Exit: The Game – The Stormy Flight [Hivemind Review]

The Stormy Flight is a tabletop escape game created by Exit: The Game.

Exit The Game: The Stormy Flight box art depicts a cockpit view of a lightning storm.

Format

Style of Play: tabletop escape game

Required Equipment: scissors, pen & paper

A phone is not required but there is an app with a timer and background sounds.

Recommended Team Size: 1-4

Play Time: 1-2 hours

Price: about $15

Booking: purchase and play at your leisure

Description

This game used the standard format for novice Exit: The Game installments. You have access to a puzzle book, clue cards, various “strange items,” and a decoder wheel for entering the solutions to puzzles. In the novice games like this one, the puzzle book walks you through one puzzle at a time. As in all Exit: The Game installments, you must embrace destroying various parts of the game to solve some of the puzzles.

Assorted game components includes a seating chart for an airliner, riddle and help cards, a solution wheel, and a mirror.

Sarah Mendez’s Reaction

The Stormy Flight is somewhat above average for a novice Exit: The Game installment, delivering a set of fun-but-simple puzzles amidst a rather coherent story. I continue to be impressed at how this series avoids redundancy in its puzzles and gameplay; regardless of whether I like a puzzle or not, it always feels brand new in the context of the series. In this game, the puzzles were consistently on-theme and approachable, though none specifically wowed me. However, one pushed the bounds of standard gameplay a bit, creating uncertainty about the validity of using a certain object in an unusual way. Also, the penultimate puzzle again overreaches just a tad; it was clear what to do, but execution was difficult and hard to parse. All that said, these complaints are nitpicky; overall this is a solid game with a more-coherent-than-usual story, fun puzzles, and fairly standard frustrations.

New to Exit: The Game? This game hits a decent enough balance of what I would hope for from a novice game in this series: a low difficulty level, a gentle (if uneven) introduction to game mechanics, helpful hints, and thematic coherence. I think it reflects well on the series and would be a fine place to start.

Fan of Exit: The Game? This game isn’t a standout, but it’s true to the brand. If you want highly challenging puzzles, skip this one; otherwise, it will probably satisfy your Exit: The Game cravings for a spell.

Cindi S’ Reaction

Exit: The Game continues to push the envelope by finding creative ways to hide puzzles in little boxes. Each one I’ve played has been completely different, and The Stormy Flight is no exception. You start the game as a crew member in an airplane that gets damaged due to an electrical storm, and it’s your job to repair a variety of mechanical failures and save the day. As always, the creativeness of the puzzles was on point, though compared to other Exit: The Game installments, I found these puzzles to be a bit easy. Except when they weren’t. One puzzle was difficult to visualize, even knowing the answer. The final puzzle, essentially a clever aha moment, was disappointing. Overall, this game still had high-flying moments, even if it landed with a soft thud.

Kate Wastl’s Reaction

There were one or two outstanding puzzle moments in the The Stormy Flight, but these were unfortunately overwhelmed by a series of mental leaps that the players were forced to make. I typically really enjoy installments from Exit: The Game, but I must admit that I found this one rather frustrating. We found ourselves spending a long time interpreting the objectives of these puzzles, using far more hints that we would typically use. Twists were tacked on to the end of some puzzles, and these seemed disjointed and unnecessary. Players who enjoy looking at the same puzzle from multiple angles may enjoy this game. The novice rating on the box should likely be increased to account for some of the intentional confusion.

Theresa W’s Reaction

The Stormy Flight is a great addition to the Exit: The Game series, incorporating some new gimmicks and many aha moments. This game had quite a few puzzle elements we hadn’t seen in the handful of other Exit: The Game installments we have played. To our group, this game left a bit to be desired in the theme, as it was unique but not overly exciting or immersive. The puzzle flow was very smooth, needing little to no hints throughout the experience. I would not recommend this to first time Exit: The Game players due to it relying on some of the mechanics we had learned in past games, but pick this up if you’re looking to tackle another installment from Exit: The Game with unique, tangible puzzles.

Disclosure: Exit: The Game provided the Hivemind reviewers with a complimentary play.

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BH Escape – The Mystery of Santos Dumont [Hivemind Review]

The Mystery of Santos Dumont is an avatar-led adaptation of a real-life escape game played over livestream, created by BH Escape in Santo Antônio, Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

Format

Style of Play:

  • Adaptation of an in-person game (can be played IRL)
  • Avatar controlled by the players
  • Web-based inventory system

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection

Recommended Team Size: 2-4

Play Time: 60 minutes

Price: ~$50 per team

Booking: book online for a specific time slot

Description

This is a standard avatar-led experience plus a companion website for verifying codes (that the avatar still needs to unlock physically), viewing information, and tracking unopened locks.

Avatar view of an escape room with antique furniture. A large locked chest is in frame.

Hivemind Review Scale

Solve Entertainment – Professor Prank! [Hivemind Review]

Professor Prank! is an avatar-led escape game created for livestream play by Solve Entertainment in Duluth, MN.

