💪 Difficulty: 3/5.
⏲️ Time duration: Around 90 minutes.
🔢 Capacity: 2-6 players. (Meaning 2 teams of 1-3 players.)
🛒 If you PURCHASE due to this blog, please give EscapeMattster.com a shout-out! ;)
➲ Premise: Two detectives must work in tandem to unlock all boxes, to prevent explosives deep within from going off!
➲ A co-op online puzzle game that separates clues needed between two teams, combine info from 2 sides to solve.
➲ Simple and clean setup of individual levels: open a box, solve puzzles, open a lock, move on to next box(es).
➲ Many, many puzzles to play through, with an impressive amount of variety for topics, types, and formats.
➲ Placement of related item in the same area on both teams' screens makes game more approachable even for novice.
➲ Main challenge focuses on clear communication of clues, not perplexing users about which clue belong to which puzzle.
➲ Puzzles, graphics, premise, interface, humor--just about everything from this game--immaculate. *Chef's kiss!!*
➲ 𝙀𝙎𝘾𝘼𝙋𝙀 𝙈𝘼𝙏𝙏𝙎𝙏𝙀𝙍 😍 subjective rating: 💪 5/10 difficulty (2 teams of 1), 🔢 ideal team size of 1 to 2 (per team).
The detectives need your help! After receiving a suspicious text message, two former partners are sent to different locations. On arrival, they find two chests and realize that the Cryptic Killer is on the hunt again! Knowing they're in grave danger, they have called on you for your expertise in puzzle solving and code-breaking. Can you help the detectives escape the clutches of the killer?
Cooperative puzzle, or co-op for short, is a special type of brainteaser that has the potential to turn something as easy as "I can do this at first glance" into a difficult monster that has me yelling afar at my team partner(s).
For those unfamiliar with co-op escape game, a team is divided and ushered to two distinct areas; the now smaller groups are visually obscured from each other, thereby preventing face to face communication. (Like prisoners in different jail cells, literally barred from each other's view.) What's left frequently is the valuable tool of our voices, and only our voices.
Now imagine having to solve a puzzle in front of your eyes, but the clues needed to figure out the solution can only be seen by your teammates. Oh you better hope they spot the relevant information and relay that back to you vocally in time!
Setup for each level: a lock of sort to open, plus some baffling & certainly incomplete clues ▪ Eleven Puzzles
"Unboxing The Mind Of A Cryptic Killer" by Eleven Puzzles is exactly this type of game, except online. Two detectives, Ally and Old Dog, find themselves at mortal danger at the same moment in real time. Though physically located in different warehouses across great distances, they both have to play the Cryptic Killer's twisted unboxing games--for their lives!
The rules are simple: Open a box, find a lock, a handful of objects, but none seems enough to produce a lock combo to proceed. There is definitely crucial information missing! Ally and Old Dog must call up each other to trade intel--two halves make a whole--their combined clues will lead them to victory. Either they both make it out alive, or neither will! (Cause of death? A bomb hidden within the several Russian-doll-style layers of boxes. If not disarmed in time, KA-BOOOM it goes!)
My partner and I took on the solo challenge of being in each detective's shoes behind two separate computer screens, and off we went playing this Jigsaw-inspired criminal's sick but undoubtedly and exceedingly entertaining challenge.
The most popular table of all tables, especially in the puzzle world ▪ Eleven Puzzles
The Cryptic Killer expects his would-be victims (or victors, survival skills dependent) to peel back his mind like an onion for about five times, and each time there awaits 4 to 5 excellent co-op puzzles to conquer. Of the 20+ mini games we played, none felt repetitive, whether it be for the puzzle topic, type, and format, which is quite the unbelievable feat, and precisely reflecting the hard work the company has put in to ensure a top-notched product.
When it came to puzzle topic, I encountered math, colors, animals, computer, and music. When it came to puzzle type, there were logic, jigsaw, code cipher, word play, and connect the dot. When it came to puzzle format, the game made use of visual clues, sound cues, and fairly often, user input like mouse clicking and drawing. There is a host of things to do, compacting a massive amount of highly variable contents within an intense hour (and a half, in my case.)
Unboxing The Mind Of A Cryptic Killer ▪ Eleven Puzzles
However, what made "Unboxing" such an excellent standout was its flawless design. From the elegant organization (the box within a box within a box within a box scheme is both amusing and effective), to each individual level's user-friendly setup, it made for smooth and intuitive puzzle-solving fun.
I should perhaps elaborate: I, who has done over 150 escape rooms to date, and my partner, who has only completed around 35, will inherently have different capacity and speed in puzzle analysis. What may seem obvious to experts may seem more complicated or foreign to the less experienced, and therefore creating one more obstacle to overcome.
What helped alleviate this disadvantage was the makers' deliberate choice of placing analogous clue items in comparable positions on our respective work tables, and this helped us communicate way more effectively than our previous attempts for games of similar style. For example, now we can unequivocally both hone in on, say, the strange device on the top left corner on our screens, and focus on describing relevant details without unneeded confusion and unrelated distraction.
Honestly, while this does, in a way, "dumb down" the game a bit, it simultaneously broadens its playability across all users despite experience level. Beginners can pick up this game's mechanics reasonably well, something that may not be as readily accommodating in other titles. Novice and veterans can mix and play on a more leveled playing field, rendering "Unboxing" a superior option to recommend to everyone.
Unboxing The Mind Of A Cryptic Killer ▪ Eleven Puzzles
Also equally excellent are the graphics. Characters take on a caricature style, with partial realism that fits the theme of a serial killer noir, but also just cartoonish enough to not bog down the game as being too serious. Overall color scheme are just dark enough to be slightly ominous, but also saturated to be visually stimulating.
The relatively simple but intriguing premise, coupled with the Killer's regular (yet humorous) taunting, all together made this game even more deliciously interesting, though everything is just icing on an already tasty cupcake. The divinely airy pastry that are the puzzles themselves are strong enough on their own to carry this title through and through.
Superb online puzzles don't come by every day, and one under the co-op category is even harder to find. And yet luckily, the return of the Cryptic Killer brings us exactly that. And possibly more carnage. Aw, well. You win some, you lose some.
For saving Old Dog and Ally, your handsome rewards of the best kind: lotsa memes! ▪ Eleven Puzzles
★ If you know your color mixing well, you can certainly do so in your head. Beakers optional.
★ COVID has hit the airline industry really hard during the pandemic, so pay attention to any travel schedule changes...
★ Psssst! Top secret: there is actually no real time limit! The Cryptic Killer is a surprisingly lenient soul. Just do your best!
READY FOR FUN?
"Unboxing The Mind Of A Cryptic Killer" is available for purchase HERE.
If you PURCHASE due to this blog, please give EscapeMattster.com a shout-out! ;)
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. EPUnboxing.