EscapeWelt: Blackbeard’s Compass | Review


Blackbeard’s Compass – the newest puzzle box from EscapeWelt, inspired by the adventures of the legendary Captain Blackbeard. The Blackbeard’s Compass includes various riddles, each unlocking the next, ultimately leading to a hidden compartment within the box. Don’t miss the exciting escape room experience, lots of fascinating riddles and new unique mechanics – sea knots, a treasure map and even a real compass! Chart your course, set your sails, and embark on a legendary quest!

All images on this page are (c) EscapeWelt

Date Played: 19th November 2023
Time Taken: 45 Minutes
Number of Players: 1
Difficulty: Medium/Hard

Good things come to those who wait, and EscapeWelt’s newest wooden box experience now live on Kickstarter was well worth the wait. My co-writers Karen and Georgie previously played other games by EscapeWelt, but as for me – I’m pretty new to the whole wooden ‘break into the box’ mechanic, so I was excited to get my hands on this. Unlike your traditional ‘escape game’ where (the clue being in the title) you escape, EscapeWelt boxes are all about breaking into something. In this case, breaking into the mysterious pirate-themed compass case. Start anywhere, play with anything, and see where you get. That’s how I imagine these things go anyway.

With that in mind, I set aside a quiet Sunday afternoon, put a film on in the background (my first Christmas film of the season, though I was tempted by the on-theme Pirates of the Caribbean), and got to work. As a neurodiverse person, I love having something in my hands to play with. I keep a rubix cube on my desk for long meetings- as yet unsolved, but very very well worn. So the idea of a puzzle box really appeals to me. It’s also compact and tactile. The whole thing sits so nicely in my hands with just the right amount of details to entertain the eyes as well as the fingertips.


EscapeWelt Blackbeard's Compass


The Treasure Trove of Tactile Puzzles

My only real problem with this box was… Well… Me. I went through a period in my life where I learned how to pick locks. A period of my life I took way, way too seriously. I mention it because I think my knowledge of how keys and locks actually work counted against me here. As the Christmas film played on in the background, I played around with the box listening for little, subtle wooden clicks that told me I was onto the right direction. There was something extra satisfying about this, and at times I even closed my eyes just to prove to myself I could solve a puzzle just by feeling it.

So… Did I solve the puzzles in the way the game wanted me to? No. But did I solve them all? Yes. In the wrong order? Oh yes. Was it fun? Oh my god yes.  The long and the short of it is, this means it’s really hard for me to be objective. Because I loved this, but I didn’t exactly solve it in the right way the creators expected someone to.

In fact, I ‘found’ Blackbeard’s Compass so early and completed my goal so soon that I had to go back and solve the puzzles I’d missed just for that sense of satisfaction afterwards.

I also later found that besides solving the wooden lock portions incorrectly, there was another part of the game which I ‘solved’ by doing the obvious thing and not doing the thing the game wanted me to do. So I think if I had any real criticism of this experience it was just that: The game wasn’t exactly clear on the ‘right’ way to solve it, and I found myself doing all the ‘not right’ ways, but getting the same success state. Some of those ‘not right’ ways were me just being me and wanting to solve it my own way. Other times, there just wasn’t the instruction to do it the other way.

But let’s bring it back to that central point – did I have fun? Oh yes. I’d buy another and do the same in a heartbeat.



The Quality of a Compass

Blackbeard’s Compass scores very highly on my quality scale. Even though one teeny tiny component was broken in my copy of the game. Which, I should add, didn’t affect the gameplay in the slightest and is easily fixable by myself at home with a little glue. The reason I give it such a high mark is twofold:

Firstly, I loved the physicality and feeling of the wood, there’s such an incredibly level of artistry that’s gone into the game and that’s clear. Secondly, the compass itself. Now, I don’t want to give any spoilers – but the game is called Blackbeard’s Compass, and so at some point a compass is involved. It’s a compass so beautiful and delightful the whole experience is worth it in among itself even if you buy it only because you want to own a cool compass.

The real question for me is whether I display it on my puzzle game shelf ‘closed’ or ‘open’ – it looks so cool in both ways, I can’t possibly decide.


The Verdict

Overall, I really enjoyed my experience with Blackbeard’s Compass. Even though I solved it ‘the wrong way’ and went back to figure out the puzzles later, I had a really good time doing so, and would actively look out for more games by EscapeWelt in the future.

At the time of writing, Blackbeard’s Compass is available via Kickstarter. The current pledge for UK backers comes in at £43, not including shipping which is estimated to be around £7. Excluding the fact this might be slightly lower than retail – which is customary with Kickstarter campaigns – it’s a fairly expensive game. For this reason I’ve given it a 3/5 on value, purely based on “how much fun I had” versus “regiftability factor” versus “how much I want to keep it because it looks on my shelf”. Basically, how much lifetime value will I get from this game for £50? It feels expensive, and I only played it for around 45 minutes. I’m not sure it’s worth it based on that metric, BUT it is very cool looking, and could (fairly easily – with the exception of one puzzle) be reset to gift on to someone else, if you wanted to. So do with that information whatever you will.


You can back Blackbeard’s Compass by heading to this link here.

We were sent a free, early access copy of the game by EscapeWelt though this has not affected our review.

PostCurious: The Morrison Game Factory | Review


The Morrison Game Factory is a narrative puzzle adventure that blends board games, escape rooms, and interactive fiction. New and experienced players alike will enjoy progressing through a charming story packed with puzzles and physical materials.

Number of Players: 2
Time Taken: 2 Hours
Date Played: October 2023
Difficulty: Medium

Spoiler Warning: This review mentions key plot elements of The Morrison Game Factory.

