Enigmailed: Chocolateral Bars | Review

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A puzzle-wrapped chocolate bar through the post every month? An idyllic village, ravaged with nefarious mysteries? The chance to vote for future flavours and storylines?

It’s a world’s first, people!

Have you ever been sitting there, eating a bar of chocolate, wishing that your experience was a bit more puzzley? Are you like me and want to include puzzles into all aspects of your life… Especially chocolate consumption? Are you slightly more normal and just want to get a cool gift for that puzzle person in your life? Enigmailed have the answer to all these questions.

Okay so those examples are a little extreme, but it doesn’t detract from the fact that British company Enigmailed have been hard at work these past months creating several new experiences, including my very favourite of which: Chocolateral Bars. Put simply, chocolate bars which contain brilliant little puzzles on the packaging!

At the moment, they have the following chocolate bars on offer:

 

 

Both chocolate bars have a mystery to solve – a kind of murder mystery come detective drama. Your job in both is to read the clues and discover a WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE and HOW the curious crime was committed. As one of my friends pointed out when I gifted them a bar, “I’m not sure eating chocolate called Fatal Experimint is a good idea”, but I can guarantee, several bars of chocolate later, that they are not poisonous. Just creatively named!

Neither mystery is going to take you any longer than the amount of time it takes to eat the chocolate bar, that’s for sure. But I think that’s part of the beauty of it, making this a fantastic gift for just about anyone in your life – puzzlers and non-puzzlers alike. It’s like playing a sudoku in the morning paper over your cuppa.

 

The Verdict

Honeycomb Sting

Flavour: Honeycomb Milk
Completion Time: 10 minutes
Date Played: 11th July 2021
Party Size: 1

Both taste and puzzle-wise, Honeycomb Sting was my favourite of the two, but that’s mostly personal preferences as I don’t really like mint all that much. In Honeycomb Sting, you’re introduced to the setting of a palace with a world famous beehive kept on the grounds – but wait, somebody has been stealing all the honey! Eek!

Thankfully, the culprit has left behind clues on the chocolate wrapper. From lightly highlighted letters to curious strings of digits, each separate puzzle points towards a different piece of information, such as the identify of the thief, or where they’ve hidden the honey.

The only question remains whether you’ll catch them before you finish the bar!

 

 

Fatal Experimint

Flavour: Mint Dark
Completion Time: 15 minutes
Date Played: 11th July 2021
Party Size: 1

The harder of the two, Fatal Experimint adds a little extra tension to the game – Dr. Spears, the dentist has been poisoned! But if you can successfully solve the game, you’ll be able to find an antidote to save his life. In this mini mystery, you’re looking to make an arrest, and fast!

The puzzles differ a lot between the two experiences, with Fatal Experimint utilising more numerical puzzles, and a couple of well known beloved ciphers with an Enigmailed twist. Since I played (and ate) this one second, the chocolate might be getting to my head and making it seem tricker, but I’d definitely rate this one as the more challenging of the two.

 

Excalibar’s Sword

Flavour: Eton Mess
Completion Time: 15 minutes
Date Played: 19th September 2021
Party Size: 1

This time, a priceless artefact believed to be the Sword in the Stone has been stolen! Once again it’s your job to figure out who thief is, why it was stolen, where it was last seen and what it is being disguised as. As with the other chocolate bars, there’s also a (very tricky) bonus puzzle, for those who want to go the extra mile: How many millions the sword is insured for!

By the time you’ve played the first two, you’ll get the gist of it by now – all over the packaging many small puzzles are hidden. In Excalibar’s Sword you’ll be looking for any letters that seem out of place, ciphers, and hints in plain sight… Among other things!

Of all the flavours (so far) Eton Mess absolutely has to be my favourite. I’m a huge fan of white chocolate and strawberry, so it’s a double thumbs up from me!

 

Toffear Apple

Flavour: Toffee Apple Milk Chocolate
Completion Time: 20 minutes
Date Played: 30th October 2021
Party Size: 1

This time, there’s mischief afoot at the Longstocking Orchard. Apple wielding ghosts? Or perhaps just a Halloween prank! It’s the player’s role to find out who is disguising themselves as a ghost, how they’re evading security, what their motive is and where they are hiding out.

