cluequest – Print + Cut + Escape: Mechanics of the Heart [Hivemind Review]

Print + Cut + Escape: Mechanics of the Heart is a print-and-play escape game created by cluequest in London, England.

Video of a robot.

Format

Style of Play:

  • Online native experience (can NOT be played IRL)
  • Play on demand
  • Print-and-play

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection, printer, pen and paper, scissors

Make sure to follow the instructions regarding printing.

Recommended Team Size: 2-3

Play Time: about 90 minutes (less for highly experienced teams)

Price: £15 for the print-and-play version

Booking: purchase and play at your leisure

Description

The newest member in our team against evil in the world is robot “MM7”. In order to fully function he needs to understand how emotions work. It is up to us to help MM7 decipher the complex and puzzling ways of love.

The bulk of the game is a 19-page pdf to print out and cut up before the game clock begins. Once ready, access the web client to start the timer and story. Puzzles are solved using the papers, and answers are inputted into the website.

There’s also a feature that lets you hide little personal messages throughout the game.

Printed game materials, scissors, and a pen sitting on a laptop.

Hivemind Review Scale

REA's hivemind review scale - 3 is recommended anytime, 2 recommended in quarantine, 1 is not recommended.

Read more about our Hivemind Review format.

Andrew Reynolds’ Reaction

Rating: 2 out of 3.

As soon as I viewed the printable material for Mechanics of the Heart, I was taken in by the art style – cartoonish and charming, detailed but not distracting. This is an interesting game to look at, and I had an enjoyable experience playing it. There was a broad spectrum of puzzle difficulty, from “Is that really it?” to “We really need a hint on this.” Most puzzles wound up in that pleasant middle ground where a few minutes of tinkering around leads to an aha moment. Only one puzzle didn’t really work as we interpreted the cluing, but a look at the progressive hint system cleared us up.

The printable material is pure puzzle, and a website is used to view the story and input answers. The story was cute, and I immediately felt an attachment to our guide. I appreciate that there were multiple ways of inputting answers, and we weren’t required to just type in a text string. Overall, an enjoyable game, but I’m not convinced I’ll be running to play the next game Print + Cut + Escape releases.

Theresa W’s Reaction

Rating: 3 out of 3.

Mechanics of the Heart really capitalized on what clueQuest does well – creating dynamic games on simple, black and white printed pages of paper. While this game was not a direct follow-up to any of their previous games, the Easter eggs scattered throughout are always so cute when you notice them. The creators really capitalized on the humor in this iteration, making the interactions goofy and story-enhancing. Of note, this game had way less cutting than any of the others, yet they were still able to create some really unique interactions in the little cutting you did need. This Print + Cut + Escape is a bit easier than their previous game (Prison of Memories), but still took our experienced team around an hour.

Cindi S’ Reaction

Rating: 1 out of 3.

Mechanics of the Heart is a romance-themed print-and-cut game for two players. Before you start, the step-by-step instructions tell you to print everything out, cut where indicated, and stack the pages by sections. It was very easy and organized. There’s an online component that moves the narrative along, supporting the romance aspect, which is an unusual theme in this type of game. There’s even an option to add personalization, which was a nice surprise for the other player, but did not blend that well into the rest of the game. The puzzles were a mixed bag; some were good, some really easy, and others were so confusing that we didn’t understand them even after going through the hints and studying the solution. It’s unfortunate when good presentation is paired with uneven puzzles, but maybe another of clueQuest’s Print + Cut + Escape games offers a better balance between the two.

Joel Smileypeacefun Reaction

Rating: 2 out of 3.

In this print-and-cut game of love, you need to be a matchmaker and help a robot to understand how emotions work.

At its best, compared to their previous games they scaled down the printing and cutting to a minimum. After I criticized the puzzles in their last game for being unpolished, I’m happy to report that this time the puzzles all made sense and were satisfying to solve.

At its worst, this game is lacking in storytelling and cutscenes, which usually is a strength of the Print + Cut + Escape games. Although there is a bonus feature where you can personalize your experience, it fell a bit short because there wasn’t much impact. Additionally, maybe 1-2 more layered puzzles would turn this good game into a great game.

It’s not their most difficult experience but still, I had a lovely time playing.

Matthew Stein’s Reaction

Rating: 3 out of 3.

clueQuest never disappoints, and Mechanics of the Heart is a more beginner-friendly print-and-play adventure which is just as clever, creative, and polished as clueQuest’s more challenging offerings. Highlights of the game include:

  • clueQuest’s distinctive art style is eye-catching and full of sneaky allusions to characters and elements within their narrative universe.
  • The online interface is top-notch and user-friendly. Answer inputs were the most streamlined I’ve seen yet among their games, and I greatly enjoyed the animations and written dialogue which drove forward a simple but amusing story.
  • The puzzles all have a good balance of aha and process, with elements that are parallelizable among teammates. Compared to clueQuest’s other Print + Cut + Escape games, this one has relatively little cutting, and the pieces that require prep are used very effectively.

This is a perfect Valentine’s Day game for partners or friends, and it’ll be a fun hour-ish for both novice and more experienced puzzlers.

Disclosure: cluequest provided the Hivemind reviewers with a complimentary play.

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