Published on May 16th, 2017 | by Dean Love0
Cluetrace, London – Mindcrime
There’s a couple of ways to look at the story behind Mindcrime. You’re entering the mind of a master criminal to find his username and password, which you can then use to steal all his money and become rich. On the one hand, it’s a damn cool concept, on the other,m no-one knows what the inside of a mind should look like, which essentially allows Cluetrace to build anything.
What they’ve built, however, is pretty neat. I won’t spoil the “wow” moment you’ll get on entering the room other than to say it’s striking if minimalist. It’s a game that follows through with its premise strongly – the last thing you’ll do in this game is enter the username and password into the terminal to transfer the money (and yes, the terminal is still technically located in his head but I can suspend disbelief that much). So it’s a game of working your way around the location trying to track down these two pieces of information. At its best, Mindcrime has you paying attention to your surroundings and learning facts about your victim, things he likes and so on, to help you solve the puzzles. At its worst, you’re solving random unconnected puzzles that require logical leaps that aren’t sufficiently clued. But that probably accounts for the best 20% and worst 20% of the game. The remaining 60% of the time is solidly entertaining puzzles in a neat environment. Nothing particularly special, nothing particularly bad.
Visually the game works well, and the minimalist decor means that you won’t be doing huge amounts of searching, and background audio is used to a cool effect – for a good few minutes we couldn’t tell if it was actual background noise until we figured out that it was related to the game! The puzzles are varied, with some clever ones, and others we just stumbled our way through – one we even seemed to somehow finish backwards and by the end were still not sure what the intended method was.
Couple of last things to note: as well as the usual post-game team photo being uploaded to social media, you also get a few printouts of the photo to take away with you, which is a really nice touch. Secondly, this a copy of a game in Budapest, though it seems that the fact you’re stealing from a white collar criminal was added to the story for the London version – over there you’re just trying to take his money to get rich!
So it’s a game with ups and downs, where the highs cancel out the lows and leave a game of a fairly solid standard that’s worth playing. They now have a second game open on the site but it seems to go in a completely different direction, which is a shame as I think the Mindcrime concept could be taken to a lot of interesting places – rooms set inside the heads of various people where you’re trying to extract different types of information could be really neat. Even as variants on the common escape room themes: enter the serial killer’s brain to find his next victim, or the terrorist’s to find out how to defuse the bomb. It’s a concept with a lot of legs, and I hope they pursue it further.
Result – we escaped with a few minutes to spare
Date played: 15 Mar 2017
Team: Dean, Katherine
Summary: A game with highs and lows that ends up in the middle.