So, it turns out we’re big fans of PostCurious – a revelation that came frankly far too late in my ‘puzzle life’, when I think about all the years I was just out here like, never having played a PostCurious game before. I mean, did I really even know what a good puzzle game was until now, hmm. But now I know there’s only one thing to do about this fact, and that is play every single PostCurious game I can get my hands on as quickly as possible. So what’s a better way to ‘catch up’ on the catalogue than play the newest PostCurious games before it even launches! Wait what?! Well, this week on The Escape Roomer we were super lucky and incredibly grateful to be sent a copy of The Morrison Game Factory, a brand new Kickstarter game from the puzzletale creators.

The Morrison Game Factory is a sweet little puzzle game, a little shorter than the others from PostCurious but no less brilliant. It’s a powerful story, and one set in it’s namesake factory centred around a ‘board game printing machine’ that gains sentience. It also gets to go down in my private hall of fame as one of the only games which made me tear up. What can I say, I’m a sucker for a lonely little sentient robot. Move aside A.I. and Wall E, 3248 is  my new favourite lonely robot.

But first, a little background on the game and it’s creators.



The Morrison Game Factory, A Background

A while back I wrote an article on marketing tabletop puzzle games on Kickstarter, it was published on Medium but there’s a version here on The Escape Roomer. One of the most interesting (though perhaps not surprising) things I found was how prolific PostCurious is on Kickstarter. They’ve built up an incredibly solid fanbase over the years and now we’re at the point where a PostCurious game is guaranteed to fund within the first 24 hours, and probably go 200, 300% higher than that by the end. After a successful ‘remaster’ of Tale of Ord earlier this year, the latest Kickstarter launch is a collaboration game titled The Morrison Game Factory. This is probably where it gets quite interesting, because this would make The Morrison Game Factory is a new breed of PostCurious game. One not directly created by Rita Orlov, the company founder – but one designed by someone else and published under the label. It marks a bold and exciting new move for the company, and after playing this game, a trend I hope will continue and lead to even more brilliant games being made in the future.

Because, where The Morrison Game Factory really shines is in it’s story… And is that really surprising since the game’s collaborator is the popular Nebula-nominated Lauren Bello (a TV writer best known for her work on Apple TV+’s Foundation and Netflix’s The Sandman)? I suppose not! And it just goes to show what a powerful collaboration this is, and how much care and attention PostCurious put into picking a game to publish that just fits so well with their others. It’s true, it took me by surprise just how brilliant the story was – but that just served to remind me of how important story has been this far with the other games I’ve played by the same company. It’s safe to say that PostCurious really put the ‘puzzle’ in their self described ‘puzzle tale’ title.


@mairispaceship unboxing a new kickstarter board game: The Morrison Game Factory by PostCurious 👏 #boardgame #boardgames #kickstarter #kickstartergame ♬ Cafe / video cute lofi ♪ Chill(885831) – ImoKenpi-Dou


(please note, the above video was recorded before we played!)


Meet 3248, The Morrison Game Factory’s Sentient Computer

Now, there isn’t a huge amount of information on this game on the internet so far, so I’m going to describe the game with as few spoilers as possible. But I think it’s not possible to explain it without introducing the main character: 3248. 3248 is the technical name for one of the board game printing machines at the Morrison Game Factory, the game’s narrator, and it’s principle character.

The game opens with a letter from an unknown source, inviting you to investigate the Morrison Game Factory – an old abandoned factory. There, waiting on a conveyor belt and freshly printed was this very game you hold in your hand. It quickly becomes apparent that nobody left this game for you – no, it was printed after the factory was abandoned, by one of the very machines within it. A real mystery, and a real puzzle to solve. What follows is a dive into the past – the history of the factory, it’s workers, and it’s machines, as we retrace the breadcrumbs left behind across meeples, boards, locked boxes, and components from scattered board games past.

It’s a story about friendship, but also about loneliness… And it’s told through the actions you take and through the story you read. Yes, reading. So, there is quite a bit of reading to do in this game- not necessarily within the box itself, but more on the side of the web portal as the game unfolds. You’ll have to recover memories and read through in order to both advance the story and also understand what to do in the game. But despite my saying “quite a bit”, it’s also somehow simultaneously the “exact right amount of words” to tell a perfect story. The characters so believable, the story so happy and so heartbreaking. It’s *chefs kiss*



Puzzles Vs Storyline

So, let’s talk about those puzzles then.

The game is gentle in it’s puzzling. I won’t lie, we did use more than a few hints to get through it – but at no point did we feel lost about what to do. The hints were delivered in character and were helpful and straightforward with steps and instructions. As such the general lower level of difficulty, thorough signposting, and straightforward hints mean it’s probably a game quite suitable for a more generalist audience. The Kickstarter recommends the game for an audience of 14+. In my particular playthrough, I played it with my 14 year old brother, who absolutely loved the puzzles and the story. I think it would really depend on the child – but I found that neither the puzzles nor the story contained anything that would be difficult for a younger audience, except that the tale itself is complex and nuanced. But each to their own.

In terms of the styles of puzzles, it erred on the side of the logic style of puzzle I recognise from other PostCurious games – though that may be confirmation bias on my part. I notice logic style puzzles because frankly, I love them. I mean, I’m literally currently working on a videogame where the central puzzle style is the kind of “if this, then that, but not that” puzzle I can’t get enough of. So when they pop up in games I notice them.

Besides logic puzzles, there were also some fantastically delightful moments hidden in puzzles too. Think ‘showstoppers’. One in particular prompted some external materials in a moment of what I can only describe as pure science delight – resulting in us both gathering round the table and gasping in delight. I think these moments of puzzle-light but spectacular-heavy really pull a game like the Morrison Game Factory together nicely.

I will say that in our particular playthrough we encountered two minor, minor issues. One of them was a print error which has already been corrected for the general sale of the gamet. The second is that the game does require making a US phone call which did cause us some issue, being all the way over here in the UK. After some googling we couldn’t figure out an easy way to make the call other than… Well, the obvious… Just phoning it and paying the $$. We made the call as quick as we could, recorded it from another device, and hung up as fast as we could. It cost £0.16 on my phone plan (~$0.20). Not breaking the bank, but I only mention it as I know a lot of international phone plans don’t allow for international calls. There is a warning about this on the Kickstarter page, and the promise of a workaround if you’re unable to call the number – but it’s just worth keeping in mind!


