🖱️ DISTRIBUTION ROUTE: Mail Subscription Service, Play Online, Account Required
🎧 PRODUCT TYPE: Mixed Media Online Puzzle Adventure
► PREMISE & OBJECTIVES ◄
Official Premise (from Society Of Curiosities):
[From Society Grandmaster, Aldora Pennywig] Our ground teams in France have uncovered artifacts during a recent investigation that we hope will lead us to the fabled treasure of Captain Edus Madok. He and his ship, the BonAncre, mysteriously disappeared in the Caribbean in the early 18th century. If the legends are correct, we hope to find not only treasures to fill the society’s coffers but a curious item that was stolen from Admiral LeBlanc in 1715. You will receive a box via the post that contains more information and resources. We will let you know when it has shipped.
► "GAME AT A GLANCE" SUMMARY ◄
📚 NARRATIVE: Grab the maps from your last adventure, we're going treasure hunting!
👀 VISUAL: Fantastic, uber authentic feel mail package contents, plus pretty graphics & sites
🧩 PUZZLE: As with the last installment, many "think outside the box" moments, stumped me
🧠 IMMERSION: Leading charm of Society of Curiosities--immersion of a an alternate reality
💭 OVERALL: Very unique approach to of subscription mail puzzles, looking forward to more
🎟️ BEST FIT FOR: Enthusiasts comfortable with solving multi-step, diverse challenges
🎫 IDEAL TEAM SIZE: A pair for experts, or 3-4 beginners with effective communication
longs for a peaceful and quiet resort vacation after a triumphant treasure hunt.
"Madok's Lost Treasure (Season 1, Adventure 1)" officially joins the "MUST DO!!!" rank!
THE ADVENTURE THUS FAR
Last we checked in with the Society of Curiosities, hmmm... what did we do again? If you suffer from sudden memory loss, then just check your convenient debrief letter from Grandmaster Aldora Pennywig. Debrief is an included feature of your online adventure, something I forgot to mention that in my last post. Whoopsie!
In any case, a quick refresh: I solved the then still open case of missing treasure maps from Detective Jean-Bolippe Garminet. The maps weres stolen by [CENSORED] and subsequently hidden in [CENSORED], located inside the historic guesthouse. Of course, of course.
Let's put the recovered maps to good use--an old fashioned pirate treasure hunt.
Ahh, yes, as the old adage goes, multiple Xs mark the spots
SUBSCRIPTION BOX CONTENTS
Unlike the previous free adventure, the first episode of the paid subscription service, "Madok's Lost Treasure", requires physical items mailed to your house for game play. The suspense of waiting for the package, torturing. But the satisfaction of opening your package, exhilarating!
In a fancy envelope addressed to the esteemed Escape Mattster, as he shall be referred as from this point forth, there lies various intriguing items needed to begin your new online game.
I don't always do this, but I gonna give you a special spoiler here: the parcel from the Society contains... Gasp! Treasure maps! Remember you got the exclusive from EscapeMattster.com!
My workstation is ready
Also included is two pages ripped from a family magazine, which for me was the highlight when going through all the contents for the first time. I remember staring at them, reading, touching, then staring at them more, then got perplexed, "Wait. Are these from a real magazine? Because I swear these could be from an actual publication."
Society's gorgeous package is screwing with my perception of reality--again!
A HYBRID OF TWO CLASSES
With the mandatory artifacts in hand, you can now officially initiate the search for the hidden treasures. Nonetheless, keep in mind: Society of Curiosities adventures blur the line between a strict monthly mail structure and a web based escape game.
Whatever skills you've acquired from your previous assignment, that is, the texting, the web surfing, the Google searches (don't ever forget to Google), and the online shopping (Wheeeee!! I'm a big spender!!), these still apply.
However, to succeed, you often need information from both the items in front of you physically, and that appearing on your computer screen virtually. Combining key clues from both sources is often, if not always, of essence to finding the answers.
A customized wax seal prevents secret contents from falling out
REALITY CHECK ONCE MORE
As already mentioned briefly, Society continues its expertise at augmenting on existent reality, and thereby creating a story universe that is part truth, and part fiction, and all enjoyment.
Custom made websites to facilitate your research continue to be a signature for this company, and they've gone even bigger and better this round. One particular vacation resort website central to your map hunt received my particular attention during my first run. So authentic!
I think up to 50% of my game was just my fiddling with every section of every website I came in contact with. Playing with all the links and functions was, at one point, arguably even more satisfying than solving the puzzles. (And oniomanics, you still get to flex your skill.)
Because the designers have successfully molded their own version of reality to narrate the story line, I found myself more engaged and invested as events unfolded.
The exchange back and forth via cell phone texting continued lay the foundation that these plot characters actually exist. Will real friendships blossom between me and Grandmaster Pennywig, Capt Steiner, and the rest of the research team?
I've been told, no, because that'd be creepy.
PUZZLE NEWNESS & VARIETY
In addition to providing a large variety of challenges, whether it be the format, or the way to solve, or the different types of media clues, "Madok" took the mantra of "thinking outside the box" and ran with it. I saw so many new and creative things.
A pirate treasure hunt isn't without its perils, proceed wisely
The final product therefore featured numerous riddles that I haven't quite encountered before, thereby once again crushing my poor, bruised ego as a puzzle aficionado. Fortunately, with assistance from the hints page, I advanced all the way to the final meta puzzle and completed my objective--I found the greatest treasure of all...
(I am only half kidding.)
"Madok's Lost Treasure" was a sheer joy to experience while staying in, and easily ranks as one of the best at-home games I've had the privilege to review to date.
WHEN TALENT MEETS HARD WORK
Creator team Yacine and Michelle actually own an escape room business in Hawaii, so it came as no surprise to me that all their endeavors have been extremely well received. Talent wise, I have zero doubt in those two.
However, what really gained my respect for them as content designers was that they really do their due diligence before introducing their baby out to the world. For example, they do extensive research on their topics, and they manually age their treasure maps. (Dedication!)
Take a sipping break if you're overwhelmed by the puzzles, your Dark & Stormy awaits
Attention to details continues to be obvious, as evidenced by an official soundtrack and the addition of beverage and costume suggestions. Turns out the Society knows how to write a good mystery and how to have a good time. Cheers!
TREATS ALL YEAR LONG
It seems like in between major episodes, there will be little bonus mailings, dubbed "coffee break mysteries", to keep your mind in tiptop shape.
I haven't received my copies of these lovely bonuses yet, but I have set camp next to my letter box in anticipation for that eventful delivery. Please look forward to my next review then.
P.S. Mom, camping out until further notice. Please send sustenance.
► DISCLAIMERS ◄
We at "Escape Mattster" appreciate this company's hospitality and the opportunity to publish an honest review. Though game access was complimentary, we aim to provide *only* genuine & unbiased opinions.
All official media are provided by or credited to respective contents owners, and are used with proper permission for the purpose of this post.