🚶 LIVE ELEMENTS: Host Moderates Progress, Web Based Game Interface
🔎️ OTHER NOTES: Features Time Countdown, Points System
► PREMISE & OBJECTIVES ◄
Official Premise (from The Puzzle Room):
Welcome to Puzzle Wars! This is a non-traditional virtual escape game that you can complete from the comfort of your own home. Challenge your friends and family to the ultimate puzzle-solving battle. Work against the clock to solve as many puzzles as you can in sixty minutes. Work as one team or split into two teams to compete against each other and prove who is the true puzzle master! But be warned, sabotages and challenges are hidden within the game. Only one team can be victorious. Will it be yours?
NOT AN ESCAPE ROOM
First off, The Puzzle Room proudly declares, this is not your typical escape room.
"Puzzle Wars" is a pure battle of wits; you fight valiantly for one hour to see which side emerge victorious at what we love doing the most--solving puzzles!
In a way, if you strip away the story and set component of an online escape game, then have all the puzzles line up and rapid fire at you in the face, that's roughly what you're getting here.
You, (and your team), many many MANY puzzles, 1 hour count down on the clock. GO GO GO!
Puzzle Wars (Credit: The Puzzle Room)
The company describes the experience as a friendly competition, set to prove who fits the title of the greatest puzzle solver evahhhhh!
But friendly? I dunno, man, I just dunno.
I am here to WIN!
The game comes in two flavors: solo team, and team vs team.
If you have no friends, (hey, same here, I get it,) go for the solo experience; it only costs $10 to play. You will gain access to the exact same gaming interface and same puzzles to solve. You have one hour to tackle them all... but will most likely fail if only one player is involved. (There's a lot to do.) When time's up, you get your final score. Pat yourself on the back.
The more interesting way to play would be to gather enough people for two teams. It costs a reasonable $60 flat for a private, game master hosted session, and it's so much better! Two teams will go head to head, solving as many riddles as they can against the clock. The group with a higher total score in the end wins!
Before all the mayhem
HUES VS SHADES
For illustration's sake, I'll use my event as a specific example:
We have a total of 10 players (max capacity) assembled, bloggers and enthusiasts galore.
We all first met in one big Zoom meeting to exchange ominous dagger eyes and menacing battle stares. (And in my case, awkward crazy eyes.) After our host went over the basic rules, we were separated and ushered into our own breakout rooms.
Whew, just in the nick of time, 'cause things were heating up!
Each team gets its own breakout room--strategizing in privacy!
BATTLEGROUND AKA GAME INTERFACE
Once there, we loaded up our puzzle roster screen in a web browser. With one click on the "Start" button, the time started counting down! Time to get thinkin' and start solvin'!
The game setup was simple, clean, and easy to use.
On the left column, you have a list of challenges to choose from, grouped by point values. Supposedly, easier mini warm-ups are worth less points, and harder riddles grants you more... though I did not find that always to be the case.
When you click on a specific puzzle, it's displayed on the right. Yellow link means solving in progress, and green link means puzzle completed. Don't all work on the same puzzle now!
Green means puzzle complete, yellow means puzzle solving in progress
My team of 5 picked off each puzzle one by one depending on our own strengths; even then, we were not able to finish every puzzle listed. We were 3 puzzles shy from completion!
Again, there's A LOT to do.
The breakout room feature revealed to be essential and critical in solving puzzles together as a team: We could openly ask one another for help, delegate specific member to certain puzzles, or just give each other smiles of approval. 👍
The meat of the experience, of course, depended on the available puzzles, and this list was a true definition of a mixed bag.
You got your classic puzzles, ones that you can solve in a heartbeat. Next!
Then you have some that you kinda saw before, but they are just not that strikingly memorable. You kinda know the framework to solution, but you still gotta feel it out a bit.
Then came the "original" bunch, ones that were most likely designed and written specifically for this experience. I always cherish brainteasers that are "brand new" to my mind--ones that I've never seen before. They compel my brain to really think. However, these varied in quality.
His thoughts shall be revealed in "Puzzle Wars"
After examining every single puzzle for reviewing purpose, I'll say there's a healthy amount, good variety, and large percentage of logical ones to keep things interesting and enjoyable. Some did warrant slight adjustment or rewrite in my opinion, as they required outside knowledge. But that's to be expected of any game--it'll continue to improve and evolve.
Though currently the contents of puzzles is static and same for every game, I see endless potential for this aspect in the future: theoretically, there could be a bank of many, many riddles stashed away in a central bank. And each purchase session could randomly draw a selected batch from this database, rendering each game more variable and unique.
AND THE RESULT IS IN...
Both teams fared well and did their best... But one team did slightly better, barely edging out the other by a measly 100 points. Talk about a close call.
Congrats to Team Rainbow!
(Hey! That team included me! 😇)
The important thing is, we all walked away having had a good time. Team Rainbow and Team Monochrome, if you're reading this, thanks for making great memories together!
POST GAME THOUGHTS
Thanks to The Puzzle Room for hosting these 9 kids & 1 Invisible Man
○ This was something different! I was very glad to have given a chance to try this out and share this unusual experience with those I've bonded over our shared passion--our collective love for escape rooms and puzzle games.
○ The game featured trigger puzzles, which would either reveal bonus hidden puzzles, or a sabotage chance, aimed to hinder the opposing team. I see opportunity to get creative here! I was forced to do a little dance while losing precious time off the clock. What would you get?
○ If you get stuck and would like to not waste a hint, check that puzzle title!
○ Technical difficulties sometimes arise. Just refresh the page. Staff is also available for immediate assistance. The company is professional and will take good care of you.
○ Quarantine has inspired a lot of businesses to offer hosted group activities for an affordable fee. The most common one I've seen is trivia night. Since I am basically 💩 at unimportant details, "Puzzle Wars" actually stood out and rang truer to my heart!
○ If you want to arrange an easy, no fuss, no mess game night for your family, give The Puzzle Room's "Puzzle Wars" a chance to make your night. (Or day, or afternoon.) It's like running an intense game show for an hour without having to do any preparation. Just book and enjoy.
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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.