◣ GAME FACTS
🎮 Game: Gold Rush
💪 Difficulty: Intermediate (84% Success Rate)
⏲️ Time: 60 Minutes
🧑 Capacity: Up To 10 Connections
🔐 Booking: Private
🏢 Company: Mindtrap Escape Room
🏘️ Location: Temecula, CA, United States
📝 In Association With Labyrinth
📝 Note potential time difference when booking!
◣ FORMAT SPECS
🕹️ Format: Remote Escape Room
💻 Platform: Zoom (Live Avatar, Video, & Audio Feed), Web Browser
🎒 Inventory: Yes (Developed By Owner!)
📝 Features 360° room view, interactive mini games
◣ "TL;DR!" BRIEFS
📝 Avatar One Eyed Bill is a brilliant addition to remote play version of "Gold Rush", actually augmenting the game's value by giving us some comic relief that even the original can't offer.
📝 Superb production value; realistic looking wooden cabin, complete with (faux) window! This is a given, but a nicely built room with attention to details is always a plus.
📝 Mostly gen 1 puzzles, and they fared very well in a remote game setting. The challenges made sense with Jack's day to day routine, propelling the story forward naturally.
📝 Mindtrap developed and implemented their own easy to use, web based inventory system for their virtual games, and it's nearly perfect--just missing a timer. A 9.9 point effort!
💪 Difficulty rating: With Mattster's team of 3, quite easy.
🧑 Best team size: 2-3 players for most, up to 4-5 if all beginners.
🧑 Best audience: Fun for everybody. Puzzles lean on the easier side for pros.
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► WHOA! LOVED IT. ◄
THIS IS NO FOOL'S GOLD. WE'VE STRUCK THE JACKPOT!
THIS JOINS 🏆 "MUST DO!" 🏆 RANK!
◣ THE PREMISE
Can you feel the fever?! El Dorado county is hiding the richest secrets of the country right below the surface. Kanaka Jack is rumored to know the location of a hidden mine – finding it will make you rich beyond your wildest dreams! This is an escape game with an explosive secret that will bring the whole family together. Raid Jack’s cabin, unlock the entrance to his hidden mine, and blast your way out!
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◣ THE REVIEW
Mindtrap Escape Room is a household name in the Southern California enthusiast community for having high quality rooms, though I have yet to visit in person due its being just a bit too far from home.
Enters Virtual Play over Zoom. Hey, problem solved.
AIM FOR THE GOLD(EN GLOBE)
Based on an already available escape room in their Temucula location, Mindtrap converted one of their most popular games "Gold Rush" for online remote play. The original has players secretly break into Kanaka Jack's cabin, rumored to hold the hidden entrance to a yet to be mined tunnel, full of valuable metals. You goal: strike it rich with loads of gold!
The live streaming version follows the standard narrative closely, but subbing in the silly simpleton One Eyed Bill as the patron's remote avatar. You and he still want the gold, but One Eyed Bill is missing an eye ball and apparently much of his cerebrum, so he needs your help!
Though usage of an avatar is a necessity for running a online escape room, in this case, it was more of a delightful bonus. Bill wasn't just your eyes and hands; he was very much part of the experience. Undoubtedly dopey, but like the dwarf by the same name, Bill manages to still be adorable and funny. I am also partial to his charming Southern accent.
Fun fact: did you know the award-worthy performance of One Eyed Bill was played by none other than owner Nathan himself?
Continuing with our movie theme reference (did you catch my poor attempt at humor prior?), it's the set! I don't have a joke here--it's just the set is really good, easily of movie set quality.
Once our vision moved past the room entrance, reality transformed. From the floor panel, to the centerpiece table, and all the way up the ceiling, the room really became a wooden cabin. Under atmospheric lighting, not one single inch gave away the lodge's false facade. We could even gaze into pine tree galore through a window overseeing a nearby forest.
There's even a large, functional, mobile element! Really, excellent build of a room.
Experience and logic also taught me that major secrets are probably hidden in plain sight, though the impressive production design deceived even the most discerning eyes. Once came time to enter the not-so-spoiler-y gold mine, rest assured, it still looked fantastic.
Playful country music was faintly heard in the background throughout game play, and though it was largely non-essential, it was the first time I distinctively remember hearing a soundtrack during a remote game, and heck, it was kinda nice!
BECOMing KANAKA JACK
"Gold Rush" is the Mindtrap's token beginner's room, meaning all the puzzles are intentionally easier, more straightforward, and basically suitable for everyone's experience level (and ego!). Most will successfully complete their mission and walk away triumphant; in other words, it's a "feel good" room.
Despite that, expert players, myself included, will most likely still fall in love with this awesome western adventure because the puzzles are well written and executed artfully within the context of story logic. In a mostly linear fashion, the team would live a day--greatly condensed into one hour--like Jack would starting at the moment he wakes up.
Get out of bed, start the day right, practice the local dialect, hang out with the fellas, and eventually and stealthily visit his personal underground treasure cavern--the puzzles flowed well and felt organic. They don't come off feeling like puzzles necessarily, but more like just another lazy Friday in El Dorado County.
Majority of the challenges are gen 1, ie lock based, and they translate exceptionally well from irl to remote play. Even just playing from home, I enjoyed and appreciated the many creative ways leading the participants to their various combo codes.
I especially praise the creators for including puzzles that actually promote and require active thinking, instead of just a laundry list of cheap to-do tasks. The scheme of "Do this, do that, do this, do that, and hey, you completed the game" doesn't impress me much.
A handful few but certainly memorable tech-assisted moments round out the ride perfectly, making "Gold Rush" a truly balanced option that caters to both fronts--pleasant puzzles and impressive immersion. The grand finale, in particular, reminded me of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, and it was a worthy winner send-off as visually impressive as the theme park ride.
Lastly, I want to give a specific shout out to Mindtrap's self sufficiency for developing their own web based inventory system. It's a clean, easy to use, intuitive interface I've previously encountered during "Operation: X-13 (Online)", which was outsourced from Mindtrap.
This system offers 360° room view, eliminating Zoom video feed's limited field of vision at any one given moment. Also available are close up photos of found items, and a list of action unlocked mid-game to further simulate an in-person session across a computer screen. (I won't divulge what the action(s) could be, but I hope you're feeling lucky!)
All things considered, with top notched production, a charismatic avatar, and solid puzzles, "Gold Rush" sets the bar way high for what a novice remote escape room could be. If you do end up trying your luck at this gold digging business, tell One Eyed Bill that Mattster says hi!
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◣ PARTING TIPS
★ There is a always a good place to start when it comes to solving puzzles in a cabin.
★ Huh. They don't seem to speak proper English... or even English... where Jack lives.
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⤻ Though game access was complimentary, this article was written basing on unbiased and genuine opinions.
⤻ All media credited to and used with permission from contents owners. No copyright infringement intended.
⤻ Gold Rush • "MTGold"