Paruzal – Pizza Makes Anything Possible [Hivemind Review]

Pizza Makes Anything Possible is an audiovisual escape room created by Paruzal.

Illustrated title art for Pizza Makes Anything possible contains pizza, locks and crayons.

Format

Style of Play: audiovisual escape room

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection, somewhere to take notes

Recommended Team Size: 2-4

Play Time: approximately 60 minutes

Price: $15 per person

Booking: book online for a specific time slot

Description

You work for a pizza restaurant and your boss wants to test you. You need to open the restaurant in time for the first guests to arrive. Can you survive this pressure test?

This is an audiovisual escape room. This game is played in a space made up of two-dimensional illustration with and a gamemaster narrating. The illustrations are simple, and all clues come from the player asking the gamemaster for additional details. You give verbal commands to try ideas and see what works.

Illustration of an empty green room. The walls are all labeled with the name of a different shade of green.

Hivemind Review Scale

Extra Long Escape Rooms Need Intermissions

I’m gonna overshare a bit.

While we didn’t play very many real-life escape rooms in 2020, we did play quite a few games with 1.5 to 3.5 hour game clocks.

Intermission

Once you hit the 2-hour mark, I think a game is what I’d call “extra long,” and consequently I think that these games generally need an intermission. Paradox Project in Athens, Greece, does this. They have snacks, drinks, and most importantly, bathrooms available.

The snacks and drinks are phenomenal, rejuvenating, and make for a more pleasant experience… but I think they are a nice-to-have.

The bathroom break is essential.

A very white bathroom.

Immersion is impossible when you have to pee

The other day I streamed The Avengers, and paused it so I could relieve myself in the middle.

It got me thinking about when I went to see all of the movies in this stupid long series… and how each time I had to pick a moment that seemed slow to dart out of the theater. I don’t like to miss anything in a movie (or an escape room), but missing a couple of minutes is better than not being able to follow the story because nature is calling.

The movie theater business is in trouble. It was in trouble before 2020, partly because these blockbuster movies have gotten way too long, without an intermission. Going to a movie theater is simply less comfortable than viewing movies at home. All of these old movie executives certainly can’t make it through their own movies without a bathroom break.

All I’m suggesting is that as we see some of these extra long, blockbuster escape rooms open, let’s do what Paradox Project has already established… and remember that player comfort is essential to player immersion.

How to Get the Most out of the TERPECA 2020 Results

The 2020 TERPECA results are live.

Last year we did a fairly deep dive into the data. I think that piece still holds up, so this year, we are offering some advice about how to get the most out of the TERPECA list as a player.

Before diving in, I’ll remind you that Lisa and I share a vote on the TERPECA board. This isn’t our project, but we do contribute to it and do our best to help guide it.

Top Room Escape Project Enthusiasts' Choice Awards 2020 logo.

Top Tip For Using TERPECA Results

In my opinion, the absolute ranking of TERPECA is a bit of a distraction from the project’s true value.

Numbered lists are eye-catching. The internet loves them. People love to see their opinions validated… or they love being righteously angry over what is clearly a wrong list. Lists spark conversation and they are good for marketing. For us, however, that’s not the point.

This list will never be perfect because these experiences are subjective.

For Lisa and me, the real action is the easily overlooked “Phase 2 Room Results” data. This is a listing of 279 really great escape games that are geographically dispersed. Let me explain why.

Figure Out Your TERPECA Use Case

Think about your own personal use case. Here are what I surmise are the two most common ones:

  • Selecting a travel destination
  • Picking games within a region you are in or will travel to

Let’s look at these individually.

Selecting a Travel Destination

If you are an escape room tourist looking to pick a place to visit based purely on density of amazing games, the top 50 list ain’t a bad place to look.

It’s easy to come to the conclusion that you’ll enjoy visiting Greece, Spain, or the Netherlands. Having visited 2 of those 3 destinations, I can say with confidence that they are amazing places to play escape rooms.

Is The Dome truly the best escape room in the world? Maybe it is; maybe it isn’t. Is The Bookstore the second best escape room in the world? Maybe it is; maybe it isn’t. Will you have a good time playing in the Amsterdam or Athens regions? I’d be shocked if an escape room fan walked away from either destination disappointed.

Picking Games Within a Region

Most of our travel is determined by happenstance. Work and friends’ weddings tend to select where we visit. We truly choose our long-distance travel destinations infrequently.

Instead, we use TERPECA’s Phase 2 Room Results because it is a big list with few duds. If you exclude a few quality-dense regions, most of this list is massively dispersed. Most cities and regions have but a few games on the list.

For example, our home state of New Jersey has only 1 game on the entire TERPECA Phase 2 Room Results. It’s The Grand Parlor at 13th Hour Escape Rooms. If you’re visiting New Jersey, go play this game. It doesn’t matter that it ranked 75th on the list. It’s a phenomenal game. And while it didn’t win TERPECA in 2020, it received a Golden Lock Award from us in 2018.

The bottom of TERPECA Phase 2 Room Results contains so many gems… even only judging by the ones that I’ve personally played.

If you live near one of these games, or you’ll be traveling near one, you should probably just check it out.

About TERPECA

You can find the winners and more information about the Top Escape Rooms Project Enthusiast Choice Awards on the TERPECA website. It’s impressive in so many ways. Not just the games, but also the broad participation, the checks in the process, and, of course, the math.

If you’re a community outsider, TERPECA is a novelty, and rightly so. If you’re a habitual escape room player, however, TERPECA is a useful tool. You just need to know how to use it.

RC Escape Rooms – The Curse of Amberly Manor [Hivemind Review]

The Curse of Amberly Manor is a point-and-click adventure game created by RC Escape Rooms in the UK.

A cloaked individual with glowing red yes surrounded by fire.

Format

Style of Play: point-and-click adventure game

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection

Recommended Team Size: 2-3

This game requires at least 2 players on two different devices. It cannot be played solo. It’s best played on a video call.

Play Time: 60 minutes

Price: £12.49 ($16.39 USD) per team

Booking: purchase the game and play at your leisure

Description

This is a standard LucasArts-style point-and-click adventure game. Each player can individually explore the room that the group is in, but when one player solves a puzzle, all connections stay in sync with the solution. When one player exits the room, all players exit together.

Haunted foyer of the Amberly Manor point & click puzzle game. The cursor is a skeletal hand.

Hivemind Review Scale

Escape Room in a Box: The Walking Dead [Hivemind Review]

Escape Room in a Box: The Walking Dead is a tabletop escape game created by Mattel.

Escape Room in a Box The Walking Dead box art depicts a cracked door with many zombie hands reaching through it.

Format

Style of Play: tabletop escape game

Required Equipment: pen and paper

Note: You’ll need a computer and printer to reset the game for another user.

Recommended Team Size: 1-3

Play Time: 90 minutes. The timer is only relevant if you want it to be.

Price: about $30

Description

This is a tabletop escape game in the same vein as previous Escape Room in a Box installments. You solve mostly paper puzzles, open real (plastic) locks, and repeat until there are no more puzzles. It is more about the puzzles than the story.

Open box, an assortmnt of locks, paper puzzles, and plastic props.