As a Halloween special, it’s delightful! Of course, Toffear Apple is part of the Chocolateral subscription, but as someone who likes to give Halloween gifts this makes it the perfect treat to give out to guests and adult trick or treaters.

But of course, as with all Chocolateral bars, the puzzles are not particularly easy. No sir. I’m very well acquainted with Enigmailed’s hints page by now. But, since you’re always looking for a word (or a few words), players can expect a bounty of exactly that: word based puzzles! In Toffear Apple in particular I enjoyed turning of the bar over and over on the look out for ghosts, apples, and making the words out of the peculiar things on the paper. Spooky fun, and just what I needed to kick off a Halloween celebration!

 

 

Seasons Eatings

Flavour: Chilli Dark Chocolate
Completion time: approx 30 mins
Date Played: 21st November 2021
Party Size: 2

In this edition of Chocolateral, we’re getting festive! But don’t expect tidings of comfort and joy…at least not straight away. There is something afoot, as someone has snatched all of the snacks which had been left out for Santa and his helpers! As usual, it is up to you to peruse the clues hidden in the packaging to solve the seasonal mystery, and there is plenty to sink your teeth into (geddit?!). Yes, not only have you got to figure out who left their footprints in the snow, when they struck, what they’re doing with their bounty of festive treats and how they managed to evade being caught- you’ve also got the chance to go the extra mile (all the way to the north pole maybe?) to figure out which popstar paid for them in the first place!

Picture this: a chilly but clear Sunday afternoon in the lead up to Christmas, eating delicious chocolate, sipping on festive spiced punch and solving puzzles! What better way to get cosy and in the spirit for the next month’s worth of festivities (oh yes, we looove Christmas!). We really enjoyed the level of detail Enigmailed have gone into- the classic Christmassy red, green and white colour scheme; the seasonal imagery of crackers, santas and presents; and the puns- oh how we enjoy a good pun at the best of times, let alone when Christmas is involved. The puzzles are cleverly interspersed into the packaging as usual, which if you’ve played before you will have come to be quite familiar with. We found some of the puzzles quite quick to solve and others took a bit more thought, which we thought would make this a great little activity to do over Christmastime with the whole family- there’s enough to go around in terms of both puzzles and of course CHOCOLATE (if you don’t mind sharing!)

The chilli dark chocolate flavour of the chocolate was lovely; the chilli wasn’t overpowering but provided a nice warming which felt perfect for a Christmassy bar. And we loved the fact that as a dark chocolate bar this month, it is suitable for vegans, so everyone can get on the chocolatey puzzle solving bandwagon, just in time for Christmas! Seasons Eatings was a perfect festive puzzley treat for the lead up to the big day itself!

 

 

Valentine Brawl

Flavour: Plain Milk Chocolate
Completion time: approx 20 mins
Date Played: 6th February 2022
Party Size: 2

What’s the classic Valentine’s Day gift? Chocolate! But, what’s the perfect VDay gift for your escape enthusiast Valentine? Puzzle Chocolate! In this edition of Chocolateral, trouble is afoot at the village Jewellers, Emerald Aisle (yes, we loved that pun) as someone has robbed all their rings, depriving many happy couples of their VDay engagement plans!

While nibbling on our non-engagement related chocolatey Valentine’s treat, we had to figure out the classic W’s- Who, What, Where and Why, oh why, were the rings targeted?! Each time we play we are amazed by Enigmailed’s ability to squeeze in new and different types of puzzle into such a small space and following a consistent format. We enjoyed the variety of puzzles offered and found that each of us had ones that just seemed to click with us instantly. The matter of Why did stump us for a while and we decided to go for a quick look at their handy hint page to help us out with this one and work the puzzle backwards, but we got there in the end! We were also very pleased with ourselves as we also managed to solve the bonus puzzle to find out the name of the owner of the jewellers.

With Valentine Brawl, as with all the Chocolateral bars, we love the feeling that the chocolate is a reward for doing a good job puzzling and, of course, puns-a-plenty is always a bonus to enhance the puzzle solving fun further!

Whether you’re cupid reincarnate, or not so much of a fan of the mushy lovey dovey stuff, Valentine Brawl is a fun option to celebrate or take your mind off the season of love!