The Verdict

The Morrison Game Factory has been one of my favourite games, at least so far in 2023. Which is saying a lot, since it’s already the end of October and I don’t think there’s anything else on my to-play pile that will pip it.

So why The Morrison Game Factory? For me, it’s the perfect blend of puzzles and story in a high quality box that is packed with retro illustrations, fun little meeples, and curious things to discover. I’d recommend this game for just about anyone, and if you’re reading this whilst the Kickstarter is still alive I implore you to back it.

At the time of writing, The Morrison Game Factory can be backed on Kickstarter in October / November 2023. After, it will be available on PostCurious’s website here.

Please Note: We were sent an early copy of The Morrison Game Factory to review ahead of the Kickstarter. As such, we weren’t charged for our experience. There also may be small differences between the version of the game we played, and the final print production edition. We’ve taken lengths to ensure that this does not affect the content of our review.


StreetHunt Games: Will Breaker | Review


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.



The Verdict

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.

Lost Sock Studio: Escape from Mystwood Mansion | Review


Escape from Mystwood Mansion| In this first-person puzzle escape room game, you are trapped in the mysterious Mystwood mansion. Explore the mansion and find hidden compartments while solving puzzles and deciphering codes to find a way out. Will you escape or linger to uncover the mansion’s final secret?

Developer: Lost Sock Studio
Date Played: September 2023
Console: Steam
Number of Players: 1
Time Taken: 100 minutes

I don’t know why but I get really excited when I see a new name or new game studio pop up in our little ‘escape room’ niche corner of the internet. So when I started hearing about Escape from Mystwood Mansion from the brand new studio “Lost Sock”, I was more than intrigued! Lost Sock are about as indie as it’s possible to get – they’re a game developer duo from Sweden and this is their first release. And, well, for a first release, I was super impressed! Tt’s polished, the puzzles satisfying, and it’s comfortable to play. It’s also very marketable. I mean, that spooky old mansion and launching right before Halloween, it’s *chefs kiss*.

But enough about the marketability of a game like Escape from Mystwood Mansion, and let’s get into the nitty gritty of why I enjoyed this game!


Deliver a Package to the Library or Face the Consequence

Escape from Mystwood Mansion opens with you, the protagonist, stepping out of your delivery truck with a package. You knock on the door, the door swings open, and very quickly you find yourself trapped. You are Test Subject Number 83, and it’s clear from the narrative of the game you’re not the first to be locked in by the house – nor will you be the last!

What follows is a classic escape room adventure as you move from room to room, solving puzzles, finding keys, cracking codes, and uncovering secret doors. Sometimes you’re breaking things too. I love breaking things.



At the very beginning, you’re given the instruction to “deliver the package to the library”. I actually never got to deliver the package to the library – I think I lost the package somewhere along the way, although I did (for a while) try to keep it with me. Whether this means I ‘won’ or not, I’m not sure, but I certainly escaped and so I’m calling my 110 minutes in the game a resounding success. I escaped from the library itself, as well as a lovely conservatory room, several secret (and slightly creepy) hidden passages, and the foyer.

Now, on my successful exit from Mystwood Mansion, I discovered a secret door that hinted that there were a few tiny details I had missed. At the time of writing, I’ve unlocked two out of the three secret locks to the secret room, and I’m thoroughly looking forward to going back and figuring out what is behind the mysterious final door. But for the meantime, the game is complete.

It’s very hard not to compare this game to Escape Simulator. Thematically, it’s quite similar to the Escape Simulator levels set in a spooky old mansion. The controls feel the same, the movement feels the same, and even a few puzzles are very similar. The game gives me the feeling of playing an Escape Simulator level, for example one from the vast wealth of community workshop escape rooms available on it’s platform. One of the most memorable puzzles in Escape Simulator was a ‘butterfly sequence’ puzzle in which you could move the butterflies around in order to complete the sequence. Now, sequence puzzles are common, but sequence puzzles specifically involving butterflies… Less so!


The View from the Butterfly Room


But for each ‘this is similar’ puzzle, there were countless others which were wholly original – so there’s a balance for sure. It also differs from Escape Simulator in a few marked ways. The levels are enormous, and each room rolls onto the other to build up a big picture of a large house. There’s an underlying story, and touches of light humour I really appreciated. Fans of Escape Simulator will love this.


Puzzling Through Mystwood Mansion

In terms of puzzles, I really enjoyed these. In fact, the puzzles were some of my favourite things in the whole experience. They really felt like escape room puzzles in the classic sense of the word. A few I recognised right away – there’s some pretty common ciphers in there, including Morse Code, Pigpen, as well as a few dashes of anamorphic text and negative space puzzles. But even then, there were plenty other puzzles I didn’t recognise at all and gave my brain a run for it’s money! Over the course of the game, I used very few hints – just a few to confirm what I already knew if something wasn’t working quite the way I expected.

Escape from Mystwood Mansion probably errs on the side of a little short for a game in the genre. For a seasoned escapist who wants to complete everything in the game, you’re looking at around 120 minutes. I took 110, with plenty of breaks, and didn’t quite complete everything. So let’s add on 30 minutes for “going back in and looking for hidden clues I missed”. To get 100% achievements, you’re probably looking at 3 hours. Each ‘room’ itself takes around half an hour to solve, so you’ve travelling through the game quite quickly.

I had almost no technical issues with the game. I say almost, because I did tweak the settings in order to make my playthrough slightly more comfortable (I like my mouse sensitivity as low as possible!), and secondly because I’m convinced that after searching a room top to bottom that a key item was missing – and needed to reset the level in order to find it in it’s place. Personally, I think the extra item disappeared into the ether. Knowing me I probably picked it up and moved it, but after a good 15 minutes of searching, I had no choice but to reset the room.



