Locked Adventures – Dystopia [Review]

🎵 Twinkie, twinkie, little star 🎵

Location: San Marcos, CA

Date Played: March 6, 2022

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

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $37 per player

Ticketing: Private

Accessibility Consideration: at least some players need to navigate a dark space with an actor and mild jump scares

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

In Locked Adventures’ Dystopia, we emerged from our fallout shelters in search for supplies that would aid us in our post-apocalyptic times, all while avoiding a certain demise at the hands (and mouth) of a roaming zombie.

Dystopia was not for the faint of heart. The environment was generally dark and scary, and you never knew when you’d encounter a zombie. But the starting fallout shelters served as reliable safe zones, and while there were definitely a few jump scares, nothing was too intense.

The gameplay in Dystopia was generally nonlinear, centered around collecting a smattering of useful items… and a Twinkie. Most of the puzzles felt fair, and their difficulty stemmed more from the environment than the puzzle mechanics. In the latter half of the game, though, we experienced a drop-off in intensity, and the game lacked a real finale.

A room filled with green glowing haze. Spray painted on the wall are the words, "Keep Out."

Dystopia was an exhilarating, novel take on a zombie theme. While Locked Adventures’ newer room V will appeal more to puzzle and scenery lovers, Dystopia is a great choice for thrill seekers and aspiring preppers.

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Cross Roads Escape Games – The Trust Experiment [Review]

Update June 12, 2022: If you want to hear more about The Trust Experiment back us on Patreon at the “Search Win!” level to get access to a Spoiler’s Club Episode about this game. Reality Escape Pod co-hosts David and Peih-Gee talk all about it with the creators, spoilers and all.

Formerly known as “Psych Ward”

Location: Anaheim, CA

Date Played: March 6, 2022

Team size: 5-8; we recommend 5-8

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $38 per player

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

The Trust Experiment was a personal victory for me. This game was made for the Davids and Peih-Gees of the world (and go at it, they did!). I would have preferred a backseat role. But luck was not on my side (or maybe it was) because I drew the role I was afraid to draw and even though I lost, I felt like I’d won.

The Trust Experiment wasn’t an escape room. It was a social deduction game with puzzles as a game mechanic. The good guys wanted all the points… and the bad guys wanted to steal those points. If we solved a lot of puzzles we would win (or steal) a lot of points.

Cross Roads Escape Games’ exceptional onboarding gave me confidence. Our orderly (gamemaster) gave me opportunity (and added exceptional character to the game!) And my husband and his podcast co-host diverted attention… most of the time. So I played the game. I took some risks. And I had a lot of fun.

Two patients in a small padded room, viewed through a hole in the door.

The Trust Experiment blended puzzle gameplay with social deduction. It was unusual, and it worked brilliantly. If this sounds like your thing, bring the right group of friends (and the group matters a lot), and check this out while you can. Sadly, it is closing soon. We haven’t played anything else quite like it.

Who is this for?

  • Social deduction game fans
  • Story seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Any experience level
  • Players who don’t need to be a part of every puzzle

Why play?

  • An interesting take on Werewolf/ Mafia-style social deduction games
  • A very cool set
  • A fantastic actor

Story

Dr. Griffin put our cohort of patients into a psychological experiment. Under observation, were were made to solve puzzles, complete tasks, and determine whom we could trust among us, while some secretly tried to undermine the group.

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Swamp Motel – Plymouth Point [Hivemind Review]

Plymouth Point is an online game with elements of puzzle hunt and ARG, created by Swamp Motel.

An older woman on Zoom.

Format

Style of Play:

  • Online native experience (can NOT be played IRL)
  • Light puzzle hunt
  • Video-based experience

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection

Recommended Team Size: 2-4

Play Time: 75 minutes

Price: $75 for a group of 2-6 players

Booking: book online for a specific time slot

Description

Plymouth Point is an online experience that included a Zoom call with sleuthing around the internet. In the Zoom meeting we had an introduction by the main character (gamemaster). Then we went bouncing around the web using Facebook, websites developed by the game, Google Earth, etc. to track the missing person and solve the mystery. To solve certain clues, we needed a phone (call) and a Facebook login. This game required a large amount of screen sharing via Zoom as we visited all these websites.

Hivemind Review Scale

THE BASEMENT – My Name is Jamie [Hivemind Review]

My Name is Jamie is included in our recommendation guide for Remote Horror Games. For more of the best online escape games in this style, check out the recommendation guide.

My Name is Jamie is a real-life escape room livestreamed and played through an avatar game created by THE BASEMENT in Los Angeles.

Jamie on the floor and looking very beat up. An elaborate interface surrounds him.

Format

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

Required Equipment: computer with an internet connection

Recommended Team Size: 2-6

Play Time: 45 minutes

Price: $20 per person

Booking: book online for a specific time slot. The bookings are all public with a maximum of 6 players, so you could be playing with strangers unless you buy all 6 tickets.

Description

This is a live escape room played via a live actor. You log in with Zoom to their custom interface, which will include a live feed to the actor in the room, a map, an inventory system, and a whiteboard for taking notes.

An unknown person speaking through and elaborate interface.

Hivemind Review Scale

Legendary Quests – Project Avatar [Hivemind Review]

Project Avatar is included in our recommendations guides for Avatar-Guided Online Escape Games, The Best Online Escape Games for Large Groups, and The Best Online Escape Games for Tweens and Families. For more of the best online escape games in these styles, check out the recommendations guides.

Update: Legendary Quests has rebranded as Project Avatar and this game is now called First Mission.

Project Avatar is an unusual avatar-based escape room livestream, designed specifically for online play, created by Legendary Quests in the Ukraine.

Person entering strange room, surrounded by fire.

Format

Style of Play: avatar-based livestream of a real room, but designed specifically for online play

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

Recommended Team Size: 2-5

Play Time: about 2 hours

Price: €200 for up to 8 players

Booking: book online for a specific time slot

Description

You are controlling a silent avatar through an environment that encourages video game-like play. You will see a first-person POV with some HUD-type overlays showing status information and maps. While the avatar does not speak, they will respond nonverbally to the commands you give.

First person view view of hands reaching for something on a desk.

Hivemind Review Scale