Escape Room Geeks – Saving the Beauty of Winter [Hivemind Review]

Saving the Beauty of Winter is a print-and-play game for kids, created by Escape Room Geeks.

Fingers holding a game piece for a "Donut World" storefront.

Format

Style of Play:

  • Play on demand
  • Print-and-play

Required Equipment: Computer with internet connection, printer, scissors, glue or tape

Recommended Team Size: 3-4 kids per group

Play Time: 45-60 minutes (for kids; 10 minutes for adults)

Note that the cutting and printing is time substantial.

Price: $29

Booking: purchase and play at your leisure

Description

The evil inventor Swen Hemerson has created a machine to destroy snow, so you must track him to his secret lab, find the machine, and destroy it. These three challenges are presented via a 26-page PDF to be printed and played in order. Each challenge consists of connecting several pieces of information to produce a numerical code.

This is a game for kids, so the primary play mode assumes that an adult is acting as the gamemaster and gating progress through the challenges. However, the How-to-Play guide includes a “Play Along Webpage” that can be used to validate the codes and provide hints.

This game advertises its use for multiple groups of 2-5 kids racing against each other.

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Mystery City – The Monuments Mission [Hivemind Review]

The Monuments Mission is a point-and-click-style game created by Mystery City Games in Amsterdam.

The Monuments Mission logo from Mystery City includes an assortment of documents and keys.

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

Recommended Team Size: 1-3

Play Time: no timer, but play time is about 1-2 hours

Price: €18 per group

Booking: purchase and play at your leisure

Description

In this game, you follow the story of the Monuments Men as they complete various missions to retrieve artwork that was stolen by the Nazis in World War II. Each mission slowly unfolds through alternating story and puzzle sections. The puzzles involve light point-and-click interactions with maps, photographs, and other objects. Overall, there are six missions (plus training), and each mission contains around 5 puzzles.

It was unclear how best to collaborate remotely to play this game. Some of our reviewers opted to play together over Google meet with each player running their own version of the game simultaneously.

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Gaggle Studios – Awakened [Hivemind Review]

Awakened is a collaborative, multiplayer point-and-click adventure game created by Gaggle Studios.

In-game, 3d rendering of glowing sigils in some sort of magical ritual.

Format

Style of Play:

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

Required Equipment: Computer with internet connection that meets the minimum requirements below. Plus, it’s better with a mouse.

  • Windows minimum requirements: Windows 10, Core i3-3rd Generation 1.8Ghz+, 4GB RAM, Intel® UHD Graphics
  • Mac minimum requirements: OSX 10.14+, Core i3-3rd Generation 1.8Ghz+, 4GB RAM

Recommended Team Size: 2-4

Although you can play this game with 2-4 players, our reviewers agree it’s best suited to teams of 4. There is a lot to explore, and the communication puzzles are more approachable this way.

Play Time: You win by completing the game in 150 minutes, but you’ll get up to 210 minutes of play time, should you need it.

Price: $29.99 per group of 2-4 players

Booking: purchase and play at your leisure

Description

The game is structured identically to Return of the Mayan Curse. Collaborate with up to 3 other teammates – each on their own device – to click around the rooms and solve puzzles; communication is a must.

Audio and video streams funnel through the game, so you can see and hear your remote teammates within the game itself. Every player watches synchronized cutscenes, and then explores independently and interacts with the items they find. When one player solves a puzzle or takes an item, everyone else’s view changes accordingly, keeping everyone in sync.

The main difference is that Awakened allows more individual searching, and a greater portion of the game requires communication between separate groups of players.

In-game, 3d rendering of a large foyer in a creepy mansion.

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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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Enchambered – Together At Heart [Hivemind Review]

Together At Heart is a 2-player point-and-click game created by Enchambered in Sacramento, CA. It is the sequel to Alone Together and Together Apart.

Together At Heart teaser art, a sleeping robot beside a screen that reads, "Please Help."

Format

Style of Play:

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

Required Equipment: Computer with internet connection. Each player needs their own computer. Don’t play this on a tablet.

Recommended Team Size: 2

Play Time: 60-90 minutes

Price: pay what you want, minimum of $10

Booking: purchase and play at your leisure

Description

Together At Heart was a 2-player point-and-click puzzle game played on separate computers. Each player had a unique interface which included their own set of digital objects, puzzles, and information. Each puzzle required information from the other player’s perspective.

Player 1 & 2 selectors. Player 1 is the Tinkerer. Player 2 is the Controller.

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