Street Hunt Games: Will Breaker | Your uncle has died in mysterious circumstances, leaving his estate to you, but only if you can solve a series of brain teasers. Along the way you’ll meet various characters from his past and discover that there was more to your uncle than meets the eye. Follow the clues to decode his puzzles before time runs out.
Number of Players: 2
Time Taken: 60-90 mins
Date Played: October 2023
Difficulty: Easy – Moderate
Given the mammoth size of our fair capital city, London, and the apparent appetite for new and unique experiences amongst both its residents and its visitors, I’m always surprised that aren’t a zillion and one puzzle trails and treasure hunts crowding the teeming streets. But there aren’t, so any new addition to the currently small, but tasty, smorgasbord is a very welcome addition indeed. When that hunt also comes from a company with a proven track record for puzzling excellence, such as StreetHunt (whose coffee themed hunt Colombia’s Finest we reviewed here) then colour me excited, throw me my trainers and get me out pounding those pavements.
What’s Will Breaker All About?
This latest puzzle hunt is called Will Breaker and the main narrative thread is that your war correspondent uncle has recently passed away and made you the main beneficiary in his will. But he’s not going to make it easy for you to get your hands on your inheritance so has set you a series of puzzle challenges across the Holborn area of London that you’ll need to solve in order to find where he’s hidden his most valued possessions. This is all you need to know to get started but as you play across the puzzles, you receive new nuggets of information about your deceased uncle and realise that there was more to him, and his inheritance, than you first thought.
How Does Will Breaker Work?
Will Breaker works in very much the same way as Columbia’s Finest and many other outdoor puzzle games in that you book on their website and choose the date and time you’d like to play. After you’ve booked you can add other members to your team so that on the day everyone playing can receive the puzzle information and keep track of your progress. Not all puzzle hunts allow for this and it’s much more user friendly to have everyone reading on their own devices rather than all crowding round one phone or listening to someone read things out (is there anything worse in any puzzle/ER scenario than having to absorb information that is being read to you? Or is that just me?). BTW there’s no app to download to play this game. You’ll be emailed the links you need and as you play everything is web browser based (so make sure you have data and a fully charged battery!).
Shortly before your scheduled game time all the team will be emailed with details of where to go to start and how to get going. You can read the introductory back story information ahead of time or at the very start of the game, and there’s a few little tasks to help you learn how to navigate both the tech and the puzzles, all of which can be done before you start the game proper.
Unlike most other puzzle hunts I’ve played, and more in line with your typical escape room, you have a set 60 minutes to complete the majority of the puzzle hunt, with extra time allowed at the very end to complete the final challenge. No need to panic that you’ve got to race through the introductory reading and instructions though as the timer doesn’t start until you’ve accessed the very first clue.
And You’re Off!
Once you’re ready to get going, the very first puzzle establishes the pattern that continues throughout the rest of the game. You’ll have access to a map on which will appear a yellow dot. You have to navigate to that spot and then answer a question or riddle based on that location to prove that you’re in the right place. Once you’ve entered the right answer you’ll meet one of your late uncle’s contacts who will give you a cryptex and a riddle, puzzle or code that will lead you to a 4 digit code for that cryptex. We briefly got excited that we were going to connect up with real people and be handed IRL cryptexes but we get over-excited easily and soon realised the meet ups and cryptexes are all digital. All the communication happens entirely through your phone. Once you’ve worked out the four digit code and opened the cryptex a new dot will appear on your map and off you go again – new location, new question to prove you’re at the right spot, new cryptex, new puzzle. Every puzzle solved gives you a small piece of a meta-puzzle that you complete at the very end of the game.
I love outdoor puzzle hunts in London because despite being a born and bred local, they almost always take me to new nooks and crannies of the city that I’ve never explored before. Without giving away any specific locations, this one covers a lot of ground in the Holborn area and while the majority of the spots were familiar to me (I’ve walked that area a lot in the past) there were still a few that took me by surprise. And if you’re new to London, a visitor or a local who just haven’t ventured beyond the delights of Holborn tube station, this trail will take you to some great little London treasures and details that you’d only spot when forced to slow down, stop and look around you.
In terms of the puzzles themselves StreetHunt’s website lists this trail as ‘moderate’ (as opposed to Colombia’s Finest which is ‘challenging) and, being honest, we found the puzzles and codes needed to open the cryptexes on the easier side but this makes it perfect for family groups as well as mixed ability puzzler groups, newbie gamers and even ER enthusiasts who want a fun way to explore a new corner of old London town.
Once you’ve answered the riddle or question that proves you’re in the right location, the actual cryptex puzzle isn’t directly linked to the spot you’re standing in, which is a minor niggle and probably only one because I’m a history nerd who loves to learn a new factoid or two. You do get given the option of reading a bonus fun fact about your location once you’ve opened the cryptex though. So nerd appetite satisfied.
Overall, this is a lovely new addition to both StreetHunt’s puzzle portfolio and London’s collection of hunts and trails. It covers ground that not many of the city’s other trails do and the use of the web browser map and tech makes it a more satisfying experience than the simple message and response style of some of the longer running hunts. Great fun for families and those keen to explore a less well trodden corner of London.
Will Breaker costs £16.50 per player. Teams of 2-6 players recommended (larger groups are recommended to split into multiple teams). It can be booked by heading to their website here. We did not pay for our experience but it doesn’t affect our review.