The Cari Mysteries – Grandfather’s Fortune [Hivemind Review]

Grandfather’s Fortune is a point-and-click game created by The Cari Mysteries in The Netherlands.

An old black and white photo album with the game's title overlayed, "Grandfather's Fortune: An unforgettable journey." In one of the photos is our teammate Joel.

Format

Style of Play:

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

Who is it For?

  • Story seekers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Any experience level

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection

Recommended Team Size: 2-3

Play Time: about 90 minutes (no timer)

Price: €39.95 per team

Booking: purchase and play at your leisure

Description

We were on a quest to interpret our grandmother’s diary as a treasure map to our grandfather’s secret fortune. To do this, we pointed-and-clicked our way through several locations near their house. As we entered codes to solve puzzles, we received additional pages of the diary, revealing more about our grandparents’ lives and other areas to investigate.

The game included a shared inventory among all players as well as an embedded video chat. Players could explore the spaces freely apart from their teammates, but when someone entered a code or made certain discoveries, everyone’s focus was redirected to the relevant part of the environment.

A digital interface with an inventory at the bottom of the screen. In the main view is the front of an old brick home, number 73."
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Emergency Exit – Virtual Dr. Becker [Hivemind Review]

Virtual Dr. Becker is real-life escape room livestreamed and played through an avatar, created by Emergency Exit in Greater Manchester, England.

The game host looking into the camera intensely. He's wearing a headset with a microphone.

Format

Style of Play:

  • Adaptation of an in-person game (can be played IRL)
  • Avatar controlled by the players
  • Includes video segments
  • Interactive NPC(s) (other than a player-controlled avatar)

Who is it For?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Story seekers
  • Any experience level

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection, pen and paper

It also helped to have a note taking device handy.

Recommended Team Size: 2-4

Play Time: 60 minutes

Price: £80 per team

Booking: book online for a specific time slot

Description

You are invited to spend an hour with the famous Dr. Becker at Boleskine Lodge Practice… but do not dig too deep. Dr. Becker has a past which is questionable at best and not everyone agrees with his methods.

The game was livestreamed through Zoom. Emergency Exit added some amazing video sequences to transition between scenes. There were also two people running the game: our gamemaster and an additional cameraman. There was no inventory website.

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Room Escape Digital – Impact [Hivemind Review]

Impact is a browser-based digital game created by Room Escape Digital, the digital extension of Room Escape Ottawa and Room Escape Boston (reviewed here).

3D rendering of Nebula Station orbiting Jupiter.

Format

Style of Play:

  • Online native experience (can NOT be played IRL)
  • Play on demand
  • Includes video segments
  • Browser-based digital game

Who is it For?

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

Required Equipment: computer with an internet connection, mouse

The game highly recommended using a mouse as well as a large screen to play. Some puzzles required paying close attention to tiny details.

The game did not include a conferencing feature for multiple players.

Recommended Team Size: 2-4

Play Time: about 90 minutes (but no timer)

Price: $34.99 CAD per team of 2-4 players

Booking: purchase and play at your leisure

Description

We were a ground crew frantically trying to remotely navigate an incapacitated space station out of the path of an asteroid. The game provided us with controls for managing the spacecraft as well as an ongoing text chat with the astronauts stranded aboard the station.

The astronauts guided us to each task necessary to fix the space station. We had to locate the relevant controls, solve the displayed puzzle, and perform necessary interactions, which ranged from entering codes to rapidly clicking different parts of the screen.

Each player had a unique instance of the game, so entering a solution on one computer did not advance the game for other computers. Instead, players who solved the puzzle received a code to share with other players who wanted to skip the puzzle.

You’ll need to have a separate video call running next to the website so you can communicate with your teammates.

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Fast Familiar – The Curse of the Burial Dagger [Hivemind Review]

The Curse of the Burial Dagger a digital, narrative-driven light puzzle game created by Fast Familiar in the UK.

Illustration of a detective character with a notepad. Closed caption reads, "Suddenly, I head this screaming coming from Lord Hamilton's museum."

Format

Style of Play:

  • Online native experience (can NOT be played IRL)
  • Play on demand
  • Web-based inventory system
  • Includes video segments
  • Point-and-click

Who is it For?

  • Story seekers
  • Any experience level

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection

Recommended Team Size: 1-4

Play Time: about 60 minutes

Price: £20 per team

Booking: purchase and play at your leisure

Description

It was a web-based (and well designed!) interface. You talk to different characters (video segments) and try to deduce who the murderer is (like a huge logic puzzle). Occasionally you get to solve some small puzzles.

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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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