I’m obsessed with the TV series Homeland and always thought I’d make a good spy, so when I heard about Operation Mindfall; an ‘escape game meets treasure hunt’ spy mission, I had to give it a go!
WHAT IS HANDMADE MYSTERIES?
Handmade Mysteries provide an incredible array of escape games and street game experiences. These live action-packed adventures provide fun, mysterious challenges for all ages, and are a perfect way to get fit.
I was invited to play their newest mission Operation Mindfall; a game which combines the latest augmented reality and geolocation technology, to create a truly unique outdoor experience. The street game combines the best elements of their twisted escape games, adding a classic treasure hunt to the mix to provide a fast-paced spy mission around some of the lesser-known parts of London.
I asked a group of friends to join me (Dan, Jacqui, and George), and together we headed to Bermondsey to become spies for the day!
‘A terrorist organization known as Spider Tech has developed a virus that infects the human brain, giving terrorists full control over the victim’s mind. Your aim is to find the antidote within 120 minutes and prevent the terrorists from unleashing the virus.’
We arrived at St James’ of Bermondsey pub, where we were greeted by the weird and wonderful Agent X. The mission didn’t get off to the best start, as prior to meeting Agent X you are supposed to receive a text message explaining your first set of instructions which we never received. This led to a very confusing fifteen minutes whilst Agent X questioned us, and we hadn’t a clue what he was talking about!
Additionally, once we received our smart pad which contained an instructional video about our mission, Dan decided to press the ‘skip’ button, meaning the timer on our mission started, and we had to ‘replay the instructions’ resulting in us losing 10 minutes off the clock! I still haven’t forgiven him.
So, with ten minutes already gone, and the timer ticking away, we picked up our equipment and headed off on our first mission, now that we finally knew what we had to do!
Like classic espionage, we were provided with a briefcase filled with gadgets and private documents. Other top-secret gear included some test tubes, a magnifying glass, an infrared light, some coded letters, and of course – a burn phone.
The smart pad we received was our main source of direction. It displayed a map of the area, with a pinpoint representing the location for our missions. Once we arrived at the pinpointed location, we were able to start our challenge, and once completed, a new pin would flash up and we would make our way to the next location.
The technology was incredibly impressive. The augmented reality aspect meant that images came to life when the smart pad was held over them. If you happen to watch the UK Apprentice on BBC1, the same technology was used in Episode 2 when the teams had to create a new comic.
We had a lot of fun during our 2-hour mission. There was a wide array of challenges that were intertwined with the developing story line. I found the puzzles quite difficult – more so than any other escape/clue solving game I have previously done. It really forces you to think outside the box and combines both physical, mental, and digital challenges. There were maths problems, anagrams, co-ordination challenges, and even a bit of chemistry when we had to mix the antidote together.
For obvious reasons I don’t want to give too much away, but I will say that aside from the puzzles, there are also enemies to watch out for! Agent X can track where you are at all times and will call you if you have been spotted by the ‘phantom’. This ended up being a hilarious feature in our day as we became so paranoid, we were questioning everyone that was walking a similar path to us. At one point, we ended up crouched down behind a statue because we were convinced someone was watching us. Another hilarious moment was when we reached one of the locations which had a decorated car with an open door in the same spot. We assumed it was part of the mission, so we opened the door only to find someone sleeping in the back (who definitely wasn’t part of the game!)
We had a lot of fun playing Operation Mindfall. Unfortunately, our time ran out on our last challenge (which we all blamed Dan for because of his skipping – did I mention that already?!) but when we arrived back at the pub, Agent X allowed us our 10 minutes back so we could finish the mission.
I would definitely recommend Operation Mindfall for those who love escape games but are looking to try something different. It is challenging, lets you experience augmented reality, and keeps you fit in the process, allowing you to explore and discover new areas of London. I rarely find myself in Bermondsey, so it was a great way to see what the area had to offer.
For more info on Handmade Mysteries, you can check out their website here: Handmade Mystery Website
* I received complimentary tickets to review this experience . Views are my own.