Boxaroo – The Storyteller's Secret [Review]

Once upon a puzzle…

Location:  Boston, MA

Date Played: December 14, 2019

Team size: 2-5; we recommend 2-5

Duration: 75 minutes

Price: $40-47 per player

Ticketing:  Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Intimate, mellow, and heartwarming. This combination is one of the least explored territories in the escape game world. Boxaroo set off on an adventure to chart this mysterious land and struck gold.

The set was elegant, compact, and truly impressive, especially when you realize just how small it actually was.

Boxaroo’s engineering was top-notch.

In-game: A beautiful old writer's desk with a journal and a quill pen.

Then there’s the gameplay. A friend said to me that The Storyteller’s Secret felt kind of like playing a really good point and click adventure game; I can confirm that. The way this experience unfolded honestly felt like playing a tangible Lucas Arts game. If you have ever played one, I think you’ll realize how high a compliment that is.

We loved this game. It’s as great a game for first time players as it is for seasoned escape room fanatics. If you’re anywhere near Boston, The Storyteller’s Secret is a must-play escape game.

In-game: Closeup of a pully against some vegitation.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Story seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Families
  • Any experience level

Why play?

  • The game was beautifully executed on every level
  • Playful and heartwarming story
  • An incredible feat of engineering
  • It almost feels like playing an old Lucas Arts game in real life

Story

We paid a visit to the cabin of best-selling adventure novelist Emily Carter to learn the secret origins of her incredible stories.

In-game: the wooden wall of a cabin with small shalves and hooks displaying many different trinkets.

Setting

We entered a quaint and elegant writer’s nook. On one side was an adorable desk; on the other side were massive, larger-than-life books. From there, our adventure was entirely up to the storytelling of Emily Carter.

The set was beautiful and playful, filled with vivid details. The technology underpinning The Storyteller’s Secret was ingenious and ever-present, but never showy.

In-game: A corner bench seat with a pillow that reads, "Bee my honey" depicting two bees.

Gameplay

Boxaroo’s The Storyteller’s Secret was a narrative-focused escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around observing, puzzling, and making connections.

In-game: Closeup of a fish caught ina net.

Analysis

➕ The Storyteller’s Secret told a complete story. It was beautiful and intimate. It didn’t put a lot of pressure on us. This was a mellow experience, but not without exciting moments.

➕ This was a game about a writer. It managed to pull that off with fewer than 2 lines of written text.

➖ The opening moments of The Storyteller’s Secret had a potentially cool interaction that went nowhere. It felt like opportunity was knocking and no one answered.

➕ Boxaroo created a wonderful difficulty curve. They focused player attention on relevant content through use of light and sound. They’d designed the game such that as it progressed, we felt like we had grown our skills and achieved mastery over the game’s challenges.

In-game: A wall mounting with two tribal masks hanging.

➕ This game represented our view of what escape room technology ought to be. The engineering was incredible, but most would rarely even notice it. It was just magic.

➕ The hint system was an integrated part of the experience. We never touched it, but we imagine it blending into the story.

➖/➕ The physical construction of the final puzzle was noticeably lackluster. The puzzle itself was quite clever in context, but I’m completely confident that Boxaroo could implement it better because they did so everywhere else in this game.

The Storyteller’s Secret had smart backtracking and reuse.

➕ Boxaroo only allows appropriately sized teams into this game. What a bizarre and novel concept?

Tips For Visiting

  • Boxaroo is easily accessible by subway. Get off at Park Street or Government Center.
  • If you’re driving, the Pi Alley Parking Garage is right nearby.
  • At least 1 teammate needs to be able to duck into a small space.

Book your hour with Boxaroo’s The Storyteller’s Secret, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Boxaroo provided media discounted tickets for this game.

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