Updated: 3 days ago
Photos provided by Puzzling Pursuits
Company: Puzzling Pursuits
Country: USA 🇺🇸
Type of Game: Puzzles By Mail
Genre: Detective, Murder Mystery
Date Played: 9/3/2020
Difficulty (based on 2 players): 6/10
Size of Team: Unlimited (Ages 13+)
Time: Unlimited (Approx 2-4 hrs)
Price: $29.95 ($5 flat rate Standard Shipping in the US)
It's the year 1876. Our story began in the English town of Blackbrim. A mysterious box arrived at our detective's office. It seemed like a police commissioner and his entire police force were being held hostage. He's requesting our assistance to help them and catch this kidnapper. From what we know this kidnapper is a devious puzzle maker. Will we succeed?
The game came in an elegant looking cardboard box. Inside the box, the two-part game was organized and divided nicely by black tissue paper and sticker labels. On the very top of the tissue paper, there was an instruction booklet. A web link for the hint system and a scoring chart (if you like to play in competitive mode) was provided inside the booklet. We really liked the coloration they chose for the graphics of this game. The grayish newspaper look definitely bought us back in time. Inside part 1, we received a beautifully waxed sealed envelope addressed to the "detective", 4 old photos, a town map, a letter from the commissioner, a letter from the kidnapper, a newspaper clipping, a menu, a spelling bee paper, and a 4 piece decoder mechanism. In part 2 of the game there were a total of 7 envelopes marked with different locations that needed to be "unlocked".
The Game Play
This game could be played as a solo player or collaboratively with a group. We played it as a team of 2 and it seemed to work perfectly with one person in charge of reading the narratives and the other looking for clues. Since there were two parts to the game, you could easily break them up and finish them in different times as you won't need to remember anything from part I that you'll need in part II. Knowing us, we had to finish it in one shot. There were 5 puzzles in part 1 and a metapuzzle which if solved correctly will give you access to part II of the game. Part II had 6 puzzles plus a metapuzzle. By solving the metapuzzle, you'll be awarded with the final ending story to the game. We really enjoyed how this game was constructed. Since the story line was build on kidnapping and searching for clues, we were able to pick up on the breadcrumbs that were left by the kidnapper throughout the game. At times, we even had to sleuth on the internet. The entire game felt like a pursue. In comparison we probably enjoyed part II more mainly due to the fact that it gave us more of an escape room vibe. As we solved the mini puzzles in each of the individual envelopes (they were all locked with locks that require different amount of letters), we were actually "unlocking" the next area. Answers could be easily checked on their website and if you do get stuck, there were hints that were quite helpful to guide you in the right direction.
The games really tried to use various types of puzzles that did not repeat themselves. It also had puzzles in different difficulty levels. Some were merely solved by searching on the internet where others took more time as they were multi-step puzzles. Our favorite one was a puzzle that played on words. Our least favorite was probably one of the decoding puzzle that we had to do as it was confusing on where the starting point would be. The way they were able to incorporate the puzzles into the story line was quite clever.
We have to applaud the writer for giving us such an enjoyable back story to read. This was probably our most memorable part of this game. From the beginning of when we received the letter from the police commissioner to the various times we've received the letters from the kidnapper himself, it really lured us deeper and deeper into the plot. As the game entered part II, more stories were revealed on why the kidnapper was doing this. The research done on the history of 1800s century plus how the narrative was build really gave us the urge of wanting to search on the website to see if this story was real or not. From the presentation of the game design to the amount of game time we've received, it was definitely worth the value. Moreover, the game is replayable (if you are careful with not writing anything on the pages) so it could even be gifted or replayed at a later time!
10% off with "ESCAPETHEROOMERS" (limited one per customer)
(If you do decide to try this game, please remember to let them know that you heard it from"ESCAPETHEROOMers"!)
Disclosure: We thank Puzzling Pursuits 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.