Casa Loma Escape Series by Secret City Adventures – The Dragon’s Song [Review]

A Song of Puzzle & Dragons

Location: Toronto, Ontario Canada

Date Played: May 1, 2022

Team Size: 6-12; we recommend 6

Duration: 60 minutes, plus a 15-minute intro and 15-minute outro

Price: Wed/Thurs/Sun: $42 CAD per player; Fri/Sat: $50 CAD per player

Ticketing: Public

Accessibility Consideration:  Several narrow, spiral staircases were part of gameplay; players must also climb stairs to get to the game

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

The Dragon’s Song took our team to new heights in a highly immersive, larger-than-life setting accompanied by a simple yet satisfying plot line. Held in the Scottish Tower of historic Casa Loma, this escape room is a must-play experience for history buffs, scenery snobs, and fans of immersive entertainment. The splendor was counterbalanced by some moments where the The Dragon’s Song leaned into its more mundane and repetitive elements rather than further amplifying its unique and spectacular assets, including some puzzles that stalled gameplay momentum. Despite these points, this escape room ultimately offers an experience you can’t get anywhere else, with something for both seasoned and newer players.

Closeup of a massive dragon's head.
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Fifthroom – Ouija [Hivemind Review]

Ouija is an online game created by Fifthroom in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Game streamed over zoom, a website shows a creepy forest at night, text reads, "You are almost ready click here."

Format

Style of Play:

  • Online native experience (can NOT be played IRL)
  • Play on demand

Who is it For? At the time we played, the game was broken and we cannot recommend it.

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection, pen and paper

Recommended Team Size: 1-4

Play Time: When you buy the license key you have 24 hours to play. Active playtime was about 30 minutes.

Price: 19.9 MYR per license (about $5 per license key )

Booking: purchase and play at your leisure

Description

This was an on-demand digital experience played in a browser. The game consists of text and pictures, with one puzzle on each page. When you solve a puzzle, you enter the answer in the answer box and hit submit. You are then taken to the next puzzle.

A broken website for Fifth Room.
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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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Star-Crossed Puzzles – Romeo and Juliet [Hivemind Review]

Romeo and Juliet is an online game created by Star-Crossed Puzzles

A wooden chest labeled, "Romeo also spots an empty table with an abandoned card game. He sits to think about how to open the chest."

Format

Style of Play:

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

Who is it For?

  • Story seekers
  • “Aging lit majors like myself” – anonymous Hivemind reviewer

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection

Recommended Team Size: 1-2

Play Time: 45-60 minutes

Price: £9.99

Booking: purchase and play at your leisure

Description

This is a browser-based game, played through a series of texts and images, where you are following a story, solving puzzles, and entering the answers to progress to the next section. Answers must be exact and in all caps. If you get an answer wrong, you remain on the same page. Hints are available if you are stuck.

Palace Games – Emerald Palace [Hivemind Review]

Emerald Palace is included in our recommendation guide for  The Best Online Escape Games for Large Groups. For more of the best online escape games in this style, check out the recommendation guide.

Emerald Palace is a point-and-click adventure game created by Palace Games in San Francisco, CA.

An old treasure map with a few markings including an X, compass rose, a mallet, and a carrot. It is labled, "Don't worry, be mappy."

Format

Style of Play:

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

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection, pen and paper also recommended

Recommended Team Size: 3-4

Play Time: about 90 minutes

Price: $20 per player for an unlimited number of players, playing in multiple teams with a shared leaderboard; also available in “Standard Team” pricing of a $28 flat team fee for 2-5 players, one team maximum per game.

Booking: purchase and play at your leisure

Description

The is the latest game in the Jewel Palace series following Palace of Destiny, Ruby Palace, and Sapphire Palace.

You log into a web environment where you navigate through a series of collaborative point-and-click puzzles. Each teammate typically works on one part of a collaborative solve.

If you’re in different households, you should connect with your teammates through Zoom, Discord, or another video conferencing platform. If you’re in the same household, each player will need their own computer.

A photo of an old tunnel with a blue door at the end, a puzzle mounted on it. The image is labeled, "Tunnel Vision."