Avatar holding a plastic rat beside a plastic human skeleton wearing a bowtie.

Format

Style of Play:

  • Online native experience (can NOT be played IRL)
  • Avatar controlled by the players

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection

Recommended Team Size: 2-5

Play Time: 60 minutes

Price: flat rate of $80 for up to 4 players, + $10 taxes

Booking: book online for a specific time slot

Description

There’s a livestream of a prank youtube channel. It’s a dude (aka. Prankster) who wants to pull a prank on his old science teacher because that teacher used to give him bad grades. As you enter the school lab, however, much more serious issues occur.

This is an avatar-led escape room play through Zoom. The avatar is in a physical room, but one that was built for the online game, so this room can not be played in person.

Hivemind Review Scale

SCAM New York [Review]

Magic, comedy, puzzles… and a dollop of vulgarity

Location:  New York City, NY

Date Played: May 30, 2021

Team size: 1-8; we recommend 4-8

Duration: 2 hours

Price: Start at $55 per player

Ticketing: Public… but if you book as a group of 8 you’ll have a mostly private experience

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

New York City’s Society of Conjurers And Magicians (SCAM), blends magic, comedy, and puzzles (more or less in that order).

SCAM is set in a nifty karaoke bar where each room has a unique design. The audience is split between these rooms, and magicians circulate from room to room performing their acts to the small groups. In between the acts, each group has the opportunity to solve a series of puzzles.

The performers are a rotating cast of quality New York City magicians. Some left us dumbfounded, others performed classics with elegance, and they all made us laugh.

Magicians Harrison Greenbaum & Patrick Davis wearing cloaks and dramatically holding candles.
Harrison Greenbaum & Patrick Davis

SCAM was co-created by comedian & magician Harrison Greenbaum (the emcee for our convention RECON). I tell you this both to disclose that relationship, and to give you a sense of SCAM’s style. He is talented, funny, and vulgar. (He tones this last part down a lot for RECON.) To varying degrees, the other performers are cut from the same cloth.

If you aren’t sure whether you’ll enjoy the humor of SCAM New York, I recommend taking a good look at their secret society logo. Study the details, identify the layers… really take it in… because this shit is hilarious…

Society of Conjurers And Magicians logo depicts many people with devil tails arranged in a circle with their heads up one anothers' asses.
While at SCAM, I recommend asking why the logo is designed this way.

If instead you are bothered by it… perhaps Disney’s The Lion King is more your speed and it’s only a few blocks away from SCAM. No judgement from me; I want everyone to have a good time.

SCAM New York was the first show or game that Lisa and I had experienced post-quarantine. I cannot think of a better show for the era. Meeting up with a small group of friends and spending most of the show in a room with them while entertainment came to us was exactly the speed that we were looking for. If you enjoy magic, comedy, or puzzles, there’s something for you at SCAM.

Who is this for?

  • Magic fans
  • Comedy fans
  • Puzzle lovers
  • People looking for an unusual night out
  • Any experience level

Why play?

  • It’s funny
  • It’s entertaining
  • The puzzles do a good job of filling in gaps between acts

Story

We were invited to an initiation into a magical secret society.

A hand reaching out for a small chest secured with a padlock.
Continue reading “SCAM New York [Review]”

Escape Rooms in Education: A Practical Guide – Julia Morris [Book Review]

Get schooled in creating a room escape for students

Author:  Julia Morris

Year: 2020

Page count: 190

Price: $9 for ebook, $11 for paperback

Publisher: self-published

REA Reaction

This is a well-organized, well-written guide for teachers looking to create escape room-style experiences for their students. It can be used by beginners who want to create their first escape room, or for those with experience looking for new tools to try. The author is a language teacher, and her examples depend heavily on puzzles that require recall of facts learned in class. While this is an interesting way to review material, I would have preferred to see more deductive thinking and reasoning incorporated. More and more teachers are using puzzles, breakouts, and immersive experiences in their classrooms, and this book describes many puzzles that can be used to create a fun, memorable educational experience.

Book cover for "Escape Room in Education: A Practical Guide" has an assortment of locks and escape roomy items.

Who is this for?

This book was written by a high school teacher, with other teachers in mind. However, anyone involved with designing puzzles or room escapes for people 13 and older might find it useful.

Structure

Part 1 is around 50 pages, and gives an introduction to the topic – the value of using escape rooms in education, an overview of physical and digital formats, and the importance of good puzzle design and compelling storylines.

Part 2 consists of 120 pages that give detailed instructions on how to use specific puzzles, including digital and paper-based puzzles, and physical items. Some are well known, like UV lights and crossword puzzles, and some are less common. Each puzzle section has a photo or screenshot, and sections titled “What is it for,” “How do I create it,” “How do the students use it,” and “How could I use it.” There are 35 puzzles described. The author provides examples and a link to her website that has templates for the digital puzzles she describes.

Interior page explaining the concept of a Scytale, or wrapped up messages.
Continue reading “Escape Rooms in Education: A Practical Guide – Julia Morris [Book Review]”