 

Simply the Zest!

Flavour: White Chocolate Lemon Meringue 
Completion time: approx 20 mins
Date Played: 12th April 2022
Party Size: 2

Dun, dun, dun! There’s been a murder, but who dunnit?! It’s the classic soap, a mysterious murder, a woman found dead in her high-rise apartment, the suspicious roast dinner… Hold on, a roast dinner!? We are glad that this did not feature in the chocolate bar flavouring.

Our of all of the bars in this subscription, this one was the most ‘story based’ of the Chocolateral series we have played so far, asking you to find out who has committed the crime, as well as tasking you with identifying those pesky red herrings (ahh yes, enthusiasts will recognise the struggles of red herrings as well!)

We got stuck into this bar quickly (the puzzles we mean…of course…) and found ourselves with 4 of the 5 puzzles solved relatively quickly. They were all logical and had strong sign-posting, something which always impresses us as Enigmailed managed to squeeze this so much onto such a small chocolate bar wrapper! 

The final, trickier puzzles left us scratching our heads though. We could not figure out the WHEN of our murder mystery. In this case, finding out the ‘when’ was the the bonus puzzle of this chocolate bar, so the answer is not on the website. So, dear readers, if anyone knows the WHEN – please do get in touch and let us know! We promise we will pay you in chocolate (if there is any left…) 

All in all, another great entry into the Chocolateral series, and we cannot wait to see what fantastical flavours and puzzles the creator dreams up next.

 

 

Fool’s Errand

Flavour: Banoffee Milk Chocolate
Completion time: approx 20 mins
Date Played: 4th April 2022
Party Size: 2

So, we definitely should have played this on April Fool’s Day – we missed a trick there! But alas, we sat down to see whether we would be made fools of, or whether we could work out who was clowning around trying to set up poor Uncle Fumble? We are currently playing the month-long puzzle offered by Enigmailed – also named “Fool’s Errand” – so it was felt apt to tackle this game to check our puzzling skills were ready to challenge the enigmatic “Leaderboard”! Also, after playing one of the more recent games, we realised we could have used our chocolate bar to complete one of the challenges…double Fool’s Errand (can we have a shout out on the leader board if we manage to link the puzzles?!)

We found this bar one of the more challenging ones. We couldn’t seem to click with the puzzles in the same way as some of the others. However, we think this may be a good way to showcase how different each of the bars manage to be. Some we find we can solve in ten minutes, others we keep coming back to over a series of days to see if we can finally get that a-ha moment (and steal a piece of chocolate as a reward hehe). In this way, you can savour the puzzles in the same way you can savour the chocolate (well, if you want to…).  There was one stand out puzzle on this bar though that we did click with (after the hype around a particular word based game which we play religiously every day) – it must be all that practice. It was a really clever way of translating the puzzle concept onto paper, and we appreciated the effort that had been made to showcase a new puzzle type. 

If you’ve not checked out the month long puzzle that Enigmailed are running, definitely pop onto their website! It’s a great way to get your puzzling in, whilst providing that competitive edge so many of us puzzlers enjoy. You can find lots of fun challenges, and plenty of ways to work up an appetite (although who needs to work up anything to eat a delicious banoffee flavoured treat – banana, toffee, chocolate…it’s a dream combo!).

 

 

Crime Caramel

Flavour: Creme Caramel Milk Chocolate
Completion time: approx 20 mins
Date Played: 7th May 2022
Party Size: 2

Uh oh! There’s been a robbery! Lizzy (very aptly named) has had her most fabulous lizards stolen, and it is up to you to find out the WHO, the WHEN, and the WHY. Oh, and to add to the mix, one of the lizards suffers from a skin condition, and you need to figure out which one so you can get the lotion to them ASAP (an excellent way of adding a bit of pressure). We went for a pic of our lovely pet here (any excuse to put in a pic of Tilly – she was not helpful in solving Lizzy’s predicament)

As we play more of Engimailed’s wonderful Chocolateral series, we are beginning to learn a bit about the different puzzling styles featured on the bars. We are getting better at seeing patterns, and playing these games regularly is definitely helping to give our puzzling skills ticking over. However, that definitely does not mean that we are now finding these easy – there was one puzzle in particular on this game that we found especially challenging – and brought a wonderful A-HA moment when we finally solved it. We clicked with this bar better than the previous one and managed to get through all the puzzles without looking for a hint (although, when we did go to check the answers, we got stumped trying to find those (wink wink!)). 

