Airmail Adventures – The Lost Journal of Flintlock Flynn [Review]

Letters from the League of Treasure Hunters

Location:  at home

Date Played: February 19, 2019

Team size: we recommend 2-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $51

Publisher: Airmail Adventures

REA Reaction

We played a late beta of Airmail Adventures’ first game, The Lost Journal of Flintlock Flynn months before its Kickstarter launch. (So, yes, it’s on Kickstarter, but there actually is a game. It exists.)

Airmail Adventures did a beautiful job of building their 6-episode, kid-focused, tabletop puzzle game around the player. They created a fictional world. Each subsequent package added to the feeling that the player was impacting the game’s world.

A letter, sheet music, a map, and compass.

The Lost Journal of Flintlock Flynn was a more challenging game than we were anticipating given its intended audience. It was absolutely solvable. While the puzzles varied in difficulty, I suspect that most of the kids who complete it will feel like they earned their victory.

The puzzles felt incredibly uneven. Some were great; some left something to be desired. Additionally, we persistently felt bogged down by the volume of reading. There was a lot to take in and the font choice didn’t make it easier on the eyes.

Additionally, we can’t really comment on the quality of the hint system as it wasn’t completed when we played. Our guess is that if Airmail Adventures built a quality hint system it would mitigate some of the more frustrating puzzles.

All in all, this was an interesting game for late elementary school and early middle school aged-kids who like to read, puzzle, and think for fun.

Who is this for?

  • Story seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Children and families
  • Players with at least some experience

Why play?

  • A child-friendly play-at-home puzzle adventure
  • A feeling of impact: solving puzzles created the illusion of changing the game world
  • Some brilliant puzzles

Story

We had been recruited to help the virtuous League of Treasure Hunters discover lost relics and share them with the world.

As members of the League, we were privy to information about their expeditions and able to help from afar by deciphering the clues, riddles, and ciphers to identify the location of the treasure… and suss out villains who would attempt to steal and sell the treasure.

An introductory letter.

Setup

Divided into 6 different mailings, The Lost Journal of Flintlock Flynn was a serialized puzzle game made of mostly paper-based components: letters, maps, journals, and the like.

Each mailing was part of a sequential story and built on what came before it.

A leather bound journal and a letter.

Gameplay

Airmail Adventures’ The Lost Journal of Flintlock Flynn was a play-at-home escape game designed for children, with a high level of difficulty for the intended audience.

Core gameplay revolved around searching, observing, puzzling, and deducing.

Analysis

The Lost Journal of Flintlock Flynn placed the child player as a character in the game. The design was subtle, but brilliantly executed. We could see how children playing detectives would feel as if they had a role in deducing this mystery and affecting the game world.

➕ Airmail Adventures crafted beautiful letters and other mostly paper-based items for this play-at-home adventure. We could tell that a lot of love and care went into the design and creation of the props. The materials felt good to hold, sift through, ponder over, and fiddle with.

➖ We inadvertently destroyed some of the game materials… with an object sent to us as part of the game. It was the very thing that made the object interesting that we used to wipe out some of the game’s content.

➕ The different items that carried the gameplay made sense in the world. They served different purposes, narratively and puzzle-y. This structure of items worked well.

➖ There was a lot of reading in The Lost Journal of Flintlock Flynn. We felt bogged down by this. At times, choice of font added to our frustration. Mostly, however, it was an issue of volume.

➕ We enjoyed many of the puzzles in The Lost Journal of Flintlock Flynn. Although some felt repetitive to us as adults, we can see how children would build mastery through play and gain satisfaction out of solving new puzzles with the same mechanics. This design worked for the intended audience.

The Lost Journal of Flintlock Flynn required substantial deciphering. Airmail Adventures should provide definitive cipher keys as at least one of the ciphers used has common variants.

➕/➖ The puzzles varied enormously in cluing. They weren’t necessarily challenging, but at times they required significant logic leaps. In our favorite puzzle in the game, for example, the tolerances needed to be tighter to properly orient the player. This was quite a bummer because the puzzle was brilliant.

❓ We played a copy that wasn’t fully ready for testing. We were unable to assess the hint system and we cannot comment on how it will work in its final state. At the time we played, Airmail Adventures had an unfinished website that was difficult to use.

Tips For Player

  • Space Requirements: a small table
  • Gear Requirements: pencil, paper, and an internet-connected device
  • The purchaser will receive all the game components and will be responsible for distributing them to the people playing the game.

Back Airmail Adventures’ The Lost Journal of Flintlock Flynn on Kickstarter and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Airmail Adventures provided a sample for review.

2 thoughts on “Airmail Adventures – The Lost Journal of Flintlock Flynn [Review]

  1. Couple of questions:

    1. Did you play with any kids? If so, any feedback from them?

    2. Will adults without kids still find it engaging?

    1. Good questions.

      1. Did you play with any kids? If so, any feedback from them?

      We try to play kids games with kids… but we couldn’t find kids on the original publication timeline.

      2. Will adults without kids still find it engaging?

      Some puzzles more than others. There are some great moments in this for any age.

      I’d say that it’s probably best for adults who have a kid to enjoy the game with. There are so many puzzle products that are focused on adults.

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