THE BASEMENT – My Name is Jamie [Hivemind Review]

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]

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

Mystery Motel Murcia – A World of Magic [Hivemind Review]

A World of Magic is an escape game played through an avatar, created by Mystery Motel Murcia in Murcia, Spain.

Hands of a detective holding magnifying glass on a table set with mysterious objects.

Format

Style of Play: escape room designed specifically to be played virtually through an avatar

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection

Recommended Team Size: 2-4

Play Time: 45 minutes

Price: €25-45 depending on the number of devices

Booking: book online for a specific time slot

Description

In A World of Magic, you connect through Zoom and direct the gamemaster / avatar to explore the room and manipulate objects on your behalf to solve the puzzles.

A sealed box on a table surrounded by magical props.

Hivemind Review Scale

Read more about our new Hivemind Review format.

REA's hivemind review scale - 3 is recommended anytime, 2 recommended in quarantine, 1 is not recommended.

Read more about our Hivemind Review format.

Continue reading “Mystery Motel Murcia – A World of Magic [Hivemind Review]”

Escape Room Herndon – Potter’s Escape [Hivemind Review]

Potter’s Escape is a free digital game created by Escape Room Herndon.

The hall at Hogwarts lit by floating candles. The image reads, "Potter's Escape Free-To-Play Online Puzzle Game"

Style of Play: Light Puzzle Hunt

Required Equipment: Computer with internet connection; a printer and scissors are also recommended

Recommended Team Size: 1-4

Play Time: about 60 minutes

Price: Free and there’s a tip jar

Booking: Click to play at any time

This is our second review in our new Hivemind Review format.

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.

In-game: Image of the sorting hat and the Hogwarts houses.

Theresa Piazza’s Reaction

Rating: 2 out of 3.

Potter’s Escape fell into a structure we’ve seen before in this new world of remote escape room play. It was an online experience with one puzzle per room, requiring you to solve that puzzle before advancing to the next. This experience did have a storyline that provided some light continuity between each puzzle, a welcome change to what some other similar experiences have offered. One major plus was that only limited outside knowledge was required for this experience, though one puzzle seemed like a bit of a backwards stretch. Escape Room Herndon plans to add more challenges to this adventure, and I’ll be returning to check out what they add in the coming weeks.

Brett Kuehner’s Reaction

Rating: 2 out of 3.
  • + Had an enjoyable mix of puzzle types, with colorful graphics.
  • + Difficulty levels varied from easy to moderate. Puzzle novices will likely need some of the hints that are provided.
  • – Some initial hints gave away too much. The hints should escalate from a small nudge to a full solution.
  • +/- As the instructions said, printing some puzzles is necessary. That would be easier if the puzzles came with PDF versions.
  • + Kid-friendly, something a family of Harry Potter fans could work on together.
  • + Didn’t require knowledge of the books or movies to solve.
  • – One puzzle required outside (non-Potter) knowledge.
In-game: A description of the game Quidditch.

Sarah Mendez’s Reaction

Rating: 2 out of 3.

If your quarantine involves abundant free time and you never tire of puzzles, you could include this in your play list. However, there wasn’t much novel about this experience, and I sometimes felt like I was just going through motions to finish it.

The story reads as CliffsNotes for Harry Potter, and prior knowledge might help you solve puzzles faster. A few puzzles are fun; however, many require more process than aha, yet simultaneously lack sufficient guidance to understand the goal. Fortunately, both issues improve later in the game. Ultimately, I didn’t regret playing, but better options exist.

Cara Mandel’s Reaction

Rating: 2 out of 3.

This was a charming sequence of puzzles. I played along with my friends Ciara and Rachel over Zoom, using Photoshop to manipulate the puzzles. The instructions recommend you print puzzles out, which may be prohibitive for some folks. I don’t think you could easily solve a couple of them without the use of either a printer or photo editing software. I would also caution players that there are spoiler alerts as to the plot line of the first Harry Potter book / film. However, if you’re familiar with the plot and love that wizard as much as we do, this will be a delightful story to play.

In-game: The 9 & 3/4 platform.