We were stoked to also manage to solve the extra challenge of finding out HOW MANY lizards were taken. It would be creme-inal not to mention the excellent pun use in this bar. We are so here for some fun word-play and always enjoy Enigmailed’s humorous blurbs and storylines. 

We shared this chocolate bar with Ash’s mum to spread the love (and also because we had recently ordered a huge amount of reduced Easter chocolate oops). We’ve had some excellent feedback from her on the taste “very creamy, very caramel, perfect for a sweet tooth” so I think we may have another Enigmailed fan on our hands! These bars would certainly make such a good gift for anyone you know who likes chocolate (and who doesn’t?!), and enjoys a bit of puzzling. 

 

Tilly Enjoying Crime Caramel Chocolateral

 

About the Chocolate

The chocolate manufacturer is Kernow Chocolate, created and hand-packed in Cornwall, UK. If you need any evidence of all the love and care gone into creating this chocolate, just look at the list of ingredients! I’ve never seen a shorter ingredient list in my life – it’s all totally natural, not a chemical in sight.

Even without the puzzles, I already find myself browsing the manufacturer’s website to see what else they sell. It was that tasty, and I feel great about supporting a local UK business.

 

 

You can purchase a Chocolateral Bar over on Enigmailed’s website here, and also use the promocode MAIL10 for 10% off an order of Undeliverable!

 

Code Bakers: Fudge Fiasco | Review

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Fudge Fiasco Review: A pack of puzzles to solve to uncover what flavour fudge you’ve been sent!

Rating: Fudgin’ brill!
Completion Time: ~30 minutes
Date Played: 29th December 2021
Party Size: 2
Recommended For: A sweet treat!

Penguins taken from codebakers.co.uk (not literally)

A Christmas Treat!

A combination of a sweet treat + an escape room style puzzle…

…We are so there!

The team at Code Bakers have hit the jackpot with this winning combination which allows players to combine delicious sweet treats with puzzling to definitely make you feel like you’ve earnt your dessert! The Fudge Fiasco game sends players two mysterious blocks of fudge, challenging you to find out what the flavours are before tucking in.

A mystery map!

For Fudge Sake!

After receiving Fudge Fiasco as a part of the UK Puzzle Bundle, we cracked it open on a cosy afternoon, looking to fill half an hour of puzzling and tuck into our afternoon snack. These games are interesting in that it can be difficult to know where to start, especially when you are presented with multiple puzzles at once. But, once we had figured out what we were doing and what bits went together, the puzzles flowed really well.

It is great how much the Code Bakers’ team can pack into their small envelopes!

The map puzzle (pictured above) was definitely one of the more innovative versions of this style of puzzle that we have seen. It did leave us scratching our heads for a while, but once we realised some slightly ‘outside the box’ thinking was needed, we worked our way through this nicely!

It was very satisfying to solve, and the aha moment left us both smiling.

The puzzles are good for teams of two or more working together in a more relaxed atmosphere. We think this would be a great pre-dinner game for a family or a pre-escape room warm up for a team of enthusiasts (plus then you’d have the sugar kick from the fudge ready to go in and boss your room!).

Ash looking 10/10 happy with discovering her fudgey flavours

The Delicious Finale

Once we had made our way through the puzzles, we treated ourselves to two tasty bars of fudge! It’s nice to have a physical reward for solving the puzzles, which helps make these games stand out in that ‘at-home’ escape market.

We always enjoy a game from the Code Bakers – I think we will start using these to send gifts to our friends (to make them work for their treats!).

We look forward to playing more of these in the future!

Fudge Fiasco can be purchased for yourself (or given as a gift) by heading to Code Baker’s website here.

Christmas Comes Early – The Puzzle Bundle UK is Here for 7 Days!

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It’s an exciting day for puzzle enthusiasts across the country!

The long awaited Puzzle Bundle UK is now available for sale at eight online puzzle stores. In this special Christmas exclusive, eight British puzzle game creators have come together to create a unique puzzle bundle hamper… Just in time for Christmas!

