Location: at home
Date Played: March 5, 2018
Team size: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯; we recommend 2-4
Duration: as long as it takes to solve the puzzles
Price: $24.99 per month for a monthly subscription
On the Run, Box 3 followed in the style of On the Run, Box 2. It was a narrative-driven, puzzle-focused game. Compared to the previous boxes, we liked a few of the puzzles a lot less, and we enjoyed other puzzles a whole lot more. The box was a mixed bag.
Who is this for?
- Story seekers
- Puzzle lovers
- Armchair detectives
- Best for players with at least some experience
- The puzzles are tied to the narrative.
- You can play at home.
Box 3 continued Dispatch’s On the Run Box narrative, taking us to Japan to continue our investigation into the murder of our best friend’s wife. While this chapter provided some additional clues to our main narrative, we found ourselves focusing most of our energy on a fire in a local hotel.
Box 3 looked similar to Box 2.
We were given an assortment of largely paper-based items that were printed on various types of paper stock and in a wide variety of styles. These paper components were augmented by a couple of more tangible props.
In addition to looking similar to the Box 2, Box 3 also played similarly. The gameplay was derived from exploring documents, websites, and props, identifying the thematically relevant puzzles, and working through them.
Box 3 concluded with a video that both indicated the end of the box’s puzzles and recapped everything that we were supposed to have uncovered.
Box 3 contained the rarely seen thematically- and narratively-appropriate Sudoku puzzle, and Dispatch put a fun twist on this.
Box 3 continued the trajectory established by Box 2 and provided an even more interesting series of puzzles that fit the story and setting of the game.
This was a good team game, as there were ample opportunities to parallel puzzle.
There was another lengthy and tedious process puzzle that dramatically overstayed its welcome. It was complicated by ambiguous cluing and functionality. We were counting the minutes until we could end this task. Plus, we’re pretty sure that there was a typo that confused the conclusion of this puzzle.
We struggled to fully connect the events of this box back to the overall narrative.
Between the typo and struggling to get started with the aforementioned process puzzle, we found ourselves wishing that Dispatch had a better self-service hint system. They have Slack channels where players can discuss the puzzles, but it was a clumsy tool and once there, it was filled with spoilers that we couldn’t avoid or unsee.
Tips for Playing
- Box 2 items were required for resolving Box 3.
- Box 3 ramped up the difficulty.
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Full disclosure: Dispatch by Breakout provided a complementary subscription.
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