Forest is a technological beast, and sometimes that invites issues.

The greater Montreal area has a ton of incredible escape games, and any conversation about the top games in the region must include Falderon Forest. This is a must-play game in a region that is worth traveling to.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Technophiles
  • Comedy fans
  • Best for players with at least some experience

Why play?

  • Adorable, impressive magical set
  • The tone was hilarious
  • Use of magical items

Story

As intrepid adventurers, our party had wandered into a fairy forest. The fairies were in crisis and needed help restoring the forest’s magic.

Continue reading “Sauve Qui Peut – Falderon Forest [Review]”

Nordo – The Interrogation of Alice [Review]

“Oh frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”

Location:  at home

Date Played: November 6, 2021

Team size: We recommend 2

Duration: 1-2 hours

Price: $117 plus shipping

REA Reaction

If you’re a Through the Looking Glass fan, a collector of berry curds, or a devotee of absurd theater, Nordo’s The Interrogation of Alice may be for you. From the post-purchase email through the very end of the video credits, it’s clear that the creators of this game invested extraordinary attention to the details of its source material. They infused every aspect of…well…everything with references to the book. If I’d played a game like this about one of my personal obsessions, I would absolutely die. In a good way.

A box filled with smaller red and black boxes that are labeled, "eat me," "drink me," & "evidence."

If you’re an average escape room enthusiast who prioritizes puzzling and/or has just a passing knowledge of Alice lore, this is a much harder sell at $117. Nordo’s background and strengths lie in immersive theater, so the details woven throughout the videos, puzzles, and food were well executed and delightful. However, we found the story to be disorienting in a way that, while honoring the nonsense of its source material, left us constantly uneasy that we were missing something. Ultimately, that confusion was irrelevant because the handful of simple puzzles didn’t hinge on clues from the videos, and the characters seemed to solve the overall mystery on their own. This was both a relief and a disappointment that left us feeling like befuddled observers rather than useful participants. Fortunately, there were some exquisite berry curd and biscuits to soothe our feelings.

Overall, this concept has enormous potential for filling a gap in the world’s offerings for a premium date night at home. With a more intelligible script and a tighter interrelationship between the puzzles and performances, there would be a huge opportunity to transform an experience like this from a collection of impressive details into a more thorough engagement of the audience. This was a respectable effort in that direction, but at the price point, it needed to be exceptional.

Continue reading “Nordo – The Interrogation of Alice [Review]”

Escaparium – Rain Corp. [Review]

Terminator

Location:  Laval, QC, Canada

Date Played: October 9, 2021

Team size: 3-10; we recommend 4-5

Duration: 75 minutes

Price: $39.99 CAD per player

Ticketing: Private

Accessibility Consideration: at least one player has to crawl

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Rain Corp. was an undeniably premium escape room. It was unique and included many impressive and unusual interactions… and all of it was contained within a massive and gorgeous set.

A large, illuminated, and broken Rain Corporation logo mounted to a wall, with an upside dow Honda Civic crashed through the wall.

It’s difficult to convey just how large Rain Corp. was, so I’ll say: it included more than one full-size vehicle, and managed to make them feel small within the context of the world. Put another way, Rain Corp. on its own is probably larger than your typical escape room facility. It’s big.

On top of that, Escaparium was telling an ambitious story in Rain Corp. They went out of their way to pull players into the game world by giving us a strong character to interact with.

That said, we felt like the set came first, followed by the character and story, with the gameplay at times feeling small. The puzzles mostly worked, but they didn’t shine.

This was an impressive experience that felt like it wanted a little more cohesion, as well as refinements in interaction design.

All in all, Rain Corp. is a must play game in Montreal. Our critiques do not diminish how jaw-dropping so much of this experience is. Montreal is a top-tier escape room destination, and this is one of a number of jewels in its regional crown.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Story seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Sci-fi fans
  • Best for players with at least some experience
  • Players who don’t need to be a part of every puzzle

Why play?

  • It’s gigantic
  • The character is so fun to engage with
  • Ambitious design decisions

Story

Tech company Rain Corp. had created a revolutionary new artificial intelligence and then lost control of it.

Continue reading “Escaparium – Rain Corp. [Review]”

Puzzle Theory – P.T. Railways: Rebel Run [Review]

Bought a ticket for a runaway train

Location:  South Windsor, CT

Date Played: October 1, 2021

Team Size: 4-10; we recommend 4-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $30 per player

Ticketing: Private

Accessibility Consideration: Most players must duck through an opening repeatedly

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Puzzle Theory’s P.T. Railways: Rebel Run was an escape room that highlighted physical manipulation puzzles, blended into an immersive, technology-driven set design. These challenges allowed us to work in a non-linear fashion in several different spaces at one time without crowding.

The game area was impressively designed to match the storyline, with the integration of special effects and lighting that complemented the puzzles at hand.

Metal devices and chains, dramatically lit.

Most of the gameplay flowed well, but there was one puzzle towards the beginning of the experience that seemed to continually give feedback that it was reset in the middle of a sequence, surprising all of us when we completed it and were allowed to continue.

P.T. Railways: Rebel Run 
was a solid escape room and certainly worth the trip if you are in the Hartford, Connecticut region.

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