The Verdict

I’m giving Escape from Mystwood Mansion a solid 4.4/5. Yeah! That’s quite high, but I stand by it. I genuinely had fun playing the game. There’s been a big “escape room game” shaped hole in my life right now that nothing on Steam was quite scratching, and this game came along at the perfect time. It felt spooky, and cosy and exciting in all the right ways, and I felt the designers attention to detail was second to none. I’m also genuinely in awe that it’s the company’s first game. It had a really professional level of polish and I’m absolutely certain this game will be a success.

Is it perfect? No, of course not. But is it good? Yeah! It really is.

I’d recommend this game for just about anyone, but if you’re a big fan of physical escape rooms, this one is fantastic.


Please Note: We were offered a free Steam key in exchanged for an honest review. This does not affect the content of our review.

Escape from Mystwood Mansion can be downloaded from Steam.

Mystery Guides: The Mystery of the Gunpowder Snitch (York) | Review


Moments before Guy Fawkes lit his fuse an anonymous letter tipped off the authorities and foiled his dastardly plot… Who wrote the letter? Nobody knows, but a dusty diary found beneath the floorboards of an old York pub could finally expose him, and this is where you come in…

Date Played: August 2023
Time Taken: 3 Hours
Number of Players: 3
Difficulty: Easy

The Guy Fawkes Inn in York is famous for a couple of things. Firstly, the pies. Steak and ale with a beautiful pastry. Very tasty indeed. The other thing (arguably the main thing) is being the birthplace of Guy Fawkes – hence the name…

Yup, Fawkes is kind of a big deal around these parts. Him, Dick Turpin and Vikings. If you’re looking for a theme, then one of those three will probably do the job, and in The Gunpowder Snitch the notorious plotter’s deeds take centre stage.

Presented in a colourful, well-put-together booklet, The Gunpowder Snitch has you eliminating suspects, colours, seasons, and several other things Cluedo style until you are left with the pieces required complete the final puzzle. These allow you to discover exactly who was responsible for the writing of secret letters that, ultimately, foiled the plan. You do this by following a route, finding the relevant landmark, and then using it to somehow decipher a coded message before moving onto the next. Between the puzzles are background details, diary entries and antiquitorial titbits to help fill out the story.

Location, Location, Location

York is the perfect city for such an activity. It’s dripping in history – both horrible and otherwise – and you can’t kick a bush without several ‘most haunted’ pubs scurrying out. There are so many interesting nuggets lurking around, that this mystery barely covers a quarter of the famously condensed city, however that’s not to say there’s a lack of content. The distance travelled was just over three kilometres, took roughly three hours, and included many points of interest that could be missed easily as a tourist. In fact, even having lived there for over a decade, some of the plaques and shields that were required for the puzzles had somehow managed to evade us until this book pointed them out.


The Hunt for the Snitch

Following the clear directions on the pages will see you traverse a section of the famous walls, duck through a snickelway*, and witness plenty of other quirks. Though, if you wanted, you could easily stretch the experience out to a full day by exploring on your own between clues.

Usefully, when the planned routes presented potential hurdles (no dogs allowed or the steepest, narrowest stairs ever created) an alternative was always provided. Though, York can get extremely busy at weekends and some of the areas you need to pass through are obstacle enough in themselves. Especially if you’re looking to stop, stare and ponder instead of being pushed along with the crowd. One puzzle required us to locate and read something that was literally being smothered by a street performer and the huge crowd that had gathered to watch. Another was in one of York’s smallest and busiest streets where every molecule of space was filled with people queuing to secure themselves a small pottery ghost**. Thankfully this has been thought of and, as well as further hints on the back of the book, the clues are available via QR code should you simply be unable to reach your desired destination.


York-based Family Fun

The challenges themselves shouldn’t tax seasoned puzzlers. Most of the tasks are simply a case of finding a particular object and substituting letters for symbols in one form or another. It’s fairly basic, but that’s by design. The bright colours and cartoony Horrible Histories feel telegraphs the experience as one for the family and kids will love searching for clues and helping with some of the easier decoding. There’s certainly a little something for the adults too, though… As well as starting and ending in two of York’s oldest pubs, there are another two visited along the way, offering suitable points to sit, grab a drink and – in our case – argue about what Minerva was the goddess of*** without succumbing to Google. Fun times.

The Verdict: The Mystery of the Gunpowder Snitch

This isn’t a breakneck, high-octane race around York full of fiendish puzzles. It’s a great family day out. It’s also an excellent way to see some of the sites if you’re visiting for the day and partial to the odd anagram. If that’s what you’re after, then you’re sure to have a great time.



* Essentially a narrow street. A portmanteau of snicket, ginnel and alleyway. Legend has it that the Barghest roams them waiting to prey on lone travellers, so maybe bring a friend.

** The York Ghost Merchants on the Shambles benefitted from their model ghosts going viral on TikTok. They are VERY popular.

*** Loads of oddly unrelated stuff, apparently. Including justice, weaving, wisdom, medicine, trade and strategy. It’s no wonder we couldn’t pin it down.


The Mystery of the Gunpowder Snitch can be purchased from Mystery Guides website here.

Note: We were not charged for our experience but this does not affect our review.

Bowness Escape Room: Down to the Wire | Review


Down to the Wire Review | Being in Russia undercover for the government isn’t easy at the best of times. Especially during the Cold War. Even more especially when someone has tipped off Russian intelligence about you….and they aren’t very happy. Wanting to destroy your work; and everything attached to it. You have one hour to save yourselves, and all your secret findings. The Countdown is on. Tick tock.

Date Played: 24th August 2023
Time Taken: 40 minutes
Number of Players: 2
Difficulty: Medium



Whenever I go on holiday, wherever it is in the world, I look and see if there are any local escape rooms. For a sunny week in August my family had booked a trip up from London to the Lake District, and being just an hour away in Edinburgh I thought I’d come along to escape the Edinburgh Fringe. There’s something so lovely about taking a week away to work in little cottage in the middle of absolutely nowhere, miles from the nearest tiny town. So what I wasn’t expecting to find was… An escape room!

