Fast Familiar – Bad Altitude [Hivemind Review]

Bad Altitude is a digital, narrative-driven light puzzle game created by Fast Familiar in the UK.

A bright pink interface for A.I. Air along with a airplane's console. An illustrated character named Rhys is on the screen.

Format

Style of Play:

  • Online native experience (can NOT be played IRL)
  • Play on demand
  • Online game with point-and-click & audio elements

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection

Recommended Team Size: 2-5

Play Time: no time limit, about 60-minute play time

Price: £20 per team, up to 6 players

Booking: purchase and play at your leisure

Description

Fast Familiar’s website describes this game as a cross between an interactive audio drama and an online puzzle game. There’s a custom interface with chat functionality, video, and files. There’s quite a bit of storyline, and you’ll solve puzzles to advance the narrative. It’s mainly an audio game, although there are graphics and animated illustrations that made it really come to life. All players are synchronized, so only one player has to enter each answer.

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Trapped Puzzle Rooms – Spirit Train [Hivemind Review]

Spirit Train is an audio game created by Trapped Puzzle Rooms in St. Paul, MN.

Illustration of a cartoon train with arms on a track. A bird flies overhead.

Format

Style of Play:

  • Online native experience (can NOT be played IRL)
  • Audio game

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection.

You’ll need Discord. The desktop app works best.

Recommended Team Size: 3-4

Play Time: 2 hours

Price: $28

Booking: book online for a specific time slot

Description

Spirit Train is an audio game, run in Discord. The gamemaster describes the scene, characters, and objects in the story. You tell them what you would like to do or examine, or to whom you’d like to speak, and they tell you what happens after you take that action. It’s a bit like a role-playing game, but with more puzzles.

In addition to the audio narration of the story and puzzles, artwork is displayed in a text channel.

The host improvises with players and whatever ideas they come up with.

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Farmington Underground – Enchanted Realms [Hivemind Review]

Enchanted Realms is an actor-driven scavenger hunt created for families by Farmington Underground in Farmington, ME.

7 illustrated characters from Enchanted Realms: Little Bread Riding Hood, Singerella, Jackie Beanstalk, Rhyme-punzel, Captain Book, Prince Farming, & Sleeping Foodie."

Format

Style of Play:

  • Online native experience (can NOT be played IRL)
  • Video-based experience
  • Interactive NPCs (actors in Zoom rooms)

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection and lots of random items from around your house, including from the kitchen

Recommended Team Size: You can play with any size family/ household. This experience is designed for families with children.

Play Time: standard ticket is 1.5 hours, VIP tickets is 2.5 hours

Price: $35 per household for a standard ticket, $55 per household for VIP experience

Booking: This show runs again on April 10, 2020.

Description

This game is more of a scavenger hunt than an escape room experience. Your mission is to solve a who/ where/ how mystery by gathering information from various storybook characters. To earn information from a character, you first watch a pre-recorded video of the character explaining a task for you to complete. When you complete the task, you dial up the character on a live, personal Zoom call and present your solution. If the character approves of your solution, they give you a piece of information for the meta-mystery and then send you on a second quest.

Each quest is a simple STEAM activity that uses materials from around your house. These activities cover a range of interests and skills, from dancing to building to cooking. Each activity also comes with differentiation options that let participants choose their challenge level. However, there are very few “correct” answers in this game; it’s mostly about completion.

The game mentions that you’ll need common household objects. Players should rest assured that there are no specific items that are required. You will be able to complete the tasks as long as you have objects in your house.

A character in an elf hat, greeting us.

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Escape New Haven – Wreck Havoc: Global Catastrophe [Hivemind Review]

Wreck Havoc: Global Catastrophe is a digital megagame created by Escape New Haven in New Haven, CT.

Japan's HQ in Gather.

Format

Style of Play: digital megagame

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection

Recommended Team Size: The game supports team sizes from 24 to 240. We played with 32 (8 groups of 4) and this worked well.

Play Time: about 2 hours

Price: $38 per person

Booking: Fill out the contact form on Escape New Haven’s website to set up a booking for a large private group.

Description

A global catastrophe has occurred and nations must sort out how to address the problem. Each player was assigned a team named for a country. Individual countries had to solve puzzles in order to earn currency. The currency could be spent on tools to help solve the crisis. Your country will need to ally with other countries.

Virtual world in Gather. A central meeting place with the Room Escape Artist logo and many character avatars.

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Cirque du Nuit – Thickett [Hivemind Review]

Thickett is a digital immersive game with puzzles, created by Cirque du Nuit.

The Thickett virtual world with hand illustrated black & white landscapes and mono-colored faceless figures. It's very cute.

Format

Style of Play: digital immersive game with puzzle gates, designed for large group digital play

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection, pen and paper (or Google doc)

Recommended Team Size: Each Quest is public ticketed. Because you are part of an interactive experience, you can join solo, or with a large group of people all booking into the same Quest. We recommend only 1 person per connection.

Play Time: about 90 minutes

Price: $20 per person per Quest

Booking: book online for a specific time slot

Note, next weekend is the last Quest of Season 1. Thickett will return with Season 2 Quests in the spring.

Description

tldr:

  1. Upon purchasing a ticket, first-time players fill out a “job application” to be sorted into a Department.
  2. Join a Zoom call to get your Department’s assignment.
  3. Leave Zoom for Topia (a web-based, 2D-scrolling world, with video chat capabilities)
  4. Explore Topia where you can solve puzzles, interact with actors, and get information
  5. Return to Zoom to reconstruct a story with the rest of your Department using the information you’ve gathered in Topia.
  6. Wait (~24 hours) to see which Department’s version of the story is crowned the winner

In Depth

Each Thickett Quest is based around a fable or other well-known story. Every Thickett player is sorted into one of three Departments: Relationships (Rabbits), Confidence (Foxes), or Knowing (Ravens). Each Department has a different style and set of goals for a Quest. For example, Foxes are more competitive within their Department, while Rabbits are more collaborative.

At the beginning of a Quest, Departments go to separate Zoom breakout rooms and, after a brief departmental ritual, the Department Handlers describe their Department’s goals for that Quest. Players then go to “Topia,” which is a web-based 2D-scrolling world that allows players to see and talk to players or characters (live performers) in their area of that world. A character you meet may want you to play a game, or challenge you to an insult battle, or send you on a mission.

The Thickett virtual world with hand illustrated black & white landscapes and mono-colored faceless figures. It's very cute.

As players explore the world, they can find objects that can be delivered to characters by solving simple decoding puzzles in order to get information and advance their Department’s goals.

After spending time exploring Topia, everyone returns to Zoom breakout rooms to “edit” the story to a new version that best suits the ethos of their Department. These edited stories are submitted at the end to the Princess, the CEO of Thickett. She will decide which of the versions is the “true” story, and that Department will receive credit for “taming” that story so it can be placed back in the Book of Turns, which contains the answers to all of life’s mysteries.

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