Updated: 7 days ago
Photos provided by Crack-a-Nut Mysteries
Company: Crack-a-Nut Mysteries
Country: USA 🇺🇸
Type of Game: Puzzles By Mail
Date Played: 7/18/2020
Difficulty (based on 2 players): 6/10
Size of Team: Unlimited
Price: $155 US ($200 elsewhere)
"Root Of All Evils" is Crack-a-Nut Mysteries' second creation. This is our first game that we've ever played in the Crack-a-Nut Mysteries' game series.
One day you received a mysterious crate and its been nailed shut. Out of curiosity you opened it and discovered an old journey and other peculiar objects. It looks like you'll have to follow the clues and discover the story behind a newly ordained priest and perhaps even encounter some demons along the way. Are you up for the challenge to locate the ritual and save the soul of the damned?
The game came in a well made wooden box that was nailed shut. Normally, we are very careful with our games just like how we would treat props in an escape room so we didn't want to use brutal force. Good thing we asked the creator if we were actually suppose to pry open the top or else that "puzzle" alone on how to get into the box would take us hours (definitely watching too much Chris Ramsay). Right after we opened the box, we found some moss looking material like the box was just dug up from the grounds. It even smelled ancient! The first item that caught our eyes was the old journal. We loved the font choice and the aged paper look. In fact, besides the "Root Of All Evils" postcard and a "Do not open" epilogue envelope, all the rest of the items in the box felt like they were from the 18th century. The peculiar items (which was quite obvious that they'll be used in some form of a ritual later) included various jewelries, newspaper clippings, old photos, a chalice, holy water, a bible, cross and even "blood"! For anyone who's a scaredy-cat like me, I do not recommend playing this game at night.
The Game Play
After looking through all the items, it was clear there's only one starting point, the old journal. I started to read it out loud while Brandon (a bibliophobe) sat back and relaxed with a beer in his hand. At first, I was getting tired of having to read through the entire journey on my own but the story definitely got more intriguing especially when you can correlate the peculiar items with story line. We would've loved if the game could incorporate an audio option where we could follow along while the character read the journal. This would would definitely enhance the immersion and it would be also be easier to incorporate a larger group that perhaps would like to join in and play over video conferencing. There were obvious ciphers and clues that needed solving but the hidden Easter eggs were lovely to discover if you missed it during game play. This game focused more on story telling versus the puzzle aspect so even though we missed an egg, we were still able to complete the game. You'll have an online guide if you are in need of hints.
We learned a new cipher in this game and it was exciting to be able to slowly reveal the truth with it. There was a good amount of usage of the same cipher which we felt were a bit repetitive but if you're thinking from the story perspective, perhaps the creator wanted to keep it consistent. There were two confusing puzzles to us where the written clues were not matching up with the way that we needed to solve the puzzle but with the hint, we're able to get through it. This game did not have as much puzzles as their two other games: "S.O.U.P" and "Double Major" but it's still worthwhile for the story alone.
I'm a big fan of murder mystery and horror themed stories. This game was able to capture both! This was actually the first eerie, scary type of puzzle box game we've played and instantly we became fans. From the physical design to the story line of the game, I felt like I was seeing a movie being played in front of me. I was there at the Asylum, the eerie tree, the sounds, etc...There were many "goosebumps" moments and many times I had to look over my shoulder and ask: "Who's there?". Brandon thought I'm paranoid but I had to make sure I did the final ritual exactly as I was told. I definitely didn't want any creepy demon's lurking around us. This was how real the game felt to me.
(If you do decide to try this game, please remember to let them know that you heard it from"ESCAPETHEROOMers"!)
Disclosure: We thank Crack-a-Nut Mysteries 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.