I’ll be super honest. I almost didn’t book the room. The bus to get there would take an hour from where we were staying, and it only ran 5 times a day (so if we missed it we’d be screwed). To make matters worse, whichever bus we took we’d be arriving into Bowness 5 minutes after our room was meant to start. On top of that I made the mistake (or enthusiast judgement) of looking up other enthusiast reviews before. Other enthusiast reviews were… Not great. One reviewer said it was one of their least favourite rooms in the UK. Sheesh. That bad? So I chewed up whether I’d book it or not over the whole week. Until, on the very last day of the trip, I thought “What the heck, when else will I ever be in Bowness?! Lets just do it.” Besides, I only ever book good rooms, and I kinda wanted to see what a not-good room might be.

But on that front, I was disappointed. You know why? The room (or the company) wasn’t bad at all. Not in the slightest! It was lovely. Welcoming, super accommodating, and the room was the perfect example of making a fun, light-hearted experience on a small local budget. If asked, I’d probably even recommend it. But let’s get into all the specifics.

What to Expect at Bowness Escape Rooms

Bowness Escape Rooms is located in the heart of Bowness, just a short walk from most of the town’s bus stations. If you’re in town for a walking holiday, plenty of bus routes go through Bowness, so it’s a fairly conveniently location for the Lake District. On the other hand, if you live in the area then – oh my god you’re so lucky it’s so pretty – you may already know all about Bowness Escape Room and how to get there. Either way, despite my earlier bus complaint, it’s a convenient location.

The entrance is located on Lake Road (not Quarry Rigg, as Google Maps indicates), and is a part of a little stretch of cute shops and cafes. At this site, they run two rooms:

  • Cutting Room
  • Down to the Wire

We only had time for one, so we picked the less scary Down to the Wire, though it is worth noting that Cutting Room can be made less spooky if you want.

In our case we were running late, but the team were super responsive via Facebook and gave our GM a heads up that we’d be running a little late. It seems like they have bookings comfortably spaced apart and so despite showing up a whole 15 minutes late, we didn’t feel at all rushed.

Our Games Master was the enthusiastic Raphael (or Raffi for short) – please excuse spelling! Raffi greeted us at the door and had us wait in the waiting room with a couple of ingenious puzzles to play around with. Then came the usual briefing (no force, nothing high up, don’t poke the plug sockets, and so on), before we were transported back into the Cold War and off to a flying start.



Down to the Wire

Down to the Wire begins with you, the players, contained in a separate space from the main room. It’s a classic ‘escape into the room’ beginning, where everything you’ll need to use is tantalisingly just out of reach, and you need to figure out how to break into the main game area. Here, we were greeted with a few linear puzzles. Solve one, gain access to the second, and so on. Now, I’m a complete sucker for something slightly gimmicky that tests your skill level rather than puzzle solving level – but I know these aren’t always the most popular. There’s something that happens in this first room which we found brilliantly fun, but we definitely were lucky with our skill.

After only a little bit of faffing, we finally escaped ‘into’ the main room, and from there the game was truly afoot. With the theme being the Cold War, our central goal was to deactivate a bomb that stood in one corner ticking away in the background. There were a number of things we needed to do before we could get to the bomb. A number of locked boxes, some padlocks, and a tantalising class case in one corner with plenty of puzzles inside it.

We managed to ‘beat’ the bomb in around 40 minutes. There were a few notable places we could have shaved some time off, but besides trying to make up for showing up 15 minutes late, we weren’t especially in a hurry.

Overall, the puzzles felt fun. The entire room is linear, meaning it’s less practical for a larger team, especially where a few puzzles can really only be solved by one or two people at the time. There were also one or two where the solution was in fact something much more obvious than we thought, where we’d spend a while trying to ‘solve’ a puzzle when the solution was staring us in the face. Similarly, a few maths puzzles where the real answer wasn’t the complicated thing we were trying to do. But overall, they clicked with us. I can see how some groups – especially enthusiasts – might be frustrated with some elements of the room, and so maybe I wouldn’t recommend it to a super, super enthusiast, but for our little two player team it clicked well.

In terms of decor, this room is painted a sleek Cold-War military green and white. It looks mostly like a scientist’s office, with books on the table and test tubes and microscopes dotted around. Similarly, there’s a little Cold War bleakness. It’s furnished fairly sparsely and most of the puzzles or locked boxes you need are on display around you. That’s not to say there weren’t a few surprise reveals – there were, such as a keycard being swiped in just the right place to trigger a secret door… But generally speaking we knew where each ‘secret door’ was hiding from a carefully concealed wire behind tape, or a slightly fraying design that had definitely been handled a lot. All that to say, not a bad thing, just a thing. It felt on the low budget side, but what it lacked in fancy decor it made up for in enthusiasm and love.



The Verdict

We enjoyed Down to the Wire! It was an unexpected bonus onto a non-escape room holiday. It wasn’t a perfect room, but for a little hidden treasure found deep into the countryside, we were greeted cheerily and enthusiastically, and found in the room a lot of love and a few clever puzzles along the way. It’s not going to wow enthusiasts, and it’s best not to go in with super high expectations, but for us it was the perfect way to spend a morning. I’d recommend it for anyone in the area who wants a fun challenge!


Down to the Wire is one of two escape rooms that can be played at Bowness Escape rooms in the Lake District. You can book it here.

Mystery Guides: The Midnight Body Snatcher (Edinburgh) | Review


Old Town Edinburgh Treasure Hunt Review| In 1695, Edinburgh’s Old Town was haunted by a mysterious grave robber known as the ‘Midnight Body Snatcher’, who when supply ran out.. turned his hand to murder!