Included within the bundle are a range of puzzles lasting between 30 minutes to well over an hour each. All the puzzles are self contained, and the best part? There’s a mix of completely original puzzles to the bundle and some well-loved favourites at a discounted rate too!

The bundle comes priced at £60 GBP with UK shipping included, or £65 with international shipping. You an find it on any of the providers websites and channels for the same price.

Image (c) Puzzle Bundle UK

Limited to 100 Puzzle Bundles, for 7 Days Only!

Whether buying a treat for yourself to play over the festive season, or picking up 8 fantastic presents for the puzzle enthusiast in your life – you’d better hurry! To begin with, there will only be 100 Puzzle Bundles up for sale and, once the 7 day sale period ends, the bundle won’t be on sale again.

You an find it on any of the providers websites and channels below for the same price. The bundle altogether costs £60 including postage within the UK, and £65 outside the UK.

What is included in your Puzzle Bundle UK?

Show me the Puzzles!

The Puzzle Bundle UK contains a mix of completely unique puzzles and a few existing puzzle games you may recognise from your favourite British creators!

Image (c) Puzzle Bundle

Enigmailed: Season’s Eatings

A delicious chocolate bar with themed puzzle wrapper.

So far, we’ve absolutely loved Enigmailed’s Chocolateral series! It’s a monthly subscription of tasty chocolate wrapped up in an enigma you must solve before you can tuck in! You can read our full review of the Chocolateral bars so far to find out what to expect.

Lock Paper Escape: Wizard Escape

Grab your wand and discover if you have what it takes to join the secret wizarding society.

Lock Paper Escape is the home of exciting treasure hunts and purveyors of brilliant printable experiences aimed at a family audience! (And also one of the nicest people you’ll meet!)

Morgan’s Escapes: Mystery Times

Unlock the secrets of William Kidd’s lost treasure.

Based in Chester, England, Morgan’s Escapes creates classic escape games, special gift wrap to lock away presents, and murder mysteries too!

Photo (c) Puzzle Bundle UK

Code Bakers: Fudge Fiasco

Decipher the puzzles and discover what flavour fudge you’ve been sent to enjoy!

We’re drooling just thinking about this one already! Code Bakers are creators of delicious cakes that you’ll have to solve puzzles to unlock and eat. Earlier this year we played Code Bake – their original experience and we loved it. Here’s what to expect.

Don’t Eat Puzzles: Griddle

Combine the ingredients in the correct order to work out what’s cooking.

The creator of Don’t Eat Puzzles is an engineer with a laser cutter and a big imagination! If you enjoy tactile, wooden puzzles that make fantastic keepsakes – look no further than Don’t Eat Puzzles.

The White Tent Company: The Snowflake Snatcher Advent Mystery

Jack Frosts magical snowflake staff has been stolen. Without it there will be no snow this winter. Uncover a clue a day to crack the case before Christmas is cancelled!⁣

Wales-based The White Tent Company is a company specialising in live, immersive murder mysteries. They also have a range of at-home mysteries for armchair detectives to solve from the comfort of their own home.

Photo (c) Puzzle Bundle UK

Within the Story: The Vanishing Bride

Lady Calliope is missing; a killer has confessed, but something stranger is afoot. Solve the clues, discover the hidden endings, and find the vanishing bride!⁣

Within the Story are best known for creating Lost in the Machine – an escape room in a box with a delightful memento you can keep once you’ve completed the game.

Curious Cats UK: At the Movies

Journey through puzzles, clues and riddles to test your movie knowledge and lateral thinking.

If you like murder mysteries and deduction escape room games in a box… Then you’ll love Curious Cats UK! They have three games available, and we’re super excited about At the Movies!

The Puzzle Bundle UK can be purchased at any of the links in this article! But hurry – there’s a limited quantity and it’ll only be available until the end of the week.

Enigmailed: Undeliverable | Review

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Have you ever felt your delivery company are playing a puzzle game with you, holding your parcels and packages hostage? Well, now you can play this game in real life!

