Lock Paper Scissors – Envy [Hivemind Review]

Envy is a print-and-play escape game created by Lock Paper Scissors.

Cover art, illustration for Envy, depicts a flapper dressed up and holding a martini glass.

Format

Style of Play:

  • Play on demand
  • Print-and-play
  • Escape room party kit

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

Recommended Team Size: 1-2

Play Time: 20-40 minutes

Price: $29

Booking: purchase and play at your leisure

Description

The police have failed to solve the murder of Lord Carnegie, so you must explore the aftermath of the party where he was killed. You explore eight separate puzzles that contribute information to a final metapuzzle, which theoretically validates all of your answers.

These materials are designed to be presented as an escape room party where the printouts (or physical substitutes) are arranged in “logical” locations throughout a room. You can also play the game as a tabletop experience just by printing out the materials.

Illustrated set of game instructions.

Cindi S’ Reaction

Envy is themed around a 1920’s murder mystery reminiscent of The Great Gatsby. Your objective? Figure out who committed a murder and the details around the crime by solving a series of related puzzles. Included with the kit are posters, photo room props, a playlist, and other suggestions to create the right ambience for a mystery-themed escape room party. The artwork is gorgeous, with vibrant colors and rich details that add a much-needed spark to the minimal storyline. There is a variety of puzzles, some requiring scissors and tape, while others just a pen and paper. But while the puzzles are thematic, they are too simplistic for experienced puzzlers. In fact, I would assume this game is geared towards younger players, if it weren’t for the storyline involving a murder and the idea of throwing a Gatsby-themed party. While I really like the concept, I would have preferred more challenging puzzles aimed at an older audience.

Andrew Reynolds’ Reaction

Envy is the second game I’ve played from Lock Paper Scissors, and I don’t imagine that I’ll be playing a third. My solving partner and I banged this one out in maybe twenty minutes without really trying or running into any difficulty. At $29 retail, that would be a steep price per puzzle minute.

Envy is structured differently from most paper-based puzzles; rather than a final challenging meta-puzzle, your answers from each stage were entered into a story page that told the full tale of the murder. Given that structure, there was no big final reveal as to whodunnit; as a matter of fact, if you play the puzzles in the order they print, the “who” is answered in the very first puzzle. Once we entered the answer into the story sheet, we were scratching our heads wondering if we really had just solved the case.

I have to highlight the papercraft part of the game. Both Lock Paper Scissors games that I have played included an imaginative use of paper as a puzzling medium. I’d be glad to see their puzzles get stronger to match that sort of creativity.

Sarah Mendez’s Reaction

Like most Lock Paper Scissors games, Envy is intended to serve as a springboard for your own physical escape room experience. However, although it has value as a collection of vignettes and puzzle ideas that could be recreated and expanded into a Roaring 20s escape party, I would recommend it only if you enjoy designing beyond the out-of-box experience. For a story, this game offers a standard murder mystery narrative that is mostly overlookable, but has enough details to give shape to the game if you, as a party host, care to prescribe a flow to the puzzles. As a stack of paper puzzles, these are fairly typical and rather easy, though some suffer from inadequate cluing and strange formatting. Also, from a thematic perspective, I couldn’t tell what one of the puzzles was depicting, and another one wouldn’t make sense in real life. Thus, if I were translating this game to a physical space, I would feel compelled to make several adjustments. Ignoring these imperfections, I would ordinarily say the difficulty level makes these puzzles more suitable for teenagers, but this game is marketed toward adults, presumably due to its theme and storyline.

The artwork is probably my favorite part of this package. In addition to adding lovely ambiance to the game, it simultaneously illustrates concrete ways to arrange a physical space around the puzzles. Now, could I realistically get a typewriter, a rotary phone, a bunch of pharmacy bottles, and a dress form? Probably not, but it’s fun to imagine the possibilities, and the artwork is an acceptable substitute for the real things. Ultimately, however, I think the effort to convert the game materials into a coherent physical experience is high. Since this game seems overpriced as a tabletop game (like most party kits), I think the main audience is anyone invested in the creativity aspect of an experience like this.

Disclosure: Lock Paper Scissors provided the Hivemind reviewers with a complimentary play.

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