Updated: 7 days ago
Photos provided by BlueMatter Games & ThinkFun
Company: BlueMatter Games Manufactured by ThinkFun
Country: USA 🇺🇸
Type of Game: Puzzles By Mail
Genre: Mystery, Suspense
Date Played: 9/29/2020
Difficulty (based on 2 players): 4.5/10
Size of Team: 3-8 Players
Time: 90 Minutes (Approximately)
It is the year 1913. You've entered a contest and won an all-expense-paid stay at Foxcrest Retreat. Dr. Gravely is well known for his spa treatments to improve one's vitality. This all seems to good to be true...
Just like Mystery at the Stargazer's Manor, the beautiful box cover artwork gave us a glimpse of what's to come in the game. An evil looking old man extends his hand and welcomes you into his "retreat". Inside, the game pieces were nicely protected with cardboard frames. The contents included an instruction manual, scene card 1, 4 sealed envelopes with mysteries secret items (The Desk, The Safe, The Alcove and The Laboratory Door) and a solution wheel. Most of the items were made with high quality thick cardboard that felt like it would last for many game plays since the game is designed to be replayable.
The Game Play
Although the recommended number of players is 3-8, we had no issues playing as a team of two (or you can even attempted as a solo player). There are no puzzles that actually require a collaboration effort. However, if you want to host a party, the game does provide an invitation that you will be able to customize. There's also a music list for you to set the mood for the game. A website link with hint system and reassembling instructions was also given.
The game play is just like what we wrote in the review for Mystery at the Stargazer's Manor. Usually we don't really play with a timer since we want to enjoy and study every single detail of the game for review purposes but we did like the timer effect with this game. This is because of the choice option at the end of the game. Just like in an escape room, if your 60 minute is almost up, would you go for an extra mission or escape safely? Although if you chose to complete the extra mission, you'll get a time extension in this game. Playing it with the timer made us feel closer to a real escape room experience especially when we were getting close to that last code and time was almost running out.
As we stated in our last review, BlueMatter Games really had escape rooms in their mind when designing these games. Once again they had a lot of searching, pattern/color recognition, and association of clues in this game. One particular room's puzzles were the most memorable for us. They almost had a "magic" feel. We literally felt that we were "unlocking" locks. This game's puzzles felt easier than the previous one but we enjoyed it more due to the the way clever way the puzzles were embedded with the story line.
If you enjoyed this game, give Mystery at the Stargazer's Manor and The Cursed Dollhouse a try. There are definitely signatures we're seeing in these game designs from BlueMatter Games. We've grown to become fans of how organized and well instructed these games are. They are easy to follow and always have a great game flow. For enthusiasts, you probably won't even need to use any hints. For beginners, it's definitely a great way to break into harder puzzle games in the future.
(If you do decide to try this game, please remember to let them know that you heard it from"ESCAPETHEROOMers"!)
Disclosure: We thank BlueMatter Games & ThinkFun for providing us with a sample of their game. Although a complimentary experience was generously provided, it does not impact our opinion on the review whatsoever.