Undeliverable is another first of it’s kind from the UK-based puzzle makers Enigmailed. The best way to describe Enigmailed is probably ‘purveyors of puzzle gifts’, or perhaps ‘creators of puzzle games that absolutely defy categorisation’. I didn’t think it were possible to be as impressed as I was with Chocolateral but here I am again, sitting on the floor next to my letterbox with Undeliverable in my hand thinking “woah this is cool!”

How does Undeliverable work?

Remember back to the last time you were expecting an important parcel… You were so excited you checked your letterbox every day, and when you knew the postal worker would be on their route perhaps you even waited by the window. Until one day you turn your back to pour a cup of tea and hear the disappointing noise of a card through your letterbox:

“Sorry, we just missed you!”

Undeliverable is like this. Except rather than disappointing it’s a little more “Oh, I didn’t order anything… how exciting!”. It’s a series of cards through your letterbox that you weren’t expecting from a company you’ve never heard of. The most exciting part? It’s a puzzle game!

You are getting a delivery!

The first card I received was an inconspicuous looking card through my letterbox from Atraso letting my know they had my parcel at the Main Depot. Great! Except… I don’t remember ordering anything. Come to think of it, the closer I look the more peculiar this delivery notice seems. Not wo worry, I’m sure it’s legit.

A week or so later, another arrives. Hooray! My parcel is now at the Sorting Office. Plus there’s now a handy guide on the front showing the logistics of this mysterious Atraso shipping company, just in case I needed some more information. Very curious indeed.

A week later, it’s in the area hub! Oh so exciting – I can see the depot on a little map provided. My mysterious package must be close now, right?

Finally, the dreaded “Argh! We just missed you!” Typical!

Peculiar Parcel Puzzles

Each of the four cards in Undeliverable comes with a link to track your parcel – but it’s not as simple as this. To track your parcel the shipping company Atraso require your reference number, an additional digit, and three further (increasingly bizarre) pieces of information such as “A distressing call” or “An animal”.

To find this information, you need to look closely at the cards. Sometimes a puzzle jumps out immediately, other times it takes a little longer to realise that something isn’t quite right.

If you’re reading this review looking for answers, my best piece of advice is to say that everything is on the cards is there for a reason. Not a single bit of space is wasted and it helps to look really, really closely! If something feels out of place, it is.

On my first playthrough as part of an early play test I scored 69% (ayyy, no jokes). But the funny part is, I’m quite proud of that that score. Undeliverable is difficult! With no answers available (only a few clues), if you’re truly stuck your option is to submit your best guess and keep your fingers crossed.

The Verdict

Honestly? I had such a love / hate relationship with this little game when I played it. When I saw my friend Nick at Kent Escape Room Reviews playing it I was immensely jealous. He sent me a message one morning asking for a second opinion on how to solve a particular puzzle. Neither of us could crack it and then – a few days later – I received my own first card in the post and discovered that this one puzzle I’d been mulling over was just the tip of the difficult ice berg.

But difficult does not equal bad. Actually, Undeliverable is far from it. It’s brilliant and anyone playing it will immediately see how much love and effort has gone into making this a truly unique experience. There’s nothing quite like it on the market and whether you purchase it as a gift or just a treat for yourself, you won’t be disappointed.

Undeliverable can be purchased for £11 on Enigmailed’s website here and for a limited time you can also use the promocode MAIL10 for 10% off.

Ratings

Puzzle Post: The Split | Review

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Siena Sudlow hits upon her dream when a music producer spots her at an open mic night and asks her on tour with her favourite band. The dream doesn’t last long as she becomes embroiled in the scandalous activities of the lead singer, and the bands dispute with their management. Siena lives the high life for a wild week of photo shoots, award ceremonies and launch parties before the hearsay and gossip gets too much, the paparazzi is surrounding the hotel and she needs out. She stashes your message in an online vault and leaves a series of clues to reveal the passcode.

Rating: Challenging!
Completion Time: 52 minutes
Date Played: 8th May 2021
Party Size: 1
Recommended For: Music fans, puzzle aficionados!

What are rainy mornings for, if not puzzling? I received Puzzle Post in the post and waited the whole week for a ‘sunny day’ to play it on and take some lovely photos. But you bet it rained the whole week! So I took a hint from the universe, made a huge mug of hot chocolate, and got stuck into the The Split early on a windswept Saturday morning.

