Updated: Nov 17
Photos provided by Gruzzle - A Puzzling Company
Company: Gruzzle - A Puzzling Company
Game: The Will
Country: USA 🇺🇸
Type of Game: Puzzles By Mail
Date Played: 10/29/20
Difficulty (based on 2 players): 6/10
Size of Team: Unlimited
Price: $30/Bimonthly, $87/6month, $172/year
"The Will" is Gruzzle's second game. We've never played the first game but it doesn't seem like you need information from the previous in order to solve any puzzle in this one.
The story began with an intro letter from Gruzzle HQ informing us that we've been hired by the Pumbleton family. The grandmother, Dolores recently passed and had left all her wealthy to her three grandchildren: Frederick, Ferguson and Felicity. The problem is that she left a trail of puzzles for them to solve before the wealth could be distributed. I hope we'll be able to step up to the plate and help them decipher Dolores' encrypted messages.
"The Will" came in a standard cardboard game box. The items were well protected during shipping. Inside the box you'll find one introduction letter, 3 large white envelopes, 4 small sealed envelopes labeled wallet, safe, stairs and toolbox, 1 protractor and 1 grease pencil. Most of the papers in the game were printed on regular letter paper. One suggestion we would give would be perhaps to change the paper stock and have a bit more hand written type of notes to make the story line feel more immersive.
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The style of game play for this game was quite different than most of the other ones we've played. There were items in the game we had to use more than once. There were points in the game where we had to remember a solution to an already solved puzzle. We definitely suggest reading the introduction letter carefully before starting the game. Since we didn't read the instructions thoroughly, we thought at one point there were items that were missing from the game. Normally we are very careful on opening items in case of any spoilers or playing the game out of sequence but in this game we were directed to open all 3 white envelopes at once. This was very important as we had to utilize components from different envelope at the same time in order to solve various puzzles. It was quite confusing for us at first because we were given a lot of information and we weren't sure which items were relevant to which puzzle. But as we started to clear out the puzzles we've solved, it became easier to see what was still left behind. We really enjoyed reading the story line and how Gruzzle made the experience felt like an escape room. We were able to discover hidden places and secret items. As the plot thickened, the items were seamlessly embedded into a meta puzzle for the big finale. We are big fans of "envelop reveals" and they did a great job at controlling when and what the player will discover.
Being that one of the creator is a teach and the other is a software engineer, computer scientist and Mathematician, we definitely felt like we had to whip up some memories when we were back in high school. I hope you know how to use protractors and graph some X/Y coordinates! I felt like a superstar when doing that puzzle as all Brandon could do was stare at me with his puzzling eyes. There were also various "classic" puzzles that we really enjoyed (word puzzles, ciphers, etc..). The game did not have moments where you'll really need to use the internet (except for the finale) which we kind of missed since a lot of the games these days all comes with a digital component. Stepping away from the digital world for just a few hours and just enjoy that moment of peace at the table with just purely puzzles was quite nice. Gruzzle did a great job at making all of them very different and if you are playing with teammates, everyone will have a moment to shine. I was definitely stronger on the Math puzzles whereas Brandon took the lead in word puzzles. The puzzles felt like they progressively got harder. We were surprised that after what we thought was the ending of the game took a surprising turn and gave us another 20 minutes or so of play time.
If you love those classic style puzzles and less digital components, this game would be for you. The game was quite linear so you'll have to work together most of the time as we do not recommend splitting up and getting confused on what could be solved and what couldn't. There were many items were revealed ahead of time. If you played one of their games before, you should know that you're pretty much invested to finish all 6 games as they will eventually reveal a meta puzzle and I'm sure that mysterious ending is what everyone's looking forward to!
*Please note, this game cannot be replayed or resold as there were many game components that will be "destroyed" during game play.
(If you do decide to try this game, give us a shoutout or tag us on social media so we know you heard it from "ESCAPETHEROOMers"!)
Disclosure: We thank Gruzzle - A Puzzling Company 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.