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The Mysterious Case • 60Out Escape Rooms • Print & Play Puzzle Game Review


Game Website | Company Website | Based In: United States



OFFICIAL SPEC

🕹️ Stay At Home Games » On Hand Items Required » Print & Play Puzzle Game

💪 Difficulty: Medium (for age 5-12).

⏲️ Time duration: Not specified.

🔢 Capacity: Not specified.

💬 Hints: Parent (or caregiver) can choose to assist the child for as much, or as little, as desired!

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


MATTSTER'S rec

💪 Difficulty (as perceived by Mattster): 1/10 (team of 1). But this is an adult rating a kids game here...

🔢 Ideal team size: Up to 2 children per copy, perhaps? Print out more paper copies if you're hosting for more kids!



RECOMMENDED




OFFICIAL PREMISE

We need your help to solve a crime! This case is very important and we need a special agent, like you, to help us figure it out. Let's go to the crime scene to figure out who the thief is, and get the photo back before it's too late. Solve the first clue to know where to start searching.


IN A NUTSHELL

Best detective candidates, ideally age 5 to 12, needed for a case! (Parents or caregivers, you are also vital as their game master.) Someone stole a less-than-ideal photograph from a busy birthday party when no one was looking, and you have to search up and down the house (literally, as in YOUR actual house) to see who's the lying culprit.




OVERALL IMPRESSIONS


60Out, an escape room business franchise based mainly in Los Angeles area, has been mostly out of operation for much of the pandemic. However, with much resilience, the company has put out a selection of online options for safer at-home fun. (Fancy a dinner party with a femme fatale, or do a little time-traveling science experiment?)


But adults aren't the only ones that get to have all the fun, 60Out's got kids covered, too. A free downloadable print-and-play activity game has emerged a few months ago, and I gotta say, this is a very respectable, if not an outstanding product for all its intents and purposes.


60Out Kids' "The Mysterious Case" covers the unimaginably heinous crime of a picture stolen during Lary's (yes, Lary with only 1 R) joyous birthday party in the otherwise peaceful elves community. This is not just any photo; it's a photo of the mayor and Lary's grandfather--and the mayor looks positively horrible in it! It therefore must be recovered at all cost!


This beautifully illustrated mystery is comprised of a good amount of puzzles to solved linearly, introducing a possible suspect at each step. Who's the thief? Will it be Tony, Gary, or Carl? (Or is it Karl? The game couldn't decide on how to spell his name.) This is fundamentally a murder-less whodunit, and who doesn't love a well-done whodunit?


Instead of confining the activity to purely on paper, this rather exciting activity invites an older caregiver to become a game master for the day. They will have to set up by leaving various game pages at different parts of the house, virtually turning their home into a makeshift escape room. 60Out may not be open for now, but you can have 60Out in spirit right at home.


Children on the case will then solve puzzles one by one, with each puzzle revealing a keyword that leads to the next spot of interest. This is all so Sherlock Holmes-esque, and even though I didn't actually get to play this as intended, in my mind, it seems already quite the impressive and hands-on experience. I remember loving treasure and Easter Egg hunting as a kid, so this puzzle-led scavenger hunt and/or investigation should be quite the hit!


Below are some more key points you may wanna know...




STORY

For a case specifically designed for kids in mind, the designers did not skim on the details! As an adult, I was fully engaged and enjoyed reading about the development of the picture-stealing crime. The plot did leave out some crucial elements like the culprit's motive, but this is excellent storytelling nonetheless for a free print-and-play publication.


PRODUCTION

The graphics are very attractive and, in my opinion, on par with some of the industry's bests. Each elf is portrayed with vibrant colors and expressive facial features, giving each character distinct personalities, quite a bit more than one would expect from a free, paper-based media game.

There are, however, some noticeable editing errors. For example, some characters' names are spelled differently on different pages. While I understand the significance of spelling Lary without only 4 letters to better fit him in the suspect list, the flip-flopping between Emma and Emmy seems inexplicable. Perhaps the production was rushed and therefore suffered a few minor setbacks--but none of which significant enough to cause true negative impact.


IMMERSION

I usually won't even consider immersion for most print-and-plays, since it's usually slim to non-existent, but this is a somewhat uncommon exception. Because the game is set up similar to a puzzle-guided scavenger hunt, the young player gets to discover new clues alongside the plot advancement; this essentially invites the participant to become part of the story, transforming their home into the stage for Lary's party. Reasonable immersion achieved and much appreciated.


PUZZLES

Though the makers tried their best to dress the puzzles in various ways, all but a couple of them boils down to alphabet-collecting based challenges. Even then, there is enough variety to keep young children fully occupied and aptly entertained, and they can always explore more complicated puzzles in an actual 60Out escape room when they're older.

Perhaps, it was intentional that every solution ended up being a word to facilitate the "follow the trail of breadcrumbs" aspect of the investigation, with one location leading to the next. I particularly cherish the final showdown that assists young players to eliminate suspects via actual evidence and logic, versus just handing them the answer with another word-play riddle. "The Mysterious Case" lives up to its name, training lads and lasses into little adorable detectives!




EXTRA TIPS

★ Since the game takes place at a birthday party, a birthday (cup)cake celebration post-game would be immersive & EPIC!


READY FOR FUN?

"The Mysterious Case" is available for download HERE.

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



Signing off,

ESCAPE MATTSTER 🙂

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FOOTNOTES

⤻ All media credited to owners and used under fair use doctrine of copyright law. No infringement intended. ⤻ Speed code for on-site search: 60OutMysterious

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