…And, actually this was just the ticket! Puzzle Post is set in an ‘alternate reality’ where the pandemic didn’t happen (I think). I say that because the dates on the puzzles in the game are March 2021 and the location is London. I was definitely here in London in March 2021 and things were still shut *sobs*, but being able to play this reminded me of the vibrant music scene in neighbourhoods like Soho…. Which is actually where I used to live! Woah! Small world. It was almost like the world was back to normal for the hour I played this… Almost!

How Puzzle Post Works

The Split is one of Puzzle Post’s harder games in their series, but the idea is the same as The Missed Flight: You purchase a copy and hide a hidden message in the game. This might be a video, or a plaintext message. Your message is then stored behind a login and a password, the latter for which is hidden in the game. So, when your recipient receives a mysterious envelope, they must first crack the code before they can access the message. So cool!

For this reason you should probably purchase a copy as a gift for a friend, rather than for yourself. But if you’re itching to play it, no judgement for ordering one for yourself, haha!

The Story

The story in The Split centres around the young Siena Sudlow, a musician invited to play with a band on tour – her dream job! But what she didn’t count on were all the paparazzi! She had intended to deliver a message from a mutual friend to you, but she’s trapped in her hotel, unable to go out without having cameras shoved in her face. Instead she stashes the message for you in a digital locker and, using the items around her, concocts a puzzle for you to gain access to the message.

After all, you wouldn’t want the message falling into the hands of any prying journalists, huh? Who knows if her email has been hacked. This way is much safer. It’s a good job I’m up to the challenge of solving puzzles. The funny thing is, my brother and I frequently snail mail secret codes to each other- mostly talking about our favourite type of cheeses. This feels a little bit similar. It’s unique, it’s a little old fashioned, and heck we can all agree its 100000% more fun to receive something in the post than an email anyway.

*partner disagreeing with me next to me on the sofa*

The Gameplay

If you’re familiar with Puzzle Post, you’ll probably know the drill by now! All of their puzzle experiences follow a similar route. It’s been a while since I last played one, so I have to admit I’m out of practice, but after using a clue to get me started on ‘where to begin’, I was off to a flying start!

Besides the introduction letter setting the scene, there’s no ‘instructions’ in the traditional sense of the word. These too, are a puzzle to be solved. The first big step is to find out the correct order. In this game there is one item in the pack that clearly suggests an order the others follow in.

From here, each puzzle solved will give a single or double digit code that when strung together makes a password. This part is important! It means you’re always looking for a simple, numerical solution. Don’t overcomplicate it – or maybe do overcomplicate it!

The Puzzles

The Split is supposedly the hardest of the Puzzle Post series so far – I’d definitely recommended for someone who is familiar with the ‘play at home escape room’ genre, or at least is fairly quick at picking these sorts of things up. However, even though it is the hardest, it’s not insurmountable. I used around 3 clues throughout the whole experience just to nudge me along in the right direction, and only got one of the numbers incorrect – something quickly rectified by going back and actually reading the puzzle properly! Oops!

A lot of the puzzles in this experience revolve around reading through things and properly understanding what is happening and what you’re looking for. For example I spent a long time looking through the magazine on completely the wrong page wondering whether something looked like Morse Code, only to realise I wasn’t thinking about the plot of the game. I’d missed the ‘real’ puzzle!

As it’s a physical game, a few of the puzzles relied in manipulating the materials you’re giving. A very clever jigsaw style puzzle gave one code, whilst overlaying items on top of each other gave me another code, and so on. In some parts, in an exciting twist, I got to venture out onto the internet in search of… Well, music, really! I thought that was a super cool touch and the puzzle that followed was definitely my favourite (and the one I got wrong the first time round! Haha!).

In short, there’s a lot to do. Even though there’s an order, you could follow this game fairly non-linearly. I played as a solo player, but I’d have enjoyed it just as much in a small team of 2, or even 3. There’s enough puzzles to keep people busy, and enough delightful “aha” moments to make the whole game exciting.

Overall

I enjoyed it a lot! I’m a big fan of Puzzle Post and they’re one of the few companies I keep seeing “out in the wild”. A friend recently received a copy of Missed Flight for her birthday and loved it so much she went on to order one for her friend, that friend enjoyed it so much that at dinner the other week we couldn’t stop chatting about it! It’s really cool and it shows that the word of mouth that surrounds Puzzle Post is excellent too!

