Mindhunters – Der Pakt mit dem Teufel – Escape Room Osnabrück
This review is also available in: Deutsch (German)
Osnabrück / 2 – 6 players / price: 29 Euro per person / rating: 8.5
Location: Neumarkt 7, Osnabrück
Date of Play: 07.01.2022
Already in 2020, we learned about the promising edutainment concept of the new provider Mindhunters in Osnabrück. The approach is a mixture of education based on real historical background of the city of Osnabrück as well as entertainment in the form of an Escape Room. Due to the pandemic, the provider could only open its premises with a significant delay in 2021. We were therefore curious to see how the provider succeeded with the concept.
Mindhunters are centrally located in the city center. A glass elevator takes you directly from the pedestrian zone to the vendor’s floor. We first played the Devil’s Pact, which takes us back to 1636. The apothecary’s wife Anna A. has been accused of witchcraft, so we now rush to the rescue to prove her innocence at the last second before the judge. After a long standard briefing due to the historical background, our adventure could finally begin.
Der Pakt mit dem Teufel
“Osnabrück 1636, under mayor Dr. Wilhelm Peltzer the epidemic-like witch hunt rages. In the months of May, June and July of 1636, a total of 34 women were arrested on suspicion of witchcraft by order of the council in Osnabrück. While until then only women from the lower class had been accused of witchcraft, during the month of July there was for the first time a case in which a woman did not come from the so-called lower class. During a still ongoing trial against the pharmacist’s wife Anna Ameldung from Osnabrück, a law student comes closer to the suspicion it could be innocence. The virtuoso student Jakob, is sure that something is wrong in this case. In order not to cause a stir in front of the council and mayor Dr. Wilhelm Peltzer, he sends his completely ignorant and inconspicuous first semester students to the house of Anna A. to look for evidence and prove her innocence.”
After an atmospheric intro in absolute darkness, we found ourselves back at the gates of the city of Osnabrück and must first gain access to the city center. The small street scene that followed was convincingly designed and transported us believably to the 17th century. All in all, the game covers a large number of sceneries, which are varied and the transitions between them are well staged. We were particularly impressed by the detailed outdoor scenarios. The indoor locations seemed a bit bare due to their large footprint, which may also be due to the fact that they are reduced to the puzzle-relevant furnishings. As a result, the attention to detail in the setting unfortunately diminished somewhat towards the finale.
The Pact with the Devil has great audiovisual effects, especially at the beginning, which emphasize the supernatural nature of the story. The surprises are well dosed and kept us well entertained. At this point it should be noted that this is an atmospheric space, but not scary.
The puzzles are classically cognitive and motor tasks that are arranged in a linear fashion. The analog and technical puzzle components come across intuitively at the beginning, as they arise from the story context and allow for interaction with the setting. As the story progresses, the puzzles seem more staged and artificially imposed on the setting. Nevertheless, they continue to tell the story and thus contribute to the clarification of our mission.
The edutainment approach of the provider was definitely hit. The real historical context was mainly picked up by audio sequences and brought us closer to the truth, setting by setting. The finale is particularly special about the Pact with the Devil, where we players were encouraged to reflect on the events on a meta-level. We experienced the finale rather passively, but this stimulated our imagination and reflection.
The gamemaster took on the role of the student Jakob and knew where we were in the game at all times and helped us accordingly. Pre-prepared audio hints were played, but they did not always hit the core of the situation. A wider variety of hints would be desirable at this point to help players more accurately. A great advantage of this type of hinting is certainly the organic integration of the hints into the story.
Mindhunters presented us with the Devil’s Pact, an adventure that entertained us well. The real historical background is the framework of the game, which is mainly created by the audio sequences. Even though the puzzles and the quality of the scenery are not consistently on a high level, the beginning of the game was especially convincing.