Crack a Nut Mysteries – S.O.U.P. [Review]

S.O.U.P. is on

Location:  at home

Date Played: September 20, 2020

Team size: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯; we recommend 2

Duration: about 90 minutes

Price: about $77

REA Reaction

S.O.U.P. was a light-hearted and approachable puzzle game with a fantastic sense of humor.

While largely paper-based, this game was deeply personalized and made with an abundance of care.

A field notes notebook branded SOUP, a SOUP enamil pin, an airline ticket with Lisa's name on it, and a world map with places of interest flagged.

The writing in S.O.U.P. was superb, and drastically different in tone and style than that of Root of All Evil. It’s impressive to see creators shift tone and approach so elegantly.

S.O.U.P. is an easy game to recommend. Because of the level of personalization, I suspect that it would make a great surprise gift.

Who is this for?

  • Story seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Prop collectors
  • Any experience level

Why play?

  • Impressive personalization
  • Amusing and succinct storytelling
  • Strong, well presented puzzles

Story

In S.O.U.P. we had recently been recruited into the Society for the Observation of Unknown Phenomena. As junior investigators we were told to expect packages to examine strange happenings around the globe.

3 different mailed letters from SOUP.

Setup

Over the course of 3 mailings we received a total of 5 assignments, each with a standalone puzzle and a smaller portion of a larger metapuzzle.

One opened package with a welcome envelope, a letter, and 2 assignment files.

The puzzles and components were almost entirely paper-based and were lovingly made with ample personalization.

Solutions were verified through the S.O.U.P. website. The website also included hints through the organization’s FAQ page.

Gameplay

Crack a Nut Mysteries’ S.O.U.P. was a standard play-at-home escape game with an easier level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around observing and puzzling.

Analysis

➕ Crack a Nut Mysteries personalizes your S.O.U.P. experience. They go the extra distance to give the personalization a polished feel. These details made the game feel special, right from the opening moments. This game was constantly reminding the player that the creators cared. Because of this, it would be especially great as a gift.

➕ The writing was hilarious. We were happy to read it. This humorous writing was especially strong in Assignment 1 and in the hint system. We were also impressed by how different the tone and writing style were from Crack a Nut Mysteries’ previous game Root of All Evil. We’d never have guessed both games came from the same creators.

➕ The gameplay was accessible. It was guided such that we always knew we were focusing our efforts where it mattered. The numbered mailings made it easy to keep track of everything. We appreciated being able to check the solution to each assignment as we solved it. The hint system was granular.

➕ The varied puzzles relied on different skills sets. S.O.U.P. included both process and aha puzzles. The meta added just enough depth to make it interesting, but not too challenging.

➖ The gameplay was a bit uneven. The most exciting puzzles were in the opening act. Of the four assignments, the 4th one was the least interesting.

➕ The setup and story came together well. We understood our role as remote characters. This game never took itself too seriously, but included enough details that we were happy to buy into the fiction. The story resolved well.

Tips For Players

  • Space Requirements: a small table
  • Required Gear: a writing utensil, and an internet-connected device was required for accessing the hint system

Buy your copy of Crack a Nut Mysteries’ S.O.U.P., and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Crack a Nut Mysteries provided a sample for review.

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