Date Played: July 2023
Time Taken: 3 Hours
Number of Players: 2
Difficulty: Easy

Here at the Escape Roomer we all kinda have that one thing we write about “the most”. For example, I actually don’t write about (or play) nearly as many escape rooms as my co-writers. But what I do obsessively play are outdoor puzzle trails. The moment I spot a new one on the market, come rain or shine I’m out there with a pen and paper ready to explore. There’s just something so much fun about combining puzzles with exploring an urban space. You get to see things in a new light, you learn historical facts, and you get a pretty fun work out too…

*cough cough*

…Well, this particular trail gave me quite literally the work out of my entire life. But even that was kind of cool in itself!

So when I heard about Mystery Guides, I had to get my hands on one. They sounded absolutely awesome. And you know what? They were! But wait, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s go back to the start.


So, what are Mystery Guides all about?

Mystery Guides is a company based out of Portsmouth. They’ve got that small, independent feel, and you can tell the creator really loves what he does. Fast forward a few years from their foundation and now Mystery Trails has setup popular trails in many, if not most major cities around the UK. Luckily for me, one of those trails is in Edinburgh.

The format of a Mystery Guide is fairly straightforward. With your order you’ll receive a physical, printed clue book. These books are lovingly illustrated and come packed with puzzles that guide you around the city. With each new puzzle section, there’s a snippet of map showing you where to go next, the actual clue to be solved, and then a snippet of story. In our case, this was in the form of diary entries. Many clues also had local information about the history of the area, or useful tidbits about local businesses / street names / and fun facts.

The games are very much intended for single-use, as you’ll need to write all over them to solve the puzzles.



The Midnight Body Snatcher

In our case, the Old Town Edinburgh Treasure Hunt was a story about “The Midnight Body Snatcher”. Set in the cold winter of 1695 where the streets of the city were gripped by tales of a shadowy body snatcher. In true Burke and Hare fashion, we were hot on the heels of a body snatcher trying to figure out exactly who they are thanks to environmental clues.

I say “hot on the heels”, but what I actually mean was that we were playing in 2023. A new piece of evidence in the 300 year cold case has proven to be the key we need to figuring out who the body snatcher was. The fact he’s probably been dead for centuries didn’t detract from the real sense of urgency to solve the case. And for that, it was a lot of fun.

In terms of gameplay, the Midnight Body Snatcher sort of plays out like a logic grid. Well, sort of anyway. There isn’t too much ‘logic grid’ to it, but the idea is there are:

  • Five suspects
  • Five symbols
  • Five colours
  • Five items of jewellery

And with each puzzle solved you can eliminate one of these. The puzzles were a mix of more well known puzzle styles, and ones that were totally unique to the environment. But, in most cases we arrived at a landmark and had to use the physicality of the landmark to solve. Sometimes that meant looking at a plaque, other times it meant counting the letters, or getting up close and personal with a particular landmark to try to find a hidden detail on it.

At first I was a little surprised the categories of “symbol” and “jewellery” felt… Well… Quite random. But then as we neared the finale it all fell into place beautifully with the local history, in a satisfying and fun climax.


Puzzling around Edinburgh City

I played this game in a team of two with my co-writer Rebecca. The game arrived, and no sooner than it did we made a plan to play together on the next Sunday. The fact the weather forecast said it was due to rain all day almost put a dampener on our plans – but not quite. Because it turned out the weather forecast was completely and utterly wrong, as it was a beautiful sunny day. So sunny, we even stopped for ice cream!

If we had just one criticism about the whole experience, it would have more to do with the city than the game, and that was: THE HILLS. I’m writing this review days later and my calves are still aching. Yes, yes, Edinburgh is a hilly city. I live here and I’ve made my peace with it. But The Midnight Body Snatcher took us up and down and up and down and up and down. The whole thing takes place within a fairly small “central city” area. The beautiful old town around the Royal Mile. We began at the Royal Mile, then went up, then down, then back up to the Royal Mile, then back down the other side, then back up the Royal Mile. It’s a good job I don’t skip leg days at the gym.

But one of the good things about Mystery Guides is that the experience is entirely self-led. If you need to take a break, you can. In fact, our trail offered three opportunities to take a break in pub stops.



The Verdict: Mystery Guides Edinburgh

We really enjoyed Mystery Guides’ Edinburgh Trail. There’s fewer pleasures in life than spending time in the sunshine with a friend.

We’d in particular recommend it for families – it struck just the right balance of educational vs fun in an almost Horrible Histories style, and we felt the style of puzzles that pushed us to search about the physical environment would go down a hit with a younger audience. We would also recommend setting aside a full day for this. It does recommend around 3 hours to finish, but there’s so much to see and so many wonderful places you might want to stop and stay a while in. Plus that will definitely break up the hill-climbing!



The Old Town Edinburgh Treasure Hunt can be purchased from Mystery Guides website here.

Note, we were not charged for our experience but this does not affect our review in the slightest.

Cambridge Escape Rooms: Heaven and Hell | Review


Heaven and Hell Review: Ever wondered what happens when you die? Does heaven exist? What if you’re sent to hell? As mere mortals we do not have the answers to these questions, but now you have the opportunity to find out. You will enter a state of hibernation. This will last for one hour and give you the chance to explore the afterlife. After your adventure you will need to use a defibrillator to return to life. However the defibrillator only works for one hour! If you do not find it in time, you may be stuck in hell forever! It could also be heaven, but in this case it’s nearly the same thing…

Date Played: June 2023
Time Taken: 46:52
Number of Players: 3
Difficulty: Easy-Medium

Content Warning: Death

When Al and Ash of Escaping the Closet recommend a game to me – I know I’m in for a treat!

This was exactly what happened when I mentioned in passing that I was travelling to Cambridge to play a few escape rooms.

“Oh, you’ve got to try Heaven and Hell while you’re there!”

Oh yes. You can be absolutely sure that this was the first room we booked – and in fact, the very room we planned the trip around!

