Puzzled Escape Games – The Box From The Future [Review]

Mucking about with spacetime.

Location:  at home

Date Played: October 24, 2020

Team size: 1-4; we recommend 2-3

Duration: 2 hours

Price: $50

REA Reaction

I wanted to like The Box From The Future more than I did. I loved the concept, and truly enjoyed the videos that carried the game’s narrative. As an overall experience, however, it felt weak and disjointed.

Assorted components including, a dry erase marker, a thumb drive, a world map, and a DVD labeled "Future Man"

The puzzles were largely a collection of generic puzzles, the kind I see in my Facebook feed and rarely stop to solve. There were exceptions, like a sequence near the end that honestly could have been expanded into a far more interesting and cost-effective game.

The physical components in The Box From The Future mostly seemed unnecessary. That was a fundamental flaw, considering that there are stronger games at a fraction of the price, and that competitors in this price range do some really special things.

Creatively, I respect what Puzzled Escape Games was striving for. I just wish that it had been edited and focused on the interactions that made it special.

Who is this for?

  • Any experience level

Why play?

  • The video interludes were adorable and clever
  • One of the late game puzzles felt like an entire game could have been built around it

Story

A box wrapped in hot foil had hurdled through the space-time continuum and landed on our doorstep PO box. As we opened it we found a message from a man claiming he was from a catastrophic future. He needed us to make changes to our present to prevent what would come.

We were tired of our cataclysmic present, so it felt like a worthy endeavor.

A foil-covered box with an orange warning that reads: "Open with extreme caution. Contents insid can cause cataclysmic events in the future. Mishandlign will doom mankind."

Setup

The Box From The Future was mechanically straightforward. It was a box filled with puzzles, wrapped in an amusing narrative. There weren’t any complex mechanisms or unusual game mechanics. We solved puzzles that resolved to passwords or padlock combinations.

Gameplay

Puzzled Escape Games’ The Box From The Future was a play-at-home escape game that combined mailed components with a web interface. It had a moderate level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around searching, observing, and puzzling.

An American flag metal box with a padlock.

Analysis

The Box From The Future included some video components. The actors were relatable and funny.

➕ We enjoyed the sleuthing aspect of The Box From The Future, which was both tangible and digital.

The Box From The Future packed in a lot of puzzles. There was plenty to solve.

➖ The puzzling relied heavily on standard puzzle styles – common mechanics with no added twist or intrigue. Without a narrative reason to include them, these felt like puzzle filler.

➖ Many of the puzzles lacked internal verification, which was frustrating.

➕ Our favorite game mechanic was entirely digital, with interactions that felt familiar, and a solve that worked narratively. It was relatable and fun.

➖ Many of the puzzles were presented in the wrong medium. Our favorite puzzle was presented digitally, but would have been much more enjoyable printed. Tangible items were needlessly tangible, and would have made more sense displayed digitally. The most expensive components were the least impressive, and least relevant. There was no reason for the added expense.

➖ The attempt at digital world-building left some lingering red herrings.

➕ We can pack up The Box From The Future and give it to a friend. We didn’t damage or destroy any of the props in our playthrough.

Tips For Players

  • Space Requirements: a small table
  • Required Gear: an internet-connected device, a pen and scrap paper

Buy your copy of Puzzled Escape Games’ The Box From The Future, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Puzzled Escape Games provided a sample for review.

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