ThinkFun – Cold Case: A Pinch of Murder [Hivemind Review]

Cold Case: Pinch of Murder is a tabletop mystery game created by ThinkFun.

An assortment of crime evidence. In the center of the frame are two photos of an old kitchen.

Format

Style of Play:

  • Tabletop mystery game
  • Play on demand

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection, pen and paper

Recommended Team Size: 1-3

Play Time: about 1-2 hours, maybe more with all the reading

Price: ~$15

Booking: purchase and play at your leisure

Description

Your job is to solve an old murder case and some related crimes. To do so, you examine all the evidence in the case file and answer three questions about the crimes. When you have your answers, you input them into a website for confirmation.

There were no “puzzles” along the way to the solution, just reading and comparing evidence.

An assortment of crime evidence. In the center of the frame is a photo of a collection of jewelry with a watch circled in red.

Meridian Adventure Co – The Traveler’s Guide to Little Sodaburg [Hivemind Review]

Illustrated veiw of Little Sodaburg, features a castle, a church, a large fish fountain, and assorted buildings.

The Traveler’s Guide to Little Sodaburg is an online puzzle game created by Meridian Adventure Co that combines puzzle style elements from escape rooms, ARGs, and video games.

Format

Style of Play:

  • Online native experience (can NOT be played IRL)
  • Web-based gameplay
  • Includes video elements

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection

Recommended Team Size: 3-5

Play Time: 75 minutes

Price: $125 for 2-6 players

Booking: book online for a specific time slot

Description

The Traveler’s Guide to Little Sodaburg is an online game with an in-character game host (not an avatar whom you control). Players solve puzzles collaboratively with their teammates using a variety of in-universe websites.

Black & white illustration of the Little Sodaburg Patent Office

Second Maze – Milo and the Magpies [Hivemind Review]

Milo and the Magpies is a point-and-click game created by Second Maze.

Milo and the Magpies load screen depicts the rooflines of a European town.

Format

Style of Play:

  • Online native experience (can NOT be played IRL)
  • Play on demand
  • Point-and-click

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection

Recommended Team Size: 1-2

Play Time: about an hour

Price: $1.99

Booking: purchase and play at your leisure

Description

Your job is to guide Milo, a lost kitty, back home while avoiding hostile magpies and other hazards. To do so, you search a series of nine scenes for hotspots that trigger animations, reveal information, and/ or collect objects to use with other hotspots. Each scene has a central puzzle to solve in order to progress to the next scene.

You need to purchase through Steam and play on a laptop or desktop computer.

Beautiful illustration of a backyard behind a house, a koi lives in a pond, a magpie sits atop a shed.

Enibot – Mission: Mars [Hivemind Review]

Mission: Mars is an online game played through a chatbot created by Enibot, based in Israel.

A news report about traveling to Mars beside a text chat with a bot.

Format

Style of Play:

  • Online native experience (can NOT be played IRL)
  • Play on demand
  • Point-and-click

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection

Note that you need a strong internet connection to load this game. Also, be sure to follow the guidelines for an incognito Chrome browser.

If your game is unable to load at any stage, it will automatically save and reload where you left off, which we greatly appreciated.

Recommended Team Size: 1-3

Play Time: 45-80 minutes, less for experienced puzzlers

Price: $30 per team

Booking: purchase and play at your leisure

Description

Using a text “chat” interface on the side of a webpage, the game sent us through a series of puzzles revolving around becoming an astronaut and going to Mars. We entered answers into the interface and received images of puzzles to solve next. Some of the puzzles were very point-and-click; others were purely visual.

Lock Paper Scissors – Lost Mummy [Hivemind Review]

Lost Mummy is a Print-and-play escape game created by Lock Paper Scissors.

Lost Mummy art depicts a redheaded adventurer descending into a tomb by rope.

Format

Style of Play:

  • Play on demand
  • Print-and-play

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection, printer, pen and paper, scissors, tape or glue

Recommended Team Size: 1-4

Play Time: no game clock, but adult players took about 30 minutes.

One reviewer set up this game for her kids. She notes, “my kids took about an hour, including the search elements I added.”

Price: $29

Booking: purchase and play at your leisure

Description

You are on a quest to use your grandfather’s journals to find a lost mummy near Tutankhamun’s tomb.

The most basic form of this quest is a table top experience in which you print, cut, assemble, and analyze five puzzles. You capture answers on a central mission page. To verify the answers, you consult an online hint/ solution guide (which is also available in the game’s ZIP file).

However, beyond this basic setup, this game was designed to be used as a kit for creating an escape room party. For the party version of the game, a host prepares and hides the puzzle components throughout a room. In this setup, players have the added task of determining which pieces of information correspond to which puzzle. This version can be enhanced with an optional physical challenge at the end.

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