Escape Sagas – Secrets of the Past [Hivemind Review]

Secrets of the Past is an online escape game created by Escape Sagas in Finland.

A scientist in a Hawaiian shirt with goggles over his head on a pixelated feed. Closed caption reads, "and I need your help"

Format

Style of Play:

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

Who is it For?

  • Puzzle lovers
  • Best for players with at least some experience

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection, pen and paper

Recommended Team Size: 2-5

Play Time: 90 minutes

Price: 75 € for 2 players + 15 € per additional player

Booking: book online for a specific time slot

Description

Escape Sagas is a collaboration between the Time Repair Corporation, an immigrant-run Helsinki-based sustainability firm, and Pakotarinat, a Finnish escape room company.

Secrets of the Past is an escape room that we played through Zoom. There was a Telescape inventory system plus 360°-view pictures of the spaces. There was one person operating the camera and acting as avatar.

This game is also available in an online form with no avatar, but this review is for the avatar-led format.

Zoom view of the game, a hand holds up a card labeled, "Time Repair Corporation."
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Ghost Ship Murder Mysteries – Superheroes [Hivemind Review]

Superheroes is an online murder mystery game created by Ghost Ship Murder Mysteries.

We’ve reviewed their in-person mysteries Murder in the West Wing, Space Smugglers, and Western. This was their first mystery in an online format.

Cara, Peih-Gee, and David in costume on video chat in Gather.

Format

Style of Play:

  • Online native experience (can NOT be played IRL)
  • Interactive NPC(s)
  • Murdery mystery

Who is it For?

  • Story seekers
  • People who want to role-play and interact with each other in character
  • Players who don’t need to be a part of everything going on
  • Any experience level

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection, webcam and microphone

Recommended Team Size: exactly 12 players

Play Time: 2 hours

Price: $30 per person

Booking: book online for a specific time slot

Description

You will be assigned a role, complete with backstory and goals. By interacting with other players in-character, you can try to achieve your goals and advance the story. There are 4 “rounds” to the game, and in each round every player will get additional information and goals.

The superhero HQ in Gather.

Headlocked Escape Rooms – The Keeper & the Fungus Among Us [Hivemind Review]

The Keeper & the Fungus Among Us is included in our recommendation guide for Avatar-Guided Online Escape Games . For more of the best online escape games in this style, check out the recommendation guide.

Update: If you want to hear more about The Keeper & the Fungus Among Us back us on Patreon at the “Search Win!” level to get access to a Spoiler’s Club Episode about this game. Reality Escape Pod co-hosts David and Peih-Gee talk all about it with the creator, spoilers and all.

The Keeper & the Fungus Among Us is an unusual, avatar-led, live streamed escape game created by Headlocked Escape Rooms in the UK.

A puppet with evil eyes, closed captioned, "I put the fun in fungi."

Format

Style of Play:

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

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection

Recommended Team Size: 2-5

Play Time: 90 minutes

Price: £75 for up to 6 players

Booking: book online for a specific time slot

Description

This is a Zoom-based game with standard avatar-led gameplay… except your avatar is a hand puppet and the game area is a series of changing miniature dioramas. It also includes videos and a bangin’ soundtrack.

A large turtle puppet in a diorama beside a bule spider puppet.

Agent November – Mind Heist [Hivemind Review]

Update March 2022: We replayed this game to see what would happen if we made different choices and here are our thoughts:

Mind Heist is definitely replayable, as long as the players make different choices. Using the 3-letter story code you receive at the end, you can ensure you don’t accidentally choose the same path on a replay.

The framing story and initial setup will be exactly the same, but the puzzles and flow of the game will be different due to the decisions that are made. At each decision point, new items are revealed and the interactions with the avatar are different.

That said, to see a different part of the story, you may have to make a choice that you didn’t want to the first time through, and as a result you might end up in a darker timeline than you desired. If you enjoy finding all the endings, good and bad, in a choose-your-own-adventure style story, a replay might be just the thing for you.

Update January 2022: Check out the comments section for details about upgrades since we reviewed.

Mind Heist is an avatar-led, livestreamed escape room, created by Agent November in the United Kingdom.

First person view, a pair of hands holding two security badges in front of a locked box with a timer on it.

Format

Style of Play:

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

Required Equipment: Computer with internet connection, pen and paper

Recommended Team Size: 2-5

Play Time: 60 minutes

Price: £14 per person

Booking: book online for a specific time slot

Description

Mind Heist was a standard avatar-led escape room. Player decisions affected the story and the difficulty of the puzzles. It was a choose-your-own-adventure-style virtual escape room.

Hivemind Review Scale

Puzzleverse – ISS Crisis [Hivemind Review]

ISS Crisis is an online puzzle game created by Puzzleverse.

ISS CRISIS Created by the Puzzleverse cover art of the cosmos displayed in Zoom.

Format

Style of Play:

  • Online native experience (can NOT be played IRL)
  • Light puzzle hunt

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection

Recommended Team Size: 2-5

Play Time: 60 minutes

Price: $20 per person with a minimum of 4 players ($80)

Booking: book online for a specific time slot OR purchase and play at your leisure

Description

Puzzles are presented via Zoom as a series of slides. Players can collaborate verbally and using Zoom annotation tools.

Story card explaining that we work up on the International Space Station and found ourselves locked in our sleeping quarters.

Hivemind Review Scale