Whenever one of my puzzle friends’ birthdays come up I absolutely wouldn’t hesitate to order an envelope (or 2, or 3), and the company even have a special kids game which my brother adored. The Split lived up to the hype and as ever, I’m so excited to see what Puzzle Post do in the future.

The Split can be purchased for £12.99 on Puzzle Post’s website.

Flatpak Calendar 2021

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With the help of hundreds of international customers working through the flatpak catalogue, the full scandal was revealed at the headquarters and our hero was freed from his captors. The senior managers are behind bars for corruption but it still remains difficult to trace all the embezzled funds and it seems there were severe irregularities in the pension fund.

If you’re a regular reader of The Escape Roomer, you’ll notice today’s post is a little different! This is because Flatpak 2021 Calendar isn’t a “Game”, as such it wouldn’t make sense to write up a regular review. How many players did I play this with? Well, probably everyone who visits my little flat in 2021. How long did it take me? The whole year!

So instead I’m going to talk through the Flatpak Calendar as a gift idea, or just something to treat yourself to going into 2021! I’ll talk you through what it is, what Flatpak is all about, why I love it, and what to expect from your calendar.

What is Flatpak?

If you’re looking at this (and Flatpak’s catalogue) and wondering why I’m talking about an Scandinavian furniture shop on my escape room blog you’d be… Absolutely correct to question me! The famous Scandinavian catalogue store “Flatpak” has a lot more going on than meets the eye. The calendar comes as a sequel to a catalogue where a series of hidden clues within the pages lead the eagle-eyed reader to a website trail of puzzles. There’s drama! Intrigue! Conspiracy! Oh, and furniture?

So where does the calendar fit in?

In this sequel, it’s your job to clear the name of our hero. Hidden throughout the pages of the calendar are clues. 12 bank accounts hidden around the world that, when deciphered, will surely clear our hero’s name? But only if you can solve them in time.

How to “Play”

As I’ve got my copy earlier than 2021 (and because I wanted to write this post) yes, I’ll admit, I have read ahead. I skimmed through the first couple of months solving what I could.

Each month you must find hidden bank details. You may only use what you can see on that month’s page. You’re looking for a country, a first and last name, an account number and a sort code. Sounds simple? Maybe! Truth is this one is HARD, but very, very rewarding.

I believe the calendar is best ‘played’ by hanging it in your kitchen, or your study (or wherever else you keep your calendar) and taking each month as it comes. When January is here – solve it! If you can’t do it all in one day, that’s okay too. Take your time and puzzle through each month. Yes, there are some cryptic hints at the back of the calendar but no answers given (that I’m aware), so it’s just you and the calendar.

That said, if you’re like me, there’s no shame in rushing ahead to try and solve as much as you can 😉

Who is this for?

You! Your friends! Your family! Colleagues? Sure. Anyone who you’re thinking about buying a gift for, really! People who like unusual calendars, or solving puzzles, or both?

Whoever you choose to buy this calendar for, I’d recommend picking up the Flatpak catalogue too (there’s a bundle of both which is currently on sale!). The Catalogue is the perfect introduction to the whole Flatpak experience. Plus, it gives your lucky recipient something fun to play on Christmas before hanging the calendar up and beginning their calendrical “Part 2”.

My Opinion

So far I’ve kept the article as factual as I can. But here’s the best part! What did I think of the calendar? I LOVE IT.

It’s beautifully made and looks very slick hanging on my wall. What’s more it’s creative and I think the only thing like it on the market. No doubt in a few year there’ll be tens of puzzle calendars to buy, but Flatpak has a special place in my heart for being the first and creating something so wonderfully elegant.

Objectively speaking too, it’s an absolute bargain. You literally get a YEAR’S WORTH OF PUZZLES. Yes, if this were an escape game I’d say “Completion Time: 365 Days”. That alone is brilliant and I cannot wait to turn back to January and start the adventure (for real) on New Year’s Day.

Flatpak 2021 Calendar can be purchased for £10.99 on Flatpak’s website. Readers of this blog can use promocode ROOMER10OFF for 10% off your order!

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