Enigma Emporium – Wish You Were Here [Review]

A good thing in a small package.

Location: at home

Date Played: September 6, 2018

Team size: 1-¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ; we recommend 1-4

Duration: 2-3 hours

Price: $12 for Kickstarter backers in the US, $15 for international backers

REA Reaction

Enigma Emporium’s Wish You Were Here took us by surprise. Although the small package of five postcards initially seemed unimpressive, as we began to solve it, we realized how much love and care went into cramming these cards with quality puzzle content. It felt like there was always another thing to solve on the cards.

While some of the puzzles turned a little too process-focused in order to have us extract more narrative, most of this game revolved around ah-ha moments.

If you’re into puzzles, we wholeheartedly recommend backing Enigma Emporium on Kickstarter. We eagerly await their next product.

The Enigma Emporium envelope and a UN postcard.

Who is this for?

  • Puzzle lovers
  • Any experience level (experienced puzzlers will have a significant advantage)

Why play?

  • Puzzle quality
  • Puzzle density
  • Low price

Story

We received five encoded postcards from a fugitive accused of stealing a valuable piece of art. We had to peel back the layers of obfuscation from his messages to solve the mystery of his crimes.

The assortment of Enigma Emporium cards and the envelope.

Setting

The entire mystery was presented on five 6 x 4 inch postcards. Each card had a distinctive theme and contained a slew of puzzles.

The cards looked like postcards that you’d expect to find in any tourist trap… with some puzzley additions.

There were some additional discoverable materials and a structured hint system, all available via a web browser.

Gameplay

Enigma Emporium’s Wish You Were Here played like a mini puzzle hunt. It had a high level of difficulty relative to most tabletop escape games… but a low degree of difficulty relative to puzzle hunts.

Core gameplay revolved around observing and puzzling.

Analysis

+ I’m still shocked by how much puzzle play Enigma Emporium crammed into 5 standard postcards. They made just about everything matter.

+ The puzzle quality was generally stellar. We liked some more than others, but overall, the consistency was impressive.

+ Each card had a consistent theme and vibe.

+ The US Presidents postcard contained a brilliant cipher.

– The literature postcard dragged relative to the rest of the game.

+/- We pulled a fair amount of cohesive story from these puzzles. That said, if you’re the type of player who seeks narrative, this story won’t surprise anyone.

Earth Shaking Story Spoiler

He’s not really a bad guy. I know… it’s shocking.

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– After an aha moment, some of these puzzles turned into hefty process puzzles to facilitate the extraction of story.

+ The structured hint system was easy to use and generally helpful.

– One puzzle didn’t seem like a puzzle… it just seemed faded and broken. We ended up circumventing it, and only realized the right way to solve it after we finished the game and dug into the hint system.

? Outside of the hint system, the game didn’t really provide a means of verifying answers and checking progression as we went. We always knew when we had a puzzle solved because it resolved cleanly… but we didn’t know if we had found everything that there was to solve on a card. Ultimately everything came together all at once at the end.

+ The solution submission process was a neat concept, even if it was a little cumbersome.

+ At $13, Enigma Emporium’s Wish You Were Here is more than affordable.

Tips for Playing

  • You will need an internet-connected device. We recommend a computer, but a mobile device will work fine.
  • Keep yourself organized while solving this game. Details matter. You will have a lot of puzzle paths open at once and as you solve them, you’ll need to hang on to the solutions.

Back Enigma Emporium’s Wish You Were Here on Kickstarter, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Enigma Emporium provided a copy for review.

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