Peih Gee Law’s Reaction

Rating: 3 out of 3.

This was a delightful, puzzling romp through the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The puzzles, answers, images and narrative were all thematically on point and really helped keep you immersed in the Wizarding World. There was a good mix of puzzles, nothing that experienced puzzlers haven’t seen before, but they were still fun to solve. I think for a casual player, these puzzles would be a bit challenging, however, they are clued well and very satisfying. Overall I think this was a very charming game with decent production value.

Format Description

This was a linear sequence of self-contained puzzles presented through a series of web pages. Players are expected to solve a puzzle, enter the answer into a validation box, and then progress onto the next web page. As the game recommends, you do need to print out some of the puzzles.

Breaking Point Escape Rooms – Patient 17 [Review]

The doctor is running out of patients.

Location:  Rancho Cucamonga, CA

Date Played: January 4, 2020

Team size: 2-8; we recommend 3-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $32-35 per player for public booking; private booking $35-$60 each depending on team size

Ticketing: Public or private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Patient 17 felt like an old-school escape room at heart, but the production design and attention to narrative elevated it above the average escape room. 

The relatively complex story (especially for a crime-themed escape room) subtly followed us through the experience to its conclusion. Breaking Point also developed a strong sense of place through the story, set, and puzzles. Patient 17 felt ominous and confining, but never claustrophobic or scary.

The puzzles were mostly standard escape room puzzles, with nothing particularly flashy to offer experienced players. However, the game felt intuitive and flowed naturally. Some ambiguity slowed us down at first, but once we got going, we were in the zone until the end.

The Secret at Whitmore Estate is Breaking Point’s newer and stronger game, but Patient 17 is also worth playing while you’re there.

A dimly lit hospital exam chair surrounded by medical implements.
Image via Breaking Point Escape Rooms

Who is this for?

  • Story seekers
  • Thriller fans
  • Any experience level

Why play?

  • Creepy, isolating atmosphere
  • Thematic puzzling
  • The feeling of being part of a larger story

Story

An undercover agent investigating a doctor with connections to several missing women appeared to have blown her cover. We had been sent in to attempt a rescue.

A bulletin board with documents including a newspaper clipping with a headline reading "Doctor Arrested For Unorthodox Practice."
Image via Breaking Point Escape Rooms

Setting

Patient 17 took place in a dingy-looking hospital with an appropriately creepy vibe. Foreboding props and dark corners lent the game an ominous feeling, without ever veering towards scary.

A grimy hallway with solid doors, an electrical panel, and a single bare bulb.
Image via Breaking Point Escape Rooms

Gameplay

Breaking Point Escape Rooms’ Patient 17 was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around observing, puzzling, and making connections.

Analysis

➕ Breaking Point’s intro videos were among the best we’ve seen. The introduction for Patient 17 provided backstory that gave our mission urgency and emotional heft.

➕ The detailed production design made the escape room feel like a creepy hospital. The gamespace felt confining, but alluded to a larger outside world. This level of detail drew us into the story and heightened our sense of urgency.

A dirty sink splattered with blood.
Image via Breaking Point Escape Rooms

➖ Patient 17 could have used stronger gating early in the game. With so many puzzle elements available at the start, we struggled for a while before making real progress.

➕ The puzzling mostly involved standard escape room puzzles that coordinated well with the setting and the story. Solving them felt like making progress towards our goal.

➕ We were especially delighted when we discovered how to make use of one everyday item that initially felt too unbounded to contain a puzzle.

➖ We kept returning to a certain interesting-looking object that ended up having no bearing on the game. Replacing that object with a puzzle element or a less compelling prop would make it less of a red herring.

➖ The ending felt somewhat abrupt. We found ourselves wishing for a more exciting final scene.

➕ We appreciated the attention to narrative that threaded throughout Patient 17. After the intro, we encountered more information through the set and puzzles that enhanced our understanding of the story world without requiring excessive reading. The story felt original enough to stick in our minds while solving.

Tips For Visiting

  • There is ample parking at the venue.

Book your hour with Breaking Point Escape Rooms’ Patient 17, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.