Fantasy Escape Games – The Dark Tower [Hivemind Review]

The Dark Tower is a role-playing adventure game with light puzzles, created by Fantasy Escape Games.

The team posing fo their victory, the landscape of a beautiful kingdom behind them.

Format

Style of Play: digital role-playing adventure game with light puzzles, designed for online play as an audiovisual experience

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection

Recommended Team Size: 2-4

Play Time: 60 minutes

Price: $15 per person

Booking: book for a specific time slot

Description

This experience was on Zoom, and we had an audio guide overseeing the game. The story was told through a series of static images in the style of storybook illustrations, almost like watching a beautiful PowerPoint presentation, and the guide narrated and facilitated our interactions. For example, when we met the Mushroom King, he went into character and pretended to be the Mushroom King.

An illustrated young wizard looking character holding a book and appeas to have a purpl mustache grawn on his face.

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Mad Genius Escape Co. – Boonabo Farm [Hivemind Review]

Boonabo Farm is a multiplayer online puzzle game created by Mad Genius Escape Co. in Portland, OR.

A collection of adoable and colorful cartooish bugs called Boonabos.

Format

Style of Play: multiplayer online puzzle game – somewhere between a digital escape game and a point-and-click adventure

Required Equipment: computer with an internet connection

Recommended Team Size: 8-10 (supports teams of up to 16 players)

Play Time: 60 minutes

Price: $15 per person

Booking: book online for a specific time slot

Description

Boonabo Farm was a chaotic multiplayer online game. This was a browser-based live game with a Zoom-based component. Nearly all interactions took place in a point-and-click interface, played live. It focused on collaborative puzzles that required teamwork. Boonabo Farm was meant to be played with a team of 8-16 players.

A Boonabos on a journey.

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Real Escape Games by SCRAP – Escape from the Abandoned Laboratory [Hivemind Review]

Escape from the Abandoned Laboratory is real-life escape room livestreamed through an avatar, created by Real Escape Games by SCRAP, based in Japan.

Poster art for Escape from the Abandoned Laboratory depicts a woman in a white dress with a visor sitting in a chair.

Format

Style of Play: This was a real-life game adapted for remote play with an avatar, but to an American it will feel more like a light puzzle hunt than a real-life escape room.

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection and a device with a QR scanner app

It is best to have a shared Google Sheet open as a team, as well as a chat thread. You will need to share screenshots and links.

Recommended Team Size: 4-7

Play Time: The game has a time limit of 60 minutes. Including briefing and debriefing, the whole session is about 120 minutes.

Price: $190 for a team of up to 7 people

Booking: book online for a specific time slot

Description

In Escape from the Abandoned Laboratory players communicated with an avatar to explore a room and interact with puzzles.

This game was a traditional SCRAP game: It was loaded with puzzle book-style puzzles and had a particularly challenging final puzzle that hinged on uncovering and understanding a nuance of the story. It was notably more challenging than most other live-streamed escape rooms on the market.

Our host and researcher Clover.

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Palace Games – The Ruby Palace [Hivemind Review]

The Ruby Palace is a point-and-click adventure game created by Palace Games in San Francisco, CA.

Overhead view of a study with a large bear skin rug.

Format

Style of Play: point-and-click adventure game with elements of a light puzzle hunt

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection

Recommended Team Size: 2-3 players, with the ability for a large group to divide into multiple teams and compare scores on a private leaderboard

Play Time: There is a 90-minute game clock.

Price: $20 per player

Booking: After booking, you can play at any time.

You can opt to organize a game for a large group (unlimited in size), divided into smaller teams of 3-4 players each, through the PALACESPHERE Game Administrator Portal (GAP). Here’s how it works.

Description

The Ruby Palace is a point-and-click game that takes players through various rooms in a mansion where they will solve puzzles. Each solved puzzle opens a door that leads to the next room. This culminates in a final puzzle.

Overhead view of an ornate lounge with intriacate woodwork in the floor.

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Boxaroo – Colby’s Curious Cookoff [Hivemind Review]

Colby’s Curious Cookoff is an online puzzle hunt created by Boxaroo in Boston, MA.

Illustration of Colby in a kitchen.

Format

Style of Play: moderate-length, beginner-friendly puzzle hunt

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection

Recommended Team Size: 1-3

Play Time: There is no time limit. An experienced puzzle hunt solver can do this in hours. Less experienced players will take a few days. One reviewer writes “quite a few days of leisurely working on this” and another writes “FOR.EV.ER. (insert Sandlot voice here).”

Price: It’s “pay what you want” but $25 is recommended

Booking: Upon registering for an account and purchasing the puzzle hunt, you can start right away.

Description

Colby’s Curious Cookoff is a puzzle hunt. You solve several multiple-step puzzles at various difficulty levels. You always get a word or a phrase as an answer. For each section, you’ll need all the solutions to solve a metapuzzle and at the very end, you solve a metametapuzzle.

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