🗺️ Based In United States
⏲️ 60 to 90 Minutes ▪ 💪 N/A ▪ 🔢 Up To Several People
📚 Escape from the Maze of the Minotaur! Solve the challenges of the labyrinth and face down the mighty minotaur in this full-length puzzle game T-shirt! This double-sided shirt is filled with hidden details, secret information, and other surprises. These clues help you solve a series of puzzles and challenges themed around navigating the legendary labyrinth. (Each shirt set can easily be played by several people gathered around it at once, making it a great winter break family activity. Or we've seen folks buy multiple sets to play remotely over video chat!)
Escape From The Maze Of The Minotaur | Solve Our Shirts By CU Adventures
THE (QUICK) GUIDE
THIS, IN A NUTSHELL, IS...
▪ Classified As: Play At Home » Puzzle Game In A Box (Package)
▪ A custom screen printed t-shirt that also functions as an at-home escape game. The entire "Solve Our Shirts" package actually includes more tangible items, all functioning as part of a complete clue package to help you escape a minotaur maze in Greece. The story is deliberately vague on the official site; without giving away heavy spoilers, the game utilizes a travel theme and draws inspirations from Greek mythologies. For a seemingly ordinary article of clothing--numerous secrets and puzzles await!
YOU'LL ENJOY THIS, IF...
▪ If you enjoy boxed/packaged puzzle games that offer multiple surprising secret reveals--this (comfy) top will not disappoint.
▪ If you love or are good at puzzles that focus on solving for padlock combos (gen 1) from hidden messages, ciphers, and more.
▪ If you're the type that wants souvenirs to remember an escape room by. For this experience, you'll get a shirt! (Possibly more!)
SOUNDS GREAT, NOW WHAT?
📖 CONTINUE READING THE REVIEW BELOW!
🛒 WHEN YOU'RE READY... TO BUY, CLICK HERE!
📝 A note from the company: Some shirt photos and renders have been slightly altered to avoid spoiling puzzles.
📝 Another note: DO NOT... wash the shirt before play, or mark the shirt, or do anything that'd make the shirt unwearable.
🧐 Based on everything discussed below in the review, with my team of 1, the difficulty subjectively feels like a 6/10, (which may differ from the company's official rating). As such, I recommend a team of 2 (per set purchased, to ensure easy clue sharing).
THE (FULL) REVIEW
I would've modeled it myself, but I'm not ready for that level of fame | Solve Our Shirts By CU Adventures
▪ First and foremost, it's paramount to clarify that though the product is named "Solve Our Shirts", each purchased package will include more than just a shirt. Perhaps hiding every single little detail, clue, and secret in one article of clothing is a bit too much to achieve; and indeed, every CU Adventure is so jam-packed with puzzles and surprises, a shirt can hardly contain it all. Ultimately, you'll receive a very snazzy shirt, some paper-based contents, and a couple of sealed envelopes.
▪ But don't misunderstand, there is still an insane amount of contents carefully curated and embedded onto my maroon top. Over 80% of necessary clues are already sewed into the fabric, metaphorically and literally. The remaining 20% spilling over comes as materials like business card or flyer that still make logical sense in the story, so from a design and production value stand point, this is an exemplary effort and incredibly manufactured product. I fell in love with it even before the game started.
▪ Speaking of the story world, there is one, albeit a bit lighter compared to the other games. Since the company is deliberately vague about its exact premise on its official website, I am not sure I am at liberty to reveal much, so light spoiler warning: Even though you are physically at home, you'll somehow be transported to the maze of the minotaur in Greece. The story does involve a bit of supernatural power that you have to suspend disbelief for, but it sets up a great frame work for the game to proceed.
▪ The game starts off quite easy, but it's just a warm-up. Difficulty (mostly measured by the amount of details players are challenged to take notice and/or discover) will ramp up, and so will your satisfaction with the amount of features the game designers have prepared. You'll be perplexed, wowed, and thoroughly impressed. You'll most likely go, "What?! Seriously?!"
▪ Deluxe Version: Bonus materials included are truly deluxe in every sense of the word. Every single item felt more luxurious than the rest of the package. The postcards included, for instance, are printed on glossy coated papers. The other objects, which I shall not spoil, will make great puzzle trophies that also doubly function as regular household products. So if you have an extra $15 to splurge, I recommend you to seriously consider treating yo' self.
▪ As briefly alluded to earlier, I don't think CU Adventures wants much of the plot spoiled, so I have limited theming info to share. However, I want to emphasize, the theme is clear-cut, consistent, and well-executed. The package as a whole, including why you are receiving a t-shirt and its associated paper goods in the mail, is aptly explained by the concise plot, and it shows just how clever the writer is at developing the premise. I know the owners at CU Adventures appreciate the lore behind each of their escape games, and that they understand the power of storytelling; "Solve Our Shirts" reflects those principles.
▪ Word-based solutions all tie in with the setting of the game--in this case, the country of Greece--which I appreciate.
A familiar online interface | Solve Our Shirts By CU Adventures
▪ Maze of Minotaur uses the same web interface as the company's previous online games, so returning customers will pick it right up. The system is slick, clean, and intuitive enough, however, that newcomers should navigate without any problem. The website is used for brief narrative supplementation, answer input or verification, and hints.
▪ Almost a traditional MO for CU's web games, puzzles mainly involve entering passwords or combos of sort, so a fair share of gen-1-ish padlocks will obstruct your way through the labyrinth. There were a few moments when I pondered, "It doesn't make sense to have a lock here in this setting, does it?", though this is but one single, small complaint in a largely perfect adventure.
▪ Variety of puzzles is wide and most definitely satisfactory, though there're admittedly some recycled ideas from other CU Adventures games. Puzzle examples include: ancient cipher, follow the maze (well, this is a given, isn't it?), hidden messages, and more. What makes "Solve Our Shirts" infinitely more interesting is just how well-hidden the clues are installed within the shirt's graphics. On first glance, yes, you may notice the obvious, throwaway cues, but that just makes the more concealed portions that much more difficult to find by toying with your expectation. Midway is when things go full throttle--you'll be baffled on how to solve the puzzles whilst being astonished on how the clues are unveiled. Be forewarned: overwhelming emotions is likely!
▪ The final challenge is a showdown for the wittiest, an unexpected meta puzzle that reuse several few objects. So forget the one-and-done rule; you'll revisit some clues in a whole new angle. It's a toughie! But also a very goodie!
▪ Though there is an existing hint system online, in which progressively more specific nudges (and ultimately also the solution) reveal when requested, the package actually provides an in-universe pamphlet that guides the participant throughout. Think of this as a tiered hint structure--and I do love it when games offer such benefit--you can customize how difficult your experience will be. Exclude this pamphlet on expert mode, include it for a normal run, and get more hints from the website when really stuck.
▪ Deluxe Version: There is a couple more bonus puzzles to solve if you opt for the premium contents, and though this optional side quest has absolutely no impact whatsoever on the main plot, I actually really enjoyed the extra challenges. All 3 elective puzzles involve props manipulation/positioning to solve, and due to the hands-on nature of such tasks, it renders the overall experience that much more similar to being in an actual escape room. And as already mentioned, the props are just the coolest!
▪ For those who have played CU's previous online game offerings, you may be thinking, isn't this just a t-shirt version of their print-and-play, and hence a fancy gimmick? And to that, I say, WELL YES! True, there is an undeniable similarity in which all 3 games are at-home adventures that combine both tangible and online elements into one seamless experience, but the shirt isn't just all gimmick, but also thoughtful innovation. And considering how there are multiple instances where the hidden surprises are only exclusively achievable by a shirt, but not printed media, this is a totally unique "gimmick" you should look into!
▪ The price of $35 per shirt package may seem steep at first, but let me break this down objectively. The shirt will be a wearable souvenir, so you can factor in $10 for the shirt. (I understand the busy graphics may not fit into everyone's everyday wardrobe rotation, but even if you repurpose it as a comfy pajama shirt, $10 is still largely justifiable.) Now that leaves $25 for purely the gaming experience. For the 1 to 2-hour quality escape experience, $25 is fair and a great option to pull the trigger for.
▪ There is a Couple Pack option available and while I don't think it is necessary for a pair of lovers who are physically with each other to play with two separate sets of clues, the Couple Pack is a cheaper alternative for a team that plans to play together over Zoom whilst being socially distant in different households. (Just be sure you guys will see each other in person at some point to hand over the second package prior to game day, as the pack will only ship to one single address.)
▪ At-home escape game entertainment has reached prominent status in recent history due to lockdown and social distance precautions, but not all titles are created equal. Some, while enjoyable, remain conspicuous that they are mere substitutes for the time being. "Escape From The Maze Of The Minotaur", however, is an outstanding gem that I confidently predict will be a hit far into the uncertain future. One of the rarer instances when I felt like I walked out of an actual escape room when finished, mostly because I am holding a congratulatory souvenir in hand (and I am not just talking about the shirt), "Solve Our Shirts" is an effectively, ahem, tailored activity that redefines what an exemplary at-home experience can be like.
Now determined to work out so my torso can fill out the shirt more nicely,
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. SOSMinotaur.