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Season 3, Episode 3: Ancient Mysteries • Mobile Escape • Mail Subscription Puzzle Service Review


Season 1, Episode 3: Ancient Mysteries

from

Mobile Escape (Based In Canada)


◣ GAME'S SpecS

🕹️ Stay At Home Games » On Hand Items Required » Mail Subscription Puzzle Service

💪 Rated as hard by company. (Easy and regular setting also available.)

⏲️ No time duration specified.

🔢 No capacity specified.

💬 Hint system via hint page. Users can reveal little bit of nudges at a time, until finally the solution.

📝 Game requires mail contents, internet, QR scanner, scissors, tape, flashlight, or more. Check for details.

🛒 If you PURCHASE GAME due to this blog, please give EscapeMattster.com a shout out! ;)


MATTSTER'S TAKE

💪 Difficulty: For Matt's team of 1, easy, 3/10. Could've skipped hints had I examined every part of the temple.

🔢 Ideal Team Size: 1. Puzzle contents is comparably less for this episode. Not enough to go around multiple players.

🤷‍♂️ Best Fit For: Those who are proficient at crafts, or those who like an "Indiana Jones" archaeology theme.

🍵 Boils Down To: A paper art project followed by explorers theme puzzles, most of which follows a grid like chart.

😶 Overall Rating: This episode fell a bit flat for me, mostly because I wanted more puzzles! More, please?



Premise

You came to JJ’s aid in Episode 2, and now he needs your genius once again! He has made his way to the site of the treasure, but he’s stumped. He has sent you scans of the temple layout along with all of his knowledge pertaining to the Joro people. Can you solve the puzzles and decipher the code?


Analysis


Grab Your Adventurer Fedora, We're Heading For The Jungle


I genuinely look forward to receiving Mobile Escape's mail every month, a coveted sentiment not shared by most by-mail puzzle subscription service. What sets Mobile Escape (ME) apart is the engaging narrative baked right into game play. Much like a soap opera series, I am (metaphorically) dying to find out what's next, in Episode 3, "Ancient Mysteries".


Somewhere else on the globe, however, cousin JJ may (literally) face mortal dangers with just one move miscalculated. With unknown and hostile enemies hot on his trail, he's arrived at the site of our long-lost treasure, just barely several steps ahead. He's sent you a postcard and to-scale scans of the Granje Temple on Joro Island--time to get mystery solving. Once again, your cos provides the brawn, and you give him the brain. Family power, unite!


As predicted, I am captivated by this series's intriguing, developing plot. I am also impressed by the ongoing shift in setting and game play, a signature of this company's Escape Mail I've come to cherish. Thus far, it manages to cover 3 more or less common escape room tropes, first pirate, then undersea, and now ancient archaeological site adventure. This chapter also dabbled into a new territory of hands-on arts and crafts... How well will this work out?



An Ancient Sacred Temple, Some Assembly Required


I remember initially being beyond ecstatic for this installment to include an actual miniature "replica" of the fictitious historical locale; I honestly thought, "Hey, what a cool feature!" Nonetheless, my excitement promptly dissolved upon the actual task of having to reconstruct the ancient architecture.


You see, I totally forgot that I have zero talent in Arts period during grade school. God did not bestowed upon my fingers the ability to operate scissors with grace or to fold paper with sharp precision. Or perhaps it is my own sense of entitlement of expecting everything should be done for me, instead of by me, in an age where everyone has grown accustomed to the idea of absolute convenience.


Whatever the case may be, frustrations grew as I painstakingly assembled my paper version of Granje Temple, a first that I've felt with a ME product. It took me roughly 20 minutes to finish the job. (Yes, I was slow.) When it was finally done, an almost exact polar opposite rush of feelings immediately consumed my mind--did I actually do it? Did I make... ART?! The sense of accomplishment taking over is almost worth the ordeal. Almost.



An Ancient Exploration, Too Limited And Too Short


Once the stage is set, players are tasked to uncover the true meanings behind 8 myths (aka puzzles) of the indigenous Joro people. This actual puzzle portion was overall still enjoyable. Nevertheless, because the entire scenario is so focused on uncovering the hidden messages from within the temple, this limited the variety of challenges possible.


Specifically, every key element presented itself in the form of painting on rocky surfaces of the temple chamber, which quickly became monotonous. Riddles repeatedly relied on either "counting what you see", or "let's see which tile you end up at" to truly carry an exhilarating momentum in my 30-minute research. Considering how I spent a comparable amount of time building the replica, this felt regrettably short. More mysterious to resolve would've helped mask any shortcoming.


But to say I did not have fun is a gross misrepresentation, because I did. To illustrate, one puzzle invites the participant to take on the actual perspective of an explorer first stepping afoot the site through its main gate. With my head lowered onto the table, and my one eye actually staring through my temple's tiny entrance way, GASP! I see the answer! What a glorious moment! Alas, perhaps, we needed more of those magical moments.


My actual Temple. With my skills, I'm surprised it didn't fall apart in minutes!


Final Thoughts


I typically spend an hour cracking codes and conquering puzzles with each Escape Mail offering, but for "Ancient Mysteries", half of that time was invested in making a prop, and the other half spent actually gaming was too little reward returned. While I hate to fault the company for daring to try something different, not all experiments yield perfect results.


At least, I take solace in ME's consistent production value, because look, my proud little art project still looks pretty damn snazzy. And most important of all--I made it. :)


Tips

★ If you're having a hard time with a certain "noble horse", think of it as a knight on a checkerboard.

★ Don't just stare down on the ground, observe the surrounding walls as well. Some may even forage on them.



Signing off,

Escape Mattster

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Footnotes

⤻ Full disclosure: Complimentary game access was generously provided for review purposes.

⤻ All media credited to and provided by contents owners. No copyright infringement intended.

⤻ Speed code for on-site search: MEAncient

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