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Review: Clue Kingdom, Chapter 1: The Enchanted Forest | The Panic Room


Game Website | Company Website | Based In: Gravesend, Kent, UK



OFFICIAL SPEC

🕹️ Stay At Home Games » Online Puzzle Game

💪 Difficulty: Medium difficulty (for age 10+).

⏲️ Time duration: Approximately 1 to 2 hours.

🔢 Capacity: 1-6 players (for same or different locations).

💬 Hints: Hints & solution available below each puzzle. Click to reveal as needed.

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


MATTSTER'S REC 😃

💪 Difficulty (as perceived by Mattster): 5 to 6/10 (team of 1). Should challenge a broad spectrum of audience.

🔢 Ideal team size: 1 to 2, though I prefer my alone time of 1--a very relaxing and enjoyable solo medieval adventure.



RECOMMENDED



Clue Kingdom, Chapter 1: The Enchanted Forest | The Panic Room



OFFICIAL PREMISE

Once upon a time, in a far off land, was the Clue Kingdom. A truly wondrous land home to many incredible secrets and tales long forgotten. For years, the Kingdom stood tall and proud, all its subjects were treated fair, and the threat of war was only heard of in stories. However, evil lurked deep within. Avibarin, a wizard with incredible power rose from the underworld and took control of the land in one fell swoop. He retreated to The Spire, the very tallest point of Clue Kingdom and fortified his castle, ruling the land with a terrible iron fist. Soon, monsters and beasts roamed the once peaceful landscapes and its people lived in fear, waiting for a hero to emerge and save them... Now it’s finally time to take control back and seal the evil away for good! Follow the glorious quest of Sir Cadogan as he explores the Enchanted Forest to find the Faery Village and finally the hidden temple where the stoic Earth Element awaits. It's time to start your adventure! (The Enchanted Forest is the first exciting part of a 6 part epic online escape room. Follow the journey of our heroes as they make their way to The Spire to defeat the evil wizard who controls the Clue Kingdom.)



Clue Kingdom, Chapter 1: The Enchanted Forest | The Panic Room



OVERALL IMPRESSIONS


Ahhhh, "Clue Kingdom". If "Chapter 1: The Enchanted Forest" is a representative indication, then this is probably one of the most ambitious online escape game series that The Panic Room has set its mind on thus far.


Spanning across a total of six chapters, "Clue Kingdom" tells the story of a land fallen victim under the power of evil. To reverse the curse, a total of five elemental powers must be collected, and the unified magic will be enough to restore balance to the nation. First hero on the call list: Sir Cadogan, who shall collect the Earth Element, but not before traversing the titular woodland among its many hidden secrets, perils, and you know it, puzzles.


Though the overall plot isn't unheard of prior, the classic quest for a magical item across a treacherous land always seems to be appealing enough. There's just something about this premise--perhaps it's the notion of becoming a noble hero for your country--that always riles up excitement.


In addition, the clear, divided objectives, namely the gathering of 5 separate elements, and their assembly into one whole to defeat the enemy, outline the basic directions of all 6 installments in the series--and I love it! It feels very video game level-ish, and I am already looking forward to completing all 6 episodes.


Clue Kingdom, Chapter 1: The Enchanted Forest | The Panic Room



After a cinema trailer-like introductory video, which, by the way, looked visually stunning, the narrative would develop usually through a mixture of text reading and audio files. The required reading honestly wasn't so bad. Passages were short and concise, and they came across more like fairytale storybook reads, more than appropriate especially considering the theme. (They often also doubled as instructions and clues for puzzles, so there's definitely utility for their existence.)


There were also a couple of brief breaks in which a narrator would either recount Sir Cadogan's latest encounters and actions, or the narration would be seamlessly incorporated as part of the puzzle at hand. This further concentrates the drama aspect of the experience, and it really sets the "Clue Kingdom" series apart. Overall, superb choices that paid off.


The other impressive feature that would jump out at the players early on are the very noticeably beautiful graphics and the generally praise-worthy production value. Colors are especially vibrant--they're truly hard to miss. Whenever possible, there is heavy usage of picture, animation, and grandeur-inspiring soundtrack to really reel the participants into the story universe. Now, that is not to say the other Panic Room options are lacking in these departments, but I am declaring that so far, "Clue Kingdom" is doing it especially well.


Clue Kingdom, Chapter 1: The Enchanted Forest | The Panic Room



Puzzles in this game are fairly challenging. Since this product is written for age 10+, I candidly didn't expect myself to struggle--all the whilst appreciating the sweet victory when I finally have a mental breakthrough--as much as I actually did. The game starts off simple enough with a gen-1, padlock style classic brainteaser, then gradually ramps up in difficulty. In fact, there is one particular puzzle that's so convoluted, I'm still not 100% sure that I agree with it!


Many challenges often require multiple steps, so note-taking on paper is highly recommended. Types of brainteasers vary from one to the next, including but not limited to: logic deduction, pattern recognition, and order sorting. Comprehensively, there is a substantial amount to savor before reaching the grand finale. Quite the bang for your buck.


There is also a good deal of cipher translation, ie, going from symbols to letters or numbers. If you're a fan of cryptic translation, you'll get plenty of practice here. This is often the last step to all the puzzles, sometimes a seemingly extraneous step even, and it's all because...


...The solution input system has been completely revamped for this series. While the customers will still advance forward with a password, they no longer have to manually type it in. Instead, a padlock icon symbol appears, followed by either letters or numbers that would rotate through all available options, (thus the deciphering step mentioned above). It's essentially a digital combo lock, which sadly, makes zero sense given the story's time period. It looks quite out of place.


This is most likely a reactionary response from the company, because I imagine there had been complaints about unreliable solution acceptance through a plain text field in the past. Now, I am not on that particular wagon, and I'm fine with typing in my answers, but I do admit, case sensitivity was an issue prior, and with this new system, such issue is eliminated! But even then, the trade-off is a tad less than ideal. Because not only does this fit poorly with "Clue Kingdom", inputting 9 total letters through rotation proves to be so, so exhaustingly inconvenient.


Clue Kingdom, Chapter 1: The Enchanted Forest | The Panic Room



Nevertheless, with this minor weakness cast aside, I find "The Enchanted Forest" to be an overwhelmingly remarkable online game experience, and it introduces the "Clue Kingdom" saga with a powerful punch. If this momentum is kept alive through its subsequent installments, which I suspect it would, this would shape up to be quite an epic... epic*.


(*As in an epic poetry. I hope my jokes and puns are not too lame for my readers!)



Clue Kingdom, Chapter 1: The Enchanted Forest | The Panic Room



READY FOR FUN?

"Clue Kingdom, Chapter 1: The Enchanted Forest" is available for purchase HERE.

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




Signing off,

ESCAPE MATTSTER

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Full disclosure: complimentary game access was generously provided for review or testing purposes. All media are sourced from and credited to rightful owners. No copyright infringement intended. In certain cases, media materials are made available under fair use doctrine of copyright law. TPREnchanted.