Visiting Cambridge was also a super fun trip because I was playing with one of my co-writers, Georgie! Since moving up to Edinburgh I don’t get down South as much, and so we wanted to make the most out of a brief visit for my birthday and play as many escape rooms as we could possibly cram in on a sunny Wednesday afternoon. After a brief stop for lunch, the third in our trip was the ever-exciting and mysterious Heaven and Hell.

Cambridge Escape Rooms is tucked away off a busy road near a bus stop a short ride from the station. Buses run regularly so you can be fairly safe in both getting there by bus and getting back on bus as well. The lobby space is welcoming, and there’s physical puzzles you can play with whilst you wait – and the usual shelves of play at home puzzle games if you’d like to buy one and take one home with you.


As Above, So Below

A question enthusiasts love to discuss is “which escape rooms have the most exciting ending?“. But with Heaven and Hell I’d like to submit it for the discussion category of “escape rooms with the most exciting BEGINNING“. You see, Heaven and Hell is a game played in the afterlife… Hence the name. So in order to enter the escape room you’re going have to die. Yep, I’m sorry to be the one to break it to you. I just hope you’re ready to meet your maker.

Getting the pesky concept of “dying” out of the way, what followed was an exciting journey through the after life and indeed – to Heaven, and Hell. Our central goal throughout our trip was to come back to life. And of course, as expected, we had just one hour to complete this goal within else risk being trapped on the other side forever.

*dun dun dunnn*



Heaven and Hell wasn’t always available at Cambridge Escape Rooms. In fact, the room was originally created by E-Exit in Budapest. The room has been lovingly recreated here in the UK, but from what I can tell from a quick Google online, Cambridge Escape Rooms has added their own twist on it. Whilst many, if not all of the puzzles are exactly the same, the set design itself seems to have had an overhaul. This is at least based on some photos I found of the Budapest version, and my own memory of being in this room.

Which is interesting, because the set was definitely the thing I loved most about this room. From the fun technology, to the “wow moments” every time we opened up a new door and discovered a new part of the afterlife, lovingly rendered in fluffy white clouds (or indeed the flames from the bowels of hell). Heaven and Hell as an experience was a really pretty one. Always something new to look at and always something fun to discover.

It’s almost impossible to choose between a favourite moment in the room – the hell portion, or the heaven portion, or even the exciting moments that built up to those two. There was something uniquely magical about stepping into the heaven room, all fluffy clouds and white doves. Equally, some of the interactions with the set in the hell portion were hilariously good fun. What can I say? I enjoy being in hot places being prodded by devils with pitchforks*

*there aren’t actually any devils prodding you, don’t worry!


Note: This is a photo from the Budapest edition of this room which differs in set design from the Cambridge version.


In terms of the puzzles, these were smooth sailing. Well, mostly. We were actually stumped on the very first puzzle for the longest time, which wasted a large amount of time we rushed to catch up on after. But a little nudge from our Games Master and we were off on our way.

We found that we didn’t get too stuck on anything after this point, which is probably why we’ve given this an Easy-Medium rating. Medium for that one puzzle, and Easy for everything else. There was a mixed bag. Some of the puzzles were a little too easy to bypass for my liking, and a few others felt a little contrived, but for each that didn’t totally click with us there were plenty which absolutely did.



Heaven and Hell: The Verdict

The original Heaven and Hell in Budapest is an immensely popular game, and this version of it in the UK has been faithfully recreated in case anyone can’t make the trip out to Central Europe. We really enjoyed our experience at Heaven and Hell, and spent a lot of the trip back into London discussing which was our favourite of the two we played at Cambridge Escape Rooms, this one or The Secret Clubhouse.

In terms of accessibility, there were several moments of big claustrophobia. One of them seemed to be compulsory for every player – although if you let the venue know in advance, they’ll let you skip this part. The others were optional, in that you can pick one member of your team to be the sacrifice and get in the small space. In our team, I was that person – but hey I kinda enjoy the small spaces! There is also a smoke machine in this room which can be disabled if you request it.

I’d recommend this escape room to anyone who can make the trip over to Cambridge. It’s a very unique experience and well worth it!


Heaven and Hell can be booked at Cambridge Escape Rooms. This room is also available at some sites in Madrid and Budapest.

Prestige Escape Rooms: The Witch’s Lair | Review


Prestige Escape Rooms: The Witch’s Lair | Our lovely game-designer, Francesca, has gone missing. The Witch’s Lair was the last room that she was working on. She was researching the history of witchcraft in Lowestoft in the 1600s. Whilst Francesca was designing the game, she changed. Just days before we were due to open the game, she vanished. We have decided with a heavy heart to open this game to the public in the hope that one of you will be able to find some clues about what could have happened to her.

Date Played: January 2023
Time Taken: 58:58
Number of Players: 4
Difficulty: Medium

Another one of Prestige’s digital escape rooms in the bag. And… With just two minutes to share on the clock – that’s what I call a picture perfect finish! Sure, we might not be breaking any records with our time in The Witch’s Lair, but it’s always extra satisfying to finish on the clock perfectly.


Photo (c) Prestige Escape Rooms


The Witch’s Lair is the second of Prestige Escape Rooms we tried of an evening in January. Why am I writing this review in April? Well, the room was just so memorable, I really wanted to talk about it. For starters – there’s the frog. That. Frog. Secondly, the story was one of the most unique I’ve experienced. And last but not least, but puzzles were great fun.

We opted to play this room in the ‘digital’ format, which means when you check our you receive a code to play immediately. This code is hosted on Telescape and can be shared around with your teammates. Essentially it amounts to a digital, 360 degree, point-and-click version of the real life brick and mortar room. If for any reason you can’t travel to Lowestoft, playing from the comfort of your own home is second best. Or first best, if you’re a homebody that likes to play her escape rooms wrapped in a cosy jumper and a glass of wine, like me. It also gives me the opportunity to play with some of my favourite people – Alice and Ash of Escaping the Closet, and our friend Tasha.

