Mysteries Co. – Tesla’s Box Escape Room Puzzle [Review]

Tesla’s Magic Box

Location: at home or at an escape room location that offers it

Date Played: October 13, 2021

Team size: we recommend 1-2

Duration: about 90 minutes, less for experienced puzzlers

Price: about $1,000 to purchase your own box

REA Reaction

While we were in Montreal hosting Escape, Immerse, Explore: Montreal 2021, we received an email from a puzzle box maker asking us if we were interested in playing one of his boxes… and he was from just outside of Montreal. We’re not ones to shy away from serendipity, so we arranged to meet at an escape room along our driving path to Maine to play.

Tesla’s Box Escape Room Puzzle was less of an escape room or puzzle box rooted in escape room style play than it was a standalone progressive discovery puzzle box.

A hand reaching out towards the Tesla Box, and reaching for the glowing electron ball.

Approaching this puzzle, it had a nifty aesthetic, and as we explored it, we found that it had a lot of personality. It felt like it got excited when we solved something… which was endearing.

Overall, it was a clever design. It had a light narrative that required a little interpretation on the part of the solver; it was easy to miss.

Coming in at $1,000 to purchase, this isn’t really for casual puzzlers… but it isn’t quite a standalone escape room either. It really demands that the solver probe it, experiment, and explore to find the path to a solution… as I said, it’s more of a progressive discovery puzzle box than an escape room.

If you’re an escape room owner with an especially puzzle-loving clientele, you might consider setting this up in your facility (but it really requires a small room in the right aesthetic and a dedicated gamemaster). For a puzzle box collector, we can see this being a fun show piece. For most puzzle-curious folks, I’d recommend checking out Chris Ramsay’s playthrough. It’s always fun for us to see how he approaches puzzles that we’ve solved.

Who is this for?

  • Puzzle lovers
  • Players with at least some experience

Why play?

  • For progressive discovery
  • The box had a lot of personality

Story

A mysterious contraption was found near one of Nikola Tesla’s laboratories. We had to explore the device and learn its secrets.

Closeup of the Tesla Box has a large 3D printed key in a keyhole.

Setup

We sat down at this curious box and were handed a newspaper clipping. We had to use the box and the clipping to begin exploring the device.

The Tesla Box has 2 light bulbs, a glowing electron ball, and a few switches.

Gameplay

Mysteries Co.’s Tesla’s Box Escape Room Puzzle was a progressive discovery puzzle box with a higher level of difficulty than your typical escape game.

Core gameplay revolved around searching, making connections, puzzling, and tinkering.

Closeup of the Tesla Box has a rotary dial.

Analysis

βž• Tesla’s Box Escape Room Puzzle looked great. We’re into simple aesthetic design. It would be a nifty coffee table piece in the right home.

βž• The box reused the same input mechanisms in new ways. It did a lot with the minimalistic design.

βž– As much as we enjoyed its tricks, we wanted Tesla’s Box Escape Room Puzzle to do more. We expected it to transform more dramatically than it did.

βž– The rules stated that no force would be required, but the first interaction required quite a bit of force, more than we felt comfortable with. This slowed our momentum substantially at the onset. (We didn’t need additional force after this first interaction.)

βž– Better expectation setting would also go a long way to diminish frustration. We (incorrectly) assumed that Tesla’s Box Escape Room Puzzle was self-contained. However, one puzzle required an unclued internet search. We would have enjoyed this more if we’d understood it would be fair game.

βž• We enjoyed how this box responded to us. Its effects were a lot of fun.

βž– However, if you’re sensitive to bright or flashing lights, you simply cannot see Tesla’s Box Escape Room Puzzle through to the finale. Its feedback was exciting, but visually uncomfortable. We suggest frosted bulbs, or another aesthetically pleasing dimmer.

βž• The interactions were tangible… switch-y switches and the like. It was fun to tinker with the box’s oddities.

Tips For Players

  • Space Requirements: a small table
  • Required Gear: pen and paper

Buy your copy of Mysteries Co.’s Tesla’s Box Escape Room Puzzle, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Mysteries Co. provided a sample for review.

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