After all psychics have chosen their cards, a new screen reveals which psychics have moved on to the next category. If all psychics have cleared all three categories by the end of the 7th round, the game enters its finale. The ghost selects one suspect portfolio (a linked person, location, and object) from all the possible portfolios that are visible to the psychics. He then assigns one vision card to each of the elements of the portfolio, then shows the vision cards to all of the psychics simultaneously. The psychics vote secretly for the portfolio they think matches the vision cards best, this time unable to discuss their decision with each other. If the majority of psychics have voted for the correct suspect portfolio, all of the players win. Ties between portfolios are broken by clairvoyancy points (if playing with the clairvoyancy rules) or first player to successfully guess their complete portfolio from the previous rounds.
One thing to note is that if you’re playing with only one or two psychic players, each player takes on the role of two different psychics for balance reasons. This may be a little confusing for the psychic players their first game or two (they have to keep their thoughts on their two psychics separate, because each psychic has their own suspect portfolio), but after that it shouldn’t be a problem. I know that some people really resist taking on more than one role in a game, and if that’s the case for you and your friends, then you’ll need a minimum of 4 players (1 ghost, 3 psychics). Neither I nor my friends had an issue with this, so it played perfectly fine for us with only two psychic players. I do feel, however, that the game loses a bit of something if only playing with two players (1 ghost, 1 psychic), so I would recommend the 3-7 player count for most games so the psychics can bounce ideas off each other.
Overall, I found the digital adaptation of Mysterium to be really well done, fully capturing the gameplay experience of the tabletop version. Rather than getting too hung up on replicating the full table, the game shows one player’s view at a time with the Psychic cards at the bottom of the screen. Players only have to click on a character’s portrait to switch to their view, and the ghost player can bring up his complete portfolio board at any time by clicking the Eye icon in the top menu. The interface is very strong, with my only minor complaint being that often psychics will have to scroll between their Psychic cards because there are too many to fit on the screen at the same time. This can sometimes lead to certain cards being overlooked. This is extremely minor, though, and once players are aware of it, they probably won’t make the same mistake again.
Honestly, my only reservation about the game is how players decide to approach it. Mysterium is a social game where players are trying to figure out how other players think and interpret things. Most of the fun comes from the table-talk of psychics trying to figure out their visions together as well as the ghost explaining what he was thinking or feeling after the game concludes. And while this digital version does have a chat box as well as a way to highlight certain spots on cards for other players to see, this will always be a game that plays best with full voice chat. In this day and age where many voice chat programs are free and easy to use, getting that set up shouldn’t be a problem. It does mean, however, that you’ll probably only want to play this game with people you already know.
The game’s community also reveals that I’m not the only one that thinks this. Even though the game is playable across platforms, the public lobby is nearly deserted and it’s often difficult to find a game on your own because so few people are looking for other players. Story Mode and Solo Mode may be decent diversions every once in awhile, but they’re not nearly fun enough on their own to constitute a solid gaming experience. Unfortunately, I can’t comment directly on Blitz Mode since I was never able to find a game to jump into, and it seems likely that this will be the case for most players unless they have at least 3 other friends to play with. The meat here is the standard mode with other players, and the good news is that the game makes it exceptionally easy to connect to a friend’s game. While there are some small flaws (e.g. you can’t make a game private), these don’t detract much from the overall gaming experience.
If you have a couple of friends who don’t mind jumping into voice chat with you, then I wholeheartedly recommend checking out Mysterium if it sounds at all interesting to you. I love playing the physical version of Mysterium with friends, and the digital adaptation fully embraces all of the conveniences afforded to it. I’m very glad indeed that I can now play this excellent game with my friends that live too far away for game night.
The Co-Op Experience: 2-7 players take on the roles of Ghost and Psychics in asymmetrical online co-op play. Play as a medium or as the ghost who haunts the halls of the Warwick Manor as he searches for memories surrounding his suspicious death. The ghost's communication with the psychics is limited to visions and dreams represented in the game by beautifully illustrated cards. Cooperate to solve the murder mystery by reading into the ghost’s visions to gather clues in this atmospheric and immersive game.
Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graphic represents this experience along with an average score for the game overall. For an explanation of our scores please check our Review Score Explanation Guide.