Escape Room Geeks – Saving the Beauty of Winter [Hivemind Review]

Saving the Beauty of Winter is a print-and-play game for kids, created by Escape Room Geeks.

Fingers holding a game piece for a "Donut World" storefront.

Format

Style of Play:

  • Play on demand
  • Print-and-play

Required Equipment: Computer with internet connection, printer, scissors, glue or tape

Recommended Team Size: 3-4 kids per group

Play Time: 45-60 minutes (for kids; 10 minutes for adults)

Note that the cutting and printing is time substantial.

Price: $29

Booking: purchase and play at your leisure

Description

The evil inventor Swen Hemerson has created a machine to destroy snow, so you must track him to his secret lab, find the machine, and destroy it. These three challenges are presented via a 26-page PDF to be printed and played in order. Each challenge consists of connecting several pieces of information to produce a numerical code.

This is a game for kids, so the primary play mode assumes that an adult is acting as the gamemaster and gating progress through the challenges. However, the How-to-Play guide includes a “Play Along Webpage” that can be used to validate the codes and provide hints.

This game advertises its use for multiple groups of 2-5 kids racing against each other.

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.

Tammy McLeod’s Reaction

Rating: 2 out of 3.

This game has a strong and appealing art style. The puzzles come in a 26-page full-color pdf file, with an easy-to-use website for hints and answer checking. The game is not just a puzzle game, but has a fair amount of cutting and assembly activity. Between that and the relative simplicity of the puzzles, I would say this is probably best for novice puzzlers between ages 8-10, with adult guidance. There are 3 challenges, of increasing difficulty. The price is a little more than the average cost for puzzle games for adults, but there are not many games targeted for a younger audience, so it does fill a niche.

Cara Mandel’s Reaction

Rating: 3 out of 3.

Saving the Beauty of Winter is a charming print-and-cut activity for kids. The game is available to play in either print form or by inputting answers onto the website, where there are helpful hints provided. (There’s also a step-by-step PDF provided for offline use.) This would make for a great activity for a children’s party and comes complete with predesigned invitations and posters celebrating the team’s win (or humorously admonishing their loss). I appreciated the variety of cut-out crafts and found myself delightfully playing with the miniature town I had built. The puzzles were fairly straightforward and easy enough to follow along for any level player. This could even make for a great socially-distanced activity over Zoom for friends to play along on each end. I loved the full color illustrations and educational activities. Overall, it was a beautifully designed activity booklet!

Sarah Mendez’s Reaction

Rating: 2 out of 3.

Judging from my kids’ reaction to this game, I think it’s well suited for the advertised age group of 9-13. I have to admit, though, that my kids and I had vastly different opinions of it. I had a hard time seeing past the fact that cutting and gluing are considered part of the gameplay, the multiple walls of text included in each challenge, and the vast amounts of ink required to print it all (much of which seemed wasted on extraneous artwork and discarded negative space). My kids, on the other hand, delighted in studying the details of the artwork, dutifully constructed the papercrafts with utmost purpose and seriousness, and beamed when they unlocked that all-important skill of escape-rooming: scanning. Their imaginations connected with this game in a way that mine did not, leaving me to conclude that the creators know their audience better than I do. I must say, then, that it’s a lovely kids’ game.

I do struggle a bit with the price, which at first glance feels way too high for a one-play game that also requires a significant amount of your own printer ink. However, the more kids you entertain with this, the better, so I suspect the price is optimized for large groups that print multiple copies and race each other. Although I gravitate toward creating more intimate, immersive escape room parties, I can appreciate the large party use case. Thus, you might not get your full money’s worth until the pandemic is over, but for the right audience and the right circumstances, I think this game has its place.

Disclosure: Escape Room Geeks provided the Hivemind reviewers with a complimentary play.

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