Real Escape Games by SCRAP – Escape from the Lockdown: The Strange Village [Hivemind Review]

Escape from the Lockdown: The Strange Village is a digital puzzle game created specifically for online play by Real Escape Games by SCRAP, based in Japan.

To learn more about SCRAP, the first escape room company, check out our interview with them from earlier this week.

A 3x3 video call tile with 9 different characters and a narrator off to the side. The image is captioned, "the village has a few measures in place."

Format

Style of Play: audio-visual experience with puzzle hunt-style puzzles

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

Recommended Team Size: 2-3

Play Time: unlimited playtime; our reviewers took 1.5 – 3 hours

Price: $27 per ticket

Booking: purchase and play at your leisure

Description

The game consists of “daily” briefing videos where players learn about the game’s characters and their actions. Keeping track of who did what is part of the game play. In between the video segments are short rounds of puzzle book-style puzzles. Everything adds to the information needed to solve the narrative metapuzzle.

Note that the game takes some time because it includes about 45+ minutes of video footage.

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Society of Curiosities – The Bewitched Circus [Hivemind Review]

Bewitched Circus is a light puzzle hunt created by Society of Curiosities.

One ticket to the circus.

Format

Style of Play: narrative-driven, light puzzle hunt with some ARG-style elements

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection, mobile device

You need to text answers to an in-game character. You can choose to do so by regular text messages on your phone, or (for international players) you can use their online chat tool.

Recommended Team Size: 1-2

Play Time: no timer, but it took about an hour

Price: $12

Booking: purchase online and play at your leisure

Description

There is a weird circus in town with some magical and suspect behavior happening. You are the one chosen to figure out what’s going on there before the show starts. The gameplay consists of reading, inspecting photos, and sending text messages. The messaging interface leads you through a story.

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Secret Library [Hivemind Review]

Secret Library is a digital immersive mystery.

A few teammates interacting with actors in the game world.

Format

Style of Play: digital immersive mystery

Required Equipment: computer with an internet connection, and a smartphone will come in handy for some portions of the game.

Sign on early and be a little patient as you get a sense of the technology and flow of the experience. It is actually quite simple to interact with, but it’s different from just about every other video conferencing system, so it requires some adjustment.

Recommended Team Size: This is a public-ticketed show that supports around 60 connections (devices). Because you are part of an interactive audience, you can experience this solo, or with a large group of people all booking into the same showing. We recommend only 1-2 people per connection.

Given the size of the digital environment and the number of characters, Secret Library was legitimately designed to work properly with groups ranging from about 20-60 people.

Play Time: 100 minutes

Price: $35 per connection

Booking: book online for a specific time slot

Description

Secret Library was a large-scale immersive mystery. It blended elements of escape rooms with immersive theater. There are approximately 10 characters to interact with and a clickable map that changes which video conference room you’re occupying. We had to work with the characters to accomplish a series of missions and ultimately solve a greater mystery.

A character talking through video with a chat window open.

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clueQuest – Print + Cut + Escape Episode 3: Humanity 2.0 [Hivemind Review]

Humanity 2.0 is a print-and-play escape game created by clueQuest in London, England.

A colored in character with an exposed brain beside an assortment of colored pencils.

Format

Style of Play: print-and-play escape game

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection, printer, pen and paper, and scissors

Recommended Team Size: 1-3

Play Time: 1-2 hours

Price: £12

Booking: purchase and play at your leisure

Description

The game includes a 20-page PDF full of puzzle pieces to print and cut out, an online app, and a unique access code for registering your team in the app. The app guides you through the story one “chapter” at a time, serving up videos, audio, and simple gadgets for entering solutions. You refer to the printed puzzle pieces that correspond to the chapter.

Black & white illustration of Mrs Q, labeled "Sniper"

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Omescape – Pursuit of Assassin Artist [Hivemind Review]

Update 6/29/21: If you enjoy Pursuit of Assassin Artist, we hope you’ll check out our interview with creator Sarah Zhang on The Reality Escape Pod.

Pursuit of Assassin Artist is a time loop escape game, created for livestreamed play through an avatar, created by Omescape in San Jose, CA.

The artist walking around in his home.

Format

Style of Play: time loop-style escape room, livestreamed and played through an avatar, and designed for livestream play

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection, phone that can call a US number

Recommended Team Size: 2-4

Play Time: 90 minutes

Price: $179 per team, for up to 8 connections

Booking: book online for a specific time slot.

Description

This was a typical avatar-driven game with a pair of twists.

  1. There was a live actor as antagonist.
  2. Your avatar was a character trapped in a time loop. If you – through the avatar – make a critical failure, the avatar dies, and your avatar immediately returns to the start of the game with no memory of what has happened. Everything in the game world resets.

Expect the unexpected. This game plays with time resets, character improvisation, outside knowledge, and accumulated knowledge. Be ready for anything.

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