Curious Correspondence Club: The Custodian’s Keys Review | A museum ticket marked with a curious symbol leads you to the M. B. Franklin Museum of Natural History to investigate six keys, six exhibits, and one strange lock. You must explore each exhibit and solve the clues to pair the right keys with the right locks. Completing this puzzle will reveal the location of an ancient treasure within the museum. Will you be able to unlock the secrets?
Completion Time: 80 Minutes
Date Played: September 22nd 2021
Party Size: 1 (and a half)
Recommended For: A challenging, beautifully designed, and tactile at-home experience
Each envelope from The Curious Correspondence Club contains a world of treasures: the relatively small letter opens up to reveal an array of cleverly and beautifully designed props with puzzles to solve and mysteries to uncover.
It’s impossible not to be impressed by the detail, variety, and scope of this at home experience. You’ll truly be transported to another world from the comfort of your own house.
Expert puzzle solvers, this game is for you! I believe even the most experienced minds would be challenged by the mysteries contained inside this little envelope.
When I first opened the envelope, I immediately laid out the various props, delighted and amazed by the inventiveness and quality of each piece of paper that has been expertly engineered and transformed into items you encounter in the M. B. Franklin Museum.
Top marks for beauty and originality!
It was almost too beautiful, as I felt the urge to preserve the items. For the first 20 minutes of game play, I resisted marking up or damaging the pieces, which did not make the task at hand any easier for myself. And these puzzles are certainly not an easy task.
The puzzles themselves are incredibly varied and cater to different types of thinkers. The tactile elements were particularly exciting, although some of them proved a bit tricky to manoeuvre correctly. I was led down the wrong path on more than one occasion by a minutely askew piece, but to be fair, fine motor skills are not my strong suit!
I found the experience challenging, not necessarily because of the puzzles themselves (although they were challenging by their own merits), but because I had trouble adapting to the mindset of how everything was meant to connect. This was less of the case in Chapter Two, which I also played (no spoilers yet for that review!) This was, in part, because I had a better understanding of how the game-makers think, but more significantly because the tasks at hand were laid out more directly and it was easier to connect the plot based challenges to the actual puzzles that you were meant to solve. I understand from a story perspective why the second chapter had more clearly explained directives, however, it feels like a missed opportunity that the first chapter didn’t act as more of a tutorial on what makes these mysteries tick.
I did end up using the hints and some spoilers, and to be honest with you, I doubt I could have completed the game without them. I liked how the hints were in character, but I felt they could have been more helpful if they were a bit clearer. I often already realized the “hint” by myself, the challenge was making the leap from that story driven thought process to the literal task at hand, so I would end up having to spoil myself. Again, this was less of the case in Chapter Two.
I did this game alone for the most part, but when I called in my partner out of desperation, there were things I missed that they quickly figured out. I would definitely recommend doing it with at least one other person, unless you’re a puzzle solving genius who’s up for a challenge.
Despite the difficulty level, I really enjoyed the ingenuity and novelty on display in Chapter One and I would definitely recommend it to others, particularly mystery and puzzle enthusiasts who want their skills to be tested. I love that they’re part of a larger narrative and I’m excited to dive further into the series to see where the Curious Correspondence Club takes me.
The Custodian’s Keys by Curious Correspondence Club can be purchased on their website here.
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