Gatekeeper is a print-and-play game created by The Other Tales in Hawthorne, NJ.
Style of Play:
- Play on demand
Required Equipment: computer with internet connection, printer, pen & paper, and scissors
You only need the computer to download the PDF.
Recommended Team Size: 1-3
Play Time: There is no time limit. Plan on 60-75 minutes including set up.
Booking: purchase and play at your leisure
This game is a 24-page PDF that is divided into several “chapters.” Each chapter consists of several pages, each displaying either a room in a mysterious mansion or an object that you found. To move on to the next chapter, you must unlock a door in the mansion by combining information from the pages to solve puzzles. Once you’ve solved all the puzzles in a chapter, you “unlock” the door and proceed.
Note that there is an instruction that tells you which pages you don’t necessarily need to print if you want to save paper.
Hivemind Review Scale
Joel Smileypeacefun Reaction
You visit your uncle and discover his secret powers. He’s a gatekeeper. Can you become one too?
At its best, the amount of pages you have to print is okay. I even tried printing 2 pages on one piece of paper, which totally worked. The artwork throughout is nice. The puzzles started off easy and became surprisingly more layered as the game went on, but the challenges were never super hard. There is an easy answer checker for your solutions.
At its worst, the game rarely used the printed format to its advantage. There were one or two instances of folding or cutting things, but nothing extraordinary. One puzzle had me wondering how to extract the answer out of the solved puzzle. It took me a little while to find the instruction that made it clear; I thought it was placed in a weird spot.
In total, the puzzles were a tad bit easy, but I had a fun time quickly solo-playing through this.
Cindi S’ Reaction
Your eccentric uncle has mysteriously summoned you to his manor, but for what purpose? The story takes you on a quest to discover the mystery and magic behind a secret society. The illustrations in Gatekeeper were bright and colorful, and the progression of the story through the artwork and puzzles was very effective in creating an overall cohesive experience. The puzzles were fun and thematic and really made you think. I especially enjoyed the tactile puzzles, which were unique and gave you that satisfying aha moment when you solved them. There was also a really cool method to check your answers without spoiling the other puzzles. Play Gatekeeper if you are looking for a fun, engaging print-and-play game; it’s one of the better ones I’ve played.
Sarah Mendez’s Reaction
I found Gatekeeper to be of interest for the ways it deviates from other print-and-play games I’ve tried. Most obviously, it relies on a slick paper-based mechanism for validating solutions without spoiling anything, meaning you’re completely untethered from a computer after printing the game. This is particularly useful if you’re trying to use this game for multiple teams at a party. Also, the narrative explores one continuous environment, giving the opportunity to develop more of a sense of place than many other print-and-play or boxed games. Whereas many such games feel like an unanchored series of puzzles to solve, this one provides images of the rooms you’re exploring along with narrative transitions into those rooms. Combined with its more common game elements of crisp artwork and satisfying puzzles, the game was fun, and I enjoyed its novelties.
That said, some of the game’s logistics detract from the experience. The instructions are spread across three different documents at the beginning of the game, which makes the game feel more daunting and disconnected than it actually is. As the first impression of the game, this is unnecessarily off-putting, especially for a game that’s mostly straightforward. Meanwhile, as with many print-and-play games, the full experience requires a significant amount of ink and paper (23 pages). The setup guide identifies the minimum set of must-print pages (there are only four!), but the game does play better printed so that you can refer to several sheets at the same time. To justify printing everything, I wished that the game either made more intentional use of the paper medium or had a higher density of important details per page. As is, I was left with a haunting feeling of wastefulness. This is particularly significant because the price of this game only seems warranted if you’re entertaining multiple teams, which then requires that much more printing.
Ultimately, I think this is a good game that is also overpriced, so it’s hard to recommend it unconditionally. However, if you have a big party use case or an interest in print-and-play game mechanics, it’s worth a look!
Theresa W’s Reaction
Gatekeeper was an absolutely beautiful-looking print-and-play game that sent players on a hunt through their uncle’s estate searching for answers. The puzzles, although on the easier side, were well designed and tangible, making good use of the 4 printed pages. Story elements tended to be a bit light, with only a few sentences describing what went on. The answer verification that The Other Tales designed for this was unique and worked well (and I recommend printing it out for the best experience).
Disclosure: The Other Tales provided the Hivemind reviewers with a complimentary play.