Scarlet Envelope: Cabaret in Lapin Blanc

Paris, 1899, Gala Night at the Cabaret Club. Colett, a gorgeous diva and the star of Lapin Blanc, disappears with no trace. Her dressing room is full of confusing leads: among jewelry and love notes from her fans you find a threatening letter and mysterious things from the past. Who is she? And is she in danger?

Rating: Mysterious
Completion Time: 45 minutes
Date Played: 16th March 2021
Party Size: 1
Recommended For: Fans of mystery, intrigue, secret societies and rich storylines

This is the second play at home game from Canadian company Scarlet Envelope, and the first proper look into the wonderful world they have created. I say this because their first, Newspaper: An Introduction to Mysteries was… Well… As the title suggests, just an introduction. Lapin Blanc is where the magic starts and boy do they kick off with an exciting and intriguing mystery!

Cabaret in Lapin Blanc plays like a classic murder mystery. Not only are you solving individual puzzles but you’re also trying to “put the whole case together”. Who IS this mysterious cabaret girl? What has the devastating fire got to do with it? A trail of threatening letters? I love murder mystery.

Of course, I’m not sure what an 1890s murder mystery has to do with the story of the Scarlet Envelopes as a whole – but I reckon that’s one of the pulls that keeps players coming back. There’ll be no unsolved mysteries on my watch!

The Game

The game follows a similar pattern as the first envelope. You receive a mysterious letter and, on opening it you’re presented with a lot of stuff. In this case, there’s a missing girl and this stuff is everything that was found on her dresser table before she went missing. Including a jewellery box (that must be unlocked), letters, a tarot card, and a ripped up newspaper. Most intriguing!

From here, it’s a little tricky to know where to begin the game. I definitely used a lot more clues for this one than I did the previous – most likely a result of ordering the ‘Hard’ difficulty version of the game. Oops!

The Puzzles

There’s some really good puzzles in Cabaret in Lapin Blanc! In particular, this game makes good use of word and letter puzzles – by this I mean forming sentences out of scrambled syllables, plenty of ciphers, and manipulating objects to find secret words and letters hidden within. A few of the puzzles are immediately gated off. For example – one of the items in your envelope has a “Do not start until X” note written on it – the reason for which only becomes clear later in the game. Other puzzles too, are found online once you’ve cracked a code on the website.

This was actually my favourite part of the whole game! To unlock an object you head online and input the code. But this isn’t any ordinary code, it doesn’t have digits. Very cool!

One more note on the puzzles here is that this game is also so much more than a “solve the puzzles, get the code” game. In order to win the game you have to pay attention. The game asks a number of questions of you at the end and because of my “not completely paying attention” on one of them, I only got it 90% correct. Does this mean I failed? Ehhh, lets just brush over this part of the review.

Overall

Fiendish but fun! This is a really creative game from the Scarlet Envelope people and quite unlike anything else I’ve played. Yes, it’s hard, but it’s totally not insurmountable and the incredible quality of materials more than makes up for it. I was at times absolutely delighted by some of the ‘aha moments’ and other times close to just looking at the answer and giving up. But all worthwhile to finally put the Cabaret Lapin Blanc case to rest!

You can subscribe to Scarlet Envelope for $20 CAD (~£12) per month on their website.

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