Upon completing this free promo game from The CW, I just thought, "Wow, I loved absolutely everything about it!" It's free, it's of great quality, and it worked really, really well. What's not to like? I don't expect what's essentially an advertisement to rank "MUST DO!!!", but it happened.
There are many reasons why I would recommend this game, besides the free price tag:
➼ The Wild Optimists are involved. While I don't know them well, I certainly know of them, and I believe they are the creators of Escape Room In A Box. Considering their extensive experience in puzzle writing, it's no wonder why "Save The Cast!" came to be such a delight.
➼ This never once felt like an ad. Even if you have never seen the show and don't know any of the actors involved (*me raising my hand*), you can still head in blind and have a great time. (Well, maybe it'd help if you know what the heck an Aglaeca is.)
➼ In fact, now that I am introduced to this program, I may actually start watching it. I am such a big suck for mystery shows. (Who else remembers "The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo"?) I think that means this genius commercial actually worked! Here I come, online streaming app...
➼ This was probably filmed and produced while all the actors were in quarantine, just like the rest of us. This real world scenario was written into the plot and helped shape the objective of our mission. Talk about making the best out of an unfortunate situation!
EYE CANDIES, BRAIN TREATS
As for the "visuals" aspect of this escape game, fantastic.
You wouldn't expect any less from The CW, which specializes in teen drama, now, would ya? Most certainly, the entire cast was easy on the eyes, but the beauty doesn't end there.
The entire website was designed with great aesthetics. It's simple, clean, non cluttered, and effective. Probably made with and hosted by Wix, this webpage made the best use of all of Wix's resources. Great choices on font face, size, and colors.
Reliance on video clips means minimal text to read, a bonus.
AND OF COURSE, I LOVE THEM PUZZLES, TOO. Let's go into that now.
The beautiful cast of Nancy Drew
MINI MYSTERY CASE FILES
The puzzles revolved around saving each cast member from a certain magical object suddenly appearing in their homes. These cursed items, backed by the power of the Aglaeca, act as seals that prevent the actors from leaving their homes or contacting each other by any mean.
After successfully solving each mini challenge, you're rewarded with a "reveal" moment, much like you would commonly witness in an actual escape room. I didn't initially expect this part in a TV series based game, especially when done so splendidly. Every instance involved, let's just say, some form of cute "magic trick", and it was just so much fun to watch.
And with every step of the way building anticipation up the grand finale meta puzzle, the entire experience felt complete and so satisfying. I truly wish it lasted longer!
CASE 1: poetic mirror
This started out strong. I was surprised the first puzzle's being at this level of difficulty for the general audience. As an escape room enthusiast, I've never seen this hidden code presented in a poetry before, but now I have and I enjoyed every line. Tip: outside knowledge required.
Poetic Mirror, likely my favorite case out of 7
CASE 2: GAZING PORTRAITS
I thought I got stuck at first when trying this case my iPhone. This is when I thought, "Ah, they got me. I dunno any of the cast's names, and I gonna have to do a some research." Then I saw the puzzle image in bigger resolution on a PC, and ahh. Clear as day now. An easy one.
CASE 3: CRIMSON WALLPAPER
A little bit of Instagram magic. Not so much as a puzzle as following directions. Still fun.
CASE 4: INTERRUPTED CALL
It seems like every puzzle designer out there is getting on board with this particular modality of clue giving, eh? Not complaining, as injecting a bit of real world authenticity is always welcome as far as I'm concerned! The reveal, however, was the best part of this segment.
Don't miss this reveal, it's hot
CASE 5: TRAVELING PAIRS
This was a tricky one. Essentially an Instagram treasure hunt, you have to follow a specific digital trail to obtain your solution... And that crucial chain between the IG accounts was* broken. Therefore, I was extra proud of myself for solving this puzzle via true detective sleuthing--I really had to snoop around a bit!
[*Update: Contacted the game makers and the error's been fixed! Yes!]
CASE 6: SCATTERED BUTTONS
A juvenile children activity turned interesting puzzle; kind of haven't seen this one before!
What does this all mean?!
CASE 7: ACQUIRED WORDS
This one wasn't particularly exciting, though it was still an important conclusion to your investigation. Ending in a meta puzzle always provides a sense of achievement and closure to your hard work, but I wished the actress and I were both given more to work with.
All in all, professionally and fantastically produced, this is a better option than some paid contents, even. I am about 3 weeks late, but so glad to have finally done it.
Jump scare! Crap! It got me good.
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