Once we entered (the word ‘enter’ being quite loose here – more like logged on to) the Witch’s Lair we were immediately struck by the well-crafted and immersive atmosphere. I could tell through a screen that this escape room has a lot of love put into the decor and set design. Recreating the atmosphere of a Witch’s Lair in a digital format can’t be easy, but they were spot-on in creating a spooky and intriguing setting that immediately drew us into the game’s story. The atmosphere was eerie and dark, with an authentic witchcraft theme that made it feel like we were in the middle of the 1600s.

The story of this experience breaks the fourth wall a little and I love that. The game’s game designer Francesca has gone missing! After researching witches and history, something peculiar is afoot. After much deliberation the owners of the escape room decided that their best hope of finding Francesca is to open the escape room up to the public and see if anyone from the public can figure out what happened and save Francesca. Hold on a minute, is this for real? Haha!

What followed was an hour of puzzle solving. As a whole, the game was fairly linear – in that it felt like our team of four were working on the same things at the same time, occasionally breaking up into two smaller groups to puzzle out something in more detail. The room erred on the side of more lock heavy – there were all sorts, 4 digits, 5 digits, letter locks, and so on. Each time we unlocked a lock, we found more evidence to continue on the hunt for Francesca.


Photo (c) Prestige Escape Rooms


What I imagine happens in the in-person room was a little more magic that’s always a little harder to recreate on Telescape. There were a few moments when our actions triggered something open – but it would take us a second or two longer to figure out exactly what, rather than the magic of having a door swing open in front of us. But generally speaking, everything worked really well. The inventory system, the navigation, and of course the puzzle solving.

The highlight of the game for all of us was the frog. Actually, it’s funny, for most of the game I had my PC on silent – and the rest of my team kept saying “Can you guys hear a frog”. I thought everyone was losing their mind, until halfway through I decided to turn my volume up and declared loudly, “Wait! There’s a frog!!” Of course, the frog came to be very integral to the story, but also comic relief as we sped through the puzzles.

As a fun fact I learned after the experience from talking to THE Francesca by email (don’t worry, we saved her in the end!) was that in real life she’s terrified of frogs and toads, much like in the game. I particularly love that the designers created a scary room, featuring something they actually are afraid of. It’s a nice touch! I’m not sure if I have any tangible fears like that myself. Perhaps my greatest fear is the “never-ending existential worry about wasting ones own life”. Hey wait, maybe there’s a fun escape room theme in that!

Jokes aside, The Witch’s Lair was a really enjoyable room. Especially this ‘late’ into the trend of companies digitizing their escape rooms so people can play them remotely, to discover a new one that’s both refreshing and fun is a hidden gem to me. I’d recommend this escape room to anyone! Friends, families, newbies and experts alike. Just beware… The frog!

You can play The Witch’s Lair in person or digitally by booking via their website here.


Eleven Puzzles: Unsolved Case | Review


A new lead turns up old doubts about an ‘Unsolved Case’. A trap, or a copycat killer? In this co-op puzzle game prequel to the award-winning Cryptic Killer series, put on your detective badges as you collaborate and communicate to crack the codes, solve the riddles, and catch the Cryptic Killer.

Date Played: April 2023
Number of Players: 2
Time Taken: 30 mins
Difficulty: Easy

Although we became very familiar with digital escape rooms over the course of the pandemic, it’s been a while since I’ve played one. Last year I covered “Parallel Lab” by Eleven Puzzles, and greatly enjoyed it, so when I saw they had just released a new (free!) game, I absolutely had to play it. This is actually the first part of a larger game set to be released soon, which is even more exciting!



The Premise

Much like their previous game, this game requires two players on separate devices. This game actually supports cross-device playing, which meant I was able to Skype my mum and play on my computer, while she used her iPad, which she is more used to than playing on a computer. Part of the reason I love the Eleven Puzzles games so much is their ease of play – you are not tied to what the other person is doing and are fairly free to roam and interact as you like, and the gameplay is pretty much just point and click, so no tricky key combinations to figure out – any difficulty is just about the puzzles themselves!

In ‘Unsolved Case’ we return to the partnership of Ally and Old Dog, who have just received a mysterious briefcase each in their own apartments. These apartments happen to be fairly similar, and hold all the clues needed to crack the case open…



The Puzzles

All the puzzles in this game require cooperation, not just one or two. However, they’re also unique and creative in the way they require this teamwork. Certain puzzles may require you to do the same thing, with different results, while others require the sharing the information. One thing I noted as we played was how well-balanced these puzzles were – I never felt like I was missing out on the ‘aha’ moments, and similarly didn’t feel I was encountering them all. If there was ever a puzzle where I felt my mum was having all the fun, there was soon to be a similar puzzle where the role was reversed (although different enough that it wasn’t a cut-and-paste).

example with minor spoiler

At one point there is a puzzle that required my mum to essentially work out a maze (I think), and all I did was click a button to go left, right or forward. However, there was also a similar puzzle where I had to figure out which ‘doors’ to open or close and all my mum had to do was click a button with specific colours on. It’s a great example of balancing the gameplay with similar experiences, without it feeling identical.



In fact, I thought a lot of the puzzles were really well done – they were all creative while still being logical, if not too simple. At each stage, there is a padlock to unlock the next part of the story, with icons clearly showing which puzzles to solve to find the numbers. This meant we knew what we were doing and worked our way through each, even directly affecting each other’s rooms while doing so, which was a really fun.



The Verdict

I really enjoyed playing this – the playability was easy, puzzles were fun and interesting and it’s got a neat, comic book style. It’s a shame it was so short, but as it’s free I think this is a minor point! I would also say it would’ve been nice if there were slightly more independent puzzles too, to make it slightly less linear and bring a little more freedom. Overall though this is a really fun game to play, especially if your teammate is long distance, and I can’t wait to play the full game when it’s released soon!

Unsolved Case is free to play, and available on Steam, Android or iOS.