Professor Puzzle - "Escape from the Grand Hotel" & "Escape from the Starline Express"
Updated: Dec 9, 2020
Photos provided by Professor Puzzle
Company: Professor Puzzle
Country: United Kingdom 🇬🇧
Type of Game: Puzzles By Mail 📬
Date Played: 11/11/2020
Time: Unlimited (90 Minutes according to Professor Puzzle)
Size of Team: 2+ players
Read about their "Quick-Fires Escape Rooms Games" HERE.
Game: Escape from the Grand Hotel
Difficulty (based on 2 players): 6.5/10
The once magnificent Grand Hotel was losing its former days of glory. The Blossom's only son had no desire to take over the family business. Unexpectedly, he recently returned with a beautiful wife and now wants to take back the hotel business again. You've been invited to the grand re-opening. But is it really just a glamorous party?
The cardboard game box feels sturdy and luxurious with it's gold emblem letters and keys. Under the cover, you'll get a floor plan of the hotel. This was quite helpful when needing to visualize where the path of the story was taking us. Inside you'll find an instruction booklet, solution envelope. 8 invitations with envelopes and 9 mysterious envelopes each symbolizing a room in the hotel. Each invitation was written out to a different character. If you like to host parties, you can mail or deliver each envelope to a friend so they can come to solve puzzles in style. The 9 room envelopes contain various puzzles pieces and clues that you'll open throughout the game play. The invitations were really well made in terms of quality. The graphics for the doors and inside of the rooms (kitchen, ballroom, maid's quarters, the wine cellar, lobby, kitchen, etc...) really surprised us in terms of how real it felt. It almost had a 3D vibe.
🆃🅷🅴 🅶🅰🅼🅴 🅿🅻🅰🆈
Due to COVID, we can't have a lavish house party so we played the game the boring way with just the two of us sitting around our small coffee table. We started with reading through the instruction booklet. It provided some information on the objective, back story and the starting point (so definitely do not skip this). Once you knew where to start, open that first door to reveal your first puzzle and clue pieces. There's always going to be a narrative that will accompany every room. Be sure to read that out loud so all members of your party will be able to hear. Some of the story line will give you clear hints on what you'll be looking for. Your goal is to be able to find either the next room's name or number in order to proceed. On the top of each narration is a small line of text that will inform you if you got the correct answer or not. This solution check system was much better placed in their "Starline Express" game (below) as this one would require us to open up the door in order to see if we got it right or wrong, It kind of ruined the surprise for us if we had opened the wrong door.
You'll ultimate goal was to find the truth behind the hotel reopening and we were well entertained by the storyline. If you get stuck, the first thing you should do is check the "clue" section in the envelopes. There's also an online portal with hints and solutions. A final solutions paper with ways to reassemble the game pieces was also provided. This makes the game replayable if you are considering gifting or playing it again at a later time.
This game had more storytelling components than puzzles. There were a lot of single step puzzles that were quite easy to spot. Some took a bit more time for us but mainly because we're still unable to get the logic behind it. The tools were really cool to use with the puzzle itself but we had no idea how to reveal the answer even with the hints provided. There was one physical puzzle that was quite similar in terms of design from "Secret of Dr. Gravely's Retreat" from Blue Matter games. Since we've seen it before it made it easier to solve this time around. Our favorite puzzle was probably one that had a tangram feel. It could definitely be used as stand alone puzzle for guests to figure out when they are over for a visit.
The Grand hotel had a lavish look in terms of packaging and graphics. The concept was also very entertaining for us as we enjoyed the surprise every envelope opened for us. Unfortunately the puzzles were not as grand as it should have been. Some puzzles must be tweaked to have better logic sequence and smoother game play. I would still be intrigued to try out the game just by the packaging though. And the ending to the story was too good to pass. I must know what happened to the culprit! Please have a sequel!
Game: Escape from the Starline Express
Difficulty (based on 2 players): 5/10
It seems like the world-famous Black Widow diamond has been stolen by the notorious "Rag-Tag Crew" and currently they're traveling on the Starline Express. Playing as the role of Betty Wilson, an ambitious young crime reporter, you need to figure out who stole the diamond amongst the gang members. Finally, you will need to get them arrested before the train reaches it's final destination.
The box quality felt similar to the "Escape from Grand Hotel" game and once again the emblem look was quite nice. Inside you'll find an instruction booklet, solution envelope, and 9 mystery puzzle envelopes each symbolizing a carriage in the train. The 9 carriage envelopes contains various puzzles pieces and clues that you'll open throughout the game play. We were once again "wowed" by the graphics and the details of the rooms (engine room, observation car, sleeping cabin, baggage car, first class saloon, the dining car, control car, etc...)
🆃🅷🅴 🅶🅰🅼🅴 🅿🅻🅰🆈
Once again we started with the instruction booklet. It gave us the first puzzle and led us to where we had to go next. There's always going to be a narrative that will accompany every room. Be sure to read that out loud so all members of your party will be able to hear. Some of the story line will give you clear hints on what you'll be looking for. The solutions will be either the name or number of the carriage. In this game, they've improved their solution check method and you no longer had to open the door. All you have to do is open a bit at the top of the door to see if you've came from the right place or not. The game flow also felt much better because of that. One other thing we really loved about this game was that it provided 2 identical puzzle pieces so Brandon and I were able to work on them simultaneously and not have to fight over them.
If you get stuck, the first thing you should do is check the "clue" section in the envelopes. There's also an online portal with hints and solutions. A final solutions paper with ways to reassemble the game pieces was also provided. This makes the game replayable if you are considering gifting or playing it again at a later time.
There was a lot more puzzles than the previous game. It was an improvement in terms of logic and had a lot more connections to the story line. And Math lovers, I got good news for you. There's plenty of Math for you in this game so get ready!
Overall, we definitely see the improvement that Professor Puzzle did with their newest game. We are big fans of their packaging and the concept behind the game itself. With the improvements on the puzzle elements, we see great potential in their games. See you next time Professor Puzzle and I promise I'll get better at Math!
Check out our interview with the creators to understand more on the development side of these game:
(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 Professor Puzzle 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.