Cave Escape – Carfax The Hunter [Hivemind Review]

Carfax the Hunter is a livestreamed escape game created by Cave Escape in Nottingham, England.

A woman in black walking through a dramatically lit cave.

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: 75 minutes

Price: £85 per group

Booking: book online for a specific time slot

Description

This is an avatar-led game in a cool setting. You only see the avatar’s hands as you direct them to pick things up or open things. They also communicate back to you with hand movements. It utilizes Telescape in a separate window for inventory and cutscenes.

Avatar view: an old wooden desk covered in lab equipment, and a phrenology bust.

Hivemind Review Scale

Museum of Intrigue – A Study In Intrigue [Hivemind Review]

A Study In Intrigue is an avatar-led immersive theater/ puzzle game created by Museum of Intrigue in Syracuse, NY.

Avatar view: of the Museum of Intrigue.

Format

Style of Play:

  • Online native experience (can NOT be played IRL)
  • Avatar controlled by the players
  • Immersive theater
  • Interactive NPC
  • Web-based inventory system

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection

Recommended Team Size: 4-6

Play Time: 90 minutes

Price: $31 per person, minimum of 4 people

Booking: book online for a specific time slot

Description

This is an immersive puzzle experience that can’t be played in person, but was hosted in the Museum of Intrigue facility. We were interacting with Sherlock (on-site in the museum) and Watson (via voice and a Google Doc), collecting information, finding items, and solving the mystery. We were scored based on making correct deductions and finding evidence.

Hivemind Review Scale

Lockdown Paphos – Space Station Online Adventure [Hivemind Review]

Space Station Online Adventure is a real-life escape room livestreamed and played through an avatar, created by Lockdown Paphos in Paphos, Cyprus.

An astronaut wearing an alien hat.

Format

Style of Play: real-life escape room livestreamed and played through an avatar

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection

Recommended Team Size: 2-6

Play Time: 60 minutes

Price: €80 for up to 6 connections

Booking: book online for a specific time slot

Description

Space Station Online Adventure was a standard live-streamed escape game with an in-character avatar and no external inventory. The avatar was unusually engaging and enjoyable.

Console on a space station viewed through Zoom.

Hivemind Review Scale

Virtual Escape Global – Escape from the Alternate Dimension [Hivemind Review]

Escape from the Alternate Dimension is a digital escape game created by Virtual Escape Global.

80s pastel logo for Escape from the Alternate Dimension.

Format

Style of Play: digital escape game, designed for hosted online play

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection

Recommended Team Size: 2-3

Play Time: 60 minutes

Price: $25 per person

Booking: book online for a specific time slot

Description

Escape from the Alternate Dimension is a series of webpages with puzzles, which solve to passwords to unlock other pages. Each team member must enter each password individually. The live host on Zoom watches and offers hints.

A video rental store labeled, "Welcome to blankblaster! Be kind, please rewind - or else! We've got some great new movies fresh on VHS! Head to the next page!"

Hivemind Review Scale

Cirque du Nuit – Thickett [Hivemind Review]

Thickett is a digital immersive game with puzzles, created by Cirque du Nuit.

The Thickett virtual world with hand illustrated black & white landscapes and mono-colored faceless figures. It's very cute.

Format

Style of Play: digital immersive game with puzzle gates, designed for large group digital play

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection, pen and paper (or Google doc)

Recommended Team Size: Each Quest is public ticketed. Because you are part of an interactive experience, you can join solo, or with a large group of people all booking into the same Quest. We recommend only 1 person per connection.

Play Time: about 90 minutes

Price: $20 per person per Quest

Booking: book online for a specific time slot

Note, next weekend is the last Quest of Season 1. Thickett will return with Season 2 Quests in the spring.

Description

tldr:

  1. Upon purchasing a ticket, first-time players fill out a “job application” to be sorted into a Department.
  2. Join a Zoom call to get your Department’s assignment.
  3. Leave Zoom for Topia (a web-based, 2D-scrolling world, with video chat capabilities)
  4. Explore Topia where you can solve puzzles, interact with actors, and get information
  5. Return to Zoom to reconstruct a story with the rest of your Department using the information you’ve gathered in Topia.
  6. Wait (~24 hours) to see which Department’s version of the story is crowned the winner

In Depth

Each Thickett Quest is based around a fable or other well-known story. Every Thickett player is sorted into one of three Departments: Relationships (Rabbits), Confidence (Foxes), or Knowing (Ravens). Each Department has a different style and set of goals for a Quest. For example, Foxes are more competitive within their Department, while Rabbits are more collaborative.

At the beginning of a Quest, Departments go to separate Zoom breakout rooms and, after a brief departmental ritual, the Department Handlers describe their Department’s goals for that Quest. Players then go to “Topia,” which is a web-based 2D-scrolling world that allows players to see and talk to players or characters (live performers) in their area of that world. A character you meet may want you to play a game, or challenge you to an insult battle, or send you on a mission.

The Thickett virtual world with hand illustrated black & white landscapes and mono-colored faceless figures. It's very cute.

As players explore the world, they can find objects that can be delivered to characters by solving simple decoding puzzles in order to get information and advance their Department’s goals.

After spending time exploring Topia, everyone returns to Zoom breakout rooms to “edit” the story to a new version that best suits the ethos of their Department. These edited stories are submitted at the end to the Princess, the CEO of Thickett. She will decide which of the versions is the “true” story, and that Department will receive credit for “taming” that story so it can be placed back in the Book of Turns, which contains the answers to all of life’s mysteries.

Hivemind Review Scale