Clue Chase – Scarab’s Curse [Hivemind Review]

Scarab’s Curse is a web-based puzzle game created by Clue Chase in New York City.

A panoramic view of art and hieroglyphics in an ancient Egyptian tomb.

Format

Style of Play:

  • Online native experience (can NOT be played IRL)
  • Play on demand
  • Web-based puzzle game

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection, pen and paper, mobile device

One puzzle requires you to call a US phone number.

Recommended Team Size: 1-4

Play Time: 1-2 hours

Price: $20 per team

Booking: purchase and play at your leisure

Description

This game takes place on a website where you get a bit of the plot, solve a puzzle, enter the solution and then get to the next page (and the process repeats). Sometimes you find clues for later puzzles that you need to write down because you can’t return to a page once you leave it. It does have a hint system, but no gamemaster. Be prepared to read a lot in this game.

A video crew filming in an Egyptian tomb reads, Congratulations, for finding the murderer!

Hivemind Review Scale

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 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 few 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.

Support Room Escape Artist’s Mission

There are lots of ways to support Room Escape Artist, like buying from Amazon or Etsy after clicking into the links included in this post or backing us on Patreon.

The money that we make from these helps us to grow the site and continue to add more value to the community that we love so much.

Deadlocked Escape Rooms – Tunnelling Through Time [Hivemind Review]

Tunnelling Through Time is a point-and-click escape game created by Deadlocked Escape Rooms in Reading, England, and all proceeds go to the Brunel Museum.

And… today is Matthew and Theresa W’s 100th Hivemind Review!

Tunnelling Through Time title card over Zoom. Performer looking nervously behind her while in a large cavernous space.

Format

Style of Play:

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

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection

Recommended Team Size: 1-3

Play Time: 90-120 minutes

Price: £15 donation to the Brunel Museum

Booking: purchase and play at your leisure

Description

You are at the Brunel Museum which showcases how the Thames Tunnel in London was built, and through some unfortunate events, you’ll end up time traveling. At least now you get to explore the true stories of the Thames Tunnel.

This is an online puzzle game with strong video elements that drive the story. After watching a scene, you interact with a point-and-click section containing several puzzles related to the narrative.

A man in a top hat and dated suit with a ghastly expression on his face.

Hivemind Review Scale

ParadigmQ – Amnesia Online [Hivemind Review]

Amnesia Online is a browser-based escape game created by ParadigmQ in Vancouver, WA.

A lab-coated scientist saying, "Before we begin, you will need to take a series of placement tests, that you will find...

Format

Style of Play:

  • Online native experience (can NOT be played IRL)
  • Play on demand
  • Light puzzle hunt
  • Included video elements

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection, pen and paper

A printer is not required, but there are documents that you can print out to help with solving the puzzles.

Recommended Team Size: 1-3

Play Time: 60 minutes

Price: $20 per team

Booking: purchase and play at your leisure

Description

This is a play-on-demand game where everyone has their own version of the game and plays simultaneously in their own browser. You will need a separate tool like Zoom to see and talk to each other. Answers should be coordinated to keep everyone in sync.

This is a companion game to their on-location game Amnesia (review from Escape Games PDX in July 2017), and can be played before or after the in-person game.

A web interface for selecting different tests.

Hivemind Review Scale

Exit: The Game – The Haunted Roller Coaster [Hivemind Review]

The Haunted Roller Coaster is a tabletop escape game created by Exit: The Game.

Exit The Game Haunted Roller Coaster box art depicting a specter on tracks.

Format

Style of Play: tabletop escape game

Required Equipment: scissors, pen & paper

No digital components needed! Unplug and play.

Recommended Team Size: 2-3

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.

Exit The Game Haunted Roller Coaster box and assorted components.

Sarah Mendez’s Reaction

As a longstanding roller coaster fan, my overriding hope for this game was that it would finally be The Amusement Park Game that actually does justice to the theme. Alas, it was not; the story was roller-coaster-adjacent at best. There is a roller coaster, and it does contribute to a couple of puzzles, but then the story becomes indistinguishable from traversing a haunted house. So, don’t play this just because you like roller coasters.

That said, this had a surprisingly good onramping experience for players new to the series. More than some of the other novice Exit: The Game installments, this game does a decent job directing your attention to gameplay elements that are easy to overlook, and the hints walk you through how to think about the puzzles. I enjoyed the variety of puzzles even though they were easy, and I found them logical enough to share with my kids. As with many Exit: The Game installments, however, one of the later puzzles is rather unstable and overly vulnerable to imprecise execution, disrupting the momentum of the game somewhat. I also am not a fan of cutting intricate shapes out of the playing cards because that alone definitely halts the game. I wish these pieces were provided as “strange items” instead.

New to Exit: The Game? This game is fine! It represents aspects of the series reasonably well and helps you discover them. You’ll learn how the series works, do some fun puzzles, and decide whether some common frustrations are deal breakers for you.

Fan of Exit: The Game? This would be most fun to play with newer players. Otherwise, it didn’t have much novel to offer me as someone experienced with the series.

Cindi S’ Reaction

What could be more fun than being stuck on an amusement park ride with ghosts and goblins giving you the creeps? The Haunted Roller Coaster gets your attention right away with an engaging story and well-designed puzzles. Exit: The Game installments in general are highly creative and this one is no exception. The variety of the puzzles was impressive; some used logic, some were tactile, and there was more than one surprise to be discovered. While I would say this game is kid-friendly, the puzzles were still challenging and I needed a hint once or twice. This game is a standout among the Exit: The Game installments I’ve played.

Kate Wastl’s Reaction

The Haunted Roller Coaster was a great blend of a number of different types of game mechanics, the lion’s share of which were easy to follow and fun to work through. We found ourselves laughing as we played through the pages of the gamebook, with the art being particularly engaging and lending itself to the key aha moments in the game. This game is probably best played with two players; there is one very logic-heavy puzzle that is a bit long for bystanding players if you’re playing with more than two people. The same logic puzzle would have still worked if there was a bit less content to sort through. Overall, the hidden game mechanics are what makes this game so enjoyable and I would certainly recommend it.

Theresa W’s Reaction

The Haunted Roller Coaster was an awesomely cute low-level boxed game with adorable monsters and fun, tangible puzzles. Exit: The Game continued to absolutely amuse me with the many, many ways they were able to twist the typical rules of puzzle games and catch us unexpectedly. This game would be great to introduce anyone into the series, as the level of difficulty was low and the on-ramping was quite steady. The theme was way more cute than creepy, so don’t let the box art spook you! A small number of puzzles had us scratching our heads, but the majority were straightforward and charming. I really appreciate the after-game rewards Exit: The Game has been adding into their games, as they give a nice little activity to do post-game.

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

Support Room Escape Artist’s Mission

There are lots of ways to support Room Escape Artist, like buying from Amazon or Etsy after clicking into the links included in this post or backing us on Patreon.

The money that we make from these helps us to grow the site and continue to add more value to the community that we love so much.