Exit: The Game – The Cursed Labyrinth [Hivemind Review]

The Cursed Labyrinth is a tabletop escape game created by Exit: The Game.

Exit The Game, The Cursed Labyrinth box art with a stone maze structure on the cover.

Format

Style of Play: tabletop escape game

Required Equipment: scissors, pen & paper

A phone is not required but there is an app with a timer and background sounds.

Recommended Team Size: 1-4

Play Time: 1-2 hours

Price: about $15

Booking: purchase and play at your leisure

Description

While touring the grounds of a castle, you wander into a mysterious labyrinth and become trapped with only your puzzle-solving skills to save you. Your adventure follows the standard format for novice Exit: The Game installments.

You have access to a puzzle book, clue cards, various “strange items,” and a decoder wheel for entering the solutions to puzzles. In the novice games like this one, the puzzle book walks you through one puzzle at a time. As in all Exit: The Game installments, you must embrace destroying various parts of the game to solve some of the puzzles, though this installment preserves more components than most.

Assorted game components including a maze, a solution wheel, card deck, and instructions.

Cindi S’ Reaction

During a visit to an ancient castle, you discover a mysterious stone labyrinth in the nearby gardens. Unable to resist, you walk through the entry gate to explore further and quickly become trapped as the doors slam shut! In The Cursed Labyrinth, you will meet mysterious creatures as you puzzle your way through the maze’s twists and turns. I always enjoy the sound effects in the companion app, and for the first time they added a character voice reading the introduction, which immediately brought the story to life. The puzzles were fun to discover and solve, as always, but a few had more direction than usual, making The Cursed Labyrinth less challenging than other Exit: The Game installments. This is a very good choice for younger players and beginners, but experienced players will still enjoy their path through the Labyrinth.

Kate Wastl’s Reaction

During a tour of an old castle, you and your friends find yourself trapped in a complicated maze with all sorts of creatures in Exit: The Game’s The Cursed Labyrinth. With two or three reaches that stretch past the Novice rating on the box, this game would be most appropriate for a group of 2-4 people (including a few adults) that have played at least one Exit: The Game installment before. There were several puzzles executed with new game mechanics that will interest even those people who have played a number of games in this series before. That being said, while Exit Game installments are typically translated flawlessly into English, there is one hint card that notes to pay attention to text in cursive, which is incorrect and may be misleading.

Theresa W’s Reaction

The Exit: The Game series is usually a fairly positive experience for me, usually containing clever puzzles and fun interactions that break from my expectations, given the game components. The Cursed Labyrinth lived up to its ‘cursed’ title and was one of the weakest additions to the Exit: The Game series so far. From vague extractions that weren’t well clued, arbitrary deciphering, and lack of signposting, this game fell apart. While a handful of puzzles were easy to solve, they felt more like a process and less like solving a puzzle. The game had either extremely easy, but satisfying solves, or poorly executed difficult puzzles, with none of them quite landing in the middle. Each puzzle in the game was a good idea, and could have been a cleaner solve, but in the current state, I really cannot recommend The Cursed Labyrinth. If you’re looking to pick up a title in the series, I’d recommend The Enchanted Forest or The Gate Between Worlds.

Sarah Mendez’s Reaction

This was a solidly average Exit: The Game installment with no major flaws, but also no major wow moments. The setting of a “cursed labyrinth” offered coherent mythological theming throughout the game, but resulted in visually murky game materials. All of the puzzles were reasonable with fairly obvious cluing, though a couple required us to reason about game mechanics in ways that benefitted from familiarity with those mechanics. There was also a surprising red herring, which was rather unusual for the series and was particularly disappointing in this case because we were otherwise intrigued by it.

New to Exit: The Game? Maybe don’t start here. Although some puzzles provide decent onramps to the series’s mechanics, there are too many that expect more familiarity with those mechanics than a first-time player is likely to develop within their first play.

Fan of Exit: The Game? If you gravitate toward the easier, more linear installments in the series, this game is a fine choice with a couple of interesting twists on game mechanics. Don’t expect anything mind-blowing, and you’ll have a nice time.

Disclosure: Exit: The Game provided the Hivemind reviewers with a complimentary play.

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Second Maze – Milo and the Magpies [Hivemind Review]

Milo and the Magpies is a point-and-click game created by Second Maze.

Milo and the Magpies load screen depicts the rooflines of a European town.

Format

Style of Play:

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

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection

Recommended Team Size: 1-2

Play Time: about an hour

Price: $1.99

Booking: purchase and play at your leisure

Description

Your job is to guide Milo, a lost kitty, back home while avoiding hostile magpies and other hazards. To do so, you search a series of nine scenes for hotspots that trigger animations, reveal information, and/ or collect objects to use with other hotspots. Each scene has a central puzzle to solve in order to progress to the next scene.

You need to purchase through Steam and play on a laptop or desktop computer.

Beautiful illustration of a backyard behind a house, a koi lives in a pond, a magpie sits atop a shed.

Diorama – The Vandermist Dossier [Hivemind Review]

The Vandermist Dossier is a tabletop narrative puzzle adventure created by Diorama in Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Vandermist Dossier box beside an assortment of interesting components, including a map, a newspaper and a strange spiral device.

Format

Style of Play: tabletop narrative puzzle adventure

Required Equipment: pen and paper

Recommended Team Size: 1-4

Play Time: 90 minutes

Price: from €41 (about $48) plus shipping on Kickstarter

Booking: back on Kickstarter to purchase at play at your leisure

Description

Abigail Vandermist disappeared in 1979 but not before compiling a dossier of information about strange occurrences that she was investigating. You have been hired for your sleuthing skills to analyze the dossier and determine what happened to Abigail. To do this, you must read through a variety of media to locate clues, decode hidden messages, combine items, and ultimately answer where Abigail is now.

Lock Paper Scissors – Lost Mummy [Hivemind Review]

Lost Mummy is a Print-and-play escape game created by Lock Paper Scissors.

Lost Mummy art depicts a redheaded adventurer descending into a tomb by rope.

Format

Style of Play:

  • Play on demand
  • Print-and-play

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

Recommended Team Size: 1-4

Play Time: no game clock, but adult players took about 30 minutes.

One reviewer set up this game for her kids. She notes, “my kids took about an hour, including the search elements I added.”

Price: $29

Booking: purchase and play at your leisure

Description

You are on a quest to use your grandfather’s journals to find a lost mummy near Tutankhamun’s tomb.

The most basic form of this quest is a table top experience in which you print, cut, assemble, and analyze five puzzles. You capture answers on a central mission page. To verify the answers, you consult an online hint/ solution guide (which is also available in the game’s ZIP file).

However, beyond this basic setup, this game was designed to be used as a kit for creating an escape room party. For the party version of the game, a host prepares and hides the puzzle components throughout a room. In this setup, players have the added task of determining which pieces of information correspond to which puzzle. This version can be enhanced with an optional physical challenge at the end.

Hivemind Review Scale

Ukiyo – The Sound of Spring: A Crumbling Prince Tale [Hivemind Review]

The Sound of Spring: A Crumbling Prince Tale is a free text adventure created by Ukiyo in Melbourne, Australia.

Water color of an unusual character named Tom-Tom

Format

Style of Play:

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

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection

Recommended Team Size: 2-4

Play Time: 30-45 minutes

Price: free

Booking: purchase and play at your leisure

Description

Your band of 2-4 characters is on a quest to end the Long Winter. You each possess unique characteristics that enable you to interact with the environment and its inhabitants in different ways. You explore the world by reading text passages and choosing among a set of predetermined options to interact with it. More choices become available as you and your companions discover new information.

Watercolor of a branch of cherry blossoms.

Hivemind Review Scale