Wandering through the jungle
Location: at home
Date Played: May 2020
Team size: We recommend 1-4
Price: about $33 (as of review)
Ravensburger’s The Temple Grounds Escape Puzzle hasn’t had an official release in the United States, but it is available on Amazon for a few dollars over retail price, and our copy was sent to us by Tammy McLeod, REA Hivemind Reviewer, and jigsaw puzzle Guinness World Record holder.
After spending a couple of days solving The Temple Grounds, I’d wager a guess as to why it hasn’t been republished in the United States: it’s a damn hard jigsaw puzzle. It’s the most difficult of the series thus far, in our opinion. It’s overwhelmingly green and brown, with low contrast.
Difficulty does not make this a bad jigsaw puzzle; it’s more than solvable. There are textures and patterns to work with… but they are harder to identify and more nuanced than what we’ve seen from the rest of the Escape Puzzle series.
The escape puzzles within the finished picture solved cleanly, although one of these puzzles really suffered from the dark shades of brown and muddy contrast.
The other struggle with this puzzle was the edge (which is always a bit strange in Escape Puzzles). There were edge pieces that we could not rationally fit into the puzzle. This was by far the weakest element of the product.
Overall, The Temple Grounds is the Ravensburger Escape Puzzles on hard mode. Don’t play this as an introduction to the Ravensburger’s Escape Puzzle format. If you’re new to Ravensburger’s Escape Puzzle series, try out the Space Observatory or Witch’s Kitchen for a fantastic starting place. The Temple Grounds is for skilled jigsaw puzzle solvers who like a puzzle that requires a higher level of skill or a willingness to grind through the challenge.
While I am happy that I solved it, I also think it’s fine if this one isn’t re-released more broadly.
This review only covers details specific to this individual Ravensburger Escape Puzzle.
For a detailed explanation of the concept and mechanics, and a general analysis of the entire product line, check out our Ravensburger Escape Puzzle Overview.
While exploring the ruins of an ancient temple, we’d stepped in the wrong place and slipped down a steep slope into the ruins. With the sun going down, we needed to find our way out.
❓/➖ The puzzle art felt optimized around difficulty. There was a lot to look at, but it wasn’t fun to view. There was a ton of visual noise.
➕ The puzzles solved cleanly.
➖ While one low contrast puzzle was solvable, the details were so challenging to see that my fellow solvers struggled to see the key clues even when I was pointing right at them.
➖ There were edge pieces that seemed to have no real home within the puzzle. The Escape Puzzle’s edge pieces are an essential part of the concluding metapuzzle, so there is always a bit of oddness with these, but this took it to a far stranger place. It felt like the edge was doctored after the fact to make the puzzle work, but no one took the time to make any of the adjustments feel even remotely organic.
➖ The metapuzzle was cute, but nowhere near entertaining enough to justify how botched the puzzle’s edge design was. This also made it fairly easy to backsolve the puzzles within the picture. It was sloppy.
❓ This was a hard puzzle. Whether that’s good or bad is in the eyes of the solver.
➕ The hints were detailed and clear (even if a small, inconsequential segment wasn’t fully translated into English).
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