Updated: Feb 23
Photo above is property of Wacky Wheels
Company: Wacky Wheels
Game: The Longest Night In Bell-Ville
Country: Netherlands 🇳🇱
Type of Game: Puzzles By Mail 📬
Date Played: December 11, 2021
Difficulty (based on 1 player): 6/10
Size of Team: Unlimited
Time: Unlimited (Approximately 50 Mins.)
Price: 12€ (+/- 13,5 dollar)
Winter is coming to Bell-Ville and the villagers are totally unprepared. Not only do they have to prepare the celebrations of "The Longest Night", they also have to make sure that they safely cross "The Frozen Wastelands". Can you help them get ready in time?
So, you are a villager and the eldest of this village has asked you to prepare for the festival, you need food, music, candy, decoration and it all need to be ready as soon as possible. Of course, the villagers aren’t going to make it easy on you. So, you need to keep your head on your shoulders to make sure this festival will be memorable…. Hopefully, for good reasons.
The book has a very nice feel to it. It’s clearly shows that they put quality in the foreground in making this. It feels durable and very high end. The style of the drawings are good, but it feels like different artists had their inputs into the same book. Overall, it fit nicely together and is well-designed. There's a few things that could be tweaked a bit in terms of the style but they are minor. For instance, some small things are very hard to read. I’m not talking about the ones that are intentional, but for puzzle-specific items, I had to squint a couple of times to see if I was correct.
Overall the look fits perfectly with the theme of the book and the quality of work put in it is something many books should aspire to. What I want to see in their next book is have the design be more cohesive (which would bring the design to a higher level).
Photos above are property of ESCAPETHEROOMers
🆃🅷🅴 🅶🅰🅼🅴 🅿🅻🅰🆈
This book starts with “assignments” throughout the journey but doesn't say you'll need to solve them in particular order. Only the last two puzzles are meant to be solved after you finished the rest of the assignments.
You do need a smartphone with an internet connection because you will need to enter the answers on a website. This website will give you instant feedback on your answers. There's also a leaderboard should you strive to end up there. Each puzzle is roughly worth 100 points. Solving it correctly will earn you the full amount. If you need a hint, you may press the question mark next to the assignment on the website but the total points you can earn will be halved. One thing to be aware of is when entered with a wrong answer, you'll score nothing. There is no second chances. The issue with this is that if you misspelled something or the punctuation is wrong there will be no do-overs. For non-English speakers this could be quite difficult. I would love to the creator be a bit more lenient with the scoring system.
But overall, the website and the book complemented each other nicely. The leaderboard not only show you how well you did overall but also where you stand in your country. I placed fourth at the time when I was writing this review and 1st in my country (though there were only 6 players who have played this book so far 😉).
In addition, since the puzzles can be solved in any order, the non-linear aspect makes this game playable amongst a group of players. If you want, you can even cut the book open and spread the assignments on the table so a whole team could work on different assignments.
Photos above are property of Wacky Wheels
The puzzles are great in their own sense of the way but wasn't really challenging. And I'm, of course, looking at them through the lenses of someone who has played over 200 forms of an escape room (IRL, tabletop, etc.). But they are little fun twists on certain tropes. I’m not going to spoil them here for you. If you played a good amount of escape rooms or puzzle games, then you can easily play this game on your own. If you want to use this to introduce puzzles to a newbie friend or play this with your children, then this book would be perfect.
I really like one aspect of the design of this book and that is that the puzzles "crosses" the boarders of the pages. Not every puzzle can be solved on its respected page. You will need other pages to help you. Moreover, don’t be afraid to draw, cut or tear some pages. This book is not going to be replayable. But let's be honest, you probably wouldn't replay a real-life escape room again would you?
Photos above are property of Wacky Wheels
Is this a good book? Yes.
Is there room for improvement? Also yes.
Should you buy it? Yes!
The amount of work that has been put in there is outstanding. The alignments of everything must have took hours. My suggestions were merely to give some pointers to perhaps elevate the book series as there should always be room for improvement in any project/game. This has so much potential to become a must-have for escape room fans. Almost like becoming a staple like EXIT, Unlock and pocket escape. Since this holidays are coming, this book is certainly a great gift (since it has winter and celebration as its main theme) and would be a fantastic addition to any escape room fan's collection. Fun for the whole family or as a solo play for the more experienced player! Can't wait to see what their future creations will be like!
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 Wacky Wheels for providing us with samples of their games. Although a complimentary experience was generously provided, it does not impact our opinion on the review whatsoever.