Escape Hunt: A Curious Tea Party Review | Wonderland is all in a whirl at the news of a Royal Tea Party. The White Rabbit needs your help delivering invitations, and time is running out! Use the map and guestlist of memorable characters to explore Wonderland, help the white rabbit, and join the tea party!
Date Played: 29th October 2021
Number of Players: 2 (+1 cat)
Time Taken: 50 minutes
Yes, Yes I Know…
Here at The Escape Roomer, I’m the video game guy (with maybe midlands-based, brick-and-mortar escape games if I’m lucky). I’ve done a good handful of print and play games; but never reviewed one.
The reason for agreeing to review this? My wife. She loves anything Alice In Wonderland based. If she knew that there was anything Alice In Wonderland to review and found out I passed upon it… it bares not thinking about!
Every Adventure Requires A First Step
So. We have a print-out of the game. My wife is here and so is Nelson; one of my two cats. Nelson was especially curious to begin, as you can see in the picture below. The instructions were on the first page; plus, an introduction to read out loud, a map and guestlist, 9 puzzle pages and a clues sheet; which we immediately turned over and put to one side. Scissors and a mirror were also required. A good start, instructions and requirements clearly displayed with no ambiguity or confusion.
If I Had A World Of My Own, Everything Would Be Nonsense
In terms of theming, I felt it was best to leave this decision to the resident Alice In Wonderland expert; my wife. In her words, “It was excellent. The style, narrative, page illustrations and puzzle thematics, all complimented the original literature wholeheartedly and authentically.” High praise indeed.
If You Don’t Know Where You Are Going, Any Road Will Get You There
What I liked most about the puzzles was the pacing. They weren’t incredibly taxing, however the difficulty curve was well balanced and followed a core game loop that was solid throughout. That being said, I felt some of the puzzles lacked finesse. Two of the nine puzzles from the puzzle pages can be (and subsequently were), made incomplete to advance; once we knew the answer from the puzzle, we didn’t have the motivation to complete it in its entirety.
The hints system is written backwards and thus, requires the mirror mentioned earlier. This is a perfectly adequate way to stop players from accidentally reading hints from other puzzle sets; as long as your mirror is small enough!
Sometimes I Believed As Many As Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast
I appreciate that one of the main obstacles of a print-and-play game is creating an immersive atmosphere, with only the printed paper presented. I felt that the quality of the materials provided in A Curious Tea Party do this quite well. All things considered, it provided enough for us to want to continue and be invested in the narrative throughout the entire gameplay.
My main qualm, was that after all is said and done, we were merely looking from the outside. Maybe we could have been actual characters from the Alice In Wonderland universe, to immerse us further?
Imagination Is The Only Weapon In The War Against Reality
Some factors of A Curious Tea Party are quite innovative, whilst others aren’t so. The positives involve how the puzzles are tied to the thematics of the game. For example, there is a directional puzzle, as one of the puzzle sets. On its own, it’s not very innovative. However, the method the player moves to the instructions provided by the character in the puzzle, is innovative. On the whole though, the puzzles (and the game’s mechanics generally), are quite safe, quite conventional and otherwise, don’t really push any boundaries.
How Long Is Forever? Sometimes Just One Second
A Curious Tea Party costs £15 for around 30-75 minutes worth of play depending on player experience. £15 is the bench mark for all Escape Hunt print-and-play games, however I’d argue that this is a little steep considering the amount of play time outputted. Especially, with what you tangibly receive as a product, alongside the hit-and-miss nature of the puzzles presented.
For The Mad Hatter Or Sleepy Dormouse?
Escape Hunt says this game is for ages 8 and up. I’d very much recommend this game to children (with or without parents actively involved), from those ages, without a doubt. It is most definitely a family friendly escape game option. This would also be appropriate for introductory puzzlers or even people who don’t regularly like puzzle games; there’s enough here to whet the appetite, but not too heavy to put non-puzzlers off completely.
This is a decent print-and-play game that is perfect for beginner players. More experienced players however, (unless they are die hard fans of the Alice In Wonderland franchise) may not find enough present, to be value for their money. That said, what it lacks in puzzles and innovation, it certainly makes up for in theming and overall fun.
Nelson also enjoyed herself, however would have liked it more, if cat treats were present. 😸
A Curious Tea Party can be purchased